APUs have been AMD’s saving grace along with their Radeon stack for the past couple of years now since the company has yet to release any decent counter-attack to Intel. On the other hand, Intel is making great strides in its IGP technology but even with this, the Intel HD Graphics still can’t hold a candle to the visual prowess of AMD’s APUs with built-in Radeon IGPs. The last incarnation of APUs saw the release of Trinity which incorporated Piledriver cores brought into the mix. Today we have the refresh of Trinity, Richland, which sees a couple of improvements from its predecessor mainly power management and bumped-up clocks. For this article, we’ll focus on the gaming performance of this processor and see if it can accommodate more than just your occasional Popcap or Flash game. Read on!

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AMD A-Series Black Edition Unlocked Processors now brandishing the Elite monicker for the higher-end APUs

Build or upgrade your system with an AMD Elite A-Series APU processor that fits your needs:

AMD A4 Processors feature:

  • Enjoy music, photos and videos fast with next generation performance
  • Enjoy smooth, stabilized videos with AMD Steady Video technology 2.01
  • Stream fast, browse and share with enhanced Windows 8 apps, media and more
  • USB 3.0 makes it easy to share photos and videos

AMD A6 Processors include all of the above features, plus:

  • Stay productive when compressing files3
  • Experience smoother playback for videos and enhanced quality for photos with the AMD HD Media Accelerator
  • Connect to multiple displays with AMD Eyefinity Technology3
  • Watch movies, play games and get more done with Windows 8 apps, media and more

AMD A8 Processors include all of the above features, plus:

  • Enter the fray with ultra-immersive AMD HD3D gaming4
  • Blaze past your opponents with DirectX® 11-capable graphics
  • Get up to twice the graphics performance with AMD Radeonâ„¢ Dual Graphics Technology2

AMD A10 Processors include all of the above features, plus:

  • Tear through everyday applications with AMD Turbo Core 3.0 technology
  • Even the odds with up to twice the graphics performance with AMD Radeonâ„¢ Dual Graphics Technology2
  • Blaze through games and apps with up to 4.4GHz of blistering speed

*From official APU page

AMD A10-6800K SPECIFICATIONS

Specs Listing (Newegg)
Specs Listing (Newegg)

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Overclocking

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The A10-6800K sample we have seems like a very good chip as we’ve seen some people online having problems getting a stable 5Ghz. That said, it also brings to light that not all Richland chips are good clockers and depending on your luck in the silicon lottery you may end up with a 5Ghz chip or a crappy one that craps itself with the mildest of tweaks. Moving on, we got our A10-6800K chip to 5Ghz and the IGP to 1015Mhz. We will use these settings for our overclocked tests in the section that follows.

Performance Testing – Gaming

Processor: AMD A10-6800K Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-F2A85XN-WIFI
Memory: Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary Edition DDR3-2400
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB
PSU: Seasonic X-760W
Cooling: Phanteks PH-TC14PE
Monitor: LG E2350V

For CPU and overall performance testing, please refer to our GIGABYTE GA-F2A85XN-WIFI Motherboard review. For this round of testing we’ll focus more on the gaming ability of the APU. In today’s gaming generation there are plenty of games that see action on a frequent basis and we’ve pulled the titles that we deem most representative of each gaming genres visual load. We include the overclocked performance for comparison, do note that mileage may vary.

I know you silicon freaks out there reading this right now have a sick grin in your faces seeing the results. But considering the market of such a processor, typical resolutions would hover in the 1360×768 or even just 720p resolutions. In our non-graphed tests, we did some runs with those resolutions with only Crysis 3 and Resident Evil 6 proving they’re really a challenge but at an average of 38-40FPS, the game is still playable. In the 1080p tests we have above, we see Battlefield 3 managing to rake-in playable frame rates. Torchlight II on the other hand, being the light game it is, proves to be no challenge for the APU. Games like DOTA2 or League of Legends will be easy task for the IGP and some older games will definitely run fine on it also.

CONCLUSION

For real processing tasks, most builders will opt for the faster Intel processors but for general usage, typical is the kind of consumers that goes by numbers and value. For the A10-6800K, being marketed as a 4.4Ghz chip is certainly something that a lot of not-so-informed consumers will easily go for. In a more practical scenario, familiar consumers will want an affordable system that can grind multimedia tasks and also handle some gaming would definitely want an APU and the A10-6800K does a bit of both without breaking the bank.

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Let’s break down our scores:

Performance. As a builder of APU systems, I’ve come to understand the benefits of such systems when used in proper applications. In the case of the A10-6800K, potential consumers are mainstream enthusiasts looking for a light system to handle day to day tasks with occasional 3D gaming. In such instances, the A10-6800K delivers nicely putting into perspective the price of the system. More on that later, for now we feel that the A10-6800K’s computing and gaming performance is sufficient in light to moderate applications and 3D games. The overclocking potential also helps.

Build Quality. Nothing really much to comment here except that after going through 2 samples and managing to reach a stable 4.9-5Ghz easy, I’d say these chips are pretty good clockers which means they’re of seriously good quality.

Functionality. We gotta give it to AMD for squeezing out some more performance out of existing technology and with those improvements comes some good benefits. That said, the A10-6800K processor lends itself nicely to applications where a GPU isn’t really needed but some video horsepower could be useful. HTPCs and light gaming machines are some of the top possible usage scenarios as well as office PCs that demand some more level of power.

Bundle. Not really anything else to look for, but the bundled cooler is really a bit lacking and if you want to do some overclocking, you’ll end up going for aftermarket cooling. Would have been nice if AMD bundled the heatpipe stock coolers from the top-end Phenoms and FX procs.

Value. You’re gonna be looking at this at two different perspectives but ultimately its gonna end up as one: 1) you’re either looking to cheap out on getting a GPU and save yourself around 80USD in the process or 2) you just want a capable processor but don’t want to go for an Intel route because of the platform cost. Locally available for ₱7,050 in retail, its way below Intel’s Ivy Bridge and Haswell offerings and in terms of GPU performance is ahead by leaps and bounds. Computing power is another issue altogether but if you’re already compromising then we assume its not priority to have a high-performance processor. That being said, you’re also skimping on a discrete GPU which for AMD’s entry level is non-existent since APUs take up this market and NVIDIA doesn’t seem to bother providing any new solution aside from their GT series which start at around 80USD for a comparable graphics card.

In closing, the A10-6800K is a solid performing CPU and GPU and by solid we mean its got enough punch to be felt at the right weight division. That division is the HTPC and family desktop which would see varied usage but will generally be a gaming and multimedia setup. If you want a light system for the usage scenarios like those we mentioned the A10-6800K is your chip.

We give the A10-6800K our Value Award.

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