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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  • testbug00 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Well, Broadwell is supposed to be out in 2013 according to Tick Tock. So, Intel's at least 1.5 years to their party. However, doing smaller nodes is REALLY hard. So, hard to blame them.
  • azazel1024 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Err, no. Haswell was 2013 and Ivy was 2012. Broadwell would have been summer of 2014. It ended up being a mostly paper launch in late fall 2014, with parts meaningfully showing up winter of 2015 and Intel mentioned up front that Broadwell would be a mostly mobile release.

    So they are perhaps 6 months late on Broadwell, but unless something different happens, Intel is still claiming summer/fall for Skylake, which puts them right back on the original schedule (and probably also why Broadwell is limited, Intel has known about their 14nm node issues for awhile, so they limited it to get the node out there and more experience on it and then jumping in to Skylake with both feet).
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    I have the i5-5200U here in a BRIX that I can test, though it's worth noting that the 5200U list price is $281, more than any APU.
  • takeship - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    I was just thinking it wouldn't be too far off as a total cost comparison - a tall body i5 nuc + win 8 license + ram and scrounged up HDD/ssd is just about $600, which isn't too far above what a simple box with this would run. And my suspicion is that you don't give up too much gfx perf going down to the i3 and saving a hundred. Bandwidth being the bottleneck that it is.
  • Refuge - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    This SKU is new, but the chip is just a re-badge.
  • extide - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    A rebadge from what, exactly? No... It's not a rebadge, its just a lower model sku in a lineup that we have already seen. That is not what a rebadge is. We have not seen this core in this (or a similar) config released with a different sku before.
  • Edens_Remorse - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    Quit confusing the ignorants(shut up spell check, it's a word).
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    untill by the end of the year you start to see DX12 benchmarking :) and this more power silicon gets a free bump.

    25W is btw the difference in just a light bulb near your desktop or the minimal powerconsumption you have of dedicated gpu for the lack of onboard Intel GPU power :)
  • Michael Bay - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Yes, while all the action is in mobile segment. Where, you guessed it, AMD has no foothold.

    Not even mentioning DX12 being largely irrelevant this AND next year outside of useless synthetics.
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    Carrizo is all about Mobile :)

    useless synthetics and benchmarking is all where Intel shines, the result bares show only better result, reall life daily use you don't even notice.

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