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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  • Michael Bay - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    If this abomination is all about mobile applications, no wonder one has to search with a flashlight for an hour to find a notebook on AMD, and then it`s some 15 inch tn+ crap.

    And in daily use it`s extremely easy to spot a difference, since systems on AMD will always have wailing CO.
  • jabber - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    Yep the OEMs just don't want or need AMD anymore.
  • Pissedoffyouth - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Works great for extremely micro builds
  • harrkev - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Ummm. Not quite. For desktop, the APU concept might be mostly irrelevant unless on a tight budget. For laptop people (like me), the APU is everything. To get a discrete graphics chip, you are generally looking at north of $1000. If your laptop budget is around $500 or so and you want to play the occasional game, the APU matters. An AMD processor will game circles around and Intel chip if using built-in graphics.

    My dream machine right now is a laptop with a high-end Carrizo and a displayPort to drive big monitors.
  • jabber - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Just a shame you'll never see one in the stores!
  • LogOver - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    AMD integrated graphics is better than Intel's... but only if we're talking about desktop offerings with 95W TDP. AMD mobile offering (low power apus with "good enough" graphics) is pretty much non existent.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    coming from someone who had an AMD APU notebook, no. AMD's graphics are nowhere near as nice in mobile, where the low TDP hammers them. When it comes to games, intel's hd 4600 ran circles around the a10-4600m and the a10-5750m. framerates were not only higher, but much more consistent. AMD's kaveri chips were 15 watt, and still couldnt match 15 watt intel chips.
  • geekfool - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Did you look into why i3-4130T ended up faster in x265 than i3-4330? The latter is strictly faster and there is no turbo that could difference things due to individual chip quality. I suspect some of those results must be wrong, which sorta casts shadow onto all of them.

    (I hope you didn't mix different x265 versions, because the encoder is continually being optimised and thus newer versions do more work per MHz than older ones? You don't ever say what parameters/data the the tests use, so it is hard to guess what went wrong).
  • rp1367 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    It seems you have a better idea in designing silicon than AMD. Why not make your own silicon so that you will be impressed by your pwn expectation? The APU is a revolutionary design and no silicon maker can match this on general purpose use from office to gaming.
  • jeffry - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    I think this PC setup is a good option. we all shop on budgets, i dont know anyone who does not. if more money comes in, say, 6-12 month later, i would just buy a dedicated GPU (~150 bucks) and thats it...

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