AMD A6-3500 with GIGABYTE A55M-S2H, Entry APU OC Review

Discussion in 'AMD x86 CPUs and chipsets' started by windwithme, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    AMD launched new APU structure, FM1 platform in July 2011.
    6 months passed, there are only A75 and A55 chipsets support FM1 platform.
    However, FM1 CPU is getting more and more. Mainly it’s for mid to low market. The C/P is quite well.

    [​IMG]

    FM1 has X4/6 series as 4 Cores or K series for OC market.
    The main strength for FM1 platform is 3D performance of APU structure.
    How to pick higher built-in 3D graphic and CPU performance is key subject for selecting APU.

    Even though it’s an entry level product, the balance between built-in 3D graphic and CPU performance is important.
    Finally, I decide to buy AMD A6-3500, triple cores, and AMD HD6530D.
    I didn’t buy most entry A4-3300, because it’s only dual cores and HD6410Dis lower spec.
    As using A6-3500, more CPU cores can compensate the performance and the 3D performance is higher.
    [​IMG]

    Inside Box
    Product manual, sticker, cooler, and AMD A6-3500.
    [​IMG]

    FM1 CPU pins are complete different with AM3+.
    [​IMG]

    A55 chipset has no USB3.0 and SATA3 comparing to A75.
    For normal users or word process machine, A55 is enough. If you have more budget, you also can consider A75.
    This review I use GIGABYTE A55M-S2H, the form factor is Micro ATX.
    [​IMG]

    All solid caps for entry MB is regular components now. Also, it has GIGABYTE exclusive Super4 technology.
    Recently, it launched 4 years warrant which is conversed operation as 3C products is reducing their warranty.
    [​IMG]

    Lower-Left Corner
    2 X PCI-E X16, first is X16 and second is X4. It supports AMD Dual Graphics.
    1 X PCI-E X1
    1 X PCI
    Realtek ALC889 Audio chip supports 7.1 channels and High Definition Audio.
    Realtek RTL8111E LAN chip and black connector is TPM module slot.
    [​IMG]

    Lower-Right Corner
    6 X Blue SATA, provided by A55. It’s SATA2 and supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10 and JBOD.
    There are two front USB 2.0 in left and right is DualBIOS.
    [​IMG]

    Upper-Right Corner
    2 X DIMM DDR3 support 1066/1333/1600/1866/2400(OC). DDR3 max capacity is 32GB.
    Next is 24-PIN power connector.
    [​IMG]

    Upper-Left Corner
    AMD CPU Socket FM1. It’s compatible with AM2/AM3 cooler.
    CPU uses 4+1 phases PWM. Upper left is 4Pin power in.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. OP
    OP
    windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    IO
    1 X PS2 KB/Mouse
    D-SUB/DVI/HDMI Output
    1 X S/PDIF Optical output
    6 X USB 2.0(Red)
    1 X RJ-45 LAN
    3 X Audio jacks
    [​IMG]

    Test Configuration
    CPU: AMD A6-3500
    MB: GIGABYTE A55M-S2H
    DRAM: CORSAIR CMX8GX3M2A1600C9
    VGA: AMD Radeon HD6530D
    HD: WD 7200rpm 640GB
    POWER: be quiet! STRAIGHT POWER GOLDEN 550W
    Cooler: AMD original cooler
    OS: Windows7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
    [​IMG]

    Performance Test
    CPU 100.0 X 21 => 2100.1MHz(Turbo Core up to 2400MHz)
    DDR3 1866.8 CL8 10-7-27 1T
    GPU 600MHz

    Hyper PI 32M X 3 => 28m 41.814s
    CPUMARK 99 => 317
    [​IMG]

    Nuclearus Multi Core => 1315
    Fritz Chess Benchmark => 8.65/4150
    [​IMG]

    Nuclearus Multi Core doesn’t support Multi Thread Speed.
    It should be having issue for AMD APU 3 Cores CPU only.

    CrystalMark 2004R3 => 108281
    [​IMG]

    CINEBENCH R11.5
    CPU => 1.95 pts
    CPU(Single Core) => 0.67 pts
    [​IMG]

    PCMark Vantage => 5328
    [​IMG]

    I will compare the performance with former Intel Pentium G620 and AMD A6-3500.
    G620 market price is lower than A6-3500 which is similar product position.
    As CINEBENCH R11.5, in single thread performance, G620 is 55% higher than A6-3500.
    G620 dual core full speed is 3% faster than A6-3500 triple core.
    Fritz Chess Benchmark multi-tasking performance, G620 is 6% higher than A6-3500.
    A6-3500 is enough for general use. This is why I mentioned AMD multi cores can compensate the CPU performance.

    DDR3 1866.8 CL8 10-7-27 1T
    ADIA64 Memory Read - 8933 MB/s
    Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 13677 MB/s
    MaXXMEM Memory-Copy - 9379 MB/s
    [​IMG]

    FM1 APU DDR3 can run 1866 as default and OC to higher range.
    The bandwidth is not improved much. AMD AM3+ Bulldozer CPU is only AMD platform which improves the DDR3 bandwidth.

    Temperature(Room is 22˚C)
    Enter to OS Desktop - 18
    [​IMG]

    CPU Full Speed - 48
    LinX 0.6.4
    [​IMG]

    About AMD 32nm CPU temperature, the test value will be much lower than actual temperature.
    Left side AISA64, you can see it’s much lower than room temperature. As internet data showed the CPU info is not accurate.
    Even though GIGABYTE Touch BIOS software temperature is more accurate, it’s still lower than real temperature.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    Power Consumption
    Enter to OS Desktop - 30W
    [​IMG]

    CPU Full Speed - 76W
    LinX 0.6.4
    [​IMG]

    G620 OCCT Power Supply Test (CPU/GPU Full Speed) - 97W
    [​IMG]

    A6-3500 power consumption in entering to OS desktop is good, but full speed is a little higher in entry system.
    Built-in GPU is around 21W consumption. As good 3D performance, it’s still acceptable range.

    AMD Radeon HD6530D Default Mode
    3DMark Vantage => P3091
    [​IMG]

    FINAL FANTASY XIV
    1920 X 1080 => 709
    [​IMG]

    StreetFighter IV Benchmark
    1280 X 720 => 78.42 FPS
    [​IMG]

    3D performance is AMD APU advantage. Built-in 3D performance is higher level in APU.
    As three 3D software scores, A6-3500 3D performance is 2.4~2.5 times faster than Pentium G620.

    StreetFighter IV Benchmark, resolution 1920x1080, for UMA Frame Buffer Size comparing.
    256MB => 44.10 FPS
    [​IMG]

    512MB => 44.17 FPS
    [​IMG]

    1GB => 45.10 FPS
    [​IMG]

    256MB and 12MB UMA Frame Buffer Size have less difference.
    1GB also only has 1 FPS more. Actually, you can treat it as error.
    Some users would like to see the difference. I add the DDR3 capacity test as reference.

    BIOS Boot Up Screen
    [​IMG]
     
  4. OP
    OP
    windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    OC Setup - M.I.T. tuning page
    CPU Frequency from 100 to 135
    Memory Clock change to x6.66
    [​IMG]

    GPU Set Up Related Page. As former review, adjusting GPU clock is not improving 3D performance much.
    In APU platform, you only can rise DDR3 clock to improve 3D performance.
    [​IMG]

    Advanced DDR3 Setup Page
    This time I set it as CL8 10-7-27 1T.
    [​IMG]

    CPU Related Items. You can set up IGX here.
    [​IMG]

    PC Health Status
    [​IMG]

    APU OC range is not as high as old platforms, however, the clock range is still wide enough.
    OC is relying on CPU and DDR3 quality to adjust clock and voltage.
    It takes to fine tune the best setup.

    OC Performance Test
    CPU 135 X 25 => 2835MHz(Turbo Core up to 3240MHz)
    DDR3 1800.2 CL8 10-7-27 1T

    Hyper PI 32M X 3 => 21m 51.782s
    CPUMARK 99 => 428
    [​IMG]

    Nuclearus Multi Core => 1766
    Fritz Chess Benchmark => 11.53/5533
    [​IMG]

    CrystalMark 2004R3 => 153049
    [​IMG]

    CINEBENCH R11.5
    CPU => 2.60 pts
    CPU(Single Core) => 0.90 pts
    [​IMG]

    PCMark Vantage => 6298
    [​IMG]

    The comparison of A6-3500 OC from 100MHz to 135MHz.
    Referring to CPUMARK, Fritz Chess Benchmark and CINEBENCH R11.5 CPU performance benchmark,
    single threading improves 34~35%. 3-core full speed performance also enhances 33%. This is very well.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    DDR3 1800.2 CL8 10-7-27 1T
    ADIA64 Memory Read - 10230 MB/s
    Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 16301 MB/s
    MaXXMEM Memory-Copy - 11462 MB/s
    [​IMG]

    DDR3 clock compares to CPU default. The difference is DDR3 1866 and DDR3 1800.
    As CPU clock increasing, three DDR3 bandwidth benchmark all have 14~22% improvement.
    Even though APU DDR3 bandwidth is far behind his competitor, OC to increase DDR3 bandwidth is some help.

    Temperature(Room is 22˚C)
    Enter to OS Desktop - 28
    [​IMG]

    CPU Full Speed - 58
    LinX 0.6.4
    [​IMG]

    Temperature in entering OS desktop is much lower and full speed is similar.
    Do hope AMD 32nm APU or AM3+ CPU can improve the temperature report accuracy.
    In full speed mode, you can feel the heat by touching the cooler. You need better cooling system for OC AMD APU.

    Power Consumption
    Enter to OS Desktop - 34W
    [​IMG]

    CPU Full Speed - 95W
    LinX 0.6.4
    [​IMG]

    G620 OCCT Power Supply Test (CPU/GPU Full Speed) - 117W
    [​IMG]

    After OC, the power only increases 4W. In CPU or CPU/GPU full speed also increases 19 and 20W.
    This power consumption compares to A6-3500 performance is too high. I hope AMD can solve it by improving manufacturing.

    AMD Radeon HD6530D
    UMA Frame Buffer Size 1GB
    3DMark Vantage => P3927
    [​IMG]

    FINAL FANTASY XIV
    1920 X 1080 => 882
    [​IMG]

    StreetFighter IV Benchmark
    1920 X 1080 => 53.93 FPS
    [​IMG]

    As CPU clock rising, Radeon HD6530D 3D also improves 24~27%.
    Even though it’ slower than A8-3850 Radeon HD6550D, the 3D performance is very impressive in IGP platform. This is key APU advantage.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    windwithme

    windwithme Member

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    [​IMG]

    AMD FM1 CPU has three positions. First is entry platform by APU 3D performance.
    After then, it’s X4 CPU without IGP to build low cost 4 cores platform with A55 or A75 chipset. Finally, it’s K skus which is unlock version.
    Unfortunately, even K skus or 32nm manufacturing, CPU is hard to reach 3.6GHz in acceptable voltage.

    [​IMG]

    Formerly, windwithme already shared several A75 with A8-3850 reviews which are more high-end combo in FM1.
    This review is entry A6-3500 and A55 chipset. If you are looking for AMD APU, you can use it as your reference.
    APU owns good 3D performance and moderate OC ability. If you need high-end 3D applications, you better to have external VGA card.
    For only using IGP and need better 3D performance users, PU structure can be your good options. :)

    This article is also post in my blog WIND3C, Welcome your comments.
     
  7. Madengineer

    Madengineer Member

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    Great review! You've covered practically everything!

    However, i cant see it competing with other available CPUs/chipsets. Even though its specifically designed to operate with better quality graphics. It doesnt compete well with a X6 cpu and a decently paired video card, such as a 6970. It looks to be decent for somebody that may only game every now and again, and only using modest settings. And on pretty basic games. Like the Sims :D


    Great review though! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  8. kieranluken

    kieranluken Member

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    I believe you are missing the point entirely though. It isnt designed to beat a dedicated gaming system. Ever. Its a cheaper alternative to cover the basics. Usual sort of home use, light gaming. Much lower power draw. Comparing a x6 with HD6970 is like comparing integrated graphics with a high end quadro graphics for high end CAD. Its just not the same thing
     
  9. Madengineer

    Madengineer Member

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    No.....When FM1 was originally released, it was intended for mid to high end gaming, which is why they integrated the graphics with a quad core CPU, and could be coupled with a 6*** series card to further boost the performance.

    And by no means is an x6 and a 6970 high end. Far from it. I also never said it was comparable to an X6 and a 6970. If anything, i was implying it was no where near an X6 and a 6970

    And i originally said, it would only be useful for basic home use/light gaming. But basically, i find the entire platform a waste, since their are other AMD cpus that you could use, which would perform better/if not equal, for the same price or less, with more upgrade paths. But i suppose Its only purpose now is the stepping stone for the next CPU generation for FM1.

    But my point still stands, Utterly useless platform. Even with its low power consumption.
     
  10. Nikon223

    Nikon223 Member

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    Agreed AMD really dropped the ball on there APU series. While giving better graphics performance the CPU performance is terrible and useless.
     
  11. Domokun

    Domokun Member

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    I agree. I'm really disappointed with AMD's current processor offerings. I can't understand their logic regarding the FM1 platform for desktop computers. Consumers who only want to perform basic productivity tasks would be better served on the Intel H61 platform with an Intel Celeron G530 (which is an awesome processor for $42, might I add), as they won't require the video performance improvements over the Intel HD IGP and will save $35 on the motherboard/processor combo. Consumers who prioritise gaming will be more willing to spend the extra money on a dedicated video card and wouldn't be satisfied with the poor performance of the processor anyway.

    It seems like AMD have taken a step back with the AM3+ and FM1 platforms. Admittedly, AMD's previous generation processors couldn't compete with Intel based on raw performance either. However, they were priced accordingly and were fantastic value. The Athlon II X4 and Phenom II X6 stood out in this regard. With the current generation processors AMD seem reluctant to accept the writing is on the wall and slash the prices.
     
  12. RAtSAcK

    RAtSAcK Member

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    That's insane. That little thing almost beats my PC. :( I'm pretty sure mine uses a lot more power too! :upset:
     
  13. .Radiant

    .Radiant Member

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    Given most games are still very much gpu limited at higher resolutions, it's in the direction to go tbh. Drop a stronger gpu in and they should be right but with the more htpc orientated chip they currently have in there the weak cpu does really show through. iirc with llano the equivalent desktop card is a 6450-6570. Introduce a 5770/6770 level of performance and they should be right.

    It's perfect for people who are after a sff htpc though, being able to rely on intergrated graphics for playback is fantastic.
     
  14. Madengineer

    Madengineer Member

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    Really? It doesnt come close to my rig, and its pretty similar to yours.....






    Possibly. The next model that AMD releases should perform much better, then i might consider it. Trinity is the next APU release right?
     
  15. richan3185

    richan3185 Member

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    Interesting you guys are critical of the platform, but it seems AMD cant make enough of them.
     
  16. Madengineer

    Madengineer Member

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    Have you not noticed this is a community of Overclockers that love the best Hardware that will give them the best results?

    AMD have barely met that margin, but when they have, it most certainly is not with their FM1 socket.
     
  17. RAtSAcK

    RAtSAcK Member

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    I only looked at the 3DMark11 result to compare but my system only just gets 4300+. That setup windwithme tested got 4000. :confused: What do you get?
     
  18. Madengineer

    Madengineer Member

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    I cant actually remember. Will run it again and let you know :)

    Just got 4561 with everything running on stock, and ram on 1066 :S
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  19. RAtSAcK

    RAtSAcK Member

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    What are your specs?
     
  20. Madengineer

    Madengineer Member

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    955BE, 2gb 6950 (Was actually running underclocked) :D 8gb dominator 1600mhz (Running at 1066, Motherboard default)
     

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