AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APU Reviewformerstaff -
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AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APU Conclusion:
When I first got my hands on AMD's Second Generation Trinity APU, I was was mightily impressed at what it was able to accomplish. By placing a CPU and a very usable GPU, it made the lower end discrete graphics cards obsolete.
The Third Generation of Fusion has continued that trend while going back to an AMD tradition of going in the same socket as its predecessor, and a great socket it is. Placing a $140 A10-6800K in a $120 A85X motherboard affords you the most versatile and powerful computing platform for the dollar again this year. The A-Series platform can be an entertainment hub, a multitasking workstation, and provide a competent gaming center as well. The A85X FCH is equally impressive with about every option and upgradeable capability you could want. For a meager $50-$80 you can make use of AMD Dual Graphics and take advantage of the ability to run three monitors directly from the motherboard or an add-in discrete card.
While the Richland APUs still use the Piledriver cores, it appears that the increase in the CPU half of the die is the result of more than just the increase in frequency and that work on the IPC has been done as well. Or at least the workload switching and resource communication is improved. The CPU capabilities of the A10-6800K are now in league with the Intel i3-3220 and i5-3470, depending on the testing.
When I say "the CPU half" that is not far off, as the portion dedicated to the GPU is now a full 42% of the die, and the improvements from the last generation have been made on a die that is exactly the same size. Also new to the Richland A-Series are max turbo frequencies up to 4.4GHz and HD 8000 series GPU cores of the VLIW4 architecture. While still possessing the same 384 shader cores as the previous generation, it seems to out perform them by some 20%.
When I reviewed the Trinity series I made a comment about how amazing it was to see the CPU and GPU ability to read the workload at hand and throttle them back and forth as was needed. The Richland generation has added a new set of what AMD is calling "bottleneck algorithms" that ostensibly can read the workloads need for either resource and perform faster switching to the appropriate resource even faster.
Overclocking capability seems to be on par with the last generation. I am convinced that had I a bit more time I could have gotten a bit more out of them, however the GPU side of things was as easily overclockable as ever. Reaching an easy 1.1GHz on either chip, it easily bumped the graphics capability up at least to the next discrete level for an easy 20% more performance.
Adding more performance over the previous generation is the native support for 2133MHz memory. In my own tests I found that you can expect a 10-15% increase in overall performance with the use of 2133MHz ram over 1600MHz memory. With the introduction of Haswell, Intel has got a bit closer in the IGP department this week going up against the Trinity. AMD, it seems, has just moved the bar higher again.
AMD has said from the inception that the idea behind the APU was to be "more than the sum of its parts." While that can be used as a meme for the lowering of expectations, AMD has has once again demonstrated that the "more than the sum of its parts" translates to just that. Power, versatility, and value in a single package.
- Increased CPU performance
- Increased GPU performance
- GPU overclocking
- Eyefinity capabilities
- Gaming capabilities
- FM2 compatability
- On-die UVD3 capabilities
- Eight SATA 6Gb/s with A85X FCH
- Memory scaling
- No GCN graphics incorporation