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

By: Steven Bassiri | AMD CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Aug 3, 2015 3:02 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: AMD

This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the AMD A10-7870K.


What's Hot


Excellent Value: Great Integrated Graphics: There is no denying the fact that at $140 the 7870K provides excellent integrated graphics performance along with 4 CPU cores which provide reasonable performance. For the price of the APU, especially compared to Intel's offerings in the sub $200 range, AMD provides excellent value. When compared to the integrated graphics in Intel's mainstream CPUs, the eight R7 cores help the 7870K win most gaming tests. When compared to Intel's Iris Pro graphics in their latest i7, the 7870K does struggle a bit, but the Iris Pro part is considerably more expensive at three times the cost meaning you could buy the 7870K and a decent discrete card for the same price.


Great Windows 10 and DX12 Performance: For DX12 and Windows 10, AMD came prepared. There were many reports of NVIDIA GPUs causing problems with Windows 10 installations, but I had no issues with the latest AMD drivers. Both the APU alone and discrete card worked perfectly. What really surprised me is how strong the 7870K's iGP was in the 3DMark in Windows 10. In both FireStrike and the DX12 Draw Cell test, the 8x R7 cores in the 7870K beat out the Iris Pro graphics in the 5775C, something I wasn't expecting. AMD has heavily optimized their performance to take on Windows 10 and DX12, and I await more DX12 tests to confirm this more.



AMD's FreeSync: I spent a few hours tinkering with FreeSync and in the end I can say that there is a noticeable difference between nothing, V-Sync, and FreeSync. FreeSync is better than V-Sync, it offers the same anti-tearing technology, while providing a smoother picture.


Easy Overclocking: I found overclocking the 7870K to be extremely simple and easy. One trick to use with memory overclocking is to enable the D.O.C.P. and then change the DRAM ratio and BLCK to what you like, as those timings are extremely important to system stability and performance. While there are options to change much more than the CPU voltage and frequency, which is all I needed to do to boost the CPU to 4.7GHz, and it was stable enough to pass all my benchmark tests, including video rendering and wPrime.


What's Not


CPU Performance could be stronger: While the quad-core AMD 7870K's CPU is fast enough to undertake most every task thrown at it, it still isn't as fast as Intel's quad-core Core i7 or i5 offerings in their mainstream lineup. That being said, the top of the line 7870K APU is at least half the price of comparable Intel processors (core count and clock frequency), making the APU a great value.



Final Thoughts


It had been a while since I had used an AMD APU system, the last time I wrote an article on an APU was back when AMD had launched their Trinity APUs, and they have come a long way since then. The support for the latest DX12 API and Windows 10 is quite good, and I had no problems loading up the OS and running benchmarks. Most people aren't prepared to dish out $300 on a CPU and then spend another $200 on a motherboard and $100 on memory just to have to spend another $200-$300 on a decent GPU to play even the most basic of games, and that is why the AMD APU can be very appealing. When it comes to their APUs, AMD offers a very affordable alternative with focus on graphics processing and efficiency. AMD's APUs provide the ability to play less intensive games at acceptable frame rates, and the cost savings that come with an APU make investing in a dedicated video card less burdensome.




Together with the discrete card, the 7870K offers pretty good gaming performance, the 7870K doesn't bottleneck the R9 285 as much as you might think. In fact, at 1080p, the 5775C and 7870K offers roughly the same acceptable FPS in GTA:V, with the discrete GPU hindering things more than the CPU. If 3DMark's DX12 Draw Cell tests are any indication, then DX12 titles should do very well on AMD's integrated graphics compared to Intel's, as AMD seems to have made significant strides to optimize their compatibility with the new OS and DX12.


Overall, I found that the AMD A10-7870K proved to be an excellent value product, offering exceptional integrated graphics and decent CPU performance at a very fair price.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)84%
Quality including Design and Build90%
General Features93%
Bundle and Packaging94%
Value for Money96%
Overall TweakTown Rating91%

The Bottom Line: AMD's A10-7870K APU proved to be an excellent value part, offering exceptional integrated graphics and decent CPU performance at a very fair price.

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