Introduction & Closer Look
Price: £74.11 @ CCL Computers (At time of review)
The belief that AMD have been following for a number of years is something that they’ve decided to call ‘fusion’ – a CPU and GPU on one die, or an APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) in other words. For those of you whom have been keeping up with the recent financial struggles that AMD are going through on the desktop market sector, it is the APU which is helping to keep AMD afloat. I know it sounds very negative from the get go, but AMD are struggling which is a real shame given their wicked performance that they once had.
The APU market allowed them to get into many homes in the next-gen consoles which are driven by a custom AMD APU. Both Microsoft’s and Sony’s consoles are powered by AMD. They have been around on the desktop market for a number of years, but it wasn’t until the new consoles came out that they branched into other segments other than the desktop and laptop markets. Anyway, our review today is about a desktop counterpart and it is named the A8-7670K that comes from the ‘Kaveri’ family tree, one which is pretty much slap bang in the middle of the current APUs available from AMD. The A10 has 2 more GPU cores which are also GCN (Graphics Core Next) based like the GPU cores on the A8. They however do command a higher price, which is something you might consider as these APUs are predominantly aimed at home theatre PCs (HTPC) with a bit of light gaming thrown into the mix while still working towards a tight budget.
The AMD A8-7670K features a total of 10 cores. They are made up out of four CPU cores and six GPU compute cores, which in turn consist of a total of 384 shader cores that run at 720 MHz. The on-board GPU is more than capable of outputting 1080P videos fluidly and even 4K shouldn’t be too much to ask. It sounds rather good if you’re looking into a cheap HTPC option to display all of your glorious 4K content; right?
One thing which does beg a question in my mind is why AMD have not yet moved to LGA. Intel have been on LGA since 2006, but AMD apparently refuse to follow in their footsteps and join in on the LGA parade. PGA seems to be the way that AMD are going to remain, at least for the foreseeable future. How many of you have genuinely bent a pin on a CPU in your lifetime? I’d wager that a fair few of you have. Then again, the pins on an LGA motherboard are even more fragile. You can’t really win either way.
Before we press on, I just want to mention something briefly. Aside from looking into the performance of the CPU, I also want to demonstrate something else in today’s review. It’s a well-known fact that the graphics side of the APU benefits greatly from both tighter timings and faster RAM speeds. Although the info is widely available on Google, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t at least put it to the test to show you guys why fast RAM is important if you’re considering such a chip. Even if you’re on a strict and tight budget, RAM prices have plummeted. I strongly believe that therefore you have next to no reason not to splurge a few more of those hard earned pennies on some faster RAM that’ll greatly improve the performance. It can improve by as much a 40% by going from 1333 MHz to 2400 MHz in some instances. So my plan is to show the comparison in just one benchmark, and run the rest of our tests on 2400MHz RAM which is Samsung based.
Let’s take a quick look at the specifications and then crack on with the testing.