AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APU Reviewformerstaff - June 5, 2013
Price: $142.00 (both)
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AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APU Introduction:
It seemed like forever that anything AMD was promoting, sold, or advertised was accompanied somewhere on the screen with the slogan "The future is Fusion." We wondered when this thing called "Fusion" was going to see the light of day or if it would at all. Now it seems to be moving at breakneck speed, as a couple weeks ago Kabini and Temash, two variants of the Jaguar architecture, were released for the mobile market ranging from an energy sipping 3.9W to the top end of 25W. AMD has also sewn up the deals that put an eight core Jaguar-based APU at the heart of all Sony PlayStation 4s and Microsoft Xbox Ones. Today, however, marks the unveiling of the third incarnation of AMD's APU or Accelerated Processing Unit for the desktop.
Right from the beginning AMD has said that the APU was to be a balanced approach to the computing experience with an SoC that was, and I quote "greater than the sum of its parts." The first incarnation of this ideal was Llano in 2011 that was the industries first meaningful product to combine the CPU and a GPU that was more than enough graphics horsepower to get the machine to display websites while you went shopping for a discrete graphics card to replace it. Llano was well received but was more for the budget end of the segment and needed more graphics power to catch the attention of the mainstream segment.
AMD broke its tradition of socket longevity with the introduction of Trinity last year and the new FM2 socket to go with it. The Trinity series of APUs, however, was more revolutionary than evolutionary with a completely new computing core in the form of the revised and re-stepped Bulldozer modules called Piledriver paired with the graphics of the VLIW4 architecture. The performance leap between it and the first generation was very significant, especially when paired with the plethora of new features and capabilities.
AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APU Closer Look:
Today we have on the table two parts from the latest APU efforts from AMD, code named Richland, in the form of the flagship A10-6800K, an unlocked 100W part that is the successor of the Trinity A10-5800K, and the A10-6700, which is a locked multiplier 65W part. Both are two module, four core Piledriver-based parts with higher performing enhancements and features.
Unlike the last introduction and transition from Llano to Trinity, massive changes cannot be discerned merely by a look at the die shots. Whereas the Llano was an Athlon-based part to the Trinity's Piledriver-based architecture, the Richland is an enhanced Piledriver and VLIW4 architecture-based product as well. The die size remains the same at 246mm² and both are built on the 32nm HKMG fabrication process.
Having a look at the module itself we find 1.3 billion transistors feeding four CPU cores with 128KB of L1 cache (64KB instruction and 64KB data) and 4MB of shared L2 cache with 128-bit FPUs. Turbo Core 3.0 has taken the boost frequency from 4.2GHz from the last generation to 4.4GHz with Richland. As with the last generation, the Richland is also an L3 cache-less module with support for the latest ISA instructions including FMA4/3, AVX, AES, XOP. All of this combining for computing power of up 779 GFLOPS.
Turning to the GPU side of the die, it shows a further illustration of AMD's commitment ot making the computing experience with the APU platform a balanced experience, not only with the percentage of the die dedicated to graphics but the technology to take advantage of the CPU and GPU working in tandem. The GPU side features VLIW4 architecture and HD 8000 series GPU cores with up to 384 shaders working at a stock frequency of 844MHz. There is also support for 8x AA and 16x AF with DirectX 11 support. New to the 2013 A10 APUs is support for DDR3-2133 memory. The Turbo Core for the Richland series has also been enhanced with more frequency and voltage levels for the x86 cores, Temperature Smart Turbo Core, and new bottleneck algorithms to identify and speed up switching frequencies for resource shifting between GPU and CPU workloads, and applying the most efficient use of both as the workloads demand.
Platform updates include AMD Crossfire support with A85X motherboards, AMD memory profile support that will auto detect memory timings in select DIMMs, and AMD Dual Graphics enhancements including easier installation steps and DirectX 9, 10, and 11 support for more titles. All in all an exciting platform shaping up with improved CPU and memory support, enhancements to GPU architecture, a full featured accelerated video converter, unified Northbridge, Eyefinity/DP 1.2 support, and more discrete pairing options and improvements. Below is a look at how the platform all fits together. There are three different chipsets of varying features and price points available for the Richland 2013 A-Series: the A55, A75, and the one we will be plugging our A10-6800K and A10-6700 into today, the flagship A85X. Turn the page for a look at the A85X motherboard before we heat this APU up.
All together there are currently five different variations of the Richland chips being released from the A10 to the A6 models of both unlocked and locked multipliers and varying graphics capabilities from the HD 8670D to the HD 8470. Below is a look at the Richland lineup of APUs and the different chipsets available. As before you can take advantage of AMD Crossfire by adding a discrete graphics card or one of the compatible dual graphics cards as your graphics needs grow. The HD 8000 onboard graphics are still compatible with the same series of discrete cards as the last generation.
AMD is showing us on paper a whole lot of new features and performances. Let's have a look at the motherboard and the A85X FCH featurset and see what comes of it.