AMD Llano - Reduce graphics memory reservation?

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Albuquerque, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    I'm doing a hardware eval of a few low-cost laptops from various vendors; one of them is a new AMD A4 3300-series Llano dual core setup from HP. I can't immediately find any information in the firmware, but is there a way to reduce the reserved memory space for the video?

    Right now the system has reserved 512Mb, and to be quite frank, we have no use for it. The device will be used as a web portal learning tool, so it will get a bit of exercise doing video decode and acceleration and whatever minor effort is needed to run Win7 aero glass. The reality is, we have no use for 512Mb of ram -- so buying a config with 2Gb leaves us with about ~1.47Gb usable when the box starts, which is non-optimal for a few reasons.

    I'd rather keep the hardware and figure out a way to have it reserve less ram, but I can find basically NO documentation on this. Is it even possible? If not, we may scrap this hardware and go with a cheap i3 rig that we can actually get 2GB of usable ram.
     
  2. Xenus

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    Usually those are settable in the bios though there is a lower limit on how low you can go.
     
  3. GZ007

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    Why dont u buy + 2GB SO-DIMM, its like 10-15 €. If u need those 512MB so badly.:roll:
     
  4. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Yeah, tossing a perfectly good laptop and buying an entire other laptop just over 512M of RAM seems rather like crossing the stream to get water times...well, a million. At least. Think of the environment, man!

    Put in some bigger RAM sticks instead. Memory is dirt cheap today.
     
  5. Lightman

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    Llano is DX11 capable so asking for smaller than 512MB framebuffer is unreasonable. I doubt you will find an option to set it lower in any shipping laptop.
    Products with dual graphics should have a BIOS switch to disable fGPU altogether.
     
  6. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    We're talking about 6000 laptops that will be purchased -- and we aren't hand-installing those ram sticks. To buy additional ram on that laptop means it will come from the vendor, which means it's ~$55. That means an additional capital expenditure of a third of a million dollars for something that SHOULD be a configuration change rather than a hardware ask.

    Hence, we are not going down the route of spending "only" another few dollars. There is no "dual graphics" on these devices to turn off, and we couldn't care less about DX11 or even DX10 for that matter.

    If we cannot turn the reservation down, then we simply won't buy this model. We'll go with an i3 setup with the Intel 3000-series video, because even that is about 4x more than we really need. Truly, an Intel GMA 945 would work quite well for our needs of reading email, watching videos on our training portal, and some basic office productivity apps.

    EDIT: I seriously think this is a perfect example of why AMD isn't necessarily targetting the right demographic for getting fat sales wins in the business sector. Our main office has 700 employees that use laptops (and another ~100 who use some really powerful desktops.) Those 700 people need about as much graphics horsepower for their job as these cheapo laptops I'm evaluating. The ONLY people who need some testicular fortitude in their video system are people who need more of it than Llano will provide (our engineering team) which means they're buying Quadro cards.

    Selling us on a low-performing processor with high performing video is worthless; you don't need DX-anything to write code for point-of-sale systems, to build financial spreadsheets, to datamine 35 million transactions per day from our stores, to build SQL queries, to write emails, to build coverpages, to build powerpoint decks, to build reporting and analysis, etc. I need a fast CPU, and I need some decent disk speed, and I need a big chunk of ram. That's it.
     
    #6 Albuquerque, Aug 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2011
  7. Blazkowicz

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    this is bad, I was thinking an amd llano 2C would be a great "low end" CPU, with the 160SP graphics core as a reasonable baseline, faster than what you absolutely need most times but nice to have. like a 8400GS or Intel's own modern integrated video.

    it's stupid and short sighted. I remember adjusting the BIOS setting not long ago on a memory starved laptop or Intel desktop, and available memory went from 192 to 240MB. a critical usability improvement. yes it's old but with linux, lxde or xfce, firefox 5, openoffice and media players, here were a happy user with a computer made useful again.
     
  8. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    To respond to Blazkowicz, the Llano 2C setup that I have here is quite a powerful setup. To be honest, the ONLY reason we won't buy this is because of the ram issue and the solid cap on our total allowed expenditure for the full project (which isn't limited to only purchase of the laptops...)

    Everything else about the box is very positive. Solid performance, decent battery life, and the overall performance you get for this pricetag is quite high. We simply don't need that performance; a lower performing option at a similar price point that gives us an additional 512Mb of ram is more attractive for our needs.

    Llano would still make a great cheap gaming rig or HTPC device; but it provides NOTHING compelling for pure business use.
     
  9. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Heh! Well maybe if you'd said that from the beginning, me and the other guys who responded wouldn't look so ridiculous now, giving you bad advice... :D

    Anyway, it sounds as if you've found your ideal hardware, so there's not much more room for debate really... The i-series CPUs is in a league of its own, even the i3 budget version should be competitive with AMD's current high-end offerings. It's quite scary how much better than AMD Intel has become at designing CPUs, if only they were as good with discrete graphics products then we'd all be dancing with joy!

    (Well, except for AMD and Nvidia, of course...)
     
  10. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    Haha, you are indeed correct, so I apologize for leaving that part out :D

    I guess I'm just somewhat disappointed because I really was pushing our organization to pick up some AMD hardware. This seemed like an easy win to me: I need an inexpensive laptop to do video playback and lightweight office apps in a 15" laptop form factor that doesn't have abysmal battery life and has decent wireless range.

    A Phenom II rig would be a cakewalk for these tasks, and they DO exist out there, but the timeline on those is pretty much a dead-end before this year is up. I need to pick a model that will be available for the next year, and all of the big name laptop providers that offer an AMD option are moving to Llano.

    It's just saddening to me that AMD completely "ignored" the business case. They gave us a slower (overall speaking) processor and a faster video card -- both are contrary to business use. Intel, on the other hand, knows exactly what business wants: CPU power, and enough graphics to get business done. Which fully explains why they're all over the business markets, and of course also explains why they're having very little problem in the general consumer market too.

    For my own personal machine at home, the AMD rig would be a winner. But when I'm making a purchase decision for a multi-billion dollar organization, I can't in good faith give this business to AMD. And trust me, I REALLY tried to get this done because I felt it was going to be the right thing to do.

    Guess not :(
     
  11. Blazkowicz

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    did you ask HP on the issue?

    I'd say business need enough power to run the windows du jour, and not have it crash. and getting 6000 identical laptops.

    so, most needed is enough ram to not hit swap or not hit it much. second core for the antivirus and other cruft, maybe.
    a bobcat laptop would be interesting, in a businnessy 15" laptop case. here the integrated video is closer to your needs, the price to pay is the slower CPU but that CPU still is reasonable [or more than needed!], unless you run some html5 nightmare. it will be idling between keypresses in productivity software.

    there are such consumer laptops, but perhaps not business ones.
     
  12. entity279

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    Yeah, I would say the same as above. Surely it is possible to use less than 512Mb dedicated for graphics. It's just a matter of AMD/OEMs exposing the feature. So asking them directly may solve your issue
     
  13. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    I sent an email off to our HP rep two days ago, their only response (so far) is to offer us a different laptop. I asked him to go investigate with the technical staff about making the current one work rather than just selling me something else, and I haven't heard back.

    There are no options in the firmware (currently) to modify the setting, and there is no newer firmware available.
     
  14. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    You'd think they wouldn't take a potential sale of 6k units so lightly they won't even respond to an email request. Maybe give this joker's supervisor a call and ask if they really aren't interested in selling you millions of dollars worth of product?
     
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