AMD A10-7800 “Kaveri” APU Review

by - 6 years ago

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Introduction & What’s New?


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In January 2014 AMD unveiled its latest generation of accelerated processing units dubbed “Kaveri”. The range was formed of the A10-7850K flagship, the A10-7700K mid-range part and the entry level & low power A8-7600. Back in February I conducted a comprehensive performance analysis of all the released Kaveri APUs. In short, I found them all to be very interesting but I was most impressed by the A8-7600. The reason for this is that it offered a solid amount of performance for its thermal envelope and price, overall the A8-7600 seems ideal for anyone building a multi-use entry level system. The configurable TDP option, of between 45 to 65W, also makes the A8-7600 a great choice for a wide variety of form factors: such as HTPCs, fanless systems and so on. AMD’s A8-7600 is only getting launched now, despite being paper-launched back in January. Alongside the launch of the A8-7600 AMD is also releasing a new APU, the A10-7800 – which is what we are testing in this review. The A10-7800 will be physically identical to the A10-7850K except it does not come with an unlocked option. The main reason for that is that the A10-7800 is optimised for low power and has the configurable TDP of 45-65W like the A8-7600 does.

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The pricing for the A10-7800 will be $155, on par with the A10-7700K. The main advantage of the A10-7800 over the A8-7600 is that it features higher clock speeds and two more GPU compute units. This gives it more power on the CPU and GPU side making it more capable of gaming and productivity.

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Why not just buy an A10-7850K and set its TDP to 65W? You can do that but AMD claims that you’ll get more performance out of the A10-7800 at 65W than the A10-7850K at 65W. Not to mention that the A10-7850K is a more expensive option, especially if you have no desire to overclock. That’s why the A10-7800 SKU was created, to offer more performance than the A8-7600 but still in a small thermal envelope.

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To entice consumers into buying its Kaveri APUs AMD will be offering a choice of a free game, consumers can choose one of three big titles. All three games are part of AMD’s Gaming Evolved program.

Is there anything new that the A10-7800 brings to the table? No not really. It is just a new SKU of the Kaveri APU architecture: a power optimised version of the A10-7850K. As a result of that we can expect its performance to be broadly similar to the A10-7850K, although a little slower and with a little less power draw.

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Test System and Methods


Before we delve into any testing we would like to take this opportunity to overview our test system and thank those sponsors who kindly provided us with test equipment to make our work possible. We offer our thanks to:

Intel for supplying us with a Core i7 4770K processor, which we reviewed here and the Core i7 4790K processor, which we reviewed here.

AMD for supplying us with an FX-8350 processor, which we reviewed here, the A8-3870K, the A10-5800K, which we reviewed here, the A10-6800K, which we reviewed here, the A10-7850K, which we reviewed here and the A10-7800.

ASUS for supplying us with an ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3+ motherboard, which we reviewed here, an ASUS F1A75-M PRO, which we reviewed here, an ASUS A88X-PRO, which we reviewed here, and an Maximus VII Ranger Z97 Motherboard, which we reviewed here.

Kingston for supplying us with a Hyper X 3K 240GB solid state drive, which we reviewed here, and the HyperX Fury 8GB 1866MHz memory kit, which we reviewed here.

Corsair for supplying us with a Hydro Series H100i liquid CPU cooler, which we reviewed here.

Be Quiet for supplying us with a Straight Power E9 680W power supply unit, which we reviewed here.

Sapphire for supplying us with an AMD R9 290 Tri-X graphics card, which we reviewed here.

Lian Li for supplying us with a PC-T60A test bench.

Noctua for supplying us with NT-H1 thermal compound.

Test System

  • Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula (AM3+), ASUS F1A75-M PRO (FM1), ASUS A88X-PRO (FM2+) and ASUS Maximus VII Ranger Z97 (LGA 1150)
  • CPU: AMD FX-8350 processor, AMD A8-3870K APU, AMD A10-5800K APU, AMD A10-6800K APU, AMD A10-7850K APU, Intel Core i7 4770K processor and Intel Core i7 4790K processor
  • GPU: Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X graphics card
  • RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 1866MHz 8GB kit (CL10, 2 x 4GB)
  • Cooling: Corsair H100i with Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound
  • Case: Lian Li PC-T60A test bench
  • Storage Drives: Kingston 240GB Hyper X 3K SSD
  • PSU: Be Quiet Straight Power E9 680W
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit SP1

Test Software

  • 3DMark – available here.
  • AIDA 64 Engineer – available here.
  • Bioshock Infinite – available here.
  • Cinebench – available here.
  • Compubench – available here.
  • CPUID HWMonitor – available here.
  • CPU-Z – available here.
  • Handbrake – available here.
  • Luxmark – available here.
  • Metro Last Light – available here.
  • Prime95 – available here.
  • SiSoft Sandra Engineer – available here.
  • Tomb Raider – available here.
  • WPrime – available here.
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CPU Benchmarks – Cinebench, Handbrake and WPrime


Cinebench R15

Cinebench is a widely respected benchmark for testing the performance of x86 CPUs. The program allows you to test single and multi-threaded performance as well as GPU performance by rendering with Open GL. Download here.

a10_7800_cinebench

Handbrake

HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs. Download here.

a10_7800_handbrake

WPrime

wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton’s method for estimating functions. wPrime is a free utility that is available for download here.

a10_7800_WPrime

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Memory Benchmarks – AIDA64 and SiSoft Sandra


AIDA64 Engineer

AIDA64 Engineer is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for engineers. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives. AIDA64 is compatible with all current 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. Memory and cache benchmarks are available to analyze system RAM bandwidth and latency. Download here.

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SiSoft Sandra

The SiSoft Sandra memory benchmark is based on STREAM. STREAM is a popular memory bandwidth benchmark that has been used on personal computers to super computers. It measures sustained memory bandwidth not burst or peak. Therefore, the results may be lower than those of other benchmarks. Download a free trial version of SiSoft Sandra here.

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Memory Latencya10_7800_memlat

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OpenCL Benchmarks – Compubench and Luxmark


Compubench CL

CompuBench is a unified performance benchmarking tool that gives realistic feedback on the performance of various compute API implementations used for parallel programming of heterogeneous systems. Based on CLBenchmark, the first professional OpenCL benchmark on the market, it compares CPUs, GPUs and accelerators of desktop and mobile devices by their compute performance characteristics. Download here.

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a10_7800_compubench2

Luxmark

LuxMark is a OpenCL benchmark tool. The idea for the program was conceived in 2009 by Jean-Francois ‘Jromang’ Romang. The idea was quite simple, wrap SLG inside an easy to use graphical user interface and use it as a benchmark for OpenCL. Download here.

a10_7800_luxmark

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Discrete GPU Benchmarks – 3DMark and 1080p Games


3DMark

3DMark Firestrike is Futuremark’s latest creation for testing the GPU performance of high end gaming PCs using Direct X 11 graphics. You can download a free basic version of 3DMark here.

a10_7800_3dmark

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite is a first person shooter developed by Irrational Games that is the third instalment of the Bioshock series. The game is the last to be produced by Irrational Games before they announced their closure in February 2014. The game has sold over 4 million copies since its 2013 release.

a10_7800_bioshock

Metro: Last Light

Metro: Last Light is a single-player first-person shooter video game with survival horror and stealth elements, developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in May 2013.

a10_7800_metro

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is a popular action-adventure video game published by Square Enix based on the Tomb Raider franchise. The game was released in 2013 and as of March 2014 had sold 6 million copies.

a10_7800_tombraider

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iGPU Benchmarks – 3DMark and 720p Games


3DMark

3DMark Firestrike is Futuremark’s latest creation for testing the GPU performance of high end gaming PCs using Direct X 11 graphics. You can download a free basic version of 3DMark here.

a10_7800_3dmark2

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite is a first person shooter developed by Irrational Games that is the third instalment of the Bioshock series. The game is the last to be produced by Irrational Games before they announced their closure in February 2014. The game has sold over 4 million copies since its 2013 release.

a10_7800_bioshock2

Metro: Last Light

Metro: Last Light is a single-player first-person shooter video game with survival horror and stealth elements, developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in May 2013.

a10_7800_metro2

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is a popular action-adventure video game published by Square Enix based on the Tomb Raider franchise. The game was released in 2013 and as of March 2014 had sold 6 million copies.

a10_7800_tombraider2

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Power Consumption and Temperatures


Power Consumption

To measure power consumption we use a killawatt meter and measure the total system power draw at the wall. We run three different scenarios for 5 minutes and take the average reading, these are Windows desktop idle, AIDA64’s system stability test and Prime95’s blend test.

a10_7800_Power

Temperatures

To measure temperatures we run three different scenarios for 5 minutes: Windows desktop idle, AIDA64 Engineer system stability test and Prime95 Blend system load. We take the average maximum core temperature for AIDA64 and Prime95 and take the average minimum core temperature for desktop idle.

a10_7800_temps

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Final Thoughts


Pricing

AMD’s A10-7800 APU has an MSRP of $155 and comes with a 3 year warranty. The UK price should be around £110-115 while the EU price should be around €140-145.

Overview

The AMD A10-7800 APU is a worthy product SKU for AMD to release, it serves a purpose in offering strong level of performance in a low power and compact form factor. As a new release I find it hard to get that excited about the A10-7800 APU since it is merely a throttled version of the A10-7850K. The throttling mainly occurs on the CPU side, as our results show the CPU performance takes a significant hit moving down from 65 to 45W, yet power consumption only drops by around 10-15W. Given that the A10-7850K APU was already in a precarious place in terms of CPU performance, the A10-7800 feels CPU constrained. In terms of the GPU aspect, we see virtually identical performance to the A10-7850K when comparing the 65W mode – in the 45W mode the GPU performance takes a slight tumble but this is mainly due to the fact the CPU is bottlenecking the graphics performance. The overall performance of this APU in 45W mode is sufficient for most people’s needs and is capable of a reasonable gaming experience and some productivity.

The important question is: what kind of functional purpose does the A10-7800 serve compared to the A8-7600 (which offers equivalent TDP functions) or A10-7850K (which offers the same hardware and also the ability to run at a 45W TDP)? The expectation is that buyers of this part will want the 45W mode as this is where the A10-7800 does well, that low TDP enables you to build systems in smaller form factors because you don’t have to dissipate as much heat and you do not need a discrete GPU. However, the A8-7600 also offers that same 45W mode for $54 less. We could certainly see some interesting compact and maybe even fanless systems built using the A10-7800, it should make very powerful HTPCs, but in a HTPC environment I am still more inclined to recommend the A8-7600. Relatively speaking the A10-7800 should offer about 10-20% more GPU performance than the A8-7600 when comparing at the 45W envelopes, most of that is driven by the extra GPU compute units that are made available, but how useful are these extra GPU cores really going to be for the typical use-case scenarios of a 45W TDP APU? With that said the 45W mode should still be the main use of the A10-7800, as a 65W part there’s no difference between this and the A10-7850K in power consumption – it merely costs a bit less and takes a CPU performance hit.

Would I recommend that you rush to a retailer and buy one of these? Possibly, but I think you need to have a use for a 45W APU with more graphics horsepower than the A8-7600 and to me that market seems modest in the desktop space. Power efficient APUs with stronger iGPUs might be something AMD would benefit more from by targeting the notebook space as well as new mobile form factors similar to things like Intel’s NUC. I believe that if power consumption is the primary concern for you then you’d be better off with the cheaper A8-7600. I can visualise the idea of the AMD A10-7800 if you just need a processor with a fair amount of graphics horsepower but don’t quite need the extra speed or overclockability that the A10-7850K possesses – not to mention you’ll save yourself $20 as well. However, at the same time there aren’t that many applications that are able to take advantage of GPU compute yet, and the A10-7800 isn’t really cut out for much in the way of gaming. I guess what I am trying to say in simple terms is that the A10-7800 is an interesting chip, but it doesn’t offer enough more than the A8-7600 to justify a price that is 50% higher.

Pros

  • Maintains strong GPU performance in 65 and 45W modes
  • Retains all the features of the A10-7850K flagship
  • Pricing is competitive relative to the A10-7850K
  • Part of game bundle program

Cons

  • CPU performance takes a hit to lower TDP
  • Power consumption isn’t as good as it should be given the TDP claims
  • Doesn’t offer anything that is strictly new
  • Pricing is dubious relative to the A8-7600
  • Applications that can use GPU compute are still sparse

“The A10-7800 demonstrates the low-power promise of AMD’s Kaveri architecture: there is a solid amount of overall performance to be had in such a power frugal unit.”

Thank you to AMD for providing this review sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction and What's New?
  2. Test System and Methods
  3. CPU Benchmarks - Cinebench, Handbrake and WPrime
  4. Memory Benchmarks - AIDA64 and SiSoft Sandra
  5. OpenCL Benchmarks - Compubench and Luxmark
  6. Discrete GPU Benchmarks - 3DMark and 1080p Games
  7. iGPU Benchmarks - 3DMark and 720p Games
  8. Power Consumption and Temperatures
  9. Final Thoughts
  10. View All

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