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AMD A10-7800 Kaveri APU Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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AMD’s Kaveri APUs may not have the spotlight hogging allure of Intel’s latest offerings like Devil’s Canyon or the upcoming Haswell-E but in the right set of circumstances they can be an excellent solution. After years of struggling to meet sales targets with both Llano, Trinity and Richland, Kaveri is seen as a whole new ballgame since it incorporates a host of next-generation heterogonous computing technologies. While many of those HSA-focused additions have yet to be fully utilized by today’s applications, aggressive pricing, an excellent feature set, a capable platform and surprisingly robust graphics performance have helped these APUs carve out a niche for themselves.

When we first reviewed Kaveri, there were a number of gaps within AMD’s lineup that were temporarily taken up by carry-over Richland APUs. The A10-7850K and A8-7600 on our test system were joined by the A8-7600 but entry Trinity APUs were missing in action since day one. Now, nearly eight months after desktop Kaveri was initially announced, AMD is finally rounding out their offerings by adding two new APUs: the A10-7800 and A6-7400K.


With its unlocked multiplier the A10-7850K is still carrying Kaveri’s flagship banner for enthusiasts and has seen a good measure of success among people who are looking for overclocking on a budget. Meanwhile the new A10-7800 is basically the same APU with slightly lower Base and Turbo frequencies but its market focus is much broader than its sibling due to a lower cost and an locked multiplier. These two key points make the 7800 a perfect candidate for system builders whose clients want the best APU money can buy but would never need the K-series’ overclocking features.

Another interesting feature is the inclusion of a fully configurable TDP, a carry-over from other Kaveri APUs. This allows users to set a hard TDP cap (all the way down to 45W with the 7800) within the BIOS, after which the APU will regulate its clock speeds in an effort to hit the new target. While this does limit performance, HTPC and SFF users are going to love it since they can modify the A10-7800’s output based on their individual needs and squeeze out additional horsepower if required. Just remember that some motherboards don’t support TDP adjustments and some system builders may choose to not implement them.

The A10-7800’s graphics capabilities closely mirror those of the A10-7850K and carry the usual Mantle and TrueAudio features. The R7-eries GPU has 512 cores spread across eight SIMD units for a total of twelve of AMD’s so-called Compute Cores when they are combined with the four x86 cores. Due to its use of an integrated R7-series graphics processor, the A10-7800 can be paired up with an R7 discrete card for increased performance through AMD’s Dual Graphics technology. We’ll be testing this in an upcoming article.


While it won’t be reviewed in this article, AMD’s A6-7400K is a particularly interesting addition to their portfolio and is meant as a replacement for the A4-6400K, an APU that flew under most people’s radar during the previous generation. While it doesn’t support Dual Graphics the dual core A6-7400K is a low priced processor which sports an unlocked multiplier, making it extremely appealing for budget-minded overclockers. Unfortunately, Intel’s new G3258 Pentium Anniversary Edition will steal much of its thunder but AMD’s entry-level $77 Kaveri APU will still boast a significant edge in onboard graphics processing.

After a year in which they launched Kaveri on the desktop and mobile markets alongside Beema and Mullins for low powered systems, AMD looks to be on a roll. Granted, the addition of two new APU’s to their FM2+ desktop lineup may not be earth-shattering news but the A10-7800 and A6-7400K are well positioned to take over from their predecessors. They won’t lead to overnight success for a platform that has largely failed to generate design wins but the A10-7800 was desperately needed for larger volume system builders. We’re just surprised it took this long to roll out, especially with Intel’s Broadwell looming large on the horizon.
 
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SKYMTL

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Test Setups & Methodology

Test Setups & Methodology


For this review, we have prepared a number of different test setups, representing many of the popular platforms at the moment. As much as possible, the test setups feature identical components, memory timings, drivers, etc. Aside from manually selecting memory frequencies and timings, every option in the BIOS was at its default setting.


For all of the benchmarks, appropriate lengths are taken to ensure an equal comparison through methodical setup, installation, and testing. The following outlines our testing methodology:

A) Windows is installed using a full format.

B) Chipset drivers and accessory hardware drivers (audio, network, GPU) are installed.

C)To ensure consistent results, a few tweaks are applied to Windows 7 and the NVIDIA control panel:
  • UAC – Disabled
  • Indexing – Disabled
  • Superfetch – Disabled
  • System Protection/Restore – Disabled
  • Problem & Error Reporting – Disabled
  • Remote Desktop/Assistance - Disabled
  • Windows Security Center Alerts – Disabled
  • Windows Defender – Disabled
  • Screensaver – Disabled
  • Power Plan – High Performance
  • V-Sync – Off

D) Windows updates are then completed installing all available updates

E) All programs are installed and then updated.

F) Benchmarks are each run three to eight times, and unless otherwise stated, the results are then averaged.

G) All processors had their energy saving options / c-states enabled
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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System Benchmarks: AIDA64 / Cinebench r11.5

System Benchmarks


In this section, we will be using a combination of synthetic benchmarks which stress the CPU and system in a number of different domains. Most of these tests are easy to acquire or are completely free to use so anyone reading this article can easily repeat our tests on their own systems.

To vary the results as much as possible, we have chosen a selection of benchmarks which focus upon varied instruction sets (SSE, SSE3, 3DNow!, AVX, etc.) and different internal CPU components like the floating point units and general processing stages.



AIDA64 Extreme Edition


AIDA64 uses a suite of benchmarks to determine general performance and has quickly become one of the de facto standards among end users for component comparisons. While it may include a great many tests, we used it for general CPU testing (CPU ZLib / CPU Hash) and floating point benchmarks (FPU VP8 / FPU SinJulia).


CPU ZLib Benchmark

This integer benchmark measures combined CPU and memory subsystem performance through the public ZLib compression library. CPU ZLib test uses only the basic x86 instructions but is nonetheless a good indicator of general system performance.




CPU Hash Benchmark

This benchmark measures CPU performance using the SHA1 hashing algorithm defined in the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 180-3. The code behind this benchmark method is written in Assembly. More importantly, it uses MMX, MMX+/SSE, SSE2, SSSE3, AVX instruction sets, allowing for increased performance on supporting processors.



FPU VP8 / SinJulia Benchmarks

AIDA’s FPU VP8 benchmark measures video compression performance using the Google VP8 (WebM) video codec Version 0.9.5 and stresses the floating point unit. The test encodes 1280x720 resolution video frames in 1-pass mode at a bitrate of 8192 kbps with best quality settings. The content of the frames are then generated by the FPU Julia fractal module. The code behind this benchmark method utilizes MMX, SSE2 or SSSE3 instruction set extensions.

Meanwhile, SinJulia measures the extended precision (also known as 80-bit) floating-point performance through the computation of a single frame of a modified "Julia" fractal. The code behind this benchmark method is written in Assembly, and utilizes trigonometric and exponential x87 instructions.





CineBench r11.5 64-bit


The latest benchmark from MAXON, Cinebench R11.5 makes use of all your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene using various different algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects containing more than 300,000 total polygons and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights and shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. This particular benchmarking can measure systems with up to 64 processor threads. The result is given in points (pts). The higher the number, the faster your processor.

 

SKYMTL

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System Benchmarks: Civ V / PCMark 7

System Benchmarks (pg.2)



Civilization V: Gods & Kings Unit Benchmark


Civilization V includes a number of benchmarks which run on the CPU, GPU or a combination thereof. The Unit Benchmark simulates thousands of units and actions being generated at the same time, stresses multi core CPUs, system memory and GPU We give the non-rendered score below as it is more pertinent to overall CPU performance within the application.




PCMark 7


PCMark 7 is the latest iteration of Futuremark’s system benchmark franchise. It generates an overall score based upon system performance with all components being stressed in one way or another. The result is posted as a generalized score. We also give the Computation Suite score as it isolates the CPU and memory within a single test, without the influence of other components.


 

SKYMTL

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System Benchmarks: 3DMark (CPU) / WPrime

System Benchmarks (pg.3)



3DMark06 CPU


While 3DMark06 may be a slightly older synthetic benchmark, its CPU test still allows for multi threaded performance evaluations within a gaming environment. It effectively removes the CPU from the equation, generating a CPU-centric score.




WPrime


wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum. This is a highly multi-threaded workload. Below are the scores for the 32M and 1024M benchmarks.


 

SKYMTL

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System Benchmarks: Single Thread Performance

System Benchmarks: Single Thread Performance


Even though most modern applications have the capability to utilize more than one CPU thread, single threaded performance is still a cornerstone of modern CPU IPC improvements. In this section, we take a number of synthetic applications and run them in single thread mode.



 

SKYMTL

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Productivity Benchmarks: 7-Zip / MediaCoder

Productivity Benchmarks


In this section, we will avoid generalized synthetic benchmarks and instead concentrate upon CPU performance within real-world applications and standard usage patterns. Every one of the programs included here has functions that many professionals and everyday users utilize in their day to day computing lives.


7-Zip


At face value, 7-Zip is a simple compression/decompresion tool like popular applications like WinZip and WinRAR but it also has numerous additional functions that can allow encryption, decryption and other options. For this test, we are avoiding its built-in benchmark and once again only focus upon real world testing by compressing a 2.6GB folder of various files and adding an AES-256 encryption layer for good measure. The test is timed until it is complete.




MediaCoder x64


Due to the varying compatibility of certain mobile devices, video transcoding performance has become something of a big deal. Transcoding allows one type of video / audio file to be converted into a different format and it typically takes up a huge amount of system resources. The MediaCoder application brings multi format transcoding to an accessible level with numerous options and acceleration for Intel’s QuickSync and NVIDIA’s CUDA technologies. In addition, its CPU support allows for full multi core utilization. In this test, we use the MediaCoder i-devices edition to convert a 600MB AVCHD file to an iPhone 4S friendly MPEG-4 format.

 

SKYMTL

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Productivity Benchmarks: Photoshop CS6 / POV Ray 3.7

Adobe Photoshop CS6


For the image editing portion of this section, we use Photoshop CS6 in coordination with a custom benchmark script. This script automates the application of 20 different image manipulation functions to a 120MB PNG image, acting as an excellent test of CPU power and memory bandwidth. For this test, we have disabled GPU acceleration so it won’t play a factor in the areas where it would typically be used. We use Photoshop’s built-in timing feature to provide a result at each test stage.



POV Ray 3.7 RC6


POV Ray is a complex yet simple to use freeware ray tracing program which has the ability to efficiently use multiple CPU cores in order to speed up rendering output. For this test, we use its built-in benchmark feature which renders multiple passes of a high definition scene. In order to get the most accurate results, the second pass of the first test is logged, resulting in a benchmark score showing the average amount of pixels rendered per second.

 

SKYMTL

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Productivity Benchmarks: TrueCrypt 7.1 / x264HD

Productivity Benchmarks (pg. 3)



TrueCrypt 7.1


Truecrypt is another freeware gem which allows for on-the-fly disk encryption. More importantly, it fully supports AES-256 encryption methods and multi core processors. For this test, we used the built-in benchmark tool are logged the data throughput for TrueCrypt’s AES-256 encryption method.




x264HD Benchmark


x264 is quickly becoming the new codec of choice for encoding a growing number of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC videos. Think of it as the new Divx of HD and you can understand why we felt it critical to include. Tech Arp's recent development of the x264 HD Benchmark takes a 30 second HD video clip and encodes it into the x264 codec with the intention of little to no quality loss. The test is measured using the average frames per second achieved during encoding, which scales with processor speed and efficiency. The benchmark also allows the use of multi-core processors so it gives a very accurate depiction of what to expect when using encoding application on a typical full length video. We use the second pass of the first test for this benchmark as it fully loads all multi core processors.

 

SKYMTL

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Synthetic Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark06 / 3DMark11

3DMark11


3DMark 11 is the latest in a long line of synthetic benchmarking programs from the Futuremark Corporation. This is their first foray into the DX11 rendering field and the result is a program that incorporates all of the latest techniques into a stunning display of imagery. Tessellation, depth of field, HDR, OpenCL physics and many others are on display here. While the GPU plays a primary role here, 3DMark 11 takes full advantage of multiple CPU threads so any bottlenecks caused by the CPU will also be evident. In the benchmarks below we have included the results (at default settings) for both the Entry and Performance presets.




3DMark06


While its DX9 tests may not seem to be completely relevant in a DX11 era, 3DMark06 still provides an excellent measuring device for both multi core CPU and GPU performance. For this benchmark we are using the standard preset.

 
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