The staggered birth of Kaveri has been an interesting story to cover but it has been difficult to keep all the pieces right in the forefront of memory. The initial launch in January 2014 saw a small number of SKUs such as the A10-7850K and the A8-7600 at first and since then we have had a small trickle at a rate of one or two new models a quarter hitting the shelves. We've seen 65W SKUs, such as in the form of the A10-7800, which offer 45W modes as well. Today we're reviewing the most recent Kaveri processor to hit the market, the A8-7650K rated at 95W and officially priced at $105/$95.

AMDs APU Strategy

Integrated graphics is one of the cornerstones of both the mobile and the desktop space. Despite the love we might harbor for a fully discrete graphics solution, the truth of the matter is that most people and most places still have that integrated platform in both consumer and business. Whenever I meet with AMD, the question from them is always simple - when you build a system, what would you get from AMD/Intel at a similar price point? The APU series tackles the sub-$200 price bracket from head to toe:

CPU/APU Comparion
AMD Kaveri Amazon Price on 5/12
 
Intel Haswell
    $236
 
i5-4690K
(4C/4T, 88W)
3.5-3.9 GHz
HD 4600
    $199 i5-4590
(4C/4T, 84W)
3.3-3.7 GHz
HD 4600
    $189 i5-4460
(4C/4T, 84W)
3.2-3.4 GHz
HD 4600
3.7-4.0 GHz
512 SPs
A10-7850K
(2M/4T, 95W)
$140 i3-4330
(2C/4T, 54W)
3.5 GHz
HD 4600
3.5-3.9 GHz
512 SPs
A10-7800
(2M/4T, 65W)
$135    
3.4-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
A10-7700K
(2M/4T, 95W)
$120 i3-4130
(2C/4T, 54W)
3.4 GHz
HD 4400
3.3-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
A8-7650K
(2M/4T, 95W)
$104    
3.1-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
A8-7600
(2M/4T, 65W)
$96 Pentium G3430
(2C/2T, 53W)
3.3 GHz
HD (Haswell)
3.7-4.0 GHz
No IGP
X4 860K
(2M/4T, 95W)
$83    
    $70 Pentium G3258
(2C/2T, 53W)
3.2 GHz
HD (Haswell)
3.5-3.9 GHz
256 SPs
A6-7400K
(1M/2T, 65W)
$64 Celeron G1830
(2C/2T, 53W)
2.8 GHz
HD (Haswell)

I first created this table with launch pricing, and it had some of the APUs/CPUs moved around. But since the release dates of these processors varies on both sides, the prices of individual SKUs has been adjusted to compete.  Perhaps appropriately, we get a number of direct matchups including the A10-7700K and the Core i3-4130 at $120 right now. This table is by no means complete, due to Intel’s 20+ other SKUs that fight around same price points but vary slightly in frequency, but that tells a lot about each sides attack on the market. Some of AMD's recently announced price cuts are here, but for consistency our results tables will list the launch pricing as we have no mechanism for dynamic pricing.

Testing AMDs APUs over the years has provided results that these are not necessarily targeted to the high end when it comes to multi-GPU systems that total $2000+, although AMD wouldn't mind if you built a high end system with one. The key element to the APU has always been the integrated graphics, and the ability to offer more performance or percentage of transistors to graphics than the competition does at various price points (irrespective of TDP). Ultimately AMD likes to promote that for a similarly priced Intel+NVIDIA solution, a user can enable dual graphics with an APU+R7 discrete card for better performance. That being said, the high-end APUs have also historically been considered when it comes to single discrete GPU gaming when the most expensive thing in the system is the GPU as we showed in our last gaming CPU roundup, although we need to test for a new one of those soon.

Part of the new set of tests for this review is to highlight the usefulness of dual graphics, as well as comparing both AMD and NVIDIA graphics for low, mild-mannered and high end gaming arrangements.

The A8-7650K

The new APU fits in the stack between the 65W A8-7600 and before we get into the A10 models with the A10-7700K. It offers a slightly reduced clock speed than the A10, but it is built (in part) for overclocking with the K moniker. The integrated graphics under the hood provide 384 SPs at 720 MHz, being part of AMDs 4+6 compute core strategy. The A8-7650K is designed to fill out the processor stack to that end.

AMD Kaveri Lineup
  A10-
7850K
A10-
7800
A10-
7700K
A8-
7650K
A8-
7600
 X4
860K
A6-
7400K
Price $140 $135 $120 $104 $96 $83 $64
Modules 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
Threads 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
Core Freq. (GHz) 3.7-4.0 3.5-3.9 3.4-3.8 3.3-3.8 3.1-3.8 3.7-4.0 3.5-3.9
Compute Units 4+8 4+8 4+6 4+6 4+6 4+0 2+4
Streaming
Processors
512 512 384 384 384 N/A 256
IGP Freq. (MHz) 720 720 720 720 720 N/A 756
TDP 95W 65W 95W 95W 65W 95W 65W
DRAM
Frequency
2133 2133 2133 2133 2133 1866 1866
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 1MB

At a list price of $105 (current $104), we were at a quandary with what to test against it from team blue. The Pentium G3258 sits at $72 with two cores at 3.2 GHz and HD (Haswell) GT1 graphics. The next one up the stack is the i3-4130, a dual core with hyperthreading and HD4400, but sits at $120. Ultimately there is no direct price competitor, but AMD assured us they were confident in the positing of the SKUs, particularly when gaming is concerned. Due to what I have in my testing lab, the nearest competitor to this is the i3-4330, a model with a larger L3 cache which has a list price of $138, or the i3-4130T which is a low power SKU.

New Testing Methodology
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  • r3loaded - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Now, more than ever, AMD needs Zen. They still have nothing out on the market that can conclusively beat my four year old 2500K. Reply
  • close - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Even Intel barely has something that can conclusively beat your four year old 2500K :). Progress isn't what it used to be. Reply
  • Frenetic Pony - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    That's because Intel's efforts are solely focused on laptops/mobile. They dominate the high end, and would only compete with themselves. This at least leaves AMD an opening next year though, as cramming battery life into the Core series has stalled Intel's development of performance per mm^2 other than process shrink. Reply
  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Especially once oc'd of course. What clock are you using?

    I'm building a 2500K system for a friend atm, easily the best value on a very limited budget.
    Reply
  • r3loaded - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    4.5Ghz for full time use on air in my own system. But yeah, even at stock speeds it's still not a contest for the Intel chip. Reply
  • der - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Awesome testing Methology guys, and definitely a great review. Reply
  • azazel1024 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Ian, I'll grant you it isn't abysmal performance and I doubt most casual users would notice a difference. It doesn't seem honest to say that, "While the APUs aren't necessarily ahead in terms of absolute performance, and in some situations they are behind, but with the right combination of hardware the APU route can offer equivalent performance at a cheaper rate"

    Uhhhh, unless I misread the benchmarks, the AMD processors are at least a little behind to a lot behind vaguely similarly priced Intel processors in the vast majority of CPU benchmarks. That doesn't say "in some" to me, that to me says in most are almost all.

    The only place I see them is either extreme budget or your size constrictions prevent you from getting even a cheap discrete graphics card. Cost and performance wise, you'd probably be better off with something like a GTX750 or 750ti combined with an Intel Celeron or Pentium Haswell processor.

    I really want Zen to be a turn around.

    A quick Amazon check shows that an Intel Haswell Pentium, plus H97 board, plus 2x2GB of DDR3-1600 and a GTX750 would run you in the region of $250. Granted that doesn't include case ($30 for low end), PSU ($40 for a good low power one) or storage ($90 for a 120GB SSD or $50-60 for a 2TB HDD), but it sounds like it was well within that $300 budget considering the bits that could have/were reused...

    Deffinitely to each his own, I just think especially once you start getting in to "dual graphics" (even low end), you are almost certainly better if you are talking two discrete cards, or just getting a slightly faster discrete card than relying on the iGPU+dGPU to drive things as well as a somewhat better processor, that might not be any more expensive (or cheaper, Haswell Pentium/Celeron).
    Reply
  • galta - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    No matter what people say, AMD is driving itself into an ever tighter corner, be it on the CPU or GPU realms.
    One really has a hard time trying to justify choosing them over Intel/nVidia, but for some very specific – and sometimes bizarre - circumstances (eg.: because the only thing I do is compact files on WinRar, I end up finding AMD FX and its 8 cores the best cost/benefit ratio!)
    A8-7650K is no different.
    It is said that things are like that. As a consumer with no intrinsic brand preferences, I would like to see real competition.
    Reply
  • anubis44 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Try compressing those files using 7Zip, and you'll see a dramatic improvement on the FX-8350. 7Zip is highly optimized for multi-threading, whereas WinRAR is single-threaded. Reply
  • galta - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    No, it's not: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=22533...
    Even if it were, that's not the point.
    How many of us, inclunding the bizarre ones, do only compacting on their PCs?
    Reply

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