AMD A10-7850K review
AMD’s A-series processors have long impressed us with their combination of strong desktop performance and powerful built-in 3D graphics. The latest iteration is codenamed "Kaveri", and is the best yet. Kaveri chips differ from previous A-series processors in that their processing cores are the latest "Steamroller" versions, which are based on a 28nm process.
There have also been some tweaks to the graphics architecture. The processors’ graphics cores and central processing unit (CPU) cores have equal access to system memory and equal flexibility to create and execute work. This means developers can potentially use all the computing cores of a Kaveri processor to make full use of the chip’s processing power. The promise is faster desktop processing and better performance in games.
The AMD A10-7850K is the top model in AMD’s Kaveri line-up, and it has four cores and no less than eight graphics cores. It runs at a typical clock speed of 3.7GHz but can boost to 4GHz. To use the A10-7850K you'll need to use an FM2+ motherboard, which means you can’t just use an existing FM2 board and swap out your Richland or Trinity processor for a Kaveri chip. The good news is that you can use a Trinity or Richland processor in an FM2+ motherboard, so if you don’t have funds for both a motherboard and CPU upgrade right now you can always upgrade your motherboard first and then your processor later.
The A10-7850K scored 73 overall in our multimedia benchmarks, which consist of challenging image-processing, video-editing and multitasking tasks. Our reference Intel "Ivy Bridge" Core i5-3570K scored 100, showing the processor isn't cutting-edge in these tasks, but it's still easily quick enough for desktop applications, such as photo editors and word processors. You'll even be able to indulge in a bit of light video editing, but don't expect to produce a 4K masterpiece in a hurry. This score is the same as the Intel Core i3-4340 managed, but Intel's chip is currently £10 more expensive.
The A10-7850K offers plenty of graphics power thanks to its built-in 720MHz, eight-core graphics processor. The A10-7850K produced an average frame rate of 50fps in Dirt Showdown at a resolution of 1,280x720 and graphics quality set to High. We conducted this test with our reference RAM running at 1,600MHz. When we used AMD’s Gamer Series memory running at 2,133MHz the average frame rate increased to an impressive 57.6fps with a minimum frame rate of 45fps. If you want to use the A10-7850K’s on-die graphics processor for playing 3D games, it’s certainly beneficial to use a higher-frequency memory kit. These score compare very favourably with those from the Intel HD Graphics 4600 chipset in Intel's Haswell chips, which max out at just 32fps in this test.
There's no doubt the A10-7850K’s performance in the Dirt Showdown benchmarks is excellent when you consider it’s delivered by an on-die graphics processor. It's even possible to enjoy a spot of 1080p gaming with this processor. At a resolution of 1,920x,1080 and with graphics quality set to High, the A10-7850K produced an average frame rate of 34.3fps, with a minimum frame rate of 27.9fps.
Predictably, more graphically challenging games such as Crysis 3 will prove too much for the A10-7850K’s graphics processor. At a resolution of 1,280x720 with graphics quality set to Low the A10-7850K produced an average frame rate of 24fps, with a peak frame rate of 31fps and a low of 24fps. That isn’t really a playable frame rate in this very challenging title, but it isn’t bad for a processor’s built-in graphics chip.