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AMD’s Godavari A10-7870K APU


Author: SKYMTL
Date: May 27, 2015
Product Name: A10-7880K


Other than an announcement of a few features within their upcoming Carrizo architecture, AMD has been relatively quiet on the processor front for some time now. As a matter of fact, their last major launch was actually the A10-7800K nearly a full year ago. That’s a long time between flagship product refreshes. So much so that some were beginning to wonder if there would be anything to take over from the A10-7850K since Carrizo won’t initially target the higher performance brackets while Zen won’t be around until next year. Now we have AMD’s response; the A10-7870K, code named Godavari.

So what is Godavari? Rumors had it pegged as everything from a 14nm refresh of Kaveri to a minor clock speed bump to the existing architecture. Unfortunately for all those hoping for a bit more, as its name suggests (no this isn’t the A10-8000 series) the A10-7870K is simply an A10-7850K with higher frequencies. AMD is calling it a refresh but nothing has really changed on the design and implementation fronts. Like Kaveri Godavari still uses an advanced form of the 28nm HKMG manufacturing process, includes four Steamroller x86 cores, runs with GCN-based graphics and utilizes the FM2+ socket. If you are running and FM2+ system which requires a slight speed boost that’s good news, though Godavari support will require a BIOS update.

Naturally the A10-7870K sits atop AMD’s current APU lineup but its x86 core frequencies haven’t seen that much improvement over the A10-7850K, an APU that was launched in February 2014. Where we do see some notable improvements is within the graphics subsystem which is still has 512 Radeon core but they’re now clocked at 866MHz. This will lead to minimal performance uplifts where AMD needed them the most but at least the TDP has remained at 95W which is full configurable through BIOS settings.

The A10-7870 is billed as delivering i5-series performance at i3 prices but that shouldn’t come as any surprise considering AMD has been focusing solely upon the value equation as of late. With that being said, at just $137 this new APU does offer a good upgrade path for users who are still on older A58 motherboards.

While we don’t have a sample to test with, overall performance is supposed to be exactly what everyone has come to expect from a Kaveri APU. It will be overmatched by Intel’s upper echelon i3 processors in x86-centric tasks, evenly matched in certain synthetic benchmarks while devastatingly powerful whenever the GPU is involved. As a matter of fact, for a better idea of overall performance you could simply head over to our A10-7850K review and add a few percentage points to its results to get a rough approximation of what the 7870K will achieve.

We do have to mention that GPU performance on Kaveri and even previous APU architectures is largely dependent upon memory speeds. If your system is equipped with DDR3-2133 modules expect some impressive numbers but anything under that could seriously hamper in-game framerates.

AMD is also quick to point out their seemingly massive feature advantage on the gaming side, and with good reason since it is an area where they have Intel beat clean. The A10-7870K is compatible with Virtual Super Resolution, FreeSync and some DX12 features like multi adapter asymmetric rendering, all of which give them a significant competitive advantage.

Due to the inherent limitations with the current implementations of FreeSync using it with APUs probably isn’t a good idea due to its incapability to properly display framerates between 30FPS and whatever the monitor’s minimum refresh rate is. However, the technology works wonderfully at the higher framerates APUs can achieve in less demanding titles.

All in all, this launch may not be something that AMD’s most die-hard fans were hoping for, nor does the A10-7870K ever hope to compete against Intel’s upcoming launches of desktop Broadwell and Skylake processors. What it does is effectively give current AMD users a solid upgrade path for their older Trinity and Richland APUs without requiring a full platform revamp. Plus, with Carrizo and Zen on the horizon, there’s still a lot to be excited about in AMD’s future.

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