Funny story. We asked Asus for a review unit of the K series a while back. We wanted to check out the latest update of the 2nd generation Intel Core processors or better known to the enthusiast community as Sandy Bridge. A few weeks back, Asus came back to us with a review unit. However, a few days after, they came back to us again and asked us if we wanted to get our hands on the newest model of their K-Series, this time, with the new AMD Llano APU. How could we say, No?
AMD hasn’t really been much of a contender in the mobile market. They may have the Turion and Athlon M CPUs but AMD have traditionally been lagging against Intel especially in terms of heat and battery life. That is until the AMD Fusion APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) started coming out starting with the E- and A-Series for the low-end notebooks and netbooks.
AMD has been touting its new Llano chips for quite a while and this is the first laptop that we are reviewing to have the Llano APU on board. AMD says that Llano will provide both performance and power efficiency since the APU integrates both CPU and GPU into one chip. This lowers the overall thermal dissipation and power requirements without compromising much of the performance. And with this review, this is what we will be checking.
Inside the Asus chassis is the AMD A6 3400M APU. The APU has a quad-core CPU part and a Radeon HD 6500 GPU part. The CPU runs at 1.4GHz. The GPU is DirectX 11-capable which can do a bit of gaming.
We tested the Asus K43T with the A6 3400M APU on a number of games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Mirror’s Edge, Civilization V, and Dirt 2. It was even able to run newer games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Even running at only 1.4GHz, the Llano APU can still perform thanks to its 4 cores and Radeon HD GPU. These games ran at an average of 30 frames per second or over in medium settings which is playable with occasional slowdowns but not enough to distract you from your gaming experience.
It is apparent that on load, the 3400M APU still produces a fair amount of heat. In fact, on full throttle, you can feel the hot air being pushed from the vent. As such, the left side of the keyboard and the left palm rest becomes warm, although not to the point that it becomes uncomfortable.
Another concern with older AMD chips is the battery life. Whereas laptops with Intel inside may last for around 5-6 hours on a single charge, you may get at most 3 hours on AMD laptops. The A6 3400M does more than three hours at around 4-5 hours depending on the way it’s used.
The Asus K43T certainly isn’t a gaming laptop and isn’t meant to be. On the other hand, it is a laptop that can game.
Aside from the Llano APU, the K43T laptop has 4GBs of RAM with 320GBs of storage. This 14” display laptop also comes with an optical disk drive for both reading and writing CDs and DVDs. Ports are abound with a HDMI port, Audio In and Out, Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port. It also has a multi-card reader.
Overall, the Asus K43T notebook is a good performer. It won’t win any performance awards but it is well enough for gaming thanks to its 4 cores and the Radeon HD GPU part of the APU. Battery-life is much better than older AMD offerings, giving you around 3-4 hours which can go as much as 5 hours with careful power management.
And the price? Well, Asus isn’t saying as the Asus K43TA notebook yet. This new K-Series notebook with the Llano APU will come by the end of the year which Asus will give out the price. Although, they have said that the notebook will be around PhP30,000. Hopefully it will be less than that which will be a reasonable price for a good performing notebook with good battery life.
Plus: Excellent GPU performance, Good CPU performance
Minus: It can get pretty hot when stressing the APU; Battery-life is below par against its Intel counterpart.
Bottomline: The Llano platform is a vast improvement from AMD’s previous mobile outings by providing performance both in power and battery life while still staying relatively cool.
Diagonal Size : 14.0″
Resolution : 1366 x 768 (HD)
AMD Fusion APU A6 3400M
A6-3400M : AMD Radeon HD 6720G2 with 1GB DDR3 VRAM
4GB DDR3 1333 MHz SDRAM
2.5″ SATA 500 GB 5400rpm
LAN : 10/100/1000 Base T
WLAN : integrated 802.11 b/g/n
Built-in speakers and microphone
Altec Lansing speakers
1 x Headphone-out jack
1 x Microphone-in jack
1 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin
1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert
1 x HDMI
Card Reader : 4-in-1 card reader (SD/MS/MS Pro/MMC)
0.3 MegaPixel webcam
Battery : 6-cell 5200 mAh 56 Whrs
Dimensions and Weight
Width : 37.8 cm
Depth : 25.3 cm
Height : 3.31 – 3.49 cm
Weight : 2.1 kg (with 6 cell battery)
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