AMD Richland Desktop APUs Now Availableby Jarred Walton on June 5, 2013 12:01 AM EST
We’ve all known for a while that AMD would be releasing desktop Richland SKUs, and there have been a few leaks—including the APUs going up for sale at Newegg yesterday, one day before the NDA. The details of the new AMD Elite A-Series Desktop APUs don’t muddy the waters too much. These are updated Trinity cores, built on the same manufacturing technology, with higher clock speeds and improved memory support thanks to a maturing process and the passage of time. We’ve already covered the mobile Richland APUs, which are starting to show up in laptops (though sadly we haven’t had any in for review yet). Here are the details of the desktop parts, six of which are now available.
|AMD Elite A-Series Desktop APUs, aka Richland|
|CPU Base Freq||4.1||3.7||3.9||3.5||3.9||3.0|
|Graphics||HD 8670D||HD 8670D||HD 8570D||HD 8570D||HD 8470D||?|
|Price (MSRP)||$150 ($142)||$149 ($142)||$120 ($112)||$119 ($112)||$80||$46|
Just to put things in perspective, here are the previous generation Trinity desktop APUs:
|AMD Trinity Desktop APUs|
|CPU Base Freq||3.8||3.4||3.6||3.2||3.6||3.4|
|Graphics||HD 7660D||HD 7660D||HD 7560D||HD 7560D||HD 7540D||HD 7480D|
All of the CPU and GPU clocks are up (with the exception with the budget-minded A4-4000), as expected. Maximum Turbo Core speeds across the lineup range from 200MHz faster (A10-6800K) to as much as 400MHz faster (A8-6500); the base CPU clocks have also been increased 100-300MHz, with the 300MHz increase coming on the highest performance models. We’ve also been informed that the Richland APUs will be more likely to hit their maximum Turbo Core clocks, whereas Trinity was more likely to run at the base clock, so all told, we would expect performance to be up anywhere from 5% to as much as 25% in extreme cases, with the average being more likely in the 10% range.
On the GPU front, the Richland APUs are likewise clocked 5-11% higher (the only 11% gap being the A10-6700 vs. the A10-5700; the rest are 5%). At least for now street pricing is also up around 10-15%, so you’re basically paying a bit more to get a bit more performance. Also worth mention is that all of the Richland parts will work in existing socket FM2 motherboards, with support for the A85X, A75, and A55 platforms. There will be forward compatibility with FM2+ motherboards as well. It’s unlikely many people will be looking to upgrade from Trinity to Richland (just like we don’t expect many people to move from Ivy Bridge to Haswell), but the existing FM2 motherboards will help keep the price of adoption low.
While it may appear that Intel’s new Haswell chips could cause AMD some grief in the graphics department, there’s more to the story than just performance. With Trinity and Ivy Bridge, AMD clearly had a faster iGPU, but depending on what you’re looking at that’s no longer inherently true. It’s going to be a bit closer now when we compare Intel’s HD Graphics 4200/4400/4600 with the HD 8670D, but the GT3e Iris Pro 5200 should prove substantially more potent. That will likely be true of the GT3 HD Graphics 5000 when compared with mobile Trinity as well. However, Iris Pro 5200 also ends up adding to the cost of a Haswell chip, and U-series Haswell chips will be selling in substantially more expensive Ultrabooks. So we’re basically back to the same story as before: AMD will sell you “good enough” performance at a much lower price than Intel.
The fastest AMD A10-6800K costs $40 less than the least expensive Core i5 Haswell CPU, and in fact it’s still $30-$40 less than Core i5 Ivy Bridge. Intel competes against the A10-6800K with their Core i3 CPUs, which on the desktop remain Ivy Bridge for now. Unless you need absolutely top CPU performance, AMD’s A10 APUs have proven more than sufficient for most tasks—even high-end gaming rarely benefits from a faster CPU than an A10 until you start using two or more GPUs. That’s really the question you need to answer: what do you intend to do with your PC? For pure CPU performance, Intel wins easily, and Quick Sync is great for fast video transcoding; outside of those use cases, though, AMD’s APUs continue to provide a good experience that will keep all but the most demanding of users happy.