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

  • r3loaded - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Now, more than ever, AMD needs Zen. They still have nothing out on the market that can conclusively beat my four year old 2500K.
  • close - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Even Intel barely has something that can conclusively beat your four year old 2500K :). Progress isn't what it used to be.
  • Frenetic Pony - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    That's because Intel's efforts are solely focused on laptops/mobile. They dominate the high end, and would only compete with themselves. This at least leaves AMD an opening next year though, as cramming battery life into the Core series has stalled Intel's development of performance per mm^2 other than process shrink.
  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Especially once oc'd of course. What clock are you using?

    I'm building a 2500K system for a friend atm, easily the best value on a very limited budget.
  • r3loaded - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    4.5Ghz for full time use on air in my own system. But yeah, even at stock speeds it's still not a contest for the Intel chip.
  • der - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Awesome testing Methology guys, and definitely a great review.
  • azazel1024 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Ian, I'll grant you it isn't abysmal performance and I doubt most casual users would notice a difference. It doesn't seem honest to say that, "While the APUs aren't necessarily ahead in terms of absolute performance, and in some situations they are behind, but with the right combination of hardware the APU route can offer equivalent performance at a cheaper rate"

    Uhhhh, unless I misread the benchmarks, the AMD processors are at least a little behind to a lot behind vaguely similarly priced Intel processors in the vast majority of CPU benchmarks. That doesn't say "in some" to me, that to me says in most are almost all.

    The only place I see them is either extreme budget or your size constrictions prevent you from getting even a cheap discrete graphics card. Cost and performance wise, you'd probably be better off with something like a GTX750 or 750ti combined with an Intel Celeron or Pentium Haswell processor.

    I really want Zen to be a turn around.

    A quick Amazon check shows that an Intel Haswell Pentium, plus H97 board, plus 2x2GB of DDR3-1600 and a GTX750 would run you in the region of $250. Granted that doesn't include case ($30 for low end), PSU ($40 for a good low power one) or storage ($90 for a 120GB SSD or $50-60 for a 2TB HDD), but it sounds like it was well within that $300 budget considering the bits that could have/were reused...

    Deffinitely to each his own, I just think especially once you start getting in to "dual graphics" (even low end), you are almost certainly better if you are talking two discrete cards, or just getting a slightly faster discrete card than relying on the iGPU+dGPU to drive things as well as a somewhat better processor, that might not be any more expensive (or cheaper, Haswell Pentium/Celeron).
  • galta - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    No matter what people say, AMD is driving itself into an ever tighter corner, be it on the CPU or GPU realms.
    One really has a hard time trying to justify choosing them over Intel/nVidia, but for some very specific – and sometimes bizarre - circumstances (eg.: because the only thing I do is compact files on WinRar, I end up finding AMD FX and its 8 cores the best cost/benefit ratio!)
    A8-7650K is no different.
    It is said that things are like that. As a consumer with no intrinsic brand preferences, I would like to see real competition.
  • anubis44 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Try compressing those files using 7Zip, and you'll see a dramatic improvement on the FX-8350. 7Zip is highly optimized for multi-threading, whereas WinRAR is single-threaded.
  • galta - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    No, it's not:
    Even if it were, that's not the point.
    How many of us, inclunding the bizarre ones, do only compacting on their PCs?

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now