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AMD A-Series A10-7870K Kaveri Refresh APU Review (Page 1)

AMD A-Series A10-7870K Kaveri Refresh APU Review

Much attention these days is given to Intel's Core CPUs, but how about AMD's latest A10-7870K Kaveri Refresh APU? It might just surprise you.

By: Steven Bassiri from Aug 3, 2015 @ 10:02 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: AMD



The A10-7870K is AMD's top Kaveri refresh SKU replacing the A10-7850K with higher base and turbo CPU and GPU clocks. If you are wondering what an APU is, it is basically a CPU with a GPU on the same die, and AMD's HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) aims to utilize the CPU and integrated GPU in the most efficient way possible. GPUs and CPUs were designed to work independently, but HSA offers the ability for more parallel processing using both the GPU and CPU more efficiently. This HSA technology is what AMD hopes to be a game changer, allowing for the CPU and GPU to work together on the same tasks, instead of tasks being independently scheduled, and AMD has designed their latest generation of APUs to optimize this ability at the hardware level.


AMD's APUs are meant to be a great value buy with a lot of upgrade ability, and AMD still maintains their enthusiast FX lineup of chipsets and CPUs without integrated graphics. AMD has done a great job of keeping with the same socket design for a long period of time, and has caught up with the competition in regards to the chipset IO. The A88X chipset features 8x SATA 6Gb/s ports, 4x USB 3.0, and the ability to run 2-way discrete graphics with PCI-E 3.0. While the APU might come with its own integrated graphics, AMD also provides the ability to use both the integrated and discrete graphics at the same time, but most applications won't take advantage of both unless they are designed too, such as with DX12's multi-adapter technology.


Gaming is one of the biggest markets that CPU manufacturers are targeting because there are millions maybe even billions of gamers worldwide. Most of these gamers aren't playing hardcore PC games like GTA:V or Battlefield 4, instead they play more mainstream online titles like League of Legends, CS:GO, or DOTA 2. These titles still require graphics processing, but not as much as it required by a game like GTA:V. AMD's APUs are able to render these games with playable FPS, and AMD likes to compare their integrated graphics to a comparable priced Intel CPU with a low-end discrete video card. In essence, the APU is designed to remove the need for cheaper GPUs, and with its low price, it can in fact make them obsolete.


AMD is pushing their FreeSync technology, which works on the latest 7870K APU, and I had the ability to test it out for myself. I made a video which is displayed later on in the review. FreeSync requires both a compatible graphics adapter and monitor, and once they are paired, FreeSync will get rid of tearing while maintaining smooth game play. AMD also supports Virtual Screen Resolution aimed to increase the quality of the image.


Did you download Windows 10 recently? If you did then DirectX 12 titles are only months away, and AMD is DX12 ready with their new 7870K. While AMD did show off multi-adapter technology, I have yet to get a demo where I can see it in action. It seems like a great technology that would allow the integrated and discrete GPUs to work together on the same frame, allowing you to utilize all graphics adapters in the system for the same game. AMD is also saying that its performance in 3DMark's DX12 API overhead test is very strong, and I will test this claim.



The A10-7870K features 12 processing cores, of which 4 are CPU cores and 8 are R7 GPU cores. The TDP of the 7870K is 95W with a supported DDR3 speed of 2133MHz.


The A10-7870K was launched a few months ago and its price comes in around $140 depending where you purchase it. This price makes it an extremely aggressive CPU for integrated graphics gaming, especially when compared to similarly priced Intel offerings.

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