Starting with the A10 APU we have a product which has the standard, high level of AMD build quality. It is also a processor which is designed to offer an attractive mix of performance and features. While not always a match for the Intel equivalent in productivity tasks the A10 does always compete well and in day to day use it would be hard to tell the two apart. That said a gap does begin to open when we begin taking advantage of our Radeon cores. With our Radeon cores assisting the A10 has the potential, seen in application such as MediaExpresso, to pull ahead of the i3 chip.
When we then look at gaming performance there is no comparison between the i3 and A10. AMD’s chip is in a different league to the comparable Intel model. More than that though, the 7000 series cores in the A10-5800K offer performance which exceeds the fastest Ivy Bridge processor with built in GPU.
Looking at the wider platform the ASUS F2A85-V Pro offered a great set of features thanks to the A85X chipset and some quality ASUS design (and build quality). As is always the case when ASUS are concerned the product was well rounded with a good software suite, good BIOS layout, class leading specifications (SATA3, USB3, DDR3-2000+, etc) and performance which allowed the A10 to excel.
There are two areas where we differ significantly in view from AMD on useful features. 2×8 CrossFire is a nice to have on this platform but really any user who would be considering that sort of setup should be looking at a higher end platform with faster CPU (whether that is AMD FX or Intel Core…). AMD also note that Eyefinity is now an option on their APUs and while we agree this is the case for productivity gaming at resolutions such as 5760×1080 still requires far too many compromises on this setup. We could hand pick a game, maybe two which would run, especially when combined with a second GPU but it is far from an ideal solution.
That is where a discrete GPU comes in and as our Club 3D 7850 showed there is plenty of scope to install a more advanced graphics part and gain performance. The 7850 offered nearly treble the performance of our APU for £150 and as well as being ideal for 1920×1080 it allows us to consider higher detail levels for a more immersive, and impressive gaming experience. All of this is backed by a good cooler designed by Club 3D and the latest features (3D, DX11 and video enhancements) which are common on Radeon cards.
The AMD A10/A85X platform provides us with a nice mix of price, performance and features which allow users to build a low cost, quality system now and upgrade it with ease later.
Last month Intel launched their Z97 chipset, essentially an evolution of Z87, which in many cases brought new features such as SATA Express and M.2 compatibility to the mainstream desktop market. There was of course no new CPU at that time with the existing socket 1150 processors working without issue in the new boards. Since then though Intel launched (along with some lower spec models) the Core i7-4790K, a model which sits at the top of their mainstream platform. Today we see how it compares to various other models when installed on Gigabytes Z97X Gaming 5 and paired with PowerColors new dual core 290X Devil 13.
PowerColor offer their own branded version of the liquid cooled R9 295 X2… and now for those who want a similar level of framerate they have their air cooled dual core R9 290X with Devil 13 branding. Today we take a look at this R9 290X2 to see what Powercolor can do with their custom design card in a selection of games including Battlefield 4 and GRID Autosport at 4K resolution.