AMD A10-7800 Kaveri APU Review
AMDís Kaveri APUs may not have the spotlight hogging allure of Intelís latest offerings like Devilís Canyon or the upcoming Haswell-E but in the right set of circumstances they can be an excellent solution. After years of struggling to meet sales targets with both Llano, Trinity and Richland, Kaveri is seen as a whole new ballgame since it incorporates a host of next-generation heterogonous computing technologies. While many of those HSA-focused additions have yet to be fully utilized by todayís applications, aggressive pricing, an excellent feature set, a capable platform and surprisingly robust graphics performance have helped these APUs carve out a niche for themselves.
When we first reviewed Kaveri, there were a number of gaps within AMDís lineup that were temporarily taken up by carry-over Richland APUs. The A10-7850K and A8-7600 on our test system were joined by the A8-7600 but entry Trinity APUs were missing in action since day one. Now, nearly eight months after desktop Kaveri was initially announced, AMD is finally rounding out their offerings by adding two new APUs: the A10-7800 and A6-7400K.
With its unlocked multiplier the A10-7850K is still carrying Kaveriís flagship banner for enthusiasts and has seen a good measure of success among people who are looking for overclocking on a budget. Meanwhile the new A10-7800 is basically the same APU with slightly lower Base and Turbo frequencies but its market focus is much broader than its sibling due to a lower cost and an locked multiplier. These two key points make the 7800 a perfect candidate for system builders whose clients want the best APU money can buy but would never need the K-seriesí overclocking features.
Another interesting feature is the inclusion of a fully configurable TDP, a carry-over from other Kaveri APUs. This allows users to set a hard TDP cap (all the way down to 45W with the 7800) within the BIOS, after which the APU will regulate its clock speeds in an effort to hit the new target. While this does limit performance, HTPC and SFF users are going to love it since they can modify the A10-7800ís output based on their individual needs and squeeze out additional horsepower if required. Just remember that some motherboards donít support TDP adjustments and some system builders may choose to not implement them.
The A10-7800ís graphics capabilities closely mirror those of the A10-7850K and carry the usual Mantle and TrueAudio features. The R7-eries GPU has 512 cores spread across eight SIMD units for a total of twelve of AMDís so-called Compute Cores when they are combined with the four x86 cores. Due to its use of an integrated R7-series graphics processor, the A10-7800 can be paired up with an R7 discrete card for increased performance through AMDís Dual Graphics technology. Weíll be testing this in an upcoming article.
While it wonít be reviewed in this article, AMDís A6-7400K is a particularly interesting addition to their portfolio and is meant as a replacement for the A4-6400K, an APU that flew under most peopleís radar during the previous generation. While it doesnít support Dual Graphics the dual core A6-7400K is a low priced processor which sports an unlocked multiplier, making it extremely appealing for budget-minded overclockers. Unfortunately, Intelís new G3258 Pentium Anniversary Edition will steal much of its thunder but AMDís entry-level $77 Kaveri APU will still boast a significant edge in onboard graphics processing.
After a year in which they launched Kaveri on the desktop and mobile markets alongside Beema and Mullins for low powered systems, AMD looks to be on a roll. Granted, the addition of two new APUís to their FM2+ desktop lineup may not be earth-shattering news but the A10-7800 and A6-7400K are well positioned to take over from their predecessors. They wonít lead to overnight success for a platform that has largely failed to generate design wins but the A10-7800 was desperately needed for larger volume system builders. Weíre just surprised it took this long to roll out, especially with Intelís Broadwell looming large on the horizon.
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