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Kaveri APU - AMD A10-7700K

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4/23/2014 9:43:52 PM

The second-tier Kaveri APU isn’t far behind, but that’s part of the problem…

The AMD A10-7700K is the second fastest model of the
desktop Kaveri line-up at the begin of 2014

AMD’s Kaveri APU finally turned up last month, bringing with it the promise of a new dawn of heterogeneous processors blurring the line between graphics and computational silicon. That future is still yet to be fully realised because HSA-enabled software is still a little way off, leaving us instead with adequate processors paired with genuinely impressive graphics capabilities.

The question is: what do you want your PC to do? If you spend your days perfecting the front crawl through a vault full of coins and adventuring with three quacking nephews, then an APU probably isn’t the right choice for your über rig. But if you’re on a tight budget and want some PC gaming in your life, the AMD APUs provide decent gaming for a really minimal outlay.

The AMD APUs offer the bonus of dual graphics – they can be paired with a low-end discrete GPU to effectively double gaming performance, or be hooked up with the new Mantle API. The first option is interesting, although it relies on AMD’s driver team getting the GPU and APU playing nicely. The second also has serious potential, but right now is only really good news for anyone running a Hawaii- based GPU on an Intel system.

This is the second tier of AMD’s APU stack, coming a close second behind the top-end A10-7850K. Both are K-series chips, and therefore deliver a certain amount of overclocking on both CPU and GPU components. The 7700K and 7850K are dual-module Steamroller processors, with four nominal cores to help with multi-threaded performance.

 

AMD A10-7850K and A10-7700K

Split the difference

Where they differ first is CPU clockspeed. The 7850K runs at 3.7GHz out of the box with a claimed 4GHz turbo (though we didn’t see that in testing), whereas the 7700K comes with a 3.5GHz baseclock and 3.8GHz turbo. That really made a difference in the CPU performance benchmarks.

On the graphics side, although AMD hasn’t cut the clockspeed of the GPU portion, it has hacked out a number of Radeon cores – some 128 to be precise. To be fair, we would have expected that to have a sizeable impact on the gaming performance of the Graphics Core Next GPU, but it really is only marginally behind the 512 cores of the 7850K. In current APU speak, the 7850K has 12 compute cores (four CPU and eight GPU) compared to the 7700K’s 10 compute cores. Each GPU cluster of 64 cores is denoted as a compute core, so the second-tier APU has six GPU compute cores to go alongside its four CPU compute cores.

The 7850K and 7700K specifications

Running Bioshock Infinite at medium settings at 1080p, the 7850K comes in at 45fps while the 7700K still manages a very credible 43fps. However, that gap almost disappears when you overclock the GPU and RAM in the system.

The tough thing for the A10-7700K is that there is only around $16-$25 between it and the top-tier Kaveri APU. When you’re on a tight budget every penny counts, but the extra CPU performance is probably worth investing in at this level.

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