Hardware news for the last week includes discussion on an inadvertent NZXT H700i case unveil (with “machine learning,” apparently), Ryzen/Vega APU, Vega partner card availability, and Coffee Lake availability.
Minor news items include the AMD AGESA 18.104.22.168 update to support Raven Ridge & Pinnacle Ridge, Noctua’s Chromax fans, and some VR news – like Oculus dropping its prices – and the Pimax 8K VR configuration.
Find the video and show notes below:
AMD's newest line of APU refreshes does more than just change the clockrates – they've also improved TDP with the launch of the A10-7860K APU. We just received the A10-7860K and A10-7890K APUs for review, including their new Wraith and Near-Silent heatsinks (Wraith review, Wraith noise comparison). Today, we're benchmarking the A10-7860K for gaming (FPS) and thermal performance, particularly vs. the A10-7870K or cheap dGPU solutions.
The new A10-7860K APU runs on Kaveri architecture with TDP upgrades, similar to what was seen on the recently refreshed 300-series AMD GPUs. The A10-7860K runs the same two-module, four-thread (2C/4T) approach as almost every other APU, including the A10-7870K that we reviewed previously. The 7860K unit operates between 3.6GHz and 4.0GHz (boosted) on its 65W thermal package, with an IGP frequency of 754MHz. The lower heat production and power draw should coincide to theoretically allow for longer boosted periods, too, as the APU won't throttle itself as frequently to control temperatures.
AMD’s AM4 platform sees the convergence of FM and AM# platforms, known to carry Carrizo APUs and the future’s Zen CPUs. German site Planet3DNow spoke to motherboard manufacturers about scheduling for AM4 motherboard launches and learned that March, 2016 is the earliest targeted availability. The site goes on to conclude an ahead-of-schedule Zen launch, though we believe it is almost certainly the case that Carrizo/Excavator moves to desktop at this time, with Zen CPUs remaining targeted to EOY 2016.
Our recent review of AMD's A10-7870K showed that the CPU is a capable refresh on existing Kaveri architecture, but called attention to the fact that the unit is readily outpaced by cheap dGPU + CPU solutions. We noted that the A10-7870K would become more valuable as the price drops – which it has done, now available for $130 against the initial $150.
After an extended period of hardware silence, AMD has recently made its resurgence with updated GPU and CPU lines. The Radeon 300 series refreshed the existing R200 lineup, followed shortly by the architecturally revamped Fiji GPU on the Fury X; we've reviewed both of these launches (R9 390 & 380 review / Fury X review). Back in May, we also posted about the company's promised Kaveri refresh – the A10-7870K – and its market positioning.
Today we're reviewing that APU.
AMD's GPU and CPU business have jointly struggled to retain marketshare over the past year, a point emphasized by a 38% year-over-year dip in GPU/CPU revenue. Still, despite its biggest GPU competitor holding 75.98% of AIB marketshare (JPR) and its biggest CPU competitor holding ~92% of server sales (Gartner) and 82.7% of desktop sales (Mercury), AMD still trudges on and attempts to make its mark on consumers. Recently, it has mostly done so through competitive price drops, holding claim to value-adds over nearby alternatives.
AMD has shown its flexibility and versatility best with APUs. These APUs have offered an affordable solution – easily deployed in HTPCs – for users seeking moderate graphics performance without an add-in board. The A10-7850K was joined by the slightly cheaper A8-7650K at CES this year, and now AMD hopes to revitalize its lineup with “Kaveri Refresh.”
Due to take effect on May 10, AMD just announced at Financial Analyst Day that it would further sink its APU pricing on several SKUs. This price dip is likely a part of AMD's annual inventory clearance, an action usually taken to reduce channel inventory leading into new product launches. Retail prices have dropped upwards of $23 in some instances, resulting in – for example – a $127 A10-7850K.
The full pricing table is below:
AMD may have just given the nod of recognition to overclockers looking for a more aptly-priced APU. The company just provided the information at CES 2015 that they are set to release the A8-7650K, providing an unlocked SKU among the A8s. At an MSRP of $105, the A8-7650K is only $6 more than the A8-7600, which is not unlocked. We believe that the small step in price difference was done to address community complaints about larger price differences between regular and unlocked versions of the A10 APUs. The 7650K will come with 10 compute cores (4 CPU + 6 GPU) and have a base frequency of 3.3 GHz with the ability to turbo up to 3.7 GHz. Like the other Kaveri APUs, there is full support for Mantle and OpenCL 2.0.
AMD's combinatory APUs (CPU + IGP) just received a price drop, according to an email we received from the company today. In a press release, AMD noted that its flagship A10-7850K APU – equipped with R7 graphics – would be dropping to $143 MSRP from roughly $180. Other price drops include the A10-7700K at $123.
The new prices in AMD's Kaveri-generation APUs are as follows:
AMD's Kaveri APU has been out for a while now. As the FM2+ platform has stabilized post-APU launches, we're seeing increased adoption of APU-based budget rigs among our PC build guide readers. Kaveri and Richland are both interesting chips from an architectural standpoint; Kaveri has increased the die allocation of the GPU component to nearly 50%, resulting in one of the most powerful consumer-ready integrated GPUs ever available, yet still retains performance right around (or under) Richland in CPU power.
As with any growing platform, AMD's chipset selection has expanded on FM2+ as technology has iterated; the company currently pushes A88X, A78, and A55 chipsets on most FM2+ motherboards found online; A85X and A75 are still around, but limited to FM1/FM2 boards. A88X was just getting big around CES, where we demoed some of the first A88X boards at MSI's suite. Still, AMD doesn't have its block diagrams easily accessible and doesn't make it easy to learn the differences between each chipset, so that's why this article is here.
In this AMD FM2+ / Kaveri APU chipset comparison, we'll look at the differences between A88X, A85X (FM2, Richland), A78, A75 (FM2, Richland), and A55, then discuss what's best for your gaming needs. AMD A75 and A55 have been around since FM1, A88X came out with Kaveri, and the rest are in between. If you're interested in a similar post about Intel's 8-series Haswell chipsets, check this out.
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