AMD A8-7600 Kaveri APU review

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Introduction

The Cavalry Kaveri Has Arrived!

We review the all new AMD A8-7600 APU from AMD. This APU is based on AMD's new Kaveri architecture bringing the CPU and the GPU even closer together as the two "segments" now really have been merged into the die. Kaveri will aim at several segments in the processor business like notebooks, desktops, embedded and even server solutions. Armed bit a whopping 2.41 Billion transistors and based on a 28nm fabrication process, today we look at the mainstream Kaveri APU, the AMD A8-7600. Now in this review we'll focus on the desktop APUs and within this segment AMD initially will release three processors. In the A10 (fastest) lineup you will see the A10-7700K and A10-7850K chips. In the A8 series we'll see one product launch initially, the A8-7600. AMD A10-7000 series APUs each have have 4 Steamroller CPU cores tied to a unified 4 MB L2 cache and will carry a 95, 65 or 45 Watt Thermal Design Power. 

  1. AMD A10-7850K 
  2. AMD A10-7700K
  3. AMD A10-7600

With improved performance levels the APUs now can be considered a more mainstream product, you'll notice a decent speed improvement on the processor side and a significant increase on the GPU side of the APU. The big distinction here is that the CPU and GPU really have been merged, sharing the very same memory pool and they can address each other; making this a much more efficient design compared to previous architectures. Combined together, they offer a nice amount of processor performance, especially with OpenCL and GPU assisted applications. Yeah that hybrid symbiosis called APU remains hard to beat in terms of features performance. Kaveri APUs offer up to 12 compute cores in total (AMD adds 4 x CPU cores to 8 x GPU cores to get to this figure). The new chips also include AMD's TrueAudio technology and thus come with an integrated DSP.

I always add a few lines on the definition of an APU, as Intel simply sticks to processor, and AMD is very keen to call their processors APU these days. So here we go again. APUs are able to combine the potential of the processor and GPU together to enable a new class of compute performance in today’s PCs. Back in 2012 AMD introduced a series of AMD A10 "Trinity" APUs as mobile and notebook solutions. Trinity APUs where the successor of the AMD A4, A6 and A8 Llano-processors. AMD then marched onwards with Richland, basically a re-spin of Trinity. And as such we now have arrived at Kaveri with a Steamroller CPU core architecture and Radeon 7000 GCN series graphics. Make no mistake though, A10 and A8 APU processors remain entry level to mid-range targeted processors, please do understand that very clearly. So with the CPU and the GPU now pretty much being merged together we now understand why this architecture was called Kaveri, Kaveri is a large Indian river in which multiple streams of water flow together and is emptying into the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths. Kaveri is the euphemism here with both the CPU and GPU merging together.

We'll be testing the A10 parts as well, but today we start with the AMD A8-7600 APU, a 45 or 65 Watt TDP (configurable) APU based on that all new architecture. All afore mentioned APUs are quad-core CPUs, BTW.

The A10-7850K has eight Radeon cores totalling towards a nice 512 shader processors clocked at 654 MHz base and 720 MHz boost. The cheaper models 7700K and 7600 are more mainstream and will get one cluster less on shader processors, totalling towards 384 Shader processors. The APU memory controller supports up to DDR3-2133 MHz memory speeds. As a K-series processor it is unlocked as well so you may tweak a little more out of it. 

So the flagship APUs are armed with 512 Radeon (shader) cores and you have to realize that is a massive GPU in the IGP arena and it will offer good performance, Intel's Haswell IGP will not be able to compete with the performance that AMD can offer with the new A10 APUs, both on the gaming side as well as the compute side of things. The 7700K and 7600 will be more on par with the last generation performance IGP wise, but do benefit from the GCN architecture, HSA and HUMA. But we'll talk about that later on in the article.

Next page please, where we'll go a little more in-depth.


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ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ with the AMD A8-7600 APU

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