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AMD A6-3500 APU with AMD Radeon 6530 HD Graphics 2.1/2.4GHz Socket FM1 65W Triple-Core Processor - Retail AD3500OJGXBOX
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- Unrivaled, discrete-level DirectX 11-capable graphics and powerful AMD processor technology combined on a single chip.
- Unlike the competition, AMD A-Series APUs discrete-level graphics cores stay on when paired with select AMD RadeonTM HD 6000 series graphics cards.
- Dual-graphics capability enables improved speed, enhanced resolution and fast frame rates.
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|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Available from these sellers||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Processor Series||A-Series Tri-Core A6-3500||AMD A Series||A-Series Dual-Core A6-5400K||A-Series Dual Core A4|
|Processor (CPU) Manufacturer||AMD||AMD||AMD||AMD|
|Processor (CPU) Model Socket||Socket AM3||fm2+||fm2+||fm2|
|Processor Speed||2.6 GHz||4 GHz||3.6 GHz||3.7 GHz|
|Item Dimensions||5.9 x 3.4 x 5.1 in||16.14 x 23.35 x 5.91 in||5.3 x 12.25 x 7.25 in||5.3 x 12.25 x 7.25 in|
|Item Weight||7.05 ounces||6.39 lbs||0.65 lb||7.05 ounces|
|Wattage||65 watts||65 watts||65 watts||0|
The new AMD A-Series APU joins world-class, discrete-level graphics technology and responsive processing power on a single chip, elevating the visual experience to stunning new HD heights. Discrete-level graphics with full DirectX 11 support lets you enjoy lifelike detail and realistic effects in games. Edit HD photos and videos with ease and responsiveness thanks to quad-core power. And surf the Web, stream video and work in everyday applications at blazing-fast speeds with accelerated application support. All this in a compact, energy-efficient design that's as affordable as it is stunning. This new design requires an FM1 socket and is not backwards compatible with the AM3 socket.
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I was worried at first that the stock heatsink/fan would be too loud for an HTPC, but I was wrong. Even under full load, this thing is quiet and cool (I can barely hear it unless I put my head right next to the case). I think this is in part due to the fact it is only 65W TDP. Having the three cores is a nice bonus (would have bought the 4-core with 65W TDP if I could find it for sale...), but the three cores are more than enough for all multimedia, browsing the Internet, decompressing files, etc. Blu-Ray playback is butter-smooth as is all multimedia I've thrown at it.
All in all, a perfect processor/GPU combination for a great price that does everything I wanted it too very smoothly.
My HTPC build for those who are curious:
APEX DM-317 mATX Case w/275Watt PSU
ASUS F1A75-M Pro Motherboard
AMD A6-3500 APU (these APUs are perfect for HTPCs...get the lower TDP ones like the 65W to keep things cool and quiet)
Crucial 64GB m4 SSD (not really necessary, but the boot time is literally like 10 seconds)
2x Old MAXTOR 160GB SATA drives (RAID 0)
LG Blu-Ray Burner (not sure which model, I bought it like 2.5 years ago)
8GB Kingston HyperX 1600Mhz DDR3 (for 64bit Windows 7 Pro)
Enermax UC-8EB 80mm silent case fan
As regards productivity I have had no issues with APU performance. All of my office utilities load up lightning fast and I have had no crashes. Driver support is flawless in Windows 7. Just make sure to go online and install the latest drivers / Catalyst software directly from the AMD website; there is no need for third-party driver download software. As regards image software, I use GIMP for graphics editing, and this APU works wonderfully. Web browsing is fast, and DirectX support is up to date. Picasa software works lightning fast - no complaints here.
As for videos and entertainment, please note that I am not a gamer. I do watch 720p and 1080p h264 and x264 videos, though. For video encoding and replay the platform has been perfect. I use Handbrake to encode my personal video collection, and while the encoding speed is nowhere as fast as it was on my AMD A8-8120 CPU system it's fine and it usually takes about an hour to encode a 1.5 hour DVD. I watch my 720p and 1080p videos through VLC, and they run seamlessly with no noticable issues.
I will point out one thing for Linux fans - I tried to set up a Linux Mint machine utilizing this setup, and the support for the AMD integrated graphics processors is abysmal as of August 2012. There's some Turkish distribution of Linux that supports the Llano APU's because they aren't held to the same copyright / IP laws as the distributions coming from the European or American West. I'm just a little upset at this because for my uses a Linux system would be much more practical.
Overall this is a good processor - 65W is a very low power draw, meaning this product runs very cool and utilizes very little electricity for a desktop system. No need for a fancy water-cooled CPU heatsink. If you want to strike a balance between power usage and performance this is an excellent platform. And really, I have no complaints at all using this as a Windows 7 processor. But if I were to start gaming and using some really intensive encoding software, I'd probably go i7 with discrete video and audio.
Update as of September 20th, 2012 - a Note to Linux Users
After initial frustrations attempting to load various fglrx files and amd-cccle on Linux distributions that proved non-supportive of the integrated graphics capability of this card, I went as far as downloading Turkish Linux (Pardus) because I had heard they natively supported the APU platform. HOWEVER, I was extremely delighted when I installed Ubuntu 12.10 and I was able to boot and reboot and watch my movies and edit my graphics files with no issues - with the occasional (very occasional) bug or purple-screen-boot. The 12.1 release works well, because evidently the Linux Kernel that it is packaged with supports the new AMD APU platform. Now, if I can just get catalyst control center installed I'd be overjoyed! And one final note - if building a system, make sure that you enable in your BIOS (and write to CMOS) that the board access the on-board graphics before a discrete graphics card. Otherwise it'll be black screen no matter what OS you're using!
Linux Update - OpenSuse 12.2
I had a few bugs with Ubuntu - not many - and switched to OpenSuse which has the KDE desktop (as opposed to Unity). I am using OpenSuse v12.2 now, and it works flawlessly, although I was more accustomed to the Ubuntu interface. I noticed that in general OpenSuse runs more smoothly than the Ubuntu release - and I was encouraged before downloading this new distro when - of all the distro webpages - I saw AMD's logo ONLY on the Opensuse webpage. So that's my take. I have noticed that almost daily the Linux and Xorg communities are getting up to speed with the AMD APU platform, and considering that the Raspberry PI SOIC can run on Linux there is no reason to need a discrete graphics card to have to get a quality GUI and distro to run on an APU based system. Thanks Linux community!
I have overscan issues with my TV running Vista (this is relevant because of the GPU in the die). I cannot see the task bar and other edges of the screen. This isn't a major issue because XBMC has a separate calibration to change where content is displayed. Sometimes the drivers change the calibration and the whole desktop is displayed with a border of unused pixels on the TV. I really don't like that, so I stick with not showing everything.
I tried to boot up BioShock and couldn't get the game to boot - it complained about things which seemed to be related to the video card. In the end, I didn't try very hard to get it to work because (1) it wasn't super important to me and (2) I figured the issue might be related to Vista and I was only using it because I had an extra copy lying around.