AMD has launched a new top-end APU and CPU today, rounding out the “Godavari” platform refresh of its previous Kaveri APUs. The new A10-7890K will ship with AMD’s vaunted “Wraith” cooler, while the A10-7870K and X4 880K will include a new, near-silent cooler. The only difference between the Wraith and these other two designs is the former’s illuminated shroud. All three coolers are rated for 125W TDP, which means they should be able to handle at least a little overclocking.
Here’s the new CPU lineup, as compared with the previous high-end core, the A10-7870K.
As expected, the A10-7890K gives AMD’s top-end parts a modest frequency tap while holding TDP steady at 95W. Compared with the A10-7850K that AMD launched two years ago, the A10-7890K has an 11% higher base frequency and a 7.5% higher top frequency. The GPU frequency has increased by 20% compared with the original chip AMD launched two years ago, though the gains compared to the A10-7870K are much more modest.
These improvements are in line with what we’d expect AMD to offer from a thoroughly mature 28nm process. AMD has had some success in pulling Kaveri’s power consumption down — the recently-launched A10-7860K is a 65W chip that’s almost identical to the 95W A10-7850K we reviewed two years ago. The Steamroller architecture doesn’t hit high frequencies as easily as the old Piledriver-based Richland APUs, and I suspect we see that reflected in the A10-7890K’s 95W TDP rating. The Athlon X4 880K doesn’t include an integrated GPU at all, but its 4GHz – 4.2GHz CPU clock and associate TDP don’t change. It’s possible this means the X4 880K has a smidgen more headroom than the APU flavor, but without knowing more about AMD’s binning we can’t speculate.
The X4 880K compares well against the bottom of AMD’s stack, where the FX-4350 is $90 for a 125W quad-core at 4.2 – 4.3GHz; Steamroller’s core improvements over Piledriver should be a net win there, even if the X4 880K lacks an L3 cache. The $155 price on the A10-7890K is a bit high, even if we only compare it with AMD’s other processors. The A10-7850K from 2014 is just $119, while the A10-7870K is $135.
AMD wants to sell the A10-7890K to gamers and budget enthusiasts who are looking to play some less-demanding current titles and can save money by relying on APU graphics rather than jumping for a discrete GPU. Evaluated strictly in terms of GPU performance, AMD’s APUs remain extremely potent compared with Intel integrated GPUs in the same price brackets. Low DDR3 prices also help — the price premium on DDR3-2400 is much lower than it was two years ago, and if you’re looking to build an APU rig, you’ll want high-speed DDR3. Our RAM guide has more details.
One more thing: AMD has pushed its eight-core chips down as low as $119, according to NewEgg, with the FX-8350 now as low as $149. In minimally threaded workloads, Intel’s Core i3 and Core i5 families are still the better choice. But if you know you’ll be working with an application that scales well across eight cores, AMD’s FX chips might be a better option, especially for tight budgets.
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