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AMD A10-5700 APU: Trinity at 65W

AMD A10-5700 APU: Trinity at 65W

November 12, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Product
AMD A10-5700

FM2 Processor
Manufacturer
Street Price
US$1205

When AMD launched Llano last summer, we were pleasantly surprised to see that its idle power consumption was competitive with Intel's latest offerings, particularly when you consider the CPU cores inside were essentially the same as those found in their old Athlon II and Phenom II counterparts, which were sorely lacking in that department. The A10-5800K and A8-5600K, the opening salvo from AMD's second generation APU lineup thankfully continued this trend while also offering a boost in both CPU and GPU performance. The A10-5800K and A8-5600K also offer unlocked multipliers for easy overclocking, making them particularly attractive to budget enthusiasts looking to get as much value as possible for their hard-earned dollar.


The AMD A10-5700.
Quad Core Desktop Trinity Lineup
Model
Clock

(Max Turbo)
GPU
GPU

Clock
Radeon

Cores
TDP
Street Price
A10-5800K
3.8 GHz

(4.2 GHz)
HD 7660D
800 MHz
384
100W
US$130
A10-5700
3.4 GHz

(4.0 GHz)
HD 7660D
760 MHz
384
65W
US$125
A8-5600K
3.6 GHz

(3.9 GHz)
HD 7560D
760 MHz
256
100W
US$110
A8-5500
3.2 GHz

(3.7 GHz)
HD 7560D
760 MHz
256
65W
US$105

The A10-5700 takes another approach, appealing to a different demographic: Those willing to take a hit in performance in exchange for superior power consumption. Not only does such a chip cost less to operate in the long-term, it's also easier to cool, making it a friendlier option for quiet/silent PCs and small form factor cases. The 5700 is essentially a slower version of the A10-5800K with a CPU clock speed slowed by 400 MHz (200 MHz when Turbo Core is maxed out). The GPU is also clocked down by a mere 40 MHz for some odd reason. All this translates into a substantially lower 65W thermal envelope.

When considering the cost of a system, the CPU/APU 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 (outrageously
priced models were omitted). The average motherboard price turned out to be
US$137 for LGA1155, US$115 for AM3+, US$82 for FM1, and
US$105
for FM2.

TEST METHODOLOGY

Common CPU Test Configuration:

Common IGP Test Configuration:

AMD AM3:

AMD FM1:

AMD FM2:

  • AMD
    A10-5800K
    processor - 3.8 GHz, 32nm, 100W, integrated Radeon
    HD 7660D graphics
  • AMD A10-5700
    processor - 3.4 GHz, 32nm, 65W, integrated Radeon HD 7660D graphics
  • AMD
    A8-5600K
    processor - 3.6 GHz, 32nm, 100W, integrated Radeon
    HD 7560D graphics
  • ASUS F2A85-M Pro motherboard
    - A85 chipset

Intel LGA1155:

Discrete GPUs Compared: (using our 2012 GPU test system)

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Timed Benchmark Test Details

  • NOD32: In-depth virus scan of a folder containing 32 files of varying
    size with many RAR and ZIP archives.
  • WinRAR: Archive creation with a folder containing 68 files of varying
    size (less than 50MB).
  • iTunes: Conversion of an MP3 file to AAC.
  • TMPGEnc: Encoding a XVID AVI file with VC-1.
  • HandBrake: Encoding a XVID AVI file with H.264.
  • Photoshop: Image manipulation using a variety of filters, a derivation
    of Driver Heaven's Photoshop
    Benchmark V3
    (test image resized to 4500x3499).

3D Performance Benchmarks

Video Test Suite



1080p | 24fps | ~22 mbps

H.264/MKV: A custom 1080p H.264 encoded clip inside an Matroska container.




1080p | 24fps | ~2.3 mbps

Flash 1080p: The Dark Knight Rises Official Trailer #3, a YouTube HD trailer in 1080p.

Testing Procedures

Our main test procedure is a series of both CPU (timed tests of real-world applications) and GPU-centric (gaming tests and synthetics) benchmarks. System power consumption is measured during the CPU tests (an average of the first 10~15 seconds) and in various states including idle, H.264 and Flash playback and full CPU and GPU load using Prime95/CPUBurn and FurMark.

Certain services and features like Superfetch and System Restore are disabled
to prevent them from affecting our results. Aero glass is left enabled if supported.
We also make note if energy saving features like Cool'n'Quiet and SpeedStep
do not function properly.

Estimating DC Power

The following power efficiency figures were obtained for the
Seasonic SS-400ET used in our test system:

Seasonic SS-400ET Test Results
DC Output (W)
21.2
41.6
60.2
81.9
104.7
124.1
145.2
AC Input (W)
32.0
58.0
78.0
102.0
128.0
150.0
175.0
Efficiency
66.3%
71.7%
77.1%
80.3%
81.8%
82.8%
83.0%

This data is enough to give us a very good estimate of DC demand in our
test system. We extrapolate the DC power output from the measured AC power
input based on this data. We won't go through the math; it's easy enough
to figure out for yourself if you really want to.

INTEGRATED GRAPHICS TESTING

Our first set of tests focuses on the graphics portion of the APU against other
integrated graphics platforms. Each APU/CPU and motherboard combination was equipped with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB notebook hard drive and a Blu-ray drive.

Energy Efficiency


Under light load, the A10-5700 was only slightly more efficient than the A10-5800K but couldn't quite match the A8-5600K, though all three chips are a step up from Llano and Ivy Bridge.

On more demanding loads, the A10-5700's lower clock speeds helped it achieve some
legitimate power savings. With both the CPU and GPU stressed to their limits,
the 5700 used 30W less than the A8-5600K and 45W less than the A10-5800K. In
real world tests the difference isn't as dramatic; encoding video with TMPGEnc
yielded only a 9W and 21W reduction compared to the 5600K and 5800K respectively.

3D Performance

Note: Discrete GPUs were tested on our GPU testing platform which uses a
Core i3-2100. CPU scaling shouldn't be an issue; we tried out the HD 6570 with
both the i3-2100 and A10-5800K and the difference was less than one frame per
second in almost all of our gaming benchmarks.

In our synthetic tests, on average, the A10-5700's version of the Radeon HD
7660D was about 8% slower A10-5800K, despite only a 5% reduction in GPU clock
speed. While the difference was more than we expected, it was still well ahead
of the A8-5600K.

In Lost Planet 2 and Crysis, two fairly undemanding gaming titles, the A10-5700
ran fairly comfortably at moderate resolutions and medium detail. It trailed
the A10-5800K by only 1~2 frames per second and led the A8-5600K by 3~4 frames
per second.

Sniper Elite V2 and Aliens vs. Predator are more demanding tests, struggling
to run smoothly with low detail levels. Compared to the A10-5800K, the performance
difference was negligible.

CPU TESTING

Our CPU testing is conducted with a discrete graphics card (a GeForce 9400 GT) to eliminate integrated graphics as a variable, most notably with regards to power consumption. It's also necessary for comparing CPUs that do not have an onboard graphics such as Bulldozer and the older Phenom and Athlons from AMD.

Performance

A10-5700's CPU performance is close to that of the A8-5600K, trailing slightly in most of our less stressful benchmarks. Turbo Core is less
of a factor in multi-threaded situations, so the 5700's speed deteriorated greatly
during our video encoding tests. Power consumption was very similar to the 5600K
except in the encoding tests with the 5700 using about 10W less.

Energy Efficiency

No surprise here; the power consumption figures echo those we arrived at while testing with integrated graphics. On light load, the 5700 is very similar to the 5600K and 5800K. On heavy load, the 5700 pulls ahead, especially on synthetic loads.

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, the A10-5700 leads the A10-5800K by 8W, edges out the A8-5600K by 2W, and comes close to matching
the Sandy Bridge 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, the A10-5700 had only a marginal power
advantage over the A8-5600K and a fair way to go to compete with Intel's offerings.

CPU Performance Analysis

Note: Our benchmark suite is not heavily weighted toward multi-threaded programs so often dual core processors like the Core i3-2100 seem to score unusually high. Still, we believe our selection of tests closely represents a typical usage case for an average user.

We arrived at our overall performance score 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 A10-5700 is the reference point with
a score of 100.

Overall, the A10-5700 is slightly slower than the A8-5600K, bridging the gap
between the budget Phenom II and Athlon II's that are currently still available
on the open market.

To determine performance per watt, we divided the overall performance score
by the average power consumption calculated earlier and re-scaled with the A10-5700
as our reference.

Though it was beaten in almost all of our tests by the A8-5600K, the A10-5700
offset this with some minor energy savings making it a superior performer per
Watt.

Dividing the overall performance by the platform street cost (CPU plus an average
priced motherboard) gives us the performance per dollar, again re-weighted with
the A10-5700 at 100 points.

Both the 5600K and 5800K eclipse the 5700 in performance per dollar. The 5600K achieves this almost purely on price alone, while the 5800K's US$5 premium compared to the 5700 is easily made worthwhile by about a 6% advantage in speed.

GPU-Adjusted Performance Analysis

Now we incorporate the graphics portion of the APUs into the equation, adjusting
for the power consumption and cost of a dedicated graphics card of similar capabilities
to the A10-5700. Performance-wise, the HD 7660D is faster than the HD 5570 but
slower than the HD 6570 with GDDR5, so we'll say it's on par with a HD 6570
equipped with DDR3 (US$45). The 7560D and 6550D are closer to the HD
5550 which isn't widely sold any longer, so we'll call it US$40 and adjust
the cost of the A8-5600K/3850 accordingly. For power, we'll be using the HD
5570's 9W idle draw as the reference.

The added power draw of a HD 7660D equivalent graphics card knocks down Sandy
Bridge chips by about 20 points a piece but they still have a noticeable in
performance per watt.

The extra US$45 cost of a video card to the CPUs launches the A10-5700
from second last to the upper half of our value chart, eclipsing the Phenom
II's.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The A10-5700 is positioned as a more energy efficient choice among the upper rungs of AMD's Trinity APU lineup. As its GPU is identical to that of the flagship A10-5800K except for a negligible reduction in clock speed, you get the same world-class integrated graphics though you do take a hefty hit in CPU frequency. The 5700 runs 400 MHz slower than the 5800K, though in Turbo mode, this difference is halved, so the performance difference isn't as noticeable under light use.

Dropping from a 100W to 65W chip sounds like a lot but keep in mind TDP is a maximum rating, so under light load, the power consumption of the A10-5700, A10-5800K, and A8-5600K is basically the same. As the level of work increases, so does the difference; on a balanced workload, the 5700 was thriftier than the 5800K by about 8W while holding only a tiny 2W advantage over the 5600K. Of the various tests we ran, the 5700 opened up a sizable lead only during video encoding and running synthetic stress utilities. And of course, these savings weren't free — the A10-5700 is a slower part, lagging a step behind the A8-5600K, though the difference between the three chips in absolute terms is relatively minor.

The A10-5700's street price puts it in a tight spot; it can currently be found for US$125, a mere $5 below the A10-5800K. The 5700 doesn't appear to be a binned part, that is, it's not cherry-picked off the assembly line for its lower thermal envelope, so it's likely that the 5800K can deliver similar results through underclocking and undervolting. The "K" series has the added advantage of an unlocked multiplier which makes overclocking an easier adventure. It's a nice card to have up your sleeve if your needs change down the road. If you'd rather not tinker with clock speeds and multipliers, the A10-5700 certainly delivers a nice boost in energy efficiency and the CPU performance isn't far off from the top Trinity parts.

Our thanks to AMD
for the A10-5700 sample used in this review.

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Articles of Related Interest

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

AMD FX-8150 8-Core Bulldozer Processor

AMD A8-3850 Quad Core Desktop APU (updated July 10)

Intel Core i3-2100T & Core i5-2400S Low Power CPUs


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