AMD announces retail launch of Llano

AMD has officially unveiled its desktop Accelerated Processing Units, the long-awaited Llano series, with a range of four SKUs available at launch.

The company's desktop APUs build on the Fusion technology developed for its low-power series, and use the new FM1 socket format we first caught a glimpse of at Computex earlier this year.

Based on the 'Stars' CPU cores, the Llano series includes a revised version of AMD's 'Redwood' GPU design dubbed 'Sumo,' which introduces UVD 3 and power gating technology to the design and includes full DirectX 11 support.

The range starts with the AMD A6-3600, a 65W quad-core part running at 2.1GHz with the capability to hit 2.4GHz when running in Turbo Core mode. Featuring 4MB of L2 cache and an embedded AMD Radeon HD 6530D graphics processor, it's a surprisingly powerful offering for an entry-level part.

For those looking for more power, the A6-3650 boosts the speed to 2.6GHz while retaining the same graphics and cache as its lower-spec equivalent. The extra clock speed comes at a cost of power draw, with the TDP rising to 100W.

Both A6 models include an integrated GPU with 320 Radeon cores, four SIMDs, 16 texture units, two render back-ends, 32 Z/stencil ROPs, and eight colour ROPs. With a clock speed of 443MHz, AMD claims a peak compute performance of 284 gigaflops is possible.

The flagship A8 series begins with the A8-3800, a quad-core 2.4GHz part that pushes 2.7GHz in Turbo Core mode on a 65W TDP. As well as a higher clock speed than the A6-3600, the includes the more powerful Radeon HD 6550D graphics engine.

Finally, the A8-3850 boosts the clock speed to 2.9GHz while retaining the same specifications as its lower-clocked equivalent, but brings an increase in TDP to 100W along for the ride.

The GPU used in both A8 models includes 400 Radeon processing units, five SIMDs, 20 texture units, two render back-ends, 32 Z/stencil ROPs, and eight colour ROP. Running at 600MHz, the claimed peak compute performance is 480 gigaflops.

All four models include support for DDR3 memory running at speeds of up to 1,866MHz in single-channel mode, plus AMD's 'Dual Graphics' technology. Designed to allow the integrated GPU to be combined with selected discrete GPUs, AMD claims it will allow the on-board graphics to boost overall performance rather than be sat idle when an additional graphics card is used.

Retail pricing for the models has been suggested at $135 for the A8-3850 and $115 for the A6-3650, with pricing for the A8-3800 and A6-3600 yet to be announced.

AMD's APU offering certainly looks convincing at first glance, and could be the product that the company needs in order to compete with Intel's Sandy Bridge.