AMD A10-7890K 95W Flagship APU

CPUs|Motherboards
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Value Analysis

When considering the cost of a system, the CPU is only part of the equation as the price of motherboards and RAM must be added to find the true platform price. In the chart below we included the prices of the chips compared today and an average compatible motherboard from Newegg that fulfill this basic barebones set of criteria:

  • Retail models
  • In stock
  • Not extravagantly priced (most expensive models omitted)
  • Major name brand (ASRock, Asus, Intel, Gigabyte, MSI, EVGA)
  • SATA 6 Gbps support in some form
  • USB 3.0 support in some form

According to our parameters, the average motherboard pricing is US$63 for FM2+, US$100 for AM3+, US$96 for LGA1150 and US$121 for LGA1151.

To calculate CPU performance per dollar, we divided the relative performance scores by the platform costs and re-scaled it, again with the A10-7890K as our reference point.

AMD's APUs/Athlons' best selling point is arguably the superior level of value they generally offer compared to Intel processors, but this unfortunately is not true for the A10-7890K when only CPU performance is taken into account. Its US$160 price-tag places it a stone's throw away from Intel's least expensive quad core Core i5's which are substantially faster. Thus, even the flagship Core i7-6700K, which is overkill/overpriced for most users, offers more bang-for-your-buck.

To adjust for integrated GPU performance as well, the approximate cost of an equivalent discrete graphics solution has been deducted from each chip (US$55 for the A10-7890K, US$50 for the A10-7860K/A10-6800K, US$45 for the A8-7600/i7-6700/i7-6700K, US$40 for the i5-4690K, and nothing for the X4 880K/FX-8350) and everything has been re-scaled once more.

The A10-7890K is more or less equivalent to an Athlon X4 880K with integrated graphics, but its US$160 price still makes it a poorer value even when this is taken into account. Slower/older chips are typically better buys than new flagships and this is true for the refreshed Kaveri lineup as well. From a pure dollars and cents perspective, taking a moderate deduction in CPU/GPU horsepower is the smarter choice.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The A10-7890K is currently the fastest FM2+ processor on the market, though it's barely an improvement over the previous flagship. Compared to the best 65W model, the A10-7860K, the integrated graphics component is considerably stronger, especially when paired with high speed memory. This combination is best in class for integrated graphics outside of Intel's extravagantly priced specialty chips featuring Iris Pro. Like the other new 95W+ SKUs in AMD's lineup, it ships with an excellent stock cooling solution that makes the purchase of a third party heatsink unnecessary for some users. It may also come in handy as the A10-7890K is not particularly energy efficient and features an unlocked multiplier for easier overclocking.

Despite all these selling points, the US$160 price-tag makes the A10-7890K a difficult purchase to justify. It's hard to conjure up a set of circumstances where such a chip would be most suitable. If CPU performance is a priority, a slightly more expensive Intel Core i5 would be a huge upgrade. On the other side of the scale, cheaper AMD SKUs like the A10-7860K and Athlon X4 880K perform fairly similarly and can be overclocked as well to make up any difference. If graphics are more important, an Athlon X4 paired with a dedicated video card is both more affordable and more flexible. And for a compact budget all-in-one solution where CPU/GPU horsepower is secondary, the various 65W APUs with their superior energy efficiency are a much better fit.

Every processor line needs a flagship, but at this price, the A10-7890K isn't just a flagship APU, it's a premium APU. The FM2+ platform's greatest strength is its value proposition but AMD has priced the A10-7890K out of the conversation.

Our thanks to AMD for the A10-7890K processor sample.

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Articles of Related Interest
Stock AMD & Intel Coolers
AMD A10-7860K & Athlon 880K: Kaveri Refresh
AMD Wraith: Upgraded Stock Cooler
Intel Core i7-6700: Skylake i7 at 65W
Skylake: Intel Core i7-6700K
AMD A8-7600 Kaveri APU

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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