AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APUs

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CPU Performance Analysis

We arrived at our overall performance figures by giving each CPU a proportional score in each real world benchmark with each test having an equal weighting. The scale has been adjusted so that the A10-6800K is the reference point with a score of 100.

Overall, all Richland delivered an average improvement of ~11% over Trinity in our CPU performance tests. Despite being short two cores, the Core i3-2100 has been shaming AMD's budget quad core chips in our benchmark suite for some time thanks to its superb single-threaded performance — the A10-6800K is the first to finally overtake it.

These two new Richland APUs are clearly superior to their predecessors but they are also priced higher, so the overall value they offer is about the same. Of the processors compared today, only the lowly A8-5600K, an older Trinity-based US$100 APU, actually offers significant bang-for-your-buck CPU performance.

To determine performance per watt, we divided the overall performance score by the average power consumption calculated earlier and again re-scaled with the A10-6800K as our reference.

The faster, slightly more power efficient Richland APUs offer a sizable edge over Trinity in performance per watt. However, if electricity costs weigh heavy on your mind, Intel clearly prevails. More than two year since its release, Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture remains a paragon of frugality in this regard.

FINAL THOUGHTS

With some tinkering on the Trinity architecture, AMD has successfully squeezed out a nice performance boost while slightly improving power consumption. Richland has higher clock speeds but doesn't use any more energy, resulting in a more efficient APU. The graphics side of their product has also been buffed but to a smaller extent. Overall, the bump in speed is similar to the move from Llano to Trinity, only this time it doesn't require a socket change. That being said, this is the final update to FM2 platform before AMD launches their new FM2+ socket and APU architecture, code-named Kaveri, later this year according to most sources.

Everything about Richland is better but it's a collection of minor upgrades — there is no single impactful improvement or feature that truly makes it stand out against Trinity. In day-to-day operation, you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish between an A10-5800K and an A10-6800K. Furthermore, most of the new Richland line carry a bit of a price premium, so they generally are not better values than their predecessors. The only 6000 series chip that clearly offers a better bang-for-your-buck is the A8-6600K, which is faster by 100 MHz in base clock speed compared to the A10-5800K and carries a US$5 discount.

Trinity owners have no real incentive to upgrade to Richland, and for those looking into a budget system, the decision between getting an old or new generation APU may depend ultimately on how much money is budgeted for the processor. Complicating matters somewhat is upgradeability or rather the lack thereof. After a year, FM2 is on its way out, just like FM1 before it. (Editor's Note: Keep in mind that a CPU upgrade is much less attractive than it used to be — compared to, say, a decade ago — even for PC enthusiasts. With current hardware, there usually isn't enough bang-for-the-buck in a CPU-only upgrade.) On the Intel side, their dual Core i3 chips are still surprisingly competitive, boasting better single-threaded performance and energy efficiency. Richland and Trinity have the edge in graphics and the quad core models have a sizable advantage in multi-threaded workloads. Which choice is better for any single user depends on usage.

Our thanks to AMD for the A10-6800K and A10-6700 samples used in this review.

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Articles of Related Interest
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AMD FX-8350 CPU: Piledriver Arrive
AMD A10-5700 APU: Trinity at 65W
AMD Trinity: A10-5800K & A8-5600K 2nd Gen APUs
Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge CPU
Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme: Core i7-3960X LGA2011 Processor

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