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Old Jul 8, 2011, 11:26 AM   #1
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Default Where are the compact 14" A6 laptops?

So Caveman keeps pushing the A6 like a meth dealer and I keep looking but so far I have not been able to find a compact 14" A6 laptop - think Envy 14, 13" macbook pro, or 14" Timeline form factor - and discrete graphics.

Anyone seen anything? I would really prefer something with dual graphics at least as good as a 5650m/6630m.
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Old Jul 8, 2011, 02:57 PM   #2
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seriously? google it.
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Old Jul 8, 2011, 03:51 PM   #3
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I did
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 01:03 AM   #4
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 04:21 AM   #5
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The A8 HP one you have listed looks awesome. 6750 DDR5 and the A8, plus it comes with BluRay. Has very positive comments too. hmmmmm I could give the DM1 to my wife . . .
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 02:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
These are the deals I dug up, may be expired, check em out, nothing dual graphics - for that you need to configure directly, go to HP Direct.


For comparison, a HP Envy 14" with Intel Core i5-2410M and Radeon 6550M is $850. http://www.techbargains.com/news_displayItem.cfm/261222
While I have fallen out of love with the Envy after trying it a Fry's, in my particular case I can get the envy for about $722 through an employee discount.

I will admit the dv6 has some attractive qualities. I am concerned about it's ability for the dGPU to run OpenGL. On notebookreview people are complaining that neither the Intel nor the AMD dv6 can run OpenGL on their 6000 series dGPUs.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 02:40 PM   #7
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That seems a rather... generic... complaint. The HD 6000 are OpenGL 4.1 compatible, so there's obviously more to the complaint than 'cant run it on the card'.

Are they saying, in dual graphics mode, they can't run OpenGL software? It only works with CrossfireX disabled? If you've got a particular case example, I can try it out on a desktop setup.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 03:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
That seems a rather... generic... complaint. The HD 6000 are OpenGL 4.1 compatible, so there's obviously more to the complaint than 'cant run it on the card'.

Are they saying, in dual graphics mode, they can't run OpenGL software? It only works with CrossfireX disabled? If you've got a particular case example, I can try it out on a desktop setup.
They are saying that in hybrid mode (on an Intel machine) the system will insist on switching back to the Intel IGP for OpenGL apps like minecraft.

On the llano system, they are saying the system doesn't seem to get any performance gain in OpenGL apps from enabling the 6750 like it is running on the APU only.

As far as I can tell the llano system won't let you select only the discrete GPU. It is basically dual graphics or just the APU. I imagine this is cause it is doing something similar to Optimus where the display is connected to the APU only.

This is based on reading the majority of llano dv6 thread over at notebookreview. I personally have not been able to experiment which is why I asked.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 03:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by aviphysics View Post
They are saying that in hybrid mode (on an Intel machine) the system will insist on switching back to the Intel IGP for OpenGL apps like minecraft.

On the llano system, they are saying the system doesn't seem to get any performance gain in OpenGL apps from enabling the 6750 like it is running on the APU only.
Ok, so no crossfire scaling. I can check into that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aviphysics View Post
As far as I can tell the llano system won't let you select only the discrete GPU. It is basically dual graphics or just the APU. I imagine this is cause it is doing something similar to Optimus where the display is connected to the APU only.

This is based on reading the majority of llano dv6 thread over at notebookreview. I personally have not been able to experiment which is why I asked.
For graphics options in notebooks, you've got three options with Llano.

First is APU only. Nothing else to say there.

Second is Dual-Graphics, where there is a second, discrete GPU card. This card is used in combination with the APU GPU, in crossfire. It's only purpose is to accelerate workloads that will benefit from dual GPU's.

The third configuration is hybrid graphics, where the discrete GPU is much higher power than the APU GPU. Like a 6700M, 6800M, 6900M. That kind of thing. The APU GPU is used for everyday computing and graphics, and the much higher power discrete GPU is used for 3D gaming, high performance apps. The APU GPU isn't used unless the application is specifically aware that it can offload some tasks to it.

AMD tell me that dual-graphics and hybrid graphics are supposed to be smart, with future drivers allowing application whitelists, and profiles, so that you can select when the dGPU kicks in.

From your description of the problem is that OpenGL games aren't scaling out in performance on dual-graphics machines. Which sounds like a driver problem. People troubleshooting that could use the AMD system monitor to see if both GPU's are being utilized, or if the dGPU is clocking up but not getting a workload, etc.

For desktop Llano, it is possible to designate the dGPU as primary, as you have access to the outputs etc. made possible by the form factor. So you don't have to have the secondary GPU (the one in the APU, now) connected to the displays, just the dGPU. So I could find an OpenGL title and test both configs, on the desktop.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 04:31 PM   #10
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For desktop Llano, it is possible to designate the dGPU as primary, as you have access to the outputs etc. made possible by the form factor. So you don't have to have the secondary GPU (the one in the APU, now) connected to the displays, just the dGPU. So I could find an OpenGL title and test both configs, on the desktop.
That would be nice
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Old Jul 15, 2011, 06:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Ok, so no crossfire scaling. I can check into that.



For graphics options in notebooks, you've got three options with Llano.

First is APU only. Nothing else to say there.

Second is Dual-Graphics, where there is a second, discrete GPU card. This card is used in combination with the APU GPU, in crossfire. It's only purpose is to accelerate workloads that will benefit from dual GPU's.

The third configuration is hybrid graphics, where the discrete GPU is much higher power than the APU GPU. Like a 6700M, 6800M, 6900M. That kind of thing. The APU GPU is used for everyday computing and graphics, and the much higher power discrete GPU is used for 3D gaming, high performance apps. The APU GPU isn't used unless the application is specifically aware that it can offload some tasks to it.

AMD tell me that dual-graphics and hybrid graphics are supposed to be smart, with future drivers allowing application whitelists, and profiles, so that you can select when the dGPU kicks in.

From your description of the problem is that OpenGL games aren't scaling out in performance on dual-graphics machines. Which sounds like a driver problem. People troubleshooting that could use the AMD system monitor to see if both GPU's are being utilized, or if the dGPU is clocking up but not getting a workload, etc.

For desktop Llano, it is possible to designate the dGPU as primary, as you have access to the outputs etc. made possible by the form factor. So you don't have to have the secondary GPU (the one in the APU, now) connected to the displays, just the dGPU. So I could find an OpenGL title and test both configs, on the desktop.
Profiles finally!

Hybrid sounds interesting and if it works smart. Especially for laptops where shutting down the graphic card would save battery life while one is typing up a document.

CaveMan, how is that review going? Llano APU desktop?
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Old Jul 15, 2011, 09:58 AM   #12
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Profiles finally!

Hybrid sounds interesting and if it works smart. Especially for laptops where shutting down the graphic card would save battery life while one is typing up a document.

CaveMan, how is that review going? Llano APU desktop?
Just thinking it would be especially nice for a HTPC where it could be near silent most of the time but have the graphics for games etc. Unfortunately, from what I have been hearing about llano laptops the scaling isn't quite there yet.
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Old Jul 15, 2011, 11:12 AM   #13
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Putting the finishing touches to it now, hopefully it won't take lup etc. forever to edit and publish.

For Dual Graphics AMD claim upto 75% scaling.
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Old Jul 15, 2011, 11:33 PM   #14
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Putting the finishing touches to it now, hopefully it won't take lup etc. forever to edit and publish.

For Dual Graphics AMD claim upto 75% scaling.
For asymmetrical crossfire 75% scaling might mean almost no gain at all or even a loss depending on what they mean by 75%.

If I remember the guidelines correctly, one GPU can be 4x the APU. Using the 75% number the overall performance with such a GPU would be 5x*0.75 = 3.75x that of the APU. A 3x GPU would just put out 3x. Those numbers leave some room for improvement if you ask me. Hopefully that is not what they meant by 75%.

Obviously what really matters is the in game performance which I am assuming you cover in your review.
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 12:52 AM   #15
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For asymmetrical crossfire 75% scaling might mean almost no gain at all or even a loss depending on what they mean by 75%.

If I remember the guidelines correctly, one GPU can be 4x the APU. Using the 75% number the overall performance with such a GPU would be 5x*0.75 = 3.75x that of the APU. A 3x GPU would just put out 3x. Those numbers leave some room for improvement if you ask me. Hopefully that is not what they meant by 75%.

Obviously what really matters is the in game performance which I am assuming you cover in your review.
If average is 75% increase in scaling it means 1.75 x avg FPS over just an APU on a cross-fired capable game. Obviously some games may scale better others way worst and some not at all or even negative. That is just how it is with SLI/CrossFire. Also I think it will also entails what discreet graphic card is being paired up with the APU.

Now I would like to know what APU and what discreet graphic card works together. For example will my 5570 work with an A8 APU? What kind of scaling? Will a 6570 give you about as much scaling as a 6650/70 discreet card? Just a lot of unknowns here to figure out what would be the best setup for the lowest cost.
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 10:24 AM   #16
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If average is 75% increase in scaling it means 1.75 x avg FPS over just an APU on a cross-fired capable game. Obviously some games may scale better others way worst and some not at all or even negative. That is just how it is with SLI/CrossFire. Also I think it will also entails what discreet graphic card is being paired up with the APU.

Now I would like to know what APU and what discreet graphic card works together. For example will my 5570 work with an A8 APU? What kind of scaling? Will a 6570 give you about as much scaling as a 6650/70 discreet card? Just a lot of unknowns here to figure out what would be the best setup for the lowest cost.
There is a chart floating around that depicts the various configuration somewhere.

BTW a 75% increase only makes sense if the GPU and the APU are equivalent. Really my point is that a single number like that isn't very useful for predicting asymmetrical (where one gpu are not equal) crossfire performance.
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 03:38 PM   #17
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By up to 75% it was meant up to 75% more performance (average FPS), averaged across their test suite.

I don't find that unreasonable at all.

So it is quite a useful marker for estimating crossfire performance, if you understand it it is to be considered a best case scenario. obviously, game, driver, and hardware will make a difference, hence 'up to' in the statement by AMD.

A8-3850 with 6550D + 6570 in dual graphics? I think you'll see more than 75% scaling improvement.
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Old Aug 2, 2011, 07:11 PM   #18
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 11:00 AM   #19
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I am sure I said something about discrete graphics in the OP..... yep I did.
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 02:53 PM   #20
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That's a A6-3400M, has Radeon 6520G graphics, that's considered discrete class performance. That APU has 4 x86 cores and 320 Radeon Cores; 3 SIMD @ 400MHz. Gonna better than HD 6450, about like a downclocked 5550 w/DDR3.

Tasty little APU though, 35W. Not a performance gamer device, though, it would be ok for casual stuff.
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 03:40 PM   #21
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I wonder if any manufacturers are making a quality product with llano. So far, I've only seen bulky, glossy plastic, and\or glossy low resolution screen. I'd really like for Lenovo to make a Thinkpad with an A6 or A8.
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 03:43 PM   #22
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There are business lines with more of the look you're describing. I wouldn't call any of them low quality, though. The preconfigured options are targetting 1368x768 screens to keep margins up, I wish they'd go for 1600x900 and 1920x1080 at the 15" and 17" sizes more often.
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 08:53 PM   #23
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That's a A6-3400M, has Radeon 6520G graphics, that's considered discrete class performance. That APU has 4 x86 cores and 320 Radeon Cores; 3 SIMD @ 400MHz. Gonna better than HD 6450, about like a downclocked 5550 w/DDR3.

Tasty little APU though, 35W. Not a performance gamer device, though, it would be ok for casual stuff.
I guess simply saying discrete GPU is kind of insufficient. What I mean is at least 5650m/6630m class performance. Preferably better. My main disappointing is what seems like a severe lack of progress in terms of companies producing substantially better laptops than they did last year. The reason I even posed the question was to see if someone had found something that I missed.

The GPUs in the A series are freaking spectacular for IGP but do not represent the level of performance I look for in a discrete GPU. The highest end A8 gets close to what I could live and is something I would recommend to someone who isn't into AAA titles.

IMO Fusion represents fantastic progress for AMD but only incremental progress when compared to the whole market which still seems to be stagnating along with the rest of the economy.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 01:28 AM   #24
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I guess simply saying discrete GPU is kind of insufficient. What I mean is at least 5650m/6630m class performance. Preferably better. My main disappointing is what seems like a severe lack of progress in terms of companies producing substantially better laptops than they did last year. The reason I even posed the question was to see if someone had found something that I missed.

The GPUs in the A series are freaking spectacular for IGP but do not represent the level of performance I look for in a discrete GPU. The highest end A8 gets close to what I could live and is something I would recommend to someone who isn't into AAA titles.

IMO Fusion represents fantastic progress for AMD but only incremental progress when compared to the whole market which still seems to be stagnating along with the rest of the economy.
I would dissaggree, Fusion IGP is a dramatic increase in performance from last year laptops to this year where the real large market is. Discreet GPUs in laptops has the smaller share. It wasn't ment for Euthusiast level performance though. The APU plus discreet GPU options is rather enticing though and not that much more. Still an I7 and a 6970M or two would be the top of the top performance laptop which AMD also supports, at least on the GPU side.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 01:53 AM   #25
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I would dissaggree, Fusion IGP is a dramatic increase in performance from last year laptops to this year where the real large market is. Discreet GPUs in laptops has the smaller share. It wasn't ment for Euthusiast level performance though. The APU plus discreet GPU options is rather enticing though and not that much more. Still an I7 and a 6970M or two would be the top of the top performance laptop which AMD also supports, at least on the GPU side.
I think you point is tangential to what I was trying to say. I can agree that Fusion can really boost the performance in the lowest end laptops which I am guessing are what most people buy. I would also guess that most of these people aren't playing GPU intensive video games. I would also guess that most of them wouldn't even notice the difference between an i3 or A series CPU. Most people are just not relevant to whole GPU discussion so I would rather not worry about them in regards to this discussion.

In the range of laptops that I consider suitable for playing modern games but below the $1000 mark it seems not much has changed in the last year. They aren't much cheaper or smaller nor is battery life much better.

This really frustrated me when I was asked to recommend a laptop to someone who wants to play games on it cause in their price range I wasn't able to recommend anything much better than a laptop that I spent nearly the same amount on almost a year ago. So far I have just told them to wait.

edit: re-reading my old post I am not even sure your statement really disagrees with anything I said except in that it is simply viewing the market only from the ranges furthest from the one that really interests me. The question isn't even whether or not AMD supports some portion of the market. I am not even blaming AMD or really anyone in particular for the state of the market. All I am saying is that the midrange to low end gaming market (Basically $700-$1100) has been pretty much static as far as I can tell. The main real benefit of Fusion in this segment is an all AMD laptop with decent battery life but still not a whole lot faster or cheaper than a year old intel laptop (not that Intel has raised the bar much this year either).
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 03:23 AM   #26
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Thats cool, well if you take last years $699 model, Intel I3/5 with a 5650 and compare it to now a $699 model with an A8 and a 6650M discreet card, both with 15.6" screen; I would say the Fusion part will blow away significantly last years performance in gaming. Particulary DX 10 and above where you need it more. Performance game wise is about 100% better at the same price range. For me this is a significant improvement for mid range laptop or <$1000 >$600. Also battery life would probably be better as well. On the high end things are also different but I don't think as dramatic as in 100%.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 09:32 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by aviphysics View Post
I guess simply saying discrete GPU is kind of insufficient. What I mean is at least 5650m/6630m class performance. Preferably better. My main disappointing is what seems like a severe lack of progress in terms of companies producing substantially better laptops than they did last year. The reason I even posed the question was to see if someone had found something that I missed.

The GPUs in the A series are freaking spectacular for IGP but do not represent the level of performance I look for in a discrete GPU. The highest end A8 gets close to what I could live and is something I would recommend to someone who isn't into AAA titles.

IMO Fusion represents fantastic progress for AMD but only incremental progress when compared to the whole market which still seems to be stagnating along with the rest of the economy.
Fair enough, but I think you're discounting the dual graphics options. On the desktop, an A8 3850 with 6550D graphics and a 6670 combines to perform like a 6770. So on the mobility side you could get that same performance scaling, with the right combination - which is the tricky part. Grab the A6 or A8 and a 6500M and you could get to the level of performance you want.

There are also some models with switchable graphics instead of hybrid graphics, where the APU GPU is used on battery and for general GPU tasks, and a dGPU like a 6770M is used for gaming.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 03:27 PM   #28
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http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...u,2959-15.html

Plenty more similar benchmarks to wade through.

Can someone explain to me how dual graphics aren't a scam right now?
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 04:16 PM   #29
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can you explain how they are scam right now? and do so in a manner that isn't complete troll?
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 10:23 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Fair enough, but I think you're discounting the dual graphics options. On the desktop, an A8 3850 with 6550D graphics and a 6670 combines to perform like a 6770. So on the mobility side you could get that same performance scaling, with the right combination - which is the tricky part. Grab the A6 or A8 and a 6500M and you could get to the level of performance you want.

There are also some models with switchable graphics instead of hybrid graphics, where the APU GPU is used on battery and for general GPU tasks, and a dGPU like a 6770M is used for gaming.
Just like with any crossfire arrangement it is gonna have problems here and there. Because in laptops the APU is the primary GPU and because the discrete graphics can be substantially more powerful, you loose a lot of performance if you are forced to disable crossfire.

To me that makes the current setup very much a double edged sword.

Of course I don't have any first hand experience to know how much of a pain any of these problems are. Maybe you can get your son to let you do some testing.
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