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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  • silverblue - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    I heard a rumour that AMD were unable to meet demand and as such failed to secure a contract with Apple. Make of that what you will. As it was, Llano went from being under-produced to the exact opposite.
  • galta - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Exactly: not only have they devised a poor strategy, they were also unable to follow it!
  • V900 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Nah, Llano would have been way too hot for an Apple laptop. Heck,'the CPU/GPU in a MacBook Air has a tdp of 15watt. Does AMD have anything even close to that, that doesn't involve Jaguar cores?
  • galta - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Again, they were not able to deliver their strategy, even if it was a poor one.
    One says that integrated GPU is the future. That, per se, is questionable.
    Later, we find out that they can't meet production orders and/or deliver a chip that is too hot for one of its potential markets. This is poor implementation.
  • Teknobug - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Enjoying my i3 4010U NUC as well, all I need for daily use and some occasional light gaming on Steam (I run Debian Linux on it).
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Yoga 3 pro with 4.5W Core M got 90 points in Cinebench R15 Single-Threaded test
    This 95W chip got 85 points in Cinebench R15 Single-Threaded test

    So who's gonna buy this at all?
  • takeship - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Cynically, AMD may consider it better to have *any* product to discount/write-off down the road rather than fork over another wafer agreement penalty to GloFo with nothing to show for it.
  • BrokenCrayons - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    I noticed that as well, but the fact that this is a 95 watt processor isn't that much of a concern when you have the power envelope of a desktop chassis at your disposal. The intended niche for these APUs seems more to make a value proposition for budget gaming in a low-complexity system (meaning lacking the additional PCB complexity introduced by using a discrete GPU). Unfortunately, I don't see OEMs really putting any weight behind AMD APUs by selling systems containing them which leaves much of the sales up to the comparatively few people who DIY-build desktop hardware. Even those people are hard-pressed to find a lot of value in picking an APU-based platform over competing Intel products as they tend to have a little more budget flexibility and are targeting greater GPU performance than the A-series has available, putting them into discrete graphics solutions.
  • zodiacfml - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    The APU has more cores than that. In the test, did it tell you how much power it is using?
  • yannigr2 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Those two more and much more expensive Intel CPUs on the charts, make APUs look totally pathetic. Yes you do have the prices next to the charts, yes they do make APUs, look extremely valuable in the 3D games, but most people probably would not go past the first 4-5 pages in this article having being totally disappointed from the first results. Also the long blue lines will imprint in their memories, they will forget the prices.
    Next time throw a few Xeon e7 in the charts.
    PS. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don't turn to Tom's Hardware.

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