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The Llano APUs come in 2, 3 and 4 core variants. The table below lists all the retail SKUs available, along with current pricing. Note that the A4-3420 (which was initially OEM only, and was later supposed to debut in a retail model), A6-3600, A6-3620, A8-3800, and the A8-3820 don't seem to be available with any of the first-tier retailers, so we've left them out of the charts.

AMD Llano APU Lineup (Desktop)
APU Cores Frequency
(Turbo)
GPU GPU Config
(Shaders:TMU:ROP
@ Frequency)
Memory
Support
TDP Pricing
A4-3300 2 2.5GHz 6410D 160:8:4 @ 443MHz DDR3-1600 65W $60
A4-3400 2 2.7GHz 6410D 160:8:4 @ 600MHz DDR3-1600 65W $66
A6-3500 3 2.1GHz
(2.4GHz)
6530D 320:16:8 @ 443MHz DDR3-1866 65W $80
A6-3650 4 2.6GHz 6530D 320:16:8 @ 443MHz DDR3-1866 100W $85
A6-3670K 4 2.7GHz 6530D 320:16:8 @ 443MHz (Unlocked) DDR3-1866 100W $105
A8-3850 4 2.9GHz 6550D 400:20:8 @ 600MHz DDR3-1866 100W $110
A8-3870K 4 3.0GHz 6550D 400:20:8 @ 600MHz (Unlocked) DDR3-1866 100W $119

With the choice of available APUs out of the way, it is now time to take a look at the two Fusion Controller Hubs (FCHs) available for Lynx, the Llano desktop platform:

AMD Fusion Controller Hubs for Lynx (Desktop Llano)
Chipset Code Name Unified Media Interface SATA USB 3/2/1.1 TDP
A55 Hudson-D2 x4 Gen 2 + Display Port 6 x 3Gbps 0/14/2 7.6W
A75 Hudson-D3 x4 Gen 2 + Display Port 6 x 6Gbps 4/10/2 7.8W

The three main motherboard form factors of interest to us are (in order of size):

  1. mini-ITX (17cm x 17cm)
  2. micro-ATX (24.4cm x 24.4cm)
  3. ATX (30.5cm x 24.4cm)

Scenarios which don't involve high quality gaming/complex TV tuner systems can make do with mini-ITX motherboards (only one expansion slot). On the other hand, for moderate gaming and/or the installation of capture cards/internal TV tuners, multiple expansion slots such as those in the micro-ATX motherboards might be required. For high end HTPCs that also double up as gaming rigs with cards in CrossFire and/or network DVRs with custom capture cards, ATX motherboards (which have up to seven expansion slots) are necessary.

We're not going to recommend any specific board for each size as being "best", as what qualifies as such will vary from person to person. However, it is worth nothing that the motherboard choice can have wide ranging effects on the overall stability and functionality of a system. If you buy an inexpensive board, it may or may not work with all memory modules, it might lack fine-grained fan control, overclocking features may not be present, and there's even a potential for incompatibilities with certain peripherals and/or SSDs. If any of those items are of particular importance to you, we'd suggest reading up on some of the motherboard reviews to see how the various boards compare. All of the boards listed below should work for a basic HTPC setup, but some are going to be better than others.

The following table gives you an idea of the various mini-ITX motherboards currently available. All boards have a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 expansion slot, 4x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2, and are based on the A75 chipset. All of these are targeted towards small form factor systems suitable for use as HTPCs, as they have both HDMI output as well as optical SPDIF for multi-channel audio.

HTPC Oriented mini-ITX Motherboards for Lynx (Desktop Llano)
Vendor Board Name Memory Slots Misc. Notes Price
ASRock A75M-ITX 2x DDR3 2400+ GbE + 4x USB 3.0 $90
Asus F1A75-I DELUXE 2x DDR3 1866 GbE + 2x USB 3.0 + 1x USB 3.0 Internal Header $140
AzureWave Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
Mini-Remote/Keypad
Gigabyte GA-A75N-USB3 2x DDR3 2000+ RealtekGbE $74
Zotac A75ITX-A-E 2x DDR3 1866 DualGbE $133
802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
6x USB 3.0

Moving on to the micro-ATX configurations, we have a large number of choices. All options have HDMI output with audio. However, not all HTPC setups have a receiver capable of parsing audio over HDMI. In order to experience multi-channel audio in such a scenario, it is necessary to take advantage of the SPDIF output. The table below lists the six boards which satisfy this criteria. If optical SPDIF is not needed, we have many more choices.

HTPC Oriented micro-ATX Motherboards for Lynx (Desktop Llano)
Vendor Board Name Memory Slots PCI Configuration Misc. Notes Price
Asus F1A55-M/CSM 4x DDR3 2250+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16, x4), 1x PCI-E x1, 1x PCI 6x SATA 3Gbps, 2x USB 3.0 $78
ASRock A75M 2x DDR3 2400+ 1x PCI-E x16, 1x PCI-E x1, 2x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $75
ASRock A75 PRO4-M 4x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16, x4), 2x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $84
Asus F1A75-M PRO 4x DDR3 1866 2x PCI-E x16 (x16, x4), 1x PCI-E x1, 1x PCI 6x SATA 6Gbps $105
ECS A75F-M 4x DDR3 1866 1x PCI-E x16, 1x PCI-E x1, 2x PCI 6x SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0 Headers $80
Gigabyte GA-A75M-D2H 2x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16, x4), 1x PCI-E x1, 1x PCI 6x SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0 Headers $70

For most readers looking to build a Llano-based HTPC, one of the above motherboards should suffice. However, as we mentioned in the last section, users might also want to use their HTPC as a gaming rig; others might want PCI-E/PCI slots for multiple capture cards. A selection of full-sized ATX motherboards for such purposes is provided in the table below. Note that several of the boards also have anywhere from $10 to $30 main-in rebates, and very likely we'll see prices continue to drop as the Q3 launch of Trinity gets closer.

HTPC Oriented ATX Motherboards for Lynx (Desktop Llano)
Vendor Board Name Memory Slots PCI Configuration Misc. Notes Price
ASRock A55 PRO3 4x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16, 1x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 5x SATA 3Gbps, 2x SATA 6Gbps, 2x USB 3.0 $75
ASRock A75 PRO4 4x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $80
ASRock A75 Extreme6 4x DDR3 2400+ 3x PCI-E x16(x16/x0 or x8/x8, x4), 1x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 8x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $95
Asus F1A75-V PRO 4x DDR3 1866 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 7x SATA 6Gbps, 1xeSATA2, 1x DP $116
Asus F1A75-V EVO 4x DDR3 1866 3x PCI-E x16(x16/x0 or x8/x8, x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 2x PCI 7x SATA 6Gbps, 1xeSATA2, 1x DP $130
ECS A75F-A 4xDDR3 2600+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $80
Gigabyte GA-A75-D3H 4x DDR3 1866 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $90
Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H 4x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x8), 3x PCI-E x1, 2x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $105

One thing to keep in mind is that Llano is basically a dead-end platform. AMD's Trinity will use socket FM2, so you won't be able to upgrade to anything faster than what we've currently listed. As noted above, we will also likely see prices drop further in the coming month or two. With the processor and motherboard chosen, let us move on to the other components of the build.

Introduction Memory and Storage Options
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  • lurker22 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    Can you get a complete system for $150 like the Foxcon one? Reply
  • JAK620 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I have a A8-3850 system. Built it as soon as it was available on Newegg last year.
    The CPU temperature constantly maintains at the 40~52 celcius in the summer and ~40 in the winter. (has to do with the room temperature).

    I am sure that it is not the coolest but it is pretty good enough for me to build a system without an additional graphic card, which generates more noise from the graphic card's fan.

    Unless you play a lot of games, I think that Llano has a good balance for me so far. I do not play many games on PC but still can play ME, NSF: Unleashed 11 & 2 and the likes in 720P without issue.

    Not to down play Sandy Bridge but I think that Llano is a good option as well
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    Because they're nutso Spivonious, that's why. If they tell themselves they must not hear a tiny fan over the blaring TV show or movie, they can justify been full on loonbat crazy and going wacko scrimping down into barely workable crud mode instead of just tossing their old core 2 or athlon 2 etc in a case and adding the video card they have laying around that will whip the pants off all their llano trinity HDxxxx junk.

    It's like a specialized hobby for wackos, who on other days go off into insanoville over $10 on a new gaming video card purchase.

    Frankly, I find it disturbing to say the least, but then there's what (some or most) enthusiasts are. I see the same thing when they want to make a NAS, or have a "server", etc... they just go bonkers to "do it the way the culture tells them they must" or something I don't get it.
    Reply
  • max40watt - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I stand by my little AMD Fusion NES HTPC as the nicest little HTPC I've ever made.

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn87/max40watt/... border="0" alt="Interior NESpc"></a>

    <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn87/max40watt/... border="0" alt="NES PC Boxee"></a>
    Reply
  • max40watt - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    Darn you lack of html.

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn87/max40watt/...

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn87/max40watt/...
    Reply
  • Einy0 - Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - link

    NICE! Love the concept. Reply
  • djfourmoney - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    I sort of want to take a new empty PS1 and build a console with it using a E350/E450 APU which can easily handle tweaked ePSX settings. But all the games can be located on my server instead of locally on a drive. Reply
  • dgingeri - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I have two questions:

    1. would an A4-3400 be able to handle BluRay playback, Hulu, and Netflix? If not, what level would handle it? That's not very clear here. I'm looking to build a lower power HTPC just for those duties. Any conversion, ripping, or other apps will be handled by my main machine and shared across the network. I don't need the HTPC to handle anything else.

    2. As long as we're looking at the Llano chip, I may as well ask, what laptop version would be able to handle World of Warcraft and Diablo 3 at decent details and 1366X768 resolution at a decent frame rate. I'm looking to buy a laptop for those games specifically for when I'm traveling.
    Reply
  • burntham77 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    On an E-350 APU, Blu-ray works just fine, although I did have to adjust the memory settings in the BIOS so it used the maximum amount (512 megs in my case). You might have to do the same with the A4-3400. Also, I use Cyberlink's Power DVD 11 Ultra (ebay has great prices on that) as the free version that came with my Blu-ray drive did not provided proper audio decoding. Reply
  • DWwolf - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    A3500 is probably the sweetspot as far as performance goes. Better GPU for decoding, still max 65W. Triplecore for the demanding stuff. Reply

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