iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






AMD A10-5800K APU

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As soon as AMD had released its mobile Trinity family, everybody was looking forward to the desktop models. Why? Attractive as they were, Llano APUs looked like a temporary solution, with their old microarchitecture dating back to the K7. In turn, the new microarchitecture seems a better choice for building APUs, because each module is smaller than a couple of cores (you need a couple because each is single-threaded) and offers comparable performance in a multi-threading environment. Besides, less than half of module's resources remain idle when there's only a single thread. In other words, you shouldn't think that Trinity CPUs are always better than higher-end Llano ones, however these novelties should perform better in mainstream applications.

Llano's graphics is also not that new, dating back to 2009. All the more so that AMD hadn't adapted it for integration, while the Northern Islands family was largely made with APUs in mind—take the Accelerated Video Converter, for example. The latter is quite important for integrated solutions, especially for inexpensive CPUs and tablet/smartphone applications.

As you may already know, desktop Trinity CPUs are for Socket FM2 and completely incompatible with Llano (Socket FM1) or any other AMD processor (Socket AM3/AM3+). This seems like a drawback but is it really so? A well-built rig will serve for at least 3-4 years. During that time, its every component will become obsolete. Owners of Socket FM1 rigs have suffered most from this, unable to upgrade any further. On the other hand, we don't know what will be when they need to. A6 and A8 are quad-core CPUs working at about 3 GHz, meanwhile there's a multitude of tasks for which Athlon II X2 is still enough.

Vice versa, if you're in the market for a new PC, you're in luck, because it seems that Socket FM2 is here to stay. For the new platform, AMD has initially offered as many as 4 models with unlocked multipliers, including two single-module and one without integrated graphics. At that, most devices have TDP within 65W—thanks to the more or less polished 32-nm process technology.

Besides everything else, this means we have enough APUs to test before the new year begins. For a start, let's examine the processor part of AMD's new top-end model: AMD A10-5800K.


Processor A10-5800K A8-3870K FX-4170
Core Trinity Llano Zambezi
Process technology, nm 32 32 32
Core clock (std/max), GHz 3.8/4.2 3.0 4.2/4.3
Cores/threads 4/4 4/4 4/4
L1 cache (total); I/D, KB (per core) 128/64 256/256 128/64
L2 cache, KB (per core) 2 x 2048 4 x 1024 2 x 2048
L3 cache, MB - - 8
Uncore clock, GHz - - 2.2
RAM 2 x DDR3-1866 2 x DDR3-1866 2 x DDR3-1866
GPU Radeon HD 7660D Radeon HD 6550D -
Socket FM2 FM1 AM3+
TDP, W 100 100 125

We'll compare A10-5800K with A8-3870K, the top-end Socket FM1 CPU, as well as FX-4170 that consists of two 4+ GHz modules. The latter's lowest clock rate is also the highest for A10-5800K, however, the TDP of FX-4170's processor part is also 25% higher than that of the entire A10-5800K APU (i.e. the CPU, GPU, and PCIe controller together).

Now let's say a few words about cache. As you can see, the new APUs have less L1 cache in total at the formally same number of cores. The capacity of the full-speed L2 cache remained the same. However, while in Llano one thread can use up to 1MB of L2, in Trinity this capacity is doubled. Speaking of L3, neither Trinity nor Llano have it, because it occupies space needed for the GPU.

Processor Core i3-2100 Core i3-3240 Core i5-680
Core Sandy Bridge Ivy Bridge Clarkdale
Process technology, nm 32 22 32/45
Core clock (std/max), GHz 3.1 3.4 3.6/3.87
Cores/threads 2/4 2/4 2/4
L1 cache, I/D, KB 64/64 64/64 64/64
L2 cache, KB 2 x 256 2 x 256 2 x 256
L3 cache, MB 3 3 4
Uncore clock, GHz 3.1 3.4 2.4
RAM 2 x DDR3-1333 2 x DDR3-1600 2 x DDR3-1333
GPU HD 2000 HD 2500 HD Graphics
Socket LGA1155 LGA1155 LGA1156
TDP, W 65 65 73

The main competitor from Intel is Core i3-3240, the top dual-core/quad-thread Ivy Bridge CPU as yet. And Intel's last-year lineup is represented by the well examined Core i3-2100. The third contestant from Intel is Core i5-680. Though old, it has the highest clock rate of all Intel's dual-core processors.

Socket Motherboard RAM
FM2 MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 (A85) G.Skill [RipjawsX] F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL (2x1866; 9-10-9-28)
AM3+ ASUS Crosshair V Formula 990FX) G.Skill [RipjawsX] F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL (2x1866; 9-10-9-28)
FM1 Gigabyte A75M-UD2H (A75) G.Skill [RipjawsX] F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL (2x1866; 9-10-9-28)
LGA1155 Biostar TH67XE (H67) Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B (2x1333/1066; 9-9-9-24 / 8-8-8-20)
LGA1156 ASRock P55M Pro (P55) Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B (2x1333; 9-9-9-24)

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Page 1: Introduction, testbeds

Page 2: Tests

Page 3: Tests cont'd, final thoughts

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