The Overall Experience
AMD has long been touting the "user experience" with their APUs. Ever since Conroe hit the scene, AMD has been trailing Intel in terms of absolute x86/CPU performance. But AMD contends that the additional focus the company puts on graphics pays dividends to end-users. AMD argues that most users feel modern processors are “fast enough” for most tasks, but appreciate the additional graphics horsepower afforded by an APU.
With that in mind, we spent a few days simply computing day to day on an A10-5800K-based system. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, except maybe run a few apps and games that we wouldn’t normally use on a daily basis.
Day-To-Day Computing: While we’re not ever going to say a system is “fast enough” here at HotHardware---there’s always room for more performance—general computing on a A10-based system we great. Web browsing, checking / writing e-mail, image editing, and tooling around the OS were perfectly smooth and fluid. Of course it helped that our system was equipped with 8GB of fast RAM and a speedy SSD, regardless, the overall feel of the system was fine. Even though we personally use much more powerful systems as our daily workstations, we never found ourselves wanting for additional horsepower, performing everyday tasks.
Multimedia: Watching videos on the A10-based system was also very satisfying, for the most part. A wide range of MKV and WMV files hosted on a NAS device played back flawlessly on our A10-based system, as did a array of DVDs and Blu-Rays. We did, however, run into a slight hiccup with HD Flash videos. Even with full-screen, 1080P Flash videos, the A10 based system was able to play them back smoothly, with nary a dropped frame. However, CPU utilization was much higher than expected, usually in the neighborhood of 20%. For reference, our Core i3-based test beds hovered around the 3-4% mark playing back the very same videos. AMD has had some issues accelerating certain types of Flash video in the past, and it seems they still have some work to do to ensure proper support.
Gaming: Gaming on the A10 was also pretty good, once we leveled our expectations. We’re used to gaming on high-end multi-GPU configurations, so there were some adjustments to make when gaming on the A10-5800K, which is outfitted with a relatively modest graphics core by comparison. Overall though, running with the right settings, gaming is perfectly acceptable on an A10 APU. As we showed you on the previous pages, older games have no trouble hitting playable framerates at relatively high resolutions like 1920x1200, with high-quality graphics settings. Casual games are also no trouble for the A10’s built-in GPU. More current titles, however, will require scaling back the image quality settings and lowering the resolution. Games like Dirt: Showdown, F1 2012, and Batman: Arkham City, for example, ran best at mid-range quality settings with lower resolutions.