AMD Kaveri ( A10-7850K) Review featuring Gigabyte A88X Sniper
When AMD started their move away from discrete CPU and GPU technology, towards an architecture which combined both it was clear that getting to where they wanted to be was going to be a series of evolutions on the concept. Since those early, low powered, solutions we have seen a few generations now and looking back at the last generation as an example, Richland, it was essentially a revision of the previous APU. Today AMD release their new generation of APUs, code named Kaveri, and this time round we get a significant advance in APU technology rather than a revision.
New GPU tech, new audio tech, more programmable, higher performance and better efficiency… just some of the main claims AMD make about Kaveri. Today we find out how it compares to the direct competition from Intel in real world media tests, some of the latest games (such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and DOTA 2) and also dipping into a few key synthetic benchmarks.
The A10 7850K
Our sample of the A10-7850K, AMDs new high end APU, arrived without any packaging hoeever you can expect something similar to the above on retail models… maybe with a change in colour scheme. It is a compact box and inside we get a basic air cooler, product documentation, case sticker and the APU.
For the external design of the new Kaveri APUs AMD stick with the exact same design as they have used for a while now, using a large metal heatspreader on top with their branding. On the base we get the Socket FM2+ layout and as we have come to expect from AMD these new models are compatible with many existing boards. Just flash to the latest BIOS, drop the APU in and go… it is that simple to upgrade from an older model (motherboard manufacturer permitting).
So what is Kaveri? Well here are the key points…
Steamroller Cores: The Kaveri APU contains up to four Steamroller cores. A newer technology than is currently found in their high end FX CPUs. These are clocked at up to 4.0GHz in turbo (up from 3.7Ghz “stock”) and utilise 4MB of L2 cache on the A10-7850K.
Hawaii GPU: Kaveri contains 8GPU cores from the GCN/Hawaii branch of GPUs which are found in their latest R9-290 GPUs. These cores are clocked at 720MHz and…
TrueAudio Support: With this product being Hawaii based we get the same TrueAudio technology found in those GPUs and so when games are released which support the tech (such as Thief) we will get advanced audio with the GPU taking processing away from the CPU. Then of course there is…
Mantle Support: With Mantle AMD are removing the “inefficient” DirectX layer from supported games. As we have known for some time Battlefield 4 will be the first title to get this tech via a free patch and any supported AMD GPU or APU should receive a performance boost when playing. AMD are currently stating FPS gains of up to 45%.
HSA- hQ/HUMA: AMD are keen to state that the Kaveri APUs are all about Compute Cores. In the case of the A10-7850K that means 12 Compute Cores (4CPU plus 8GPU). The reason for going with this combinedÂ total (which gives the 95w TDP chip 856GFLOPS potential) is that these cores all share the system memory (that’s up to 32GB available to the GPU cores!) and the cores can all interact equally, being assigned appropriate tasks by applications and switching as and when needed.
Anything else? These APUs are of course 64-bit compatible, the GPU portion supports DirectX11.2, we have PCIE Gen 3 support also (with Dual graphics using R7 cards) and 4K outputs are no issue for the new Kaveri Chips… oh, and the A10 Kaveri APUs will arrive bundled with a free copy of Battlefield 4.