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AMD A6-3650 APU review - best chip under £100?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 4 August 2011, 08:50 4.0

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa6s5

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Final thoughts and rating

AMD's second-rung APU is the A6-3650, which currently retails for £89. Based on the range-topping A8-3850, which itself is barely over £100, the number-two part sacrifices around 10 per cent CPU speed and, on paper, about 25 per cent GPU power in order to meet a more attractive price point.

Our benchmarks show that, unsurprisingly, the A6-3650 isn't as quick as the A8 part. And while we lament the architectural snips made by AMD, especially in terms of graphics, the pragmatic truth is that they don't have a hugely detrimental effect; A6-3650 is good enough to provide reasonable CPU and iGPU performance in a wide variety of tasks.

Stress the CPU cores and the '3650 is good enough to match, and beat, a price-equivalent Intel chip, which is key, and the HD 6530D graphics run rings around Intel's.

We'd normally finish off by saying it's worth paying the extra £15 for the A8-3850 if you want to go down the CPU-and-GPU route. This time, however, understanding that every penny counts in a budget build, that very same £15 saving becomes important. Indeed, it provides the A6-3650's raison d'etre.

AMD's A-series APUs make a lot of sense if you're after a cover-all-bases budget build, especially when (inevitably) paired with a SATA 6Gbps- and USB 3.0-supporting FM1 motherboard. Take all that into account and the A6-3650's on-paper specification shortfall is mitigated by solid mainstream performance and a compelling street price.

The Good

AMD A-series APUs offer good all-round performance
Sub-£90 APU makes a lot of implicit sense for budget build
Second-rung APU graphics easily betters Intel's

The Bad

2D power-draw may be a concern for some folk

HEXUS Rating


AMD A6-3650 APU

HEXUS Awards


AMD A6-3650 APU

HEXUS Where2Buy

The AMD A6-3650 APU is available from Scan.co.uk.

HEXUS Right2Reply

At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.



HEXUS Forums :: 23 Comments

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It's all very well saying it "beats" the Intel chip, yes it does in heavily threaded benchmarks, 4 cores vs 2 cores really should win!

However how many people buying a Fusion are going to be doing any Cinebench? I think the iTunes MP3 rip is a more representative benchmark of the likely uses of this system! And if they really want to video encode then Intel's Quicksync will spank AMD's 4 cores, yes you need certain software but it's worth it and will probably pick up more support.

The Intel chip, with a lower end motherboard and discrete card would be my choice, yes it'd probably cost a touch more for that, but it'd probably feel quicker as most things still rely on 1 or 2 cores (MS Office, web browsing etc), you really should benchmark something in that area as well, people do use their PCs for more than just casual gaming and Cinebench!

Coupled with the need to buy 1866MHz or CL8 1600MHz RAM to get the best out of Llano...

From Scan:
i3 2100 + GA-H61M-S2-B3 + Asus HD 5570 + 4GB DDR3 1333MHz = £204.96
A6 3650 + Gigabyte GA-A75M-S2V + 4GB Corsair DDR3 1600MHz CL8 = £202.88

OK the Intel config there gives up SATA3 and USB3, but it gains much better graphics performance. Idle power draw would be a little higher, but load probably about the same...

Swings and roundabouts... but for a cheap PC I'd still take the i3, most PCs in this price range are going to be office, internet etc and if you want to turn them to gaming you can get a discrete card in there without it necessarily costing more and then get yourself much better performance in the tasks actually being done...

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/403?vs=289 [anandtech.com]

Edit: Intel is £220.11 for a USB3 supporting motherboard.
kingpotnoodle
It's all very well saying it "beats" the Intel chip, yes it does in heavily threaded benchmarks, 4 cores vs 2 cores really should win!

However how many people buying a Fusion are going to be doing any Cinebench? I think the iTunes MP3 rip is a more representative benchmark of the likely uses of this system! And if they really want to video encode then Intel's Quicksync will spank AMD's 4 cores, yes you need certain software but it's worth it and will probably pick up more support.

The Intel chip, with a lower end motherboard and discrete card would be my choice, yes it'd probably cost a touch more for that, but it'd probably feel quicker as most things still rely on 1 or 2 cores (MS Office, web browsing etc), you really should benchmark something in that area as well, people do use their PCs for more than just casual gaming and Cinebench!

Coupled with the need to buy 1866MHz or CL8 1600MHz RAM to get the best out of Llano...

From Scan:
i3 2100 + GA-H61M-S2-B3 + Asus HD 5570 + 4GB DDR3 1333MHz = £204.96
A6 3650 + Gigabyte GA-A75M-S2V + 4GB Corsair DDR3 1600MHz CL8 = £202.88

OK the Intel config there gives up SATA3 and USB3, but it gains much better graphics performance. Idle power draw would be a little higher, but load probably about the same...

Swings and roundabouts... but for a cheap PC I'd still take the i3, most PCs in this price range are going to be office, internet etc and if you want to turn them to gaming you can get a discrete card in there without it necessarily costing more and then get yourself much better performance in the tasks actually being done...

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/403?vs=289 [anandtech.com]

Edit: Intel is £220.11 for a USB3 supporting motherboard.



I agree with your statement. However is it not better to buy from AMD as intel are a big evil monopolistic corporation that would price fix without competition from AMD?
Its a fair comparison, but you get a more powerful set up with the AMD and for less money... Fair enough some apps that run faster on a single or dual core might be slightly faster for the intel set up, but if you were buying a new set up, you'd go with what has more future support. 4 cores has more of a future than 2...
1) The Llano system would be quieter due to having only one fan instead of two.

2) How high will that i3 overclock?

3) System builders are falling over these parts because of the integration.

4) Crossfire with only 1 pci-e slot, the intel system will never have that.


When you add it all up, it's actually a shoo-in for the AMD system.
I've built both - albeit with the A3850 - and personally I think the AMD system is great - motherboard is cheap (!), very quiet and performance is great for most folk even before you consider that the onboard GPU is actually GOOD too. I've been very pleasantly surprised by it (and I have an i7 monster) in all honesty. It's certainly useful for the HTPC crowd too given you'll end up with an extra slot free (very handy) on a uatx system and so is probably my default choice if i'm asked to build one for a friend (i've done a few ranging from atom/ion systems to i3s).

Cracking bit of kit OMHO - don't knock it till you've used one IRL.