back to article AMD Llano vs Intel Sandy Bridge

At first glance, AMD's 'Llano' CPU and Intel's 'Sandy Bridge' second-generation Core i platform look like blood brothers. They combine the CPU, a GPU and a memory controller all on a single 32nm die. So how do these laptop chips stand up against each other? To find out, we asked HP to send us two 15.6in Pavilion dv6 laptops, …


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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    "Intel hardware can't run the OpenGL test"

    Why not, is the OpenGL support incomplete, does it lack required extensions?

    If so, it is wholly unsuitable for me, alas.

    1. toughluck

      It's Intel's GPU drivers, which are not up to scratch.

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. Carlitos

    One important test forgotten...

    What was the battery life for each laptop?

    1. ColinP


      I'll second that about the battery tests. I'd also like to see some temperature charts for when the CPUs are idling or while being benchmarked.

    2. Tomato42

      Exactly, how can you compare two laptops and not even look at battery life?!

  4. Jules8791

    AMD processors generate too much heat

    Everytime I have owned a AMD based laptop have always had issues with heat. They start off great but after a couple of months I can turn the heating off in my house and have to insulate my legs to prevent burns.

    Sort that out I will buy AMD based laptops again

    1. defiler

      Been there on the desktop chips

      I had a Phenom 9950BE which poured out 140W. Switched it out for a low-power PhenomII X4, which does the same job at least as fast in the same socket for 60W. Hell, the old 9950 *idled* at 100W+. AMD are getting much better at the low-power game, and low-power = low-heat.

  5. ColinP
    Thumb Up

    Good review

    I've been following reports on the Llano for some time, so it was good to see a nice side-by-side comparison. From the looks of it, Llano has a good balance between price, CPU performance, GPU performance, thermal output and efficiency.

  6. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    One important feature missing:

    Cut the price by a factor of three and I would be interested.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Looks like you are in the Market for a secondhand netbook then you cheaptard.

      Why are you bothering to read any new laptop review?

  7. Rick Leeming

    Nice to see

    At least they are being a little more competative at last. I've never really had any issues with AMD laptops, using an Acer Ferrari One to type this on, works great. Last machine was a 2.0Ghz Turion, and the one previous was an XP Mobile. All have been great at the times they were bought.

    Personally for a laptop I'd steer clear of Intel for the most part, as ny desktop does the most work. Anyone using a Laptop as their Only (or main) machine isn't really getting the best experience anyway.

  8. jswinterburn

    I once owned an AMD product...

    Back in 1997 I had an AMD K6, that was rubbish, overheated all the time and couldn't run Crysis at all! By extrapolation all AMD products must be rubbish and therefore I will be staying well away from this thanks!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Learn the use the "Reply to this post" button or fear the downvoting of your sarcasm!

  9. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    More even match would have been nice.

    Do HP not do an i3 version of that laptop that would be more comparable to the AMD?

    Also second the battery life comments especially since the AMD's tdp is double that of the Intels. Unless the AMD chipset is far more efficient that's a big gap to make up

  10. UpidStay

    Why not the A8?

    Not sure why the article compares Core i5 to the Llano A6... surely you'd have been better pairing A6 to i3 or the A8 to i5, especially considering a price difference of £130.

    1. Ammaross Danan


      Let's not forget that this was a 1.6ghz amd vs a 2.3ghz intel. AMD is already behind on a per-cycle performance standpoint. This "comparison" was flawed from the start.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    second that

    I'd liked to have seen battery life also. Would have enjoyed a comparison with the A8 using the same amount of memory. Adding the extra mem. into the price would have been reasonable given that the spreadsheet shows the memory as being the same speed.

  12. mech

    There is a flaw in this article.

    The price the author quotes is not factual since the actual price in the stores shows the price of the machines talked about is much closer to each other, although the Intel powered units are a little higher.

    Another flaw is the fact that AMD doesn't seem to be able to supply LLANO chips yet, or at least, not in suffiicient quantities to enable the OEMs to offer machines with the chip inside.

    My experience with AMD is that their Press Releases, compared to their actual performance, is unreliable.

    I'd rather spend a few more dollars and buy a Laptop with an Intel Chip. IMO a hundred Dollars spread out over the life of the machine, is negligable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not sure about Llano since everyone uses a different set of codenames and/or brands instead of just putting "A-series" in their product finders, but I can see the A6-3500 and A6-3650 in one local Web store (in a fairly minor market/region), so stuff is out there.

      It would interest me more if people actually benchmarked the GPU stuff on the processor alone instead of firing up a discrete GPU, however. We want to know how beneficial this APU stuff really is and whether it can cover for a decent level discrete GPU, not necessarily to equip some dick-waving "gaming rig", but just to do the fundamentals well enough. Some benchmarks where the shaders are used for non-gaming stuff would also be nice.

  13. Jason.Cole

    Please Test More

    If you look at the full results, the AMD crushes intel in 3Dmark11. Also, why use 3dmark, instead of testing TF2, Quake4 and Unreal3 (the rendering engines used for almost everything)?

    I would also like to see power draw during tests, battery life tests (since the Intel w/ the radeon should burn power pretty hard compared to the AMD). For battery life tests, I would in particular like a test of how long it can play TF2 wirelessly (using the same mouse and graphics settings), until it dies, browsing the web wirelessly w/ word open until it dies, with wifi off, how long can it go through star wars with speakers at the same level for both, and how long each can sleep until it perishes (extrapolate this one).

    The price difference is pretty brutal (25%). I would expect nearly-identical price units to be compared.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Academic really...

    As both will fail horribly, HP will sue the reponsible party and then deny to customers that there was every a problem. Wouldnt touch HP laptops with a bargepole and DV series laptops with a flamethrower.

    All seriousness though, the specs dont actually look that fair. I tend towards intel laptops but GMA has always sucked and always will specially now Larabee is dead. Ok, the Radeon offering may not be great but its better than GMA. AMD laptops, thanks to HP, quite frankly worry me on the longevity stakes. Trouble is I only see dead laptops and HPaq used theAMD based DV2xxx chassis in a hell of a lot of machines :(

    A 4 year old with a crayon is faster than GMA now I think of it.

  15. <--- whats that ?

    Great job on battling the mid ranged intel to the cheapest A-series APU.. was it on purpose ? Giving Intel all sorts of a better edge like the 64bit OS and 6gb of ram. who ya fooling ? wheres the ram timings and speeds ?

  16. Arthur 1

    Utter Garbage

    Match up the RAM, post enough detail about configs for repeatable results and match up the pricing. Or, on that last point, if you're concerned about HP's pricing then at least compare A6 to i3. Nowhere in the market do A6 and i5 parts actually compete.

    It baffles me that you'd go to the lengths of finding two more or less identical lines that come in Intel and AMD flavours, then just handwave away such obvious flaws.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Llano is a winner

    Without a doubt AMD smacked down Intel with llano and Trinity will continue AMD's lead on laptops. APUs are the smart choice in laptops and AMD has a two year lead over Intel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It would be, if it showed lower power usage.

      Unfortunately we will never know...

  18. msroadkill

    Not having read HP specs, it seems the intel is much heavier from the performance per pound bars. If so, can only be explained by bigger batteries methinks.

    A choice between ~30% better cpu vs kick ass battery life (no gpu discrete), lighter & 200% better graphics. I know which I & I suspect most would prefer.

    Integrated usb 3 is a big plus w/ amd chipsets too.

    Assuming 500 vs 630 pounds is right - some say its a pittance over life of the unit, 2 years is not uncommon for these - when you consider the future worth of that money, its a big chunk of your next , way cheaper & better mobile device.

    Due to a shortage & huge demand, amd prices are at a premium. expect lower once sorted.

    Not sure what ram used but NB - going from ~1333 ram to ~1600 ddr3 pays huge graphics dividends. If you add a similar graphics radeon discrete GPU, expect a 75% graphics boost on amd APUs. There is no dual gpu mode for intel.

    intels mantra about grunt cpus is getting as tired as muscle cars. Vast majority could do w/ a 10 yr old cpu for what they do - not so w/ graphics & power consumption tho. We are at a watershed where AMD/ATI can make intel dance to their tune cos no way intel can compete w/ ati graphics for years.

    If, as you say, you are smart enough to need cpu grunt on a mobile, u should be smart enough to offload it to a server on the cloud or at the office.

    AMD may be a bit slower on cpu, but intel grinds to a halt on some apps on its igp. I know which would annoy me most.

    Wasnt there an obscure scandal about intels igp cheating at graphics conversions - they are lossy & crappy?

  19. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance

    How is 'Llano' pronounced?

    Is it like Llanelli ?

    Or is it like Alan Partridge pronouncing 007?

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