AMD Trinity: A10-5800K & A8-5600K 2nd Gen APUs

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Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a very important and often neglected aspect to consider as it determines overall operating costs. It also affects the amount of heat produced, which in turn affects how much noise is needed to maintain adequate cooling.

Under light load, the two Trinity chips fared similarly to its older Llano brother, the A8-3850. All three APUs were on par with a Intel's Sandy Bridge offerings in this regard, a noticeable improvement over AMD's old school Phenom-based CPUs and Bulldozer.

While Trinity is quite thrifty when lightly taxed, the same cannot be said on heavy load. The A10-5800K and A8-5600K used about 30W and 15W more, respectively, than the i5-2500K when encoding video using HandBrake.

One odd thing we noticed was the A10-5800K's Prime95 power draw started off at about 158W, then slowly tapered off until it remained steady at 130W. According to CPU-Z, the CPU frequency was fluctuating the entire time, varying anywhere between 2.9 and 4.1 GHz.

For some extra context, we've determined what we call the "average power consumption" which assumes the system is used half the time for light load activities (an average of idle and H.264 playback) and the remaining half for heavy load (an average of the power consumption used running our five benchmarks). We believe this is a very common usage scenario for an average PC — they are often left on for long periods of time, doing little to no work.

In this scenario, Trinity isn't really that far behind Intel's offerings. The A8-5600K for example, consumes just 4W more than the Core i5-2500K.

For users with heavy workloads, the total power consumed while running our benchmark suite is of pertinent interest. The total power takes into account the energy efficiency of each CPU while running our benchmark tests as well as how quickly they complete each task. This simulates the power draw of a machine that is purely for doing work and shuts down when its job is finished.

When it comes to getting things done, Intel has a massive advantage, with the Core i5-2500K using almost half the total power as many of AMD's multi-core processors. Keep in mind the 2500K is a US$200+ CPU, though the i3-2100 which is much closer in price as the new Trinity APUs, still hands them both a good beating.

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