New Testing Methodology

Every twelve to eighteen months it makes sense to upgrade our test beds in order to best represent what is available on the market. How the upgrade occurs depends on what is being tested, and in the case of our APU reviews it is clear that due to the wide range of graphics options available, as well as at different price points, that we have to adjust our gaming testing.

For 2015 our CPU performance testing regime remains untouched aside from the late 2014 addition of Linux-Bench for a glimpse into Linux based performance. On the gaming side, our games have been updated to the following:

  • Alien Isolation (First Person Survival-Horror)
  • Total War: Attila (Strategy)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (Open World Sandbox)
  • GRID: Autosport (Driving)
  • Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor (Action-Adventure)

Because budgets for gaming graphics cards can vary, or users decide to keep the same card for several generations, we will be testing each of these titles in both low, medium and high end graphics setups. This means we can see where the bottlenecks are for CPU performance at each stage. We have also been able to source both AMD and NVIDIA cards for most of these areas, should one side of the equation scale more than the other.

The GPU sections are split into three based on where they fit in their independent stacks rather than for direct competition:

 - Integrated Graphics
 - ASUS R7 240 2GB DDR3 ($70)
 - Dual Graphics (where applicable)

 - MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB ($245-$255 on eBay/Amazon, $330 new)
 - MSI R9 285 Gaming 2GB ($240)

 - ASUS GTX 980 Strix 4GB ($560)
 - MSI R9 290X Gaming LE 4GB ($380)

On the low end, we have selected settings in order to make the current best integrated graphics solutions score between 45 and 60 frames per second. On the mid-range and high-end, we typically pull out 1080p maximum settings or almost-maximum.

The Shadows of Mordor (SoM) benchmark throws up a little interesting teaser as well due to the use of its Dynamic Super Resolution technique. This allows us to render at 3840x2160 (Ultra-HD, or ‘4K’) with our settings despite using a 1080p monitor. As a result, we also test SoM at 4K ultra with our mid-range and high-end graphics setups.

For the high-end setups, as we have managed to source 2 cards of each, means that where applicable we can test both SLI and Crossfire setups. We apply this to Shadows of Mordor at 4K as an extra data point.

For clarity, this means:

R7 240 2GB
Dual Graphics
GTX 770 2GB
R9 285 2GB
GTX 980 4GB
R9 290X 4GB
Alien Isolation 720p Ultra 1080p Ultra 1080p Ultra
Average Frame Rate Average Frame Rate Average Frame Rate
Total War: Attila 720p Performance 1080p Quality 1080p Quality
Average Frame Rate Average Frame Rate Average Frame Rate
Grand Theft Auto V 720p Low 1080p Very High 1080p Very High
Average Frame Rate
%FPS <60 FPS
Average Frame Rate
%FPS <60 FPS
Average Frame Rate
%FPS <60 FPS
GRID: Autosport 1080p Medium 1080p Ultra 1080p Ultra
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Shadows of Mordor
720p Low
1080p Ultra
4K Ultra
1080p Ultra
4K Ultra
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate
Average Frame Rate
Minimum Frame Rate

For drivers, we locked down the 350.12 WHQL versions from NVIDIA soon after the launch of GTA V. Similarly, the 15.4 Beta drivers from AMD are also being used. These will remain consistent over the next 12-18 months until the next update.

All of our old (and new) benchmark data, both for CPU and graphics performance, can be found in our benchmark database, Bench.

We have a variety of benchmarks here, including legacy benchmarks such as CineBench 11.5 and TrueCrypt, which are not published in the main review. All CPUs/APUs that have been tested in our new 2015 style will be labeled in the dropdown menus by having its launch price listed, e.g. ’AMD A10-7850K (95W, $173)’. With any luck over the course of the next six months we will be adding new data and re-testing older processors for the database in order for our readers to compare old with new.

AMD A8-7650K Review AMD A8-7650K Test Setup, Overclocking
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • silverblue - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    I heard a rumour that AMD were unable to meet demand and as such failed to secure a contract with Apple. Make of that what you will. As it was, Llano went from being under-produced to the exact opposite.
  • galta - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Exactly: not only have they devised a poor strategy, they were also unable to follow it!
  • V900 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Nah, Llano would have been way too hot for an Apple laptop. Heck,'the CPU/GPU in a MacBook Air has a tdp of 15watt. Does AMD have anything even close to that, that doesn't involve Jaguar cores?
  • galta - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Again, they were not able to deliver their strategy, even if it was a poor one.
    One says that integrated GPU is the future. That, per se, is questionable.
    Later, we find out that they can't meet production orders and/or deliver a chip that is too hot for one of its potential markets. This is poor implementation.
  • Teknobug - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Enjoying my i3 4010U NUC as well, all I need for daily use and some occasional light gaming on Steam (I run Debian Linux on it).
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Yoga 3 pro with 4.5W Core M got 90 points in Cinebench R15 Single-Threaded test
    This 95W chip got 85 points in Cinebench R15 Single-Threaded test

    So who's gonna buy this at all?
  • takeship - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Cynically, AMD may consider it better to have *any* product to discount/write-off down the road rather than fork over another wafer agreement penalty to GloFo with nothing to show for it.
  • BrokenCrayons - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    I noticed that as well, but the fact that this is a 95 watt processor isn't that much of a concern when you have the power envelope of a desktop chassis at your disposal. The intended niche for these APUs seems more to make a value proposition for budget gaming in a low-complexity system (meaning lacking the additional PCB complexity introduced by using a discrete GPU). Unfortunately, I don't see OEMs really putting any weight behind AMD APUs by selling systems containing them which leaves much of the sales up to the comparatively few people who DIY-build desktop hardware. Even those people are hard-pressed to find a lot of value in picking an APU-based platform over competing Intel products as they tend to have a little more budget flexibility and are targeting greater GPU performance than the A-series has available, putting them into discrete graphics solutions.
  • zodiacfml - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    The APU has more cores than that. In the test, did it tell you how much power it is using?
  • yannigr2 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Those two more and much more expensive Intel CPUs on the charts, make APUs look totally pathetic. Yes you do have the prices next to the charts, yes they do make APUs, look extremely valuable in the 3D games, but most people probably would not go past the first 4-5 pages in this article having being totally disappointed from the first results. Also the long blue lines will imprint in their memories, they will forget the prices.
    Next time throw a few Xeon e7 in the charts.
    PS. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don't turn to Tom's Hardware.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now