The Battle for Budget Graphics: AMD Lynx vs. Intel Sandy Bridge

Intel and AMD duke it out at the bottom to see who's the king of onboard graphics.

Mentioning the term "onboard graphics" to a gamer is like yelling four-letter words in holy places. You're free to do both, but the results are less than optimal. Until recently, onboard graphics were useful for games like Scrabble or perhaps Solitaire, if you really wanted to push the envelope. Intel's Sandy Bridge processor changed that a bit by pairing the beefy Core i3/i5/i7 processors with Intel HD 3000 and HD 2000 graphics. The result allowed you to turn on quite a few newer games and actually play older titles. Crysis was still a stretch, but Counter-Strike is rather doable. AMD is also hopping onto the let's-make-our-onboard-graphics-worth-looking-at bandwagon, albeit half a year later. The company recently released Brazos, meant for laptops, and is now following up with Lynx, AMD's newest desktop offering.

AMD Lynx

Lynx-based chips are essentially quad-core Phenom II X4 processors that have had a few changes made to them and have been paired with more than a few Radeon cores. The changes are enough to warrant an entirely new socket. Lynx chips will use motherboards with FM1 sockets and A55/A75 chipsets. The company will release four Lynx-based desktop parts: A8-3850, A8-3800, A6-3650, A6-3600. The A8-3850 will cost $135, while the A6-3650 will be $115. AMD doesn't have pricing for the other two, but we're going to guess it's up and down by a handful of bucks. The two with pricing will be available on July 3.

A8-3850
2.9GHz Quad-Core
Radeon HD 6550D GPU
100W TDP
4MB L2 Cache

A8-3800
2.4GHz Quad-Core (2.7GHz Turbo)
Radeon HD 6550D GPU
100W TDP
4MB L2 Cache

A6-3650
2.6GHz Quad-Core
Radeon HD 6530D GPU
65W TDP
4MB L2 Cache

A6-3600
2.1GHz Quad-Core (2.4GHz Turbo)
Radeon HD 6530D GPU
65W TDP
4MB L2 Cache

With such a low price point, the fastest Lynx quad-core A8-3850 lines up against Intel's dual-core Core i3-based processors. It might seem like an unfair fight, but AMD hasn't exactly been getting hearts racing with its processors during the past few years. As gamers, our primary preoccupation is with the GPU, though, and AMD's rather modestly priced CPUs get the job done in that respect.

Radeon HD 6550D
400 Cores
600MHz GPU Clock
480GFLOPS Peak Compute

Radeon HD 6530D
320 Cores
443MHz
284GLOPS Peak Compute

Lynx's DirectX11 built-in GPUs aren't anything that's normally worth gushing over, but they are impressive for onboard replacements. The Radeon HD 6550D features 400 Radeon cores running at 600MHz, and the Radeon HD 6530D has 320 of them at 443MHz. The A6's Radeon HD 6530D strikes us as rather neutered, especially considering the minuscule price differences.

Lynx features hybrid CrossFire, but the catch is that you have to purchase another Radeon GPU within a similar performance bracket. Hybrid CrossFire will let you run both the onboard and outboard Radeon GPUs together to get a bit of a boost. The big problem is that at the bottom, you have to spend $50 for a Radeon HD 6450 or about $100 for a Radeon HD 6670 at the top. Additionally, the gains will only be evident in DirectX10 and DirectX11 titles. We really don't recommend spending $50 on a GPU, the results simply aren't worth the effort. If you opt to spend $100, you might as well drop an extra $20 to get a Radeon HD 6770 to get better performance and none of the issues that generally come with dual-GPU setups.

AMD A8-3850 Performance

We had to pit the A8-3850 against a substantially more expensive and powerful Core i5 2500K because we didn't have a Core i3 with HD 3000 graphics on hand for testing. The A8-3850's onboard GPU does a phenomenal job of trouncing the Core i5's HD 3000, to the tune of fifty percent on some games. If we upgrade to a Radeon HD 6850, the A8-3850 still does well compared to a vastly more expensive Core i5 2500K, which also has a 600MHz Turbo Boost advantage over the Core i3-2105.

The A8-3850 measures up well if all you're looking for is a simple box to serve as a home theater PC that will perform light gaming duties. However, if you're prepping the system for upgrades and heavy gaming from the start, you're better off taking a different path. We'd opt for the cheaper Phenom II X4 840 (or a Core i3) and pour the savings into a faster GPU for better performance out the door.

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Discussion

92 comments
spyder_pk
spyder_pk

AMD has ATI graphics onboard.. Intel can never compete... AMD compete with nVidia...

Asheileon
Asheileon

@TonnFool23 I do so as well, if you read my comment again I said that ATI doesn't exist.

T-_-K
T-_-K

Thwy should really step up in graphics, especially modeling physix and textures, i know they have the potential but they don't have the will

TonnFool23
TonnFool23

@Asheileon Sorry but AMD will always be called ATi by us old school PC gamers.

CrusaderX7
CrusaderX7

I'd chose my 6950 over integrated any day.

killa32130
killa32130

@Tarfang2 It will play old games but nothing recent (stuff before 05) I would suggest a Ati 5470 for very light gaming. Look for sales at bestbuy ect, you can find $500 laptops (on sale) at least once a month with ati 5650 and quad-cores which are great.

bandtnt
bandtnt

there is many People who need this kind of Technology to accelerate their dialy work at office and may be some light gaming too.

666shan666
666shan666

great article... "Mentioning the term "onboard graphics" to a gamer is like yelling four-letter words in holy places."- LMAO...

orsike
orsike

It's no big news for PCs but for laptops a chip that uses up less place, doesn't need extra cooling and consumes less for the same job is a huge plus. So that's where these will really kick in... ultra portable laptops...

ptown58
ptown58

"onboard" graphics ? you mean "onchip" graphics, I cant utilize this because I have a p67-series 1155 board ? wonder if one could get a pci card with just hdmi or can one do a usb/esata to hdmi to utilize onchip graphics.

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

@Reuwsaat I'm still running a 4850 in my rig. Don't plan on upgrading for another year at least.

QuatrixJ
QuatrixJ

"Until recently, onboard graphics were useful for games like Scrabble or perhaps Solitaire, if you really wanted to push the envelope." Durrrrrrrrr.

prontopup20
prontopup20

@chickenesta exactly, thats what im doing

Chickenesta
Chickenesta

Well I'm struggling to see the point in this article, as many have pointed out onboard graphics still cause every gamer to wince, the performance charts show this and show that if you're a gamer who values graphics get an i-5 2500k and a dedicated video card and stay away from the new Lynx processors.

SeptuagintXXX
SeptuagintXXX

who makes the best on board graphics? That's like asking which ugly girl has the best personality. I suppose somebody, somewhere might have use for onboard graphics/ ugly girls with good personalities, but I'll take a beast graphics card/ the hot girl with the dishrag personality every single time.

Asheileon
Asheileon

@TonnFool23 Good for you that it doesn't exist then. Not to rain on someones parade but I don't really think that a PC-gamer cares that much about budget. I sort of understand that gamespot wants to show that they care about their members with hardware articles but please there are better sites for that, just keep to gaming. Nothing mean in that I just don't understand why a gaming site needs to be a hardware site as well, and the tests are never that well done.

FSDude
FSDude

@Reavrus If you're such an anti-pc gaming guy.....how is it you ended up on a PC gaming related article? lol!

aniskhan001
aniskhan001

Seems like AMD bringing something for casual gamers, next to see what Intel is going to do, their built-in GPUs with 2nd generation core processor are good but not good enough related to AMD's 6000 GPU. Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge will do some business I guess.

uncleTACO8873
uncleTACO8873

Anyone else here get the HP dv6tqe with the switchable graphics problem? Cus I feel like thats why they posted this.

aimandshot
aimandshot

Frankly, all i need is performance. I better build a PC than buy a gaming laptop.

aimandshot
aimandshot

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Tarfang2
Tarfang2

dear pc gamers would you consider the HP G62 B27SA to be a decentish laptop for light PC gaming cuz i want a budget laptop that can do evrything even a bit of low quality pc gaming

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

Most of it is redundant as true PC gamers wouldn't use onboard graphics to save their lives. I'll stick to my GTX 260s thanks

AmorDeRey1988
AmorDeRey1988

N4o7A-Well it's primarily the gpu then the cpu.For example:Ati midrange card 6770 (110$)and any decent dual core at 2.5ghz and higher, Amd phenom 2 .(50-100$).Should play nearly any game out there at mid to high settings.

Rocker6
Rocker6

@N4o7A In most cases,high end GPU is more important.But its best to have good both GPU and CPU.

N4o7A
N4o7A

I'm not a super techy computer guy but what allows a computer to play high end games, the CPU or GPU? Or do both have to be high end?

Baconbits2004
Baconbits2004

ROFL, it looks like the SS anne, from pokemon red.

Bubbagum_Bish
Bubbagum_Bish

At first I thought the picture was a zoomed out town in Pokemon XD

ptown58
ptown58

580sli x2 / 24" 1920x1080p x3 = 5760x1080p tri-monitor surround ......all the way ....ha ha

ptown58
ptown58

I'm not putting down on-board graphics ,more the better I guess since a more than powerful enough pc soon will be the size of an ipod but for now I like a stripped down MB with all the old baggage such as firewire,ps2,ata ....etc gone.(never had on board graphics,just more to get in the way)

ptown58
ptown58

The current PC platform is the easiest and cheapest to build and play with, not sure what integrated graphics has to do with anything other than not having enough for a separate much more powerful graphics card. hooray for cost cutters ? ps2's and Nin Cubes and og Xboxs are dirt cheap too.

Modisana
Modisana

@Reavrus I also play on my PlayStation but buddy, assembling a PC is one of the easiest things a person can do.

Creed02
Creed02

My 9800 GT is still rocking. :)

Sinotek
Sinotek

@Reavrus Yeah... God forbids you use that little thing humanity calls a brain to figure out how to build a PC.

Reavrus
Reavrus

Screw PC's!!! I'm all for the consoles. No need to stress my head about CPU's and all that jazz! Just pop the game into the console and there you go!

TonnFool23
TonnFool23

I'm never getting a ATi product again...

avatarcj
avatarcj

Taegre and Rocker6 are right . Those are graphic cards integrated in the processor but even so they can compare with some Ati and Nvidia cards and even beat them .

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

The thing is that, if someone's willing to pay 250$ on a CPU, their budget is already allowing to pay 150$ on a CPU and 100$ for a CPU for better performance. More likely, the person has another 250$ for a GPU since he's paying 250$ for a CPU. Intel & AMD is missing the point and including an unnecessary component on their high-performance segment products that will be a waste. I personally may end up buying an i5 when Radeon 7xxx comes up. Now who's paying for the wasted HD3000 difference? Me. And I'm not happy about it.

TevoxZi
TevoxZi

Wow, GS community sure sucks a ton. Getting thumbed down for the most stupid reasons, no wonder everyone trolls you guys, you're so easy to piss off.

duron2
duron2

They both suck, get a freakin gfx card lol!!

Rocker6
Rocker6

@Taegre Most PC gamers arent obsesed with graphics,PC enthusiasts(me!) are,they always buy the latest hardware and try to get the most out of their PCs with overclocking,etc.There is a difference between a PC gamer and a PC enthusiast.If you call yourself a PC gamer,that doesnt mean you must be obsesed with graphics or anything.

tachsniper
tachsniper

Seriously? Are on board graphics even worth comparing? they all suck

Atomic1977
Atomic1977

I got my computer in 2008 and my onboard ATI Raedon HD3200 handels quiet a few of the more recent games pretty decently.

Kaneise
Kaneise

Intel's i7 is a dream to game with; SC II never played so clean on max settings.

AmorDeRey1988
AmorDeRey1988

I'll be purchasing the i7-2600k and gtx580.They perform rather well with Maya and Autocad,and the fact that it can play games at high levels is just a plus.Decoding and trans-coding is also noticeably better and triple monitor support will serve to boost work progress by 50% if not more.

Taegre
Taegre

The obsession with graphics performance in PC gaming is one of the reasons I stopped calling myself a PC gamer. But hopefully chips like these will help make the platform approachable again. Who cares whether I can play Arkham Asylum at max settings with 500 FPS? I just wanna PLAY it.

Cruisemissile
Cruisemissile

all i do is overclock my graphics cards gpu memory by 200-300mhz more than default and max out the memory mhz and it lets me play crysis just fine at high graphic levels, with two processors at 3.4 GHz, 2 GB ram and a 1GB graphics card, unfortunately it wont play maxed out of course