AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APUs

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AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APUs

July 1, 2013 by Lawrence Lee

Product
AMD A10-6800K FM2 Processor AMD A10-6700
FM2 Processor
Manufacturer
Street Price
US$150

The A10-6800K and A10-6700 represent the best of what AMD currently has to offer in desktop APUs (accelerated processing units). They're based on a new architecture, codename Richland, which is their third generation APU, a follow up to Trinity using the same FM2 socket. This is a bittersweet update as FM2 will begin to be fazed out late this year to make way for the next generation, Kaveri, which will require new socket FM2+ motherboards. Upgradeability has been a selling point for AMD in the past but those days are long gone, at least as far as their budget APU platform is concerned. FM1 lasted less than a year before it was succeeded and FM2 will not live much longer than that.


The A10-6800K.

With the clock ticking on FM2, you would think they would need to make some drastic improvements to tempt users into investing in an almost redundant platform. Actually, Richland is very similar to Trinity on paper, more so than most processor architecture upgrades. Underneath the hood are the same Piledriver CPU packages and the "new" Radeon HD 8000 series graphics chips are simply rebadged HD 7000's using the same Northern Islands core. What's really changed is how things work inside.

Hybrid Boost, AMD's new power management system, is the key feature that makes Richland an upgrade. The APU is outfitted with multiple sensors to monitor the thermal conditions of every component and region throughout the chip, giving Hybrid Boost plenty of information to make intelligent decisions regarding the adjustment of clock speeds and voltages. Richland also has more P-states and sub-states, that is more defined frequency/voltage levels, to switch between. This gives the system fine-grain control to eke out as much performance as possible when the need arises while staying within the defined power envelope. Hybrid Boost can also detect whether the CPU or GPU is bottlenecking work and adjusts the states of either chip accordingly.

So what does this mean to the end user? The crux of it is Richland can be run at faster clock speeds than Trinity without increasing the power draw, even though the main building blocks, the CPU and GPU cores, are identical. It's essentially a free performance boost.

Richland Desktop APU Comparison
Model
A10-6800K
A10-6700
A8-6600K
A8-6500
A6-6400K
CPU Cores
4
4
4
4
2
CPU Clock (Turbo/Base)
4.4 / 4.1 GHz
4.3 / 3.7 GHz
4.2 / 3.9 GHz
4.1 / 3.6 GHz
4.1 / 3.9 GHz
Total L2 Cache
4MB
4MB
4MB
4MB
1MB
Max DDR3 Frequency
2133 MHz
1866 MHz
1866 MHz
1866 MHz
1866 MHz
GPU Name
HD 8670D
HD 8670D
HD 8570D
HD 8570D
HD 8470D
GPU Clock
844 MHz
844 MHz
844 MHz
800 MHz
800 MHz
Radeon Cores
384
384
256
256
192
Unlocked
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
TDP
100W
65W
100W
65W
65W
Street Price (USD)
$150
$150
$120
$120
$80

The pair of A10's we're testing today are the headliners, the A10-6800K and A10-6700. They have very high CPU clock speeds and the best graphics chip available, the HD 8670D, which features 384 Radeon Cores and a GPU clock speed of 844 MHz (a 44~84 MHz increase over Trinity's flagship HD 7660D). The A10-6800K supports faster DDR3 memory with speeds up to 2133 MHz which is a nice boon for those running on integrated graphics (memory frequency is critical to IGP performance) and an unlocked multiplier for easier overclocking. The A10-6700 lacks these amenities but sports a lower TDP (65W vs. 100W) thanks primarily to a lower base CPU frequency. Lower-clocked quad core A8's and a dual core A6 is also available.

When considering the cost of a system, the CPU is only part of the equation as the price of motherboards varies greatly from platform to platform. In the chart above, we added the current street price of the chips compared today to those of an average compatible motherboard from Newegg. The following criteria were used for the motherboards: retail versions, Asus/Intel/Gigabyte/MSI branded, microATX/ATX form factor, SATA 6 Gbps and USB 3.0 controllers, and outrageously priced models were omitted. The average motherboard price turned out to be US$119 for LGA1155, US$105 for AM3+, and US$92 for FM2.

At US$150, the A10-6800K and A10-6700 are strategically priced between Intel's quad core and dual core processors but AMD's lower motherboard prices are what really give them an edge.



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