The staggered birth of Kaveri has been an interesting story to cover but it has been difficult to keep all the pieces right in the forefront of memory. The initial launch in January 2014 saw a small number of SKUs such as the A10-7850K and the A8-7600 at first and since then we have had a small trickle at a rate of one or two new models a quarter hitting the shelves. We've seen 65W SKUs, such as in the form of the A10-7800, which offer 45W modes as well. Today we're reviewing the most recent Kaveri processor to hit the market, the A8-7650K rated at 95W and officially priced at $105/$95.

AMDs APU Strategy

Integrated graphics is one of the cornerstones of both the mobile and the desktop space. Despite the love we might harbor for a fully discrete graphics solution, the truth of the matter is that most people and most places still have that integrated platform in both consumer and business. Whenever I meet with AMD, the question from them is always simple - when you build a system, what would you get from AMD/Intel at a similar price point? The APU series tackles the sub-$200 price bracket from head to toe:

CPU/APU Comparion
AMD Kaveri Amazon Price on 5/12
Intel Haswell
(4C/4T, 88W)
3.5-3.9 GHz
HD 4600
    $199 i5-4590
(4C/4T, 84W)
3.3-3.7 GHz
HD 4600
    $189 i5-4460
(4C/4T, 84W)
3.2-3.4 GHz
HD 4600
3.7-4.0 GHz
512 SPs
(2M/4T, 95W)
$140 i3-4330
(2C/4T, 54W)
3.5 GHz
HD 4600
3.5-3.9 GHz
512 SPs
(2M/4T, 65W)
3.4-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
(2M/4T, 95W)
$120 i3-4130
(2C/4T, 54W)
3.4 GHz
HD 4400
3.3-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
(2M/4T, 95W)
3.1-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
(2M/4T, 65W)
$96 Pentium G3430
(2C/2T, 53W)
3.3 GHz
HD (Haswell)
3.7-4.0 GHz
X4 860K
(2M/4T, 95W)
    $70 Pentium G3258
(2C/2T, 53W)
3.2 GHz
HD (Haswell)
3.5-3.9 GHz
256 SPs
(1M/2T, 65W)
$64 Celeron G1830
(2C/2T, 53W)
2.8 GHz
HD (Haswell)

I first created this table with launch pricing, and it had some of the APUs/CPUs moved around. But since the release dates of these processors varies on both sides, the prices of individual SKUs has been adjusted to compete.  Perhaps appropriately, we get a number of direct matchups including the A10-7700K and the Core i3-4130 at $120 right now. This table is by no means complete, due to Intel’s 20+ other SKUs that fight around same price points but vary slightly in frequency, but that tells a lot about each sides attack on the market. Some of AMD's recently announced price cuts are here, but for consistency our results tables will list the launch pricing as we have no mechanism for dynamic pricing.

Testing AMDs APUs over the years has provided results that these are not necessarily targeted to the high end when it comes to multi-GPU systems that total $2000+, although AMD wouldn't mind if you built a high end system with one. The key element to the APU has always been the integrated graphics, and the ability to offer more performance or percentage of transistors to graphics than the competition does at various price points (irrespective of TDP). Ultimately AMD likes to promote that for a similarly priced Intel+NVIDIA solution, a user can enable dual graphics with an APU+R7 discrete card for better performance. That being said, the high-end APUs have also historically been considered when it comes to single discrete GPU gaming when the most expensive thing in the system is the GPU as we showed in our last gaming CPU roundup, although we need to test for a new one of those soon.

Part of the new set of tests for this review is to highlight the usefulness of dual graphics, as well as comparing both AMD and NVIDIA graphics for low, mild-mannered and high end gaming arrangements.

The A8-7650K

The new APU fits in the stack between the 65W A8-7600 and before we get into the A10 models with the A10-7700K. It offers a slightly reduced clock speed than the A10, but it is built (in part) for overclocking with the K moniker. The integrated graphics under the hood provide 384 SPs at 720 MHz, being part of AMDs 4+6 compute core strategy. The A8-7650K is designed to fill out the processor stack to that end.

AMD Kaveri Lineup
Price $140 $135 $120 $104 $96 $83 $64
Modules 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
Threads 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
Core Freq. (GHz) 3.7-4.0 3.5-3.9 3.4-3.8 3.3-3.8 3.1-3.8 3.7-4.0 3.5-3.9
Compute Units 4+8 4+8 4+6 4+6 4+6 4+0 2+4
512 512 384 384 384 N/A 256
IGP Freq. (MHz) 720 720 720 720 720 N/A 756
TDP 95W 65W 95W 95W 65W 95W 65W
2133 2133 2133 2133 2133 1866 1866
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 1MB

At a list price of $105 (current $104), we were at a quandary with what to test against it from team blue. The Pentium G3258 sits at $72 with two cores at 3.2 GHz and HD (Haswell) GT1 graphics. The next one up the stack is the i3-4130, a dual core with hyperthreading and HD4400, but sits at $120. Ultimately there is no direct price competitor, but AMD assured us they were confident in the positing of the SKUs, particularly when gaming is concerned. Due to what I have in my testing lab, the nearest competitor to this is the i3-4330, a model with a larger L3 cache which has a list price of $138, or the i3-4130T which is a low power SKU.

New Testing Methodology
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  • CPUGPUGURU - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    AMD APU is a watt, money, time wasting bottlenecking inferior choice that there is next to no market for, for AMD fusion was and still is a delusion. Intel's world class IPC performance, node process and a dGPU are a MUCH BETTER investment.

    Intel's APU's performance advantage makes them a wise choice for the Tablet, Convertible, or Ultrabook market, I'm looking forward to a Surface Skylake to go mobile with.
  • mayankleoboy1 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Ian, this is probably the 3rd or 4th testing methodology/benchmark changes that you have seen during AT. My question is:

    Do you think that Multithreading is *really* more mainstream now? As in, do most general purpose softwares use more than 2 cores?
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    The way I like to think about it is that even if software only uses one core, I like to have many on the go at the time. Chrome tabs are a nice example.

    But multithreading is now being taught in some CS undergraduate classes, meaning that at least it's slowly entering the software ecosystem as default knowledge, rather than as an afterthought. In my opinion, that's always been a big barrier to multithreading (as well as having parallelizable code).

    Another thought is consider the software you use. Is it made by a big multinational with a strong software development team? If yes, chances are it is multithreaded. If it uses a big commercial engine, it probably is as well. If it's based on a small software team, then it more likely isn't.

  • V900 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Multithreading being taught at CS classes today doesnt matter much.

    It's not like multithreading is some unknown new technology we can't take advantage of. Dual/quad core processors have been common for over a decade.

    OS X have Grand Central Despatch. Windows 7/8 can take advantage of multithreading.

    The problem is that it's not all tasks on a computer/in an operating system that does benefit from multithreading.

    And that's not going to change. Otherwise we wouldn't see AMD going back to the drawing board and throwing the module-concept in the trash in order to focus on single thread performance like in the Zen CPU.

    So unless you know you need it today, multithreading performance is a lousy parameter to choose a CPU from, cause it won't get better in the future.
  • ppi - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    But now, how many real tasks, where CPU is the real bottleneck ...

    ... and not GPU, storage, internet connection, or gasp ... the user ...

    .. and such task is not multithreaded on reasonably written software?
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, May 17, 2015 - link

    According to rumor you mean.
  • ToTTenTranz - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Why does Anandtech keep refusing to test lower performance CPUs and APUs with Mantle-enabled games?

    Those should be a great way to predict the advantages of lower CPU overhead in DX12 and Vulkan.
  • CPUGPUGURU - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    BECAUSE Mantle is AMD ONLY and DX12/Vulkan will be Intel NVIDIA and AMD, THAT'S WHY.

    ALSO, Win10 DX12 HAS NOT Been released, drivers are beta at best, SO WHY waste time testing something that's beta and has NOT been released, WHY?

    You AMD pumpoholics are brain dead and clueless.
  • V900 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    They also seriously think that "Mantle is basically DX12 +/- 10%" which is beyond deluded.

    Even after AMD knew that Mantle was a one way ticket to nowhere, and pretty much said as much, they still keep bringing it up and treat it as if it's not obsolete. Insanity...
  • ppi - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Mantle is currently a great way for to reduce CPU overhead for AMD APUs and CPUs.

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