AMD Llano A6-3650 APU and Sapphire Pure Platinum A75 Motherboard Review
Starting with the A6-3650 we have a CPU which offers the same features as the higher specification (and price) A8-3850 but at a level which makes entry into the Llano platform a little easier for those on a budget. What this means is that for around £84/$120 consumers can get access to quad-core CPU performance, DX11 graphics, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0, GPU enhanced computing, HDMI 1.4a and affordable PCIe graphics enhancements without breaking the bank.
In terms of what board should be paired with the A6-3650 or A8-3850 it is very easy to recommend the Sapphire Pure Platinum A75. Sapphires latest board finds a great balance of price, performance and features while providing good build quality. For the average consumer we get the aforementioned USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s ports with support for dual graphics which works exceptionally well with the silent 6670 Ultimate. Enthusiasts will like the dual BIOS, debug LEDs, internal USB 3.0 header with front port bracket and voltage read points. There really is something for everyone with the likes of mini-PCIe opening up the potential for internal Wi-Fi cards and storage based on the technology and that’s before we consider that this board supports Bluetooth out of the box.
There are a few minor quibbles though; some may not like Sapphires decision not to allow Crossfire through the lack of second 8x slot. Others may want a board with GUI BIOS with an update tool built in.
For performance it is again hard to fault the Pure Platinum A75. The board matches and exceeds the equivalent board from Gigabyte and performed with complete stability throughout our testing.
So that brings us to value and the £100 Pure Platinum with bundled essentials, decent software suite and free copy of DiRT 3 seems priced at a pretty competitive level.
Two products which impress for different reasons but combine to create a value packed and feature filled basis for a system.
Last month Intel launched their Z97 chipset, essentially an evolution of Z87, which in many cases brought new features such as SATA Express and M.2 compatibility to the mainstream desktop market. There was of course no new CPU at that time with the existing socket 1150 processors working without issue in the new boards. Since then though Intel launched (along with some lower spec models) the Core i7-4790K, a model which sits at the top of their mainstream platform. Today we see how it compares to various other models when installed on Gigabytes Z97X Gaming 5 and paired with PowerColors new dual core 290X Devil 13.
Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK vs. MSI Z97 Gaming 5 vs Asus Maximus VII Hero
It is probably fair to say that Intel don't stealth launch their products... sure they have NDAs but by the time those expire we know pretty much everything about a new product. Part of this is of their own...