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AMD A10-6800K and A10-6700 Richland APUs Tested
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Date: Jun 05, 2013
Section:Processors
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction and Related Information

A few months back, AMD unveiled a handful of mobile Elite A-Series APUs, formerly codenamed Richland. Those products built upon the company’s existing Trinity-based products but offered additional power and frequency optimizations designed to enhance overall performance and increase battery life. In addition to these optimizations, AMD also began offering a host of specialized software with their Richland APUs that’s leveraged their inherent strengths--namely, AMD Face Login, Gesture Control, Screen Mirror, and various video enhancement features like AMD Steady Video, Quick Stream, and Picture Perfect. The ultimate goal was to make AMD hardware and software more appealing to OEMs and consumers alike.

Today AMD is taking the same approach and launching a handful of new Richland APUs but for desktops and small form factor PCs. Though these APUs offer all of the same features and benefits as their mobile counterparts, the additional power and thermal headroom afforded by desktop form factors has allowed AMD to crank things up a few notches further on both the CPU and GPU sides. You’ll see what we mean on the pages ahead, but first let’s get some specifications out of the way and cover some related information pertinent to today’s launch...


AMD Richland / Trinity Quad-Core APU Die Shot

AMD Elite A-Series APUs For 2013
Specifications & Features

AMD A-Series APU

Description

Tech/Package

32nm, FM2 socket

TDP Configs

65W and 100W configurations

Processor Core

“Piledriver” 32nm HKMG process core (up to 4 cores), up to 128 KB L1 Cache (64 KB Instruction, 64 KB Data) Up to 4 MB L2, 2 x 128-bit FPUs / compute module

Memory

Up to DDR3 2133 @ 1.5V

Graphics Core

Up to 384 Radeon™ Cores 2.0, DirectX 11 capable, UVD3, VCE

Displays

Digital Display I/F DP0: Display Port, HDMI, DVI
Digital Display I/F DP1: Display Port, HDMI, DVI
Digital Display I/F DP2: Display Port, HDMI, DVI
Additional digital display supported using DP 1.2 daisy-chain connection
VGA on FCH

Power Management

Multiple low-power states 
32-nm process for decreased power consumption 
System Management Mode (SMM)
ACPI-compliant, including support for processor performance states (P-states), processor power states
(C-states), and sleep states including S0, S3, S4, and S5 
Per compute module power gating (CC6) 
PCIe core power gating 
PCIe speed power policy 
GPU power gating of Radeon™ Cores and video decode (UVD3) 
Enhanced AMD Turbo Core technology featuring Temperature Smart Turbo Core

AMD A85 FCH

Integrated DAC supporting VGA.

Tech/Package

65nm / FC BGA, 605-Ball, 23x23mm, .8mm pitch

TDP Configs

2.7W to 4.7W for typical configurations

UMI

x4 Gen 2 + DP

SATA

8 Ports, 6 Gbps

RAID

0, 1, 5, 10

USB

A85X: 4 USB 3.0 Ports, 10 USB 2.0 Ports, 2 USB 1.1 Internal Ports

PCIe GPPs

4x1 Gen2

HWM

Incorporates Fan Control, Voltage Level Sensing

Consumer IR

CIR Receiver


AMD’s A-Series APUs debuted back in 2011 with Llano and were updated in 2012 with more powerful Trinity-based products. Though Richland supplants Trinity in AMD’s APU line-up, the die shots (and specifications) above reveal that Trinity and Richland are actually based on the same silicon.


AMD's New A10-6700 and A10-6800K Richland APUs

AMD has put in some additional engineering effort and done some new things with chips, which we’ll discuss a little later, but since Trinity and Richland are fundamentally similar, a refresher on the technology and platform as a whole couldn’t hurt to help lay some foundation for what we’ll be showing you on the pages ahead.

In our AMD Trinity A10-4600M coverage, we go into detail on the Trinity architecture and the Piledriver microarchitecture on which its CPU cores are based. And in the remaining AMD A10- and A8-related articles, we cover last year’s Trinity-based desktop APUs and detail the Virgo platform as a whole, which encompasses the APUs and associated chipsets and motherboards.

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Differentiating Richland 2013 APUs

As we’ve mentioned, AMD’s new Richland-based Elite A-Series APUs are an update to an existing design (Trinity) that’s meant to improve the company’s competitive positioning against Intel--for the next few months at least. AMD’s upcoming Kaveri APUs, which are slated to arrive before the end of the year, will feature brand-new CPU cores based on the Steamroller microarchitecture and an updated GPU block that leverages AMD’s GCN (Graphics Core Next) microarchitecture, just like current-generation discrete Radeon products.

Richland, however, still features Piledriver-based CPU cores and Northern Island-class, VLIW4 graphics, despite the fact that the GPUs have been branded with Radeon HD 8000-series model numbers. The good news is that Richland is a drop-in upgrade for existing platforms. These new Elite A-Series APUs work with current A55, A75, and A85X chipsets and use the same socket FM2. The bad news is that they don’t offer any true next-gen features, and their performance uplift isn’t huge.

What AMD has done with these new Elite A-Series APUs is leverage data gathered by on-die temperature sensors to offer significantly better power management and dynamic frequency boosting; AMD is calling this Hybrid Boost. The thermal sensors were always present on Trinity, but the engineering effort to use the data provided by them wasn’t completed in time for Trinity’s original launch. With Richland, actual temperature data is used to supplement AMD’s existing power-driven calculations to more aggressively boost frequencies and wring more performance from the parts at similar or lower power envelopes. Tuning of the fabrication process over time has also allowed AMD to improve voltage and frequency margins. What all that means is that Richland, while fundamentally similar to Trinity, should be able to hit higher frequencies at lower voltages and power envelopes and more intelligently use Turbo to boost performance further.

In fact, all of the new Richland APUs launching today can boost well above 4GHz, with the same 100w or 65w TDPs of their predecessors. We’ve got the two highest-end Elite A-Series APUs on tap for you here, the A10-6800K and A10-6700. Like previous-gen APUs (and Intel’s current processors), the “K” in the product name denotes an unlocked processor with CPU, GPU, and Memory multipliers that can be freely manipulated by end users.

The new lineup consists of five APUs, two of which are unlocked. The various CPU, GPU, and cache configurations of the chips are outlined above. As you’ll see, the highest-end parts feature quad-CPU cores with 384 Radeon cores and 4MB of total cache. The top end APUs have GPU cores clocked at 844MHz (a 44MHz increase over Trinity) with boost clocks that top out at lofty 4.4GHz. We should also note that the top-end part, the A10-6800K, has been validated for use with DDR3-2133MHz memory. The rest of the APUs max out at 1866MHz. That additional frequency headroom on the A10-6800K’s memory controller results in a marginal increase in GPU performance, as you’ll see a little later.

To further differentiate their Elite A-Series APUs for 2013, AMD is also offering different software bundles. The top of the line A10 parts will include some games from AMD’s Never Settle Bundle along with AMD’s entire suite of customized apps. The rest of the parts will include some, but not all of the applications. The complete breakdown is listed in the slide above, and we’ll simply quote AMD for descriptions of the applications...

  • AMD Face Login – Uses facial recognition technology and a webcam to allow for quick log-in to Windows and other browser-based websites that require a log-in, like social networking sites and email services;
     
  • AMD Gesture Control – Tracks a user’s hand gestures and converts them into commands for basic functions on media players, browsers, e-readers and other popular applications leveraging a webcam, advanced image processing and machine-vision algorithms;
     
  • AMD Screen Mirror – Wirelessly shares content like photos, videos, HD media streams and webpages from a PC or tablet based on a 2013 AMD A-Series APU with any supported TV or display with a DLNA receiver, or with other PCs. Available only on select AMD-based devices;
     
  • AMD Video Entertainment Features – Make your content look its very best: AMD Steady Video technology gives users push-button control over shaky home video and helps stabilize the images for better viewing; AMD Quick Stream technology7 enables smooth video streaming and a virtually interruption free streaming experience; and AMD Perfect Picture HD8, creates rich and lifelike color on video entertainment.
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Test Setup and PCMark 7

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes or UEFIs and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS/UEFI, and set the memory speed to each platform's maximum, officially supported speed--DDR3-1866 in the case of Virgo. The solid state drives were then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we fully updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled, and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, cleared any prefetch and temp data, and ran the tests.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head

System 1:
AMD A10-6800K
(4.1GHz - Quad-Core)
AMD A10-6700
(3.7GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus F2A85-M Pro
(AMD A85 Chipset)

2x4GB AMD DDR3-2133
(@1866 with 6700) 

Radeon HD 8760D
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64
System 2:
AMD A10-5800K
(3.8GHz - Quad-Core)
AMD A8-5600K
(3.6GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus F2A85-M Pro
(AMD A85 Chipset)

2x4GB Corsair DDR3-1866

Radeon HD 7660D/7560D
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64
System 3:
Intel Core i5-3470
(3.2GHz - Quad-Core)
Intel Core i3-3220/3225
(3.3GHz - Dual-Core)

MSI Z77A-GD65
(Z77 Express Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866

Intel HD 2500/4000
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64
System 4:
AMD A8-3870K
(3.0GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus F1A75-V Pro
(AMD A75 Chipset)

2x4GB Corsair DDR3-1866
(@ 1866MHz)

Radeon HD 6550D IGP
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64
System 5:
AMD FX 8150
(3.6GHz Eight-Core)

Asus CrossHair V Formula
(AMD 990FX Chipset)

2x4GB G.SKILL DDR3-1866
(@ 1866MHz)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Windows 7 x64

Futuremark PCMark 7
System Level Benchmark

Futuremark's PCMark 7 is the latest version of the PCMark whole-system benchmarking suite. It has updated application performance measurements targeted for a Windows 7 environment and uses newer metrics to gauge relative performance.

Below is what Futuremark says is incorporated into the base PCMark suite and the Entertainment, Creativity, and Productivity suites--the four modules we have benchmark scores for you here.

The PCMark test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance during typical desktop usage. This is the most important test since it returns the official PCMark score for the system
Storage

  • Windows Defender
  • Importing pictures
  • Gaming

Video Playback and transcoding
Graphics

  • DirectX 9

Image manipulation
Web browsing and decrypting

The Entertainment test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance in entertainment scenarios using mostly application workloads. Individual tests include recording, viewing, streaming and transcoding TV shows and movies, importing, organizing and browsing new music and several gaming related workloads. If the target system is not capable of running DirectX 10 workloads then those tests are skipped. At the end of the benchmark run the system is given an Entertainment test score.

The Creativity test contains a collection of workloads to measure the system performance in typical creativity scenarios. Individual tests include viewing, editing, transcoding and storing photos and videos. At the end of the benchmark run the system is given a Creativity test score.

The Productivity test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance in typical productivity scenarios. Individual workloads include loading web pages and using home office applications. At the end of the benchmark run the system is given a Productivity test score.

The new AMD A-Series Elite APUs for 2013 shows some nice performance improvements in PCMark 7 due to their higher frequencies and much higher video encoding performance, which seems to leverage the GPU properly now. Even so, Intel's Core processors, however, have no trouble outperforming AMD here.
 

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LAME MT and SunSpider

In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a popular scenario that many end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content. LAME is an open-source MP3 audio encoder that is used widely in a multitude of third party applications.

LAME MT
Audio Encoding

In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (a hallucinogenically-induced Grateful Dead jam) and converted it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application, in both single and multi-thread modes. Processing times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Shorter times equate to better performance.

 

Audio encoding with LAME MT is definitely not one of Piledriver's strong suits. The A10-6800K and A8-6700 outpace all of the other APUs we tested, but Intel's parts simply dominate in this test due to their strong IPC advantages over AMD at this time.

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark
JavsScript Performance Testing

Next up, we have some numbers from the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark. According to the SunSpider website:

This benchmark tests the core JavaScript language only, not the DOM or other browser APIs. It is designed to compare different versions of the same browser, and different browsers to each other. Unlike many widely available JavaScript benchmarks, this test is:

Real World - This test mostly avoids microbenchmarks, and tries to focus on the kinds of actual problems developers solve with JavaScript today, and the problems they may want to tackle in the future as the language gets faster. This includes tests to generate a tagcloud from JSON input, a 3D raytracer, cryptography tests, code decompression, and many more examples. There are a few microbenchmarkish things, but they mostly represent real performance problems that developers have encountered.

Balanced - This test is balanced between different areas of the language and different types of code. It's not all math, all string processing, or all timing simple loops. In addition to having tests in many categories, the individual tests were balanced to take similar amounts of time on currently shipping versions of popular browsers.

Statistically Sound - One of the challenges of benchmarking is knowing how much noise you have in your measurements. This benchmark runs each test multiple times and determines an error range (technically, a 95% confidence interval). In addition, in comparison mode it tells you if you have enough data to determine if the difference is statistically significant.

All of the systems were tested using the latest version of Internet Explorer 9, with default browser settings, on a clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

 

AMD's new APUs showed some nice improvements over last year's 5000 series products in the SunSpider benchmark, but despite the nice speed boosts, Intel's processors finished well ahead.
 

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Cinebench R11.5 and POV-Ray

Cinebench R11.5 is a 3D rendering performance test based on Cinema 4D from Maxon. Cinema 4D is a 3D rendering and animation suite used by animation houses and producers like Sony Animation and many others. It's very demanding of processor resources and is an excellent gauge of pure computational throughput.

Cinebench R11.5
3D Rendering

This is a multi-threaded, multi-processor aware benchmark that renders a photorealistic 3D scene (from the viral "No Keyframes" animation by AixSponza). This scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The rate at which each test system was able to render the entire scene is represented in the graph below.

 

The A10-6800K and A10-6700 performed relatively well in the Cinebench benchmark. Single-thread performance continues to be an Achilles heal for AMD, but the new Elite series APUs were able to outpace the similarly priced Core i3 processors in the multi-threaded test. 

POV-Ray Performance
Ray Tracing

POV-Ray, or the Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer, is an open source tool for creating realistically lit 3D graphics artwork. We tested with POV-Ray's standard 'one-CPU' and 'all-CPU' benchmarking tools on all of our test machines, and recorded the scores reported for each. Results are measured in pixels-per-second throughput; higher scores equate to better performance.

The performance breakdown in the POV-Ray benchmark looks much like Cinebench, with AMD's latest APUs besting the Core i3s in the multi-threaded test but trailing the AMD FX and quad-core Intel processors.
 

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Media Encoding and Image Editing
Cyberlink's MediaEspresso is a video conversion tool that imports various video file types and converts them to other formats for publication, portability, and/or streaming. In this test, we take a 277MB high definition 1080p AVCHD video clip and convert it to a an H.264 encoded MP4 compatible file designed for use with an iPhone / iPad (or other portable media playback device).

Cyberlink MediaEspresso
Video Transcoding and Compression

Here we're going to look directly at AMD's HD Media Accelerator in the new A10 series APUs and compare it to Intel's Ivy Bridge and Haswell Quick Sync engines and competitive CPU-based solutions, as well.

 

AMD's latest APUs put up some better numbers here, but they still can't come close to matching the performance of Intel's Quick Sync engine.

Musemage
OpenCL Accelerated Image Editing

Musemage is a fully-functional GPU-powered photo editing software suite. Thanks to the GPU-accelerated filters built into the app, Musemage can leverage the additional performance afforded by a more powerful GPU and offer real-time (or near real-time) visual feedback. The application also offers a built-in benchmark, which outputs performance as a final "score". The score put up by each test system is represented in the graph below.

AMD's A10 series APUs all put up similar scores in the MuseMage benchmark, which was significantly higher than anything from the Intel camp.
 

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Low-Res Gaming: Crysis and ETQW

For our next set of tests, we moved on to some low-res benchmarking with Crysis (DirectX) and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (OpenGL). In these tests, we drop the resolution to 1024x768, and reduce all of the in-game graphical options to their minimum values to minimize the load being placed on the GPUs and push frame rates as high as possible. However, the in-game effects, which control the level of detail for the games' physics engines and particle systems, are left at their maximum values, to enhance image quality somewhat.

Low-Resolution Gaming: Crysis and ET: Quake Wars
Minimizing the GPU Load

The use of faster DDR3-2133 memory on the A10-6800K, in addition to its higher base and Turbo clocks, give it a nice boost in performance over last year's APUs. AMD's A-Series' APUs top the charts here as well, due to their much higher-performing GPUs versus Intel's offerings.  With a discrete graphics card installed, the results of low-res tests like these would likely change significantly, but when leveraging on-die GPU resources, AMD clearly has an edge.
 

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3DMark Vantage and Cinebench OpenGL

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Synthetic DirectX Gaming


3DMark Vantage

Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark Vantage, is specifically bound to Windows Vista or newer based systems because it uses some advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 10, which isn't available on previous versions of Windows.  3DMark Vantage isn't simply a port of 3DMark06 to DirectX 10 though. With this version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, and several new feature tests.  We tested the graphics capabilities of the APUs featured here with 3DMark Vantage's Extreme preset option, which uses a resolution of 1920x1200 with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering.

The individual GPU tests that partially make up the 3DMark Vantage suite show AMD's latest GPUs with a clear lead across the board, versus last year's APUs and Intel's similarly-priced offerings.

3DMark's overall score reflects the lead AMD's APUs held onto in the individual tests. Once again, we should note, the A10-6800K's official support for DDR3-2133 RAM give it a nice boost in performance versus the 6700.

Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL Test
3D Rendering

Cinebench R11.5’s GPU benchmark uses a complex 3D scene depicting a car chase, which measures the performance of a graphics card in OpenGL mode. The graphics card has to display a huge amount of geometry (nearly 1 million polygons) and textures, as well as a variety of effects, such as environments, bump maps, transparency, lighting and more to evaluate the performance across different disciplines and give a good average overview of the capabilities of the graphics hardware. Results are reported in frames per second.

The new A10-6700 and last year's A10-5800K put up very similar numbers in Cinebench's OpenGL benchmark. The higher-clocked A10-6800K, when paired to DDR3-2133 RAM, simply improves the situation. AMD's APUs clearly outpaced Intel's offerings in this test, as well.
 

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Hi-Res Gaming: ET:QW, L4D2, Metro 2033, JC2

For this next set of tests, we pit the integrated processor graphics incorporated into AMD's Richland-based APUs against Intel's HD 2500, HD 4000, and HD 4600 series engines and a few of the least expensive discrete GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD: the GeForce GT 430, Radeon HD 6450, and Radeon HD 5550. We tested the games at high-quality settings, at a resolution of 19200x1200 with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled to put a significant strain on the various GPUs.

Hi-Res Gaming Tests: ET:QW and L4D2
Gaming Benchmarks

In both cases, the Radeon HD 8670D graphics cores built into the new AMD A10-6800K and A10-6700 APUs offered nearly double (or more) the performance of Intel's integrated graphics solutions. The HD 4600 engine in the Haswell-based Core i5-4670K put up much better numbers than the HD 4000, but it still AMD by a wide margin here.

Hi-Res Gaming Tests: Metro 2033 and Just Cause 2
Gaming Benchmarks

These Metro 2033 and Just Cause 2 tests are somewhat more demanding than the others posted above, and as such, we had to crank down the image quality in both titles. These tests were run at a lower-resolution (1680x1050) with in-game graphics options set to their medium values, with only 2XAA (JC2) and 4X anisotropic filtering enabled. Still, the trend is the same, with AMD's latest APUs clearly outpacing Intel's various HD graphics options.
 

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Power Consumption

Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we also monitored how much power our test systems consumed using a power meter. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the processors alone.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested At The Outlet

Color us surprised. Although AMD had touted the increased power efficiency afforded by Richland's new boost modes and more sophisticated power management schemes, we thought the chips' higher frequencies would result in higher power consumption across the board.  That was not the case, however; the A10-6700 and A10-6800K both used slightly less power than last year's A10-5800K in our tests, though Intel's processors still sipped power by comparison.

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: AMD’s latest Elite A-Series APUs offer modest performance improvements over their predecessors. When paired with DDR3-1866 memory, the A10-6700 performs very much like the A10-5800K. The A10-6700 puts up somewhat better numbers due to its slightly higher-clocked CPU and GPU cores (3.7GHz / 4.3GHz / 844MHz vs. 3.8GHz / 4.2GHz / 800MHz), but the differences weren’t dramatic. The A10-6800K fares a bit better. Since AMD has qualified the A10-6800K for use with DDR3-2133MHz memory, and the APU is clocked at 4.1GHz (base) / 4.4GHz (Turbo) / 844MHz (GPU), its performance is better than any previous APU across the board. The higher CPU clocks improve processor performance, and the faster GPU and memory improve graphics performance considerably. Power consumption is also lower than last year's models.  Versus Intel’s offerings, Richland doesn’t do much to minimize Intel’s lead in CPU performance, but AMD’s lead in integrated / on-die graphics performance has been maintained. Even the Intel HD 4600-series graphics in the Haswell-based Core i5-4670K doesn’t come close to the performance of the Radeon HD 8000-series GPU in Richland.


The AMD A10-6800K Black Edition Packaging

The AMD Elite A-Series APUs we’ve shown you here should be available at retail and from AMD’s system partners immediately. Pricing for these new APUs ranges from $69 for the entry-level A6-6400K dual-core to $142 to the top-of-line A10-6800K.


AMD Richland Elite A-Series APU Line-up

At those prices, AMD’s latest Richland Elite A-Series APUs are somewhat more expensive than their Trinity-based counterparts, which currently top out at about $129, but they’re priced very competitively with Intel’s offerings. The Core i3-3225, for example, is currently selling for $139; the couple of extra bucks for the A10-6800K will get you a better-performing CPU (in multi-threaded workloads, at least) with a much higher-performing GPU. However, Intel still has the edge in single-thread performance and power efficiency. These new APUs are also drop-in upgrades for existing platforms. Looking back at the numbers, we doubt anyone with a high-end Trinty-based APU will feel the need to upgrade, but if you’ve currently got a low-end socket FM2 APU and want to breathe some new life into the system, a Richland Elite A-Series APU is the easiest way to do it and it won't break the bank.

  • Good Graphics Performance
  • Eyefinity Support
  • Low Idle Power
  • Native USB 3.0 and SATA III
  • Minor Update
  • Intel Maintains Its Performance Lead



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