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AMD A6-3400M vs Intel Core i3-380M


It has been over 2 years since the first generation Core i3 processors from Intel have been launched, while the Llano APU has been launched only recently ( It is December 2012 when this note is being written at compare-processors.com). The basic idea behind the Llano APU series launch was to get a substantial gain in the graphics performance and AMD has been successful to a great extent in the A-series APUs. Not only does the Radeon HD 6480G performs better than the Intel HD graphics in core i3-380M but also outperforms most of the second generation Sandy Bridge Core i3 processors.

A6-3400M has its own weakness, especially in the performance of the Single threaded application. The A6-3400M is a quad core processor at a base clock of 1.4 GHz.. Obviously, it will lag in processor performance against the 2.53 GHz dual core Intel i3-380M – this is especially true if you run a benchmark test like Super Pi for an extended period of time. The A6-3400M, however, supports the Turbo boost which ensures that the single threaded performance does not suffer much.

AMD’s A6-3400M can have a maximum turbo frequency of 2.3 GHz – Core i3-380M does not support Turbo boost. This is where the real life computing performance gets a boost in AMD’s favor. In most of the real life computing environments, you need bust of processing power for a short period of time. You take advantage of the AMD’s turbo boost feature.

If your computing habit needs requires mutithreaded applications kicked in often – you are better with the AMD. The 4 cores are obviously better than the two cores.

Table : Feature Differences

Feature AMD A6-3400M Core i3-380M
Core Frequency
1.4 Ghz 2.53 GHz
No. Of Cores
4 2
Cache Organization
4 MB L2 cache 512KB L2 + 3MB L3
Turbo Frequency
2.3 Ghz No Turbo
TDP Rating
35 35 Watts
64 Bit Support
Y Y
Lithography
32nm 32 nm
Integrated Memory Controller DDR3-1333 DDR3-1066
Integrated Graphics
Yes, Radeon HD 6480G Yes, Base 500 MHz, Turbo 667 MHz

 

AMD is more than a year behind in the adoption of the 32 nm technology, which escalated its cost and reduced its margin. The DDR3 gets a speed bump as compared to the Intel’s Core i3-380M. It may however be unfair to compare the newest AMD processor to an year old Intel processors. The Sandy Bridge processors match up the DDR speed grade. And Intel’s Ivy Bridge launch is not far away.

Table : Benchmarking Comparison

Benchmarks AMD A6-3400M Core i3-380M
PassMark Score
3563 2330
Super Pi 2M (Lower in better)
89 seconds 41 seconds
3D Mark 06 CPU
2136 2700
Windows 7 Experience Score
6.6 6.8

The benchmark results need some thought on its interpretation. The Passmark score essentially reflects an overall performance, which is in favor of the AMD mainly due to its strength in the processor. The A6-3400M lags in the Super Pi, as it is mainly a single threaded application. We expect that a Super Pi program optimized to take advantage of the 4 AMD cores will show AMD’s APU in better light.

We do not give much weight to Windows 7 Experience Index, but is a general point to indicate the the CPU performance of the two processors are comparable.

Some more details of AMD A6-3400M

The AMD A6-3400M is an entry level quad-core processor for notebooks. This is code named as Llano and released on June 15th of 2011. This processor comes under AMD A-Series. The base frequency of the processor is 1.4GHz only. Its Turbo Boost technology can over clock it up to 2.3 GHz, but this over clocking completely depends on temperature conditions and number of cores usage. This processor comes with integrated Radeon HD 6520G Graphics card and integrated memory controller that can support for DDR3 (L)- 1333 memory and a PCle 2.0 controller. The TD of this processor is 35 Watt.

Some more details of Core i3-380M

The Hyperthreading ( Two threads for each core) in the core i3-380M improved performance in multithreaded environment. The processor is built with two dies on the chip, the first die has the two cores and the second die has the Integrated memory controller and the integrated graphics unit called GMA that runs at base clock of 500 MHz and ramp to 667 MHz based upon demand. The performance of the Integrated GPU is for entry level graphics and not really great for gaming, though, it helps reduce system cost by not requiring a separate discrete graphics component. The core i3-380M is for entry level notebooks that promises moderate performance. The processor communicates with the chipset using DMI Bus – a fast differential Bus. Based upon Arrandale architecture – the core i3-380M has a fast processor to memory communication using its integrated graphics controller.

Conclusion

AMD has done some decent work with the Integrated graphics, out smarting not only the 1st generation Core i3 processors, but also the newer Sandy Bridge processors. However, Llano has arrived too late and the clock frequency is too little to offer substantial competition to Intel. With Intel catching up in the GPU performance in the Ivy Bridge ( launching inĀ  April 2012 ), it will be interesting to see how the comparison evolves.

If you are looking for a decent integrated GPU performance, you may be better off with the AMD’s APU. If you are looking for a pure processor performance, the Intel’s Core processor may be a better choice.

 

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