AMD's flagship model of its new A-Series range of desktop Llano Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) – the AMD A8-3850 – launched last month. At the same time, AMD announced a cheaper, less powerful APU, the A6-3650 – which we have now jammed into our test bench.

If you haven't heard about AMD's Fusion technology before, then the term 'APU' might be a new one to you. The APU is a hybrid chip bringing together both the CPU and GPU and sticking them onto a single die.

Before your eyes glaze over and the moaning starts about integrated graphics being about as much use as a chocolate teapot, hold on, because in the A-Series of APUs, the graphics performance is really rather startling. But more about that later.

This isn't the first incarnation of AMD's Fusion technology, but it is by far the most powerful.

The first Fusion APUs (codenamed Ontario and Zacate, versus the current codename, Lynx) had very low power ratings (Ontario 9W, Zacate 18W). They were aimed at the ultra-thin notebook market where, it has to be said, they didn't exactly set the world alight.

Likewise the first of the Llano chips, the A8-3500M, was aimed at the notebook market, although it made a much more favourable impression this time around.