High powered procs may get all the attention, but slapping a Sandy Bridge-E chip into a budget build is akin to slapping a fly with a sledgehammer -- it's just way too much firepower for the job. For folks looking to get their secondary (or tertiary) PC on, AMD is releasing a new low-cost Llano APU designed to fit nicely into the FM1 socket.
All right, maybe the A4-3420 APU is only kind of new: TechPowerUp and DonanimHaber report that OEMs have had access to the chip since the beginning of the year. According to those publications (and double-checked against the OEM specs at CPU-World), the 2.8 GHz A4-3420 rocks a pair of x86-64 cores with 512KB of L2 cache per core, a 600MHz Radeon HD 6410D GPU, and a scant 65W TDP. An on-board dual-channel DDR3 memory controller supports RAM speeds up to 1600 MHz.
The reported price is said to match the TDP at $65 on the nose. Any takers?
Oh, AMD, you wiley stage magicians. While the company was busy showing off its Opteron 6200 and 4200 enterprise processors with one metaphorical hand earlier this week, the other metaphorical hand was secretly tweaking prices on several of its processors while everyone was distracted. Heck, they even introduced a new quad-core processor and next to nobody noticed! Penn and Teller, eat your hearts out.
In a somewhat unusual move, AMD raised the price of its dual-core A4-3300 and A4-3400 APUs by a couple of bucks apiece. It wasn’t all bad news, however: the tri-core A6-3500 dropped down to $85 – a $4 decrease – while the six-core FX-6100 saw a full $10 shaved off of its price, bringing it down to $155.
The new addition to the CPU lineup, the quad-core, 3GHz Athlon II X4 651, comes in at $92. Each of the cores has a 1MB L2 cache, and CPU-World.com (which broke the story) points out that it is “the highest clocked model for socket FM1.” No word yet on when you’ll actually be able to buy it, though.
MSI today announced its first motherboard based on AMD's A55 chipset for Llano. The A55M-P35 is a micro ATX motherboard with an FM1 socket, two DDR3-1600 DIMM slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, a single PCI-Express x16 slot, GbE LAN, 7.1 channel audio, all solid capacitors, and a handful of overclocking friendly features.
One of the those is MSI's Click BIOS Concept based on the UEFI architecture. This allows system builders to mosey about the BIOS with their mouse rather than hammer away on arrow keys. The BIOS also supports hard drives over 3TB.
All AMD A55 boards from MSI come equipped with the latest OC Genie II technology, giving users one-click access to instant overclocks to boost system performance to over 110 percent, MSI says. There are also some advanced controls baked in for more savvy users.
It doesn't appear as though the A55M-P35 comes with any USB 3.0 ports, though it does sport MSI's i-Charger technology to juice up iPads and other tablets both faster and when the system is turned off.
MSI dabbles in both motherboards and graphics cards (as well as other components and products), and maybe that gives them an advantage when it comes to building boards for AMD's upcoming Fusion processors. Whether or not that's the case, MSI isn't bashful about laying claim to the "world's fastest mainboard with integrated graphics," the newly released A75MA-G55 built around AMD's FM1 socket.
"With nearly 25 years of mainboard overclocking experience built into the A75MA-G55, it is the perfect tool to enjoy the ultimate performance of AMD's upcoming A-series APUs," MSI explains. "High ranking overclocker Toppc, who recently won MSI's ultimate overclocking championship MOA in Taiwan, broke several world records for Integrated Graphics performance such as a 3DMark 11 Performance of P1645 points."
The A75MA-G55 board is a micro-ATX part based on AMD's Hudson D3 chipset. It features MSI's Military Class II components. four DIMM slots with support for up to 32GB of memory, four USB 3.0, eight USB 2.0 ports, six SATA 6Gbps, 8-channel audio, GbE LAN, HDMI, DVI, D-Sub, and MSI's Click BIOS concept based on UEFI.
Motherboard makers are preparing for the launch of AMD's upcoming Llano line of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). That includes Asus who today revealed its first boards sporting the necessary FM1 socket to support AMD's A-series APUs and powered by the AMD A75 chipset. New boards include the F1A75-V EVO and V1A75-V Pro, both of which Asus promises will offer "exceptional overclocking" capabilities and a range of proprietary and next-gen technologies.
"The Asus F1A75 series are designed with the exclusive DIGI+ VRM and the most intuitive UEFI BIOS on the market," Asus says. "The F1A75-V EVO is the world's FM1 socket motherboard with dual x8/x8 PCI-Express for AMD CrossFireX support, while the entire range of Asus F1A75 Series motherboards are designed to natively support the latest USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps standards."
Other features include four DDR3 memory slots, seven SATA ports, three PCI-E x16 slots, 7.1 channel audio, GbE LAN, eSATA, D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI.