The staggered birth of Kaveri has been an interesting story to cover but it has been difficult to keep all the pieces right in the forefront of memory. The initial launch in January 2014 saw a small number of SKUs such as the A10-7850K and the A8-7600 at first and since then we have had a small trickle at a rate of one or two new models a quarter hitting the shelves. We've seen 65W SKUs, such as in the form of the A10-7800, which offer 45W modes as well. Today we're reviewing the most recent Kaveri processor to hit the market, the A8-7650K rated at 95W and officially priced at $105/$95.

AMDs APU Strategy

Integrated graphics is one of the cornerstones of both the mobile and the desktop space. Despite the love we might harbor for a fully discrete graphics solution, the truth of the matter is that most people and most places still have that integrated platform in both consumer and business. Whenever I meet with AMD, the question from them is always simple - when you build a system, what would you get from AMD/Intel at a similar price point? The APU series tackles the sub-$200 price bracket from head to toe:

CPU/APU Comparion
AMD Kaveri Amazon Price on 5/12
 
Intel Haswell
    $236
 
i5-4690K
(4C/4T, 88W)
3.5-3.9 GHz
HD 4600
    $199 i5-4590
(4C/4T, 84W)
3.3-3.7 GHz
HD 4600
    $189 i5-4460
(4C/4T, 84W)
3.2-3.4 GHz
HD 4600
3.7-4.0 GHz
512 SPs
A10-7850K
(2M/4T, 95W)
$140 i3-4330
(2C/4T, 54W)
3.5 GHz
HD 4600
3.5-3.9 GHz
512 SPs
A10-7800
(2M/4T, 65W)
$135    
3.4-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
A10-7700K
(2M/4T, 95W)
$120 i3-4130
(2C/4T, 54W)
3.4 GHz
HD 4400
3.3-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
A8-7650K
(2M/4T, 95W)
$104    
3.1-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
A8-7600
(2M/4T, 65W)
$96 Pentium G3430
(2C/2T, 53W)
3.3 GHz
HD (Haswell)
3.7-4.0 GHz
No IGP
X4 860K
(2M/4T, 95W)
$83    
    $70 Pentium G3258
(2C/2T, 53W)
3.2 GHz
HD (Haswell)
3.5-3.9 GHz
256 SPs
A6-7400K
(1M/2T, 65W)
$64 Celeron G1830
(2C/2T, 53W)
2.8 GHz
HD (Haswell)

I first created this table with launch pricing, and it had some of the APUs/CPUs moved around. But since the release dates of these processors varies on both sides, the prices of individual SKUs has been adjusted to compete.  Perhaps appropriately, we get a number of direct matchups including the A10-7700K and the Core i3-4130 at $120 right now. This table is by no means complete, due to Intel’s 20+ other SKUs that fight around same price points but vary slightly in frequency, but that tells a lot about each sides attack on the market. Some of AMD's recently announced price cuts are here, but for consistency our results tables will list the launch pricing as we have no mechanism for dynamic pricing.

Testing AMDs APUs over the years has provided results that these are not necessarily targeted to the high end when it comes to multi-GPU systems that total $2000+, although AMD wouldn't mind if you built a high end system with one. The key element to the APU has always been the integrated graphics, and the ability to offer more performance or percentage of transistors to graphics than the competition does at various price points (irrespective of TDP). Ultimately AMD likes to promote that for a similarly priced Intel+NVIDIA solution, a user can enable dual graphics with an APU+R7 discrete card for better performance. That being said, the high-end APUs have also historically been considered when it comes to single discrete GPU gaming when the most expensive thing in the system is the GPU as we showed in our last gaming CPU roundup, although we need to test for a new one of those soon.

Part of the new set of tests for this review is to highlight the usefulness of dual graphics, as well as comparing both AMD and NVIDIA graphics for low, mild-mannered and high end gaming arrangements.

The A8-7650K

The new APU fits in the stack between the 65W A8-7600 and before we get into the A10 models with the A10-7700K. It offers a slightly reduced clock speed than the A10, but it is built (in part) for overclocking with the K moniker. The integrated graphics under the hood provide 384 SPs at 720 MHz, being part of AMDs 4+6 compute core strategy. The A8-7650K is designed to fill out the processor stack to that end.

AMD Kaveri Lineup
  A10-
7850K
A10-
7800
A10-
7700K
A8-
7650K
A8-
7600
 X4
860K
A6-
7400K
Price $140 $135 $120 $104 $96 $83 $64
Modules 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
Threads 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
Core Freq. (GHz) 3.7-4.0 3.5-3.9 3.4-3.8 3.3-3.8 3.1-3.8 3.7-4.0 3.5-3.9
Compute Units 4+8 4+8 4+6 4+6 4+6 4+0 2+4
Streaming
Processors
512 512 384 384 384 N/A 256
IGP Freq. (MHz) 720 720 720 720 720 N/A 756
TDP 95W 65W 95W 95W 65W 95W 65W
DRAM
Frequency
2133 2133 2133 2133 2133 1866 1866
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 1MB

At a list price of $105 (current $104), we were at a quandary with what to test against it from team blue. The Pentium G3258 sits at $72 with two cores at 3.2 GHz and HD (Haswell) GT1 graphics. The next one up the stack is the i3-4130, a dual core with hyperthreading and HD4400, but sits at $120. Ultimately there is no direct price competitor, but AMD assured us they were confident in the positing of the SKUs, particularly when gaming is concerned. Due to what I have in my testing lab, the nearest competitor to this is the i3-4330, a model with a larger L3 cache which has a list price of $138, or the i3-4130T which is a low power SKU.

New Testing Methodology
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  • xprojected - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

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

    Hold on. You suggest that the 770 and the 285 are nearly the same price, but you list the used/refurbished price for the 770 first. That opens up a Pandora's box, doesn't it? If it's too hard to find a card new, pick a different one, like the 970, or 960, which is actually close in price to the 285 (at least a couple go for $200 on Newegg). Even though you say you split the GPUs based on price ranges, rather than similar prices, people are going to compare ATI to NVidia and you have an unfair used-vs-new price comparison.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    Ideally the tests are meant to show comparisons within a GPU class, not between GPU classes. Ultimately I work with the cards I have, and on the NV side I have a GTX 980 and a GTX 770, whereas on the AMD side is an R9 290X and R9 285 (the latest Tonga). In comparison to what I have, the 980/290X are high end, and the 770/285 are a class below. The 770 Lightning is also hard to source new, due to its age, but is still a relevant card. If I could have sourced a 960/970, I would have. Reply
  • Navvie - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    That is one of the things that really puts me off AT these days. The attitude of "this is what I have available, this is what I'll test against." If it's not relevant don't use it. Get out the AT credit card and buy some new hardware. Reply
  • milkod2001 - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    if they want to spend more money they will have to make more money first.

    To make more money they would have to spread million annoying ads and this site would quickly turned into Toms super boring "best SSD for the money" articles like, with millions amazon, newegg links, ads and all that crap

    They better use what they have in disposal and try to maintain still decent enough articles, reviews etc.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    "Despite the rated memory on the APUs being faster, NPB seems to require more IPC than DRAM speed."

    Guys.. the Intel chips have better memory controllers since many years. They extract much higher performance and lower latency if you compare them at similar DRAM clock & timings. Lot's of AT benchmarks showed this as well, back when such things were still included (e.g. when a new architecture appears).
    Reply
  • rp1367 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Here we go again, this is another pro Intel review. The crooked company who paid AMD Billion $ settlement case due to unfair competition practices are still being supported by lots of rotten people based on their comments here is disturbing. I find these people scum on this earth as they continue to support the scammers. Shame on you guys!

    By the way the review is biased as you benchmark it using DX11. This is another manipulative benchmark trying to hold on the past and not on the future. Read my lips "WE DONT WANT DX11 review only! DX12 is coming in a few months why not use the MS Technical review version so people can have a glimpse instead of repeating to us reader, then you redo the benchmark when MS has released its new OS (MS 10). If you dont have full version DX12 now (as we all know) then do not benchmark it bacause it is the same for the past 5 years. You are just wasting your time if your intent is neutral to general consumers as if you are trying to sway us from the truth.
    Reply
  • shadowjk - Friday, May 15, 2015 - link

    Speak for yourself. What use to me are benchmarks of APIs I don't have and can't get, of games I don't have and don't play. With this latest review method change, the last game I had disappeared, so now I can't compare the results with my own system anymore. This makes it harder to decide whether this product is a good upgrade over my current system or not. Reply
  • Teknobug - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Looks like A8 7600 with R7 240 dual gfx is the combination here. I have an A8 7600, so now just need that card. Reply
  • UtilityMax - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Am I the only poster who is impressed with the performance of the Kaveri parts in the gaming benchmarks?

    For one, the Kaveri parts virtually eliminate the need for a $70 discrete GPU. If you were thinking of that kind of low-end GPU, might as well buy an APU. Next, the is very little difference or none at all in average FPS under many settings if you use a $240 dedicated GPU, which means that and $200 GPU is still the bottleneck in a gaming system. Only once the benchmarks are run with very high end GPUs, we finally see the superiority of the Haswell parts.

    Of course, the business, web, compression, and conversion benchmarks are another story. Except for a few special cases, the APUs struggle to catch a Core i3.
    Reply
  • meacupla - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    Yeah, these APUs are certainly a lot better on the CPU front than what they used to be.

    I think the APU's only downfall is that $72 Pentium G3258 and availability of cheaper (sub $100) H97 motherboards to overclock them on.
    A88X FM2+ boards are around the same price as H97 boards, but that $30 saving from cheaper CPU can go into a decent cooler for overclocking.
    Reply

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