When it comes to building PCs, the enthusiast builds that we here at LanOC focus a lot on are only a small part of the market. A lot of builds don’t require 6+ cores and multiple GPUs. In fact a lot of people don’t need or want dedicated GPUs at all. AMD and Intel both recognize this with their focus on upgrading the integrated graphics of their mainstream CPUs and APUs. When AMD sent over their new Richland-based APUs, the A10-6800K and A10-6700, I was excited to see how they compare to previous APUs we have taken a look at and to see if the APU would be capable of any gaming without adding a dedicated GPU.

Product Name: AMD A10-6800k, AMD A10-6700 and Asus F2 A85-V Pro

Review Samples Provided by: AMD and ASUS

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

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Richland Overview

AMD coined the APU name three years ago with its Llano based APUs, three years later we are now taking a look at the Richland APUs. If you look at the photo below its clear that the majority of the platform changes happened between Llano and Trinity; Richland is just an extension of that. The original Llano ran on the FM1 platform while Trinity and now Richland both run on the FM2 socket. It’s always a nice bonus when CPU and APU changes don’t mean changes to your motherboards, although generally when you are replacing one you are replacing the other anyhow.

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Richland much like Trinity features up to 4 “Piledriver” 32nm cores, up to 128 KB L1 Cache, two 128-bit FPUs (compute modules) and up to 4 MB of L2 cache. The APUs have around 1.3 billion transistors according to AMD (I didn’t count) and are available in 65 and 100 watt configurations. They packed all of those transistors into a die size of 246m2. Part of those of course are dedicated to the compute cores while the rest are dedicated to the built in VLIW 4 architecture, A.K.A. an HD 8000 Series GPU. It all adds up to a maximum of 779 GFLOPS of processing power.

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Features:

Turbo Charged x86 architecture featuring “Piledriver” cores

-Supports up to 4 cores and support for the latest ISA instructions including FMA4/3, AVX, AES, XOP

-Up to 2MB L2 cache per dual-core module (up to 4MB total)

-Max Turbo Frequencies up to 4.4 GHz

-Configurable via AMD OverDrive1

AMD Radeon™ HD 8000 Series GPU Cores

-Featuring VLIW 4 architecture

-Up to 384 shaders

-Up to 844MHz

-Up to 8xAA and 16AF support

-Controllable via AMD OverDrive1

-DirectX®11 Support

New DDR3-2133 support on A10 APUs

Enhanced AMD Turbo Core

-More Frequency/Voltage levels for CPU and x86 cores

-Temperature Smart Turbo Core

-New bottleneck detect algorithms

-Controllable via AMD OverDrive

UVD and VCE

-Video Encode and Decode Hardware to offload CPU

-AMD Picture Perfect support with HD Post Processing technologies

Support for latest display technologies

-AMD Eyefinity technology for 3+1 monitor support

-Display Port 1.2 support

FM2 Platform:

AMD CrossFire support with AMD A85X motherboards

AMD Memory Profile support (auto select memory timings in select DIMMs)

AMD Dual Graphics support with AMD Radeon™ HD 6450, 6570, and 6670 graphics cards

 

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Here are the details on the Richland product line. As you can see there are 5 different APUs ranging in price from $142 to $69 that will get you 2 or 4 cores on the compute side of things with only a slight difference in compute power on each model. If you look at the chart below you will see other differences between the models like the three different GPUs found in the range as well as differences in TDP and in the case of the A10-6800K you also get a higher Max DDR3 speed as well as an unlocked core for overclocking.

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Along with the different GPUs available in the five different APUs you can also complement them by adding a discrete graphics card and running a hybrid Crossfire configuration. The charge below breaks down what video cards will go with what APU. Our A10 APUs for example would run best with an HD 6670 or HD 6570.  

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Asus F2 A85-V Pro Motherboard

The motherboard we are using for all of our FM2 testing was provided to us by Asus. Because I don’t have other boards to compare performance numbers to I am instead including it in this review, but I wanted to take a look at what Asus is offering in the FM2 product range. After taking a look around at what all of the manufactures are offering I was really blown away at the size of the product lineup for FM2 from Asus. On Newegg for example Asus has 9 different models listed just on this one socket alone! The board we have in hand is the F2 A85-V Pro and this is the top end of their FM2 product line but at a price of $129.99 I would hardly consider it to be a high end board. That doesn’t mean Asus won’t pack it full of features though. 

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To start things off, the packaging for the F2 A85-V Pro is standard fare for Asus mainstream boards. You have the product name on the top along with a few badges representing board features as well as all of the required branding down in the bottom right corner. On the back Asus has broken down the features along with a small photo of the board. There are also larger sections that go more in depth into a couple key features like Asus’s DIGI+ power control, Asus Remote GO!, Asus Fan Expert 2, and their Network iControl.

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So what is the F2 A85-V Pro all about? For starters because this board came out before the new Z87 boards it has the blue and black theme that we have seen from Asus in the past, not the gold theme they are using now.

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Starting right at the APU Socket, I have to adjust back to not having to worry about damaging the spring pins like you do with Intel boards. Of course that means now I have to worry about bending pins on the APU itself though. Tucked up above the APU is the board's 8 pin power connection as well as two four pin PWM fan headers for your APU cooling fan and a second heatsink fan if you need it. There is a third four-pin PWM fan header behind the rear I/O panel as well, perfectly placed for your rear case fan.

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You have four DDR3 memory slots for your dual channel RAM, oddly enough Asus went with flip hold downs on the top and bottom of the RAM when on other boards they only use one on the top. This may have been a cost consideration. Above the DIMM slots is the EPU switch, flipping this will adjust the F2 A85-V Pro's power usage down. Over on the right side of the DIMM Slots you have the 24 pin power connection, another four pin PWM fan header, and the MemOK button. The MemOK button can function as a semi BIOS reset because it will reset your memory and overclock settings without taking out other BIOS settings. I have put this to use before with memory compatibility issues. Lastly, below the power connection you have a USB 3.0 header.

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For SATA ports you get 7 total SATA 3 ports with 6 of them facing out and one facing up. This still leaves you an option if your case is extremely tight for example while giving most people 6 ports that are easy to wire manage.

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Down in the bottom right corner you have the BIOS Flashback and DirectKey buttons. DirectKey will boot you directly into the bios. The BIOS Flashback button on the other hand is designed to be able to update your bios only using a flash drive for easy BIOS updates. It is really interesting because you don’t even have to have a APU installed for this to work, this is great for cases where your CPU isn’t supported without an update. Being an AMD platform where they tend to stick with sockets longer this might come in handy in the future.

You also have your front panel header in the farthest part of the corner. Next is the TPU switch. The TPU switch is similar to the EPU switch in the way that it will adjust your settings and test to make sure they work. But this time around it will give you a healthy overclock at the flip of a switch. Next to the TPU on the left are four USB 2.0 ports in blue.

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Continuing from the blue USB 2.0 ports you have a COM port, another 4 pin fan header, and the front panel audio connection. That four pin PWM fan header gives us a total of 5 across the board, all PWM as well, not bad!

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For PCI slots you have two PCI x1 slots on location 1 and 3, two legacy PCI slots in positions 4 and 6, and then full length x16 slots in 2, 5, and 7. The PCIe x16 slots aren’t x16 in bandwidth though, The top slot is a x16 when run in single mode or the top two can be x8’s when run together. The third slot is always x4.

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For cooling, Asus went took advantage of a single heatpipe to help balance out the heat on the F2 A85-V Pro between the chipset cooler down on the bottom right of the board to the power circuitry around the CPU. This gets the job done without being to flashy, but the bright blue anodized heatsinks mess that all up by being eye catching and good looking. Thankfully I don’t mind at all.

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On the rear I/O panel of the F2 A85-V Pro we have a standard six port audio panel along with an optical input as well. For video connections for the APU you have a full sized DisplayPort, full sized HDMI, a VGA connection, and a DVI connection. Those four video options cover every possibility on the market right now for monitors. You get a single 10/100/1000 ethernet port for network/internet and a power eSATA plug for those of you (like me) who still have eSATA  products floating around. For USB you have four USB 3.0 ports as well as two USB 2.0 ports over on the left side. The USB 2.0 ports are for your keyboard and mouse, but if you happen to have a keyboard or mouse that needs a PS/2 port they have included that as well.

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I know it’s a fairly small touch but I love that Asus used a black PCB with the F2 A85-V Pro, combined with the blue on the cooling and ram and PCI slots it looks good and goes with nearly everything.

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Our Test Procedures and Test Benches

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Our CPU Test Benches for each CPU tested

AMD Socket FM2

Asus F2 A85-V Pro

OCZ Agility 3 120GB SSD

Kingston HyperX 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM

Noctua NH-U14S heatsink

Cooler Master V1000 Power Supply

Nvidia GTX 580 Video Card

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

Intel Socket 1150

MSI Z87-G45 Gaming

Kingston HyperX 128GB SSD

Kingston HyperX 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM

Noctua NH-U12S heatsink

Cooler Master V1000 Power Supply

Nvidia GTX 580 Video Card

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

Intel Socket 1155 (Ivy Bridge)

Crucial Ballistix Tracer Ram 1600Mhz 2x2Gb

Intel DZ77GA-70K

OCZ Agility 3 120Gb SSD

Noctua NH-C14 heatsink

Cooler Master Silent Pro M 850Watt PSU

Two Nvidia GTX580’s for SLI testing

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

Intel Socket 2011 (Sandy Bridge-E)

Intel DX79SI Motherboard

Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600MHz Quad Channel Ram

Two Kingston HyperX SATA 3 SSD’s in RAID 0

Intel Active Thermal Solution RTS2011LC Water-cooling

Cooler Master Silent PRO Gold 1200w PSU

Two Nvidia GTX580’s in SLI

Highspeedpc Test Bench

Intel Socket 1155 (Sandy Bridge)

Crucial Ballistix Tracer Ram 1600Mhz 2x2Gb

FATAL1TY P67 Profess1onal Series Motherboard

OCZ Agility 60Gb SSD

Noctua NH-C14 heatsink

Cooler Master Silent Pro M 850Watt PSU

Sapphire HD6970 BF:BC2 Edition for AMD testing

Two Nvidia GTX580’s for SLI testing

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

Intel Socket 1366

Gigabyte G-1 Assassin Gaming Motherboard

EVGA Classified GTX580 Video card

Cooler Master HAFX Nvidia Edition Case

Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3 Ram 1600MHz

Cool-It Water-cooling

Cooler Master Silent PRO Gold 1200w PSU

Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue SSD

CPU Testing Procedures

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

1920x1080 – high settings, first scene starting after the cut scene, recorded using fraps

Dirt 2

1920x1080 – 4x MSAA – high settings, in-game benchmark

3DMark Vantage

CPU Score- Performance benchmark

3DMark 2011

Physics Score – Performance benchmark

wPrime

1024M and 32M

X264 HD Benchmark

Pass 1 and Pass 2

Cinebench

CPU and CPU (Single Core results)

Passmark

String Sorting, Physics, Encryption, Compression, SSE, Find Prime Numbers, Floating Point Math, Integer Math, CPU Mark Score

Sandra

Inter-Core Latency, Inter-Core Bandwidth, Whetstone iSSE3, Dhrystone iSSE4.2, Aggregate Arithmetic Performance

AIDA64

CPU PhotoWorxx, CPU Zlib, FPU VP8

PCMark Vantage 64-bit

Full benchmark Suite

PCMark 7

Full benchmark Suite

WorldBench

Photoshop CS2, Autodesk 3Ds (rendering) Microsoft Office, and Winzip

Onboard GPU Testing Procedures (for CPu’s that have built in GPU’s)

3DMark Vantage

Performance and High settings

X264 HD Benchmark

Pass 1 and Pass 2

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 3.0

 

Cinebench

 

Dirt 3

1920x1080 – 4x MSAA – high settings, in-game benchmark

F1 2011

1920x1080 – 4x MSAA – high settings, in-game benchmark

Super Street Fighter 4

Set to 1920x1080

 


CPU Performance

In the real world everyone puts their computer to use in different ways. Some focus on gaming while others might find encoding or running multiple virtual machines to be most important. Because of that I have split up our compute performance testing slightly to help pinpoint what might apply to you the most.

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Specialty Benchmarks

Specialty Benchmarks doesn’t really describe this section the best, but basically here we have all of the benchmarks that don’t fall into the other groups. Most of these focus on compute power from different angles. Here we will get a better idea of how the A10-6800K and A10-6700 compare to everything else in things like encoding, math, ect.

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In Passmark both APUs performed great showing extremely good performance in Integer Math, Floating Point Math, and Finding Prime numbers. In fact with finding prime numbers the 6800K outperformed the 3860X slightly. This made for overall Passmark scores around the forever popular i5-2500K.

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In our Sandra benchmark one major issue with the APUs became apparent. Inter-Core Latency was extremely high in both cases. This also translated to low bandwidth numbers as well between cores. On the rest of the tests though they both fell in between the i5-2500K and the i3-2100 for performance.

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In PCMark Vantage and PC Mark 7 the 6800K and 6700 fall in between the i7-2600 and the i5-2500K for performance. Both are CPU’s that I would still consider to be extremely powerful but newer Ivy Bridge and Haswell CPU’s do make them look slightly aged.

Real World

In my real world testing I put both APUs to the test in a few Worldbench benchmarks that use actual programs. This gives us a better idea of what you should expect in your day to day use. In most of my tests the 6800K and 6700 came in just below the i3-2100. The exception to this was with Winzip where the additional cores helped them both perform in like with the aged i7-980X

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In Game and 3D performance

Our 3D specific benchmarks all take advantage of the two GTX 580’s that we use in SLI. Our On-Board specific testing is later in this review. This shows what kind of performance improvement you can expect to see without changing your video card out. In both of our in game benchmarks it is clear that compute performance isn’t always the most important factor, meaning there are a lot of games that an upgrade in CPU won’t make much If any difference. In Dirt 2 though, our two GTX 580s are powerful enough to leave the CPU as the limiting factor. Both the 6800K and 6700 perform similarly to the i3-2100 in that test.

When taking a look at our results from 3DMark 11 and Vantage we ignore the GPU score and the overall and focus on the CPU and PhysX scores. These are CPU specific and are a much better representation of the performance from CPU to CPU. It is very interesting to see the difference in the two tests. The Vantage results favor more cores over overall compute power like the 3DMark 11 scores. Once again both the 6800K and 6700 perform similarly to the i3-2100, while I wouldn’t consider that to be all that impressive it is still more than enough to let you game in just about any situation.

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Overall CPU benchmarks

Our last set of benchmarks generally show the overall performance of the complete package. In some cases things like additional memory bandwidth and more PCI Express lanes show up better in this kind of benchmark as they are more overall representations of what to expect in day to day situations.

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wPrime is a benchmark that a lot of overclockers put to use to compare performance and I completely understand why. You end up with simple-and-easy-to-compare results where the lower the score the better. The 6800K and 6700 fell in between the i5-2500K and the dual core i3-2100, this is in line with the performance results I have seen in the rest of our tests. This is a great test to see the difference between the two A10 APUs though with the 6800K pulling a 408 while the 6700 pulled a 535.

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For those of you who spend a lot of time encoding low performance can add up over time. X264 HD shows us the encoding performance of the 6800K and 6700 to be around 40 FPS less than the i5-2500K. While encoding from time to time will be fine I wouldn’t be looking at them if I did encoding all of the time.

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Cinebench has to be my favorite benchmark when doing CPU testing simply because it benchmarks overall CPU performance as well as single core performance. This can be substantially different sometimes when a 6+ core CPU might be fast but at a per core level slower than other CPUs. Overall CPU performance here isn’t any different than the much older A8-3800 oddly enough but when you look at the single core performance we are up closer to the 980X. In other words AMD still has a little farther to go to hit the performance of Sandy Bridge with their A10 APUs.

 


Onboard GPU Performance

Putting the onboard video card to the test on the 6700 and 6800K required that I disconnect the two GTX 580s used in our previous round of tests and go through our onboard benchmark suite. Testing onboard video is always interesting because as Intel and AMD continue to increase their performance you slowly see games that you never would have been able to play without a dedicated video card suddenly being accessible to those without a card at all.

I started with 3DMark Vantage to get an idea of where their overall performance stands next to what we saw on Haswell and Sandy Bridge CPUs. Both the A10-6800K and the A10-6700 performed extremely close to our 4770K Haswell CPU in the performance benchmark and they even pulled slightly ahead with high settings. My X264 HD Benchmark results were similar as well with the Haswell CPU still out performing but by a smaller amount that you might expect. Even more impressive is the performance when compared to the Intel HD 3000 and HD 4000 GPUs found in Sandy and Ivy Bridge CPUs.

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In the Heaven Benchmark 3.0 the 5800K and 6700 performed ever so slightly ahead of the i7-4770K CPU while blowing Ivy and Sandy Bridge results out of the water. Cinebench was the same as well with both AMD APUs leading once again.

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Enough about synthetic benchmarks though, it was the in game testing I wanted to see. While running high settings at 1080p my Dirt 3 results came in just under the 30FPS that I would typically consider playable. That means with only a slight adjustment you can up and running in Dirt 3 with just the GPU built into your APU. My F1 2011 results weren’t as good with both Haswell and Ivy Bridge CPU’s out performing but AMD made it up in Super Street Fighter 4. Super Street Fighter 4 results not only out performed Haswell, but they also come in beyond 60 FPS.

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Overall and Final Verdict

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Now that we have seen the performance of the Richland APUs, what do we think? Well I was a little torn. The onboard video performance was very impressive on both APUs but the compute performance of each of them left me looking for a little more. It wasn’t until I went digging around checking out pricing that I started to understand. You see, right now we are in a bit of a lul right now when it comes to demand for high compute performance. Most games require more on the GPU side than compute and only a small portion of people really take advantage of the performance they have. These Richland APUs fall in at a price point that is well below Intel’s offerings while still giving the performance you are going to need day to day. Let’s be clear: Intel’s Haswell and Ivy Bridge CPUs out perform these in every compute task I tossed at them. But considering their price point they still aren’t a bad option. Their value goes up a lot more if you don’t plan on running a dedicated video card at all.

I was a little confused by AMD’s pricing. When checking out the two APU’s on Newegg, they are only a dollar apart. But considering how close they are in performance I guess it’s not too big of a deal. If you are worried about power the A10-6700 is the way to go with its lower wattage, other than that there isn’t any other reason to not go with the A10-6800K.

In the end, I won’t be building my next gaming rig with a Richland CPU. But that was never the focus of these APUs in the first place. I will however be checking them out when building a low budget rig for a family member or for a cheap HTPC that can game a little.

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #32543 30 Aug 2013 18:39
Happy Friday, Today I take a look at two budget APU's from AMD

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