It feels like just yesterday I was checking out the original Kaveri APU from AMD but surprisingly they actually launched it in mid-2014. Between this and now we have seen their FX line get refreshed and a whole mess of CPUs from Intel as well so it is no big surprise that we are now seeing a Kaveri refresh. Specifically we are going to take a look at the new A10-7870K APU. The 7870 might confuse some people because AMD did use that on their GPUs just a few years ago but they aren’t related. So in order to find out what the 7870K is all about let’s check out where AMD improved the APU then run it through all of our benchmarks to see how it performs!
Product Name: AMD A10-7870K
Review Sample Provided by: AMD
Written by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Amazon link: HERE
|CPU Base Frequency||3900||3500||3700|
|TDP||95W||45W or 65W||95W|
|L2 Cache||2 x 2 MB||2 x 2 MB||2 x 2 MB|
|GPU Clock Speed||866MHz||720MHz||720MHz|
|Max DDR3 Speed||2133MHz||2133MHz||2133MHz|
|MSRP at launch||$137||$155||$173|
About the 7870K
So like I mentioned before the A10-7870K isn’t a completely new APU. In order for AMD to compete with Intel’s latest launches as well as rumored upcoming launches as well they have changed up the pricing on their APUs and they also introduced their internally nicknamed Godavari APU. The new APU shares the same Steamroller Microarchitecture that Kaveri had and short of a few changes it runs the same Kaveri architecture. The refresh launched with the 7870K that I will be testing today but they will be bringing the rest of the line up to speed as well.
The new pricing starts with a low MSRP of $64 for the A6-7400K and goes up to the $137 MSRP of the A10-7870K. The previous top dog for their APU line was the A10-7850K, when digging into everything I was curious what they changed from the 7850K to the 7870K. On the CPU side of things they bumped the base clock up to 3.9 from 3.7 and with that the boost clock to 4.1 from 4.0. Both APUs share the same TDP, memory, compute unites, and streaming processors. So beyond the CPU clock speed bump they did also turn up the onboard GPU as well from 720MHz to 866MHz.
Before jumping into my testing I was really curious where this all stands compared to what Intel has going on. Clearly AMD isn’t even trying to attempt to compete with the newly launched 5775C or any of Intel’s higher priced models. AMDs top priced APU is actually set to sell for nearly the same price as the Intel Core i3-4330. The 4330 is a dual core Haswell CPU that has the same Intel HD Graphics 4600 onboard GPU that I have tested on some of Intel’s higher end CPUs. Sadly I don’t have an i3-4330 on hand to test or anything even close, but when we get into onboard testing we will better see how the HD 4600 CPUs compare to the 7870K.
So when on the call with AMD, one of the things they pointed out was the potential chipsets than with BIOS updates could run this APU. It’s interesting to see that we can go back four chipsets, although to be fair A58 launched in early 2014, so we aren’t talking about going back to far. That said, people who built A58 rigs two years ago could be on the lookout for a cheap upgrade two years later.
The AMD APUs have a few other features that we have seen on their GPUs as well. For starters AMD has VSR aka Virtual Screen Resolution. This is similar to an Nvidia feature as well. Basically you can improve your game quality by rendering in a higher resolution in the background and then dropping it down to your monitor size. This is a lot more important with dedicated GPUs that can turn things up to crazy high resolutions like 4K, considering we are working with an onboard GPU I do question the real potential for use, but moving forward as performance increases it might come into play more. The second feature and the one I consider the most interesting is the inclusion of FreeSync support with the onboard GPU. FreeSync when paired with a proper monitor smooths out your gameplay and helps eliminate tearing and other issues that lower your gaming experience. With onboard graphics especially this is a great way to get a smooth gaming experience even when the FPS isn’t up to your expectations.
Being another FM2+ socketed APU there aren’t any changes to the form factor. That means we get the same pins on the CPU configuration that all AMD CPUs have as well as the thick heat spreader up on top. Then the product name and all of the other information is etched on the heat spreader.
AMD also included the cooler for the CPU this time around, normally we don’t have the chance to check them out. So when I get into cooling testing I will go over the stock heatsinks performance in addition to the performance difference between it and the Noctua cooler that I normally test with. The coolers design has four heatpipes, two on each side, pulling heat from right on top of the APU out across the heatsink. Then the fan blows down over the heatsink. The copper base comes with thermal paste applied to make the installation as easy as possible. To get it installed you latch the one hook on the tab on your motherboard and then make sure the lock is flipped up and hook the second one. Then you tighten it down by flipping the lock down.