A8-6600K Poor 3DMark Fire Strike Score

I've just put together a brand new HTPC build with the following components:

AsRock FM2A88M
4 GB G.Skill 1600 MHz

I'm coming from a build that had an old Athlon x2 CPU, with 4 GB no-name DDR2 RAM, but with an Nvidia 460 GTX, so performance on that machine was decent. Now I want to be realistic; I did not expect an A8 to give me a high-end gaming rig, but I did expect that the extra cores and speed of the A8, coupled with faster RAM and an 8570 would at least give me a decent mid-range HTPC that would allow me to play most games on medium or better settings. Unfortunately that's not what I'm seeing so far. Right after setting up the rig and updating all drivers I ran the Fire Strike test and came up with a piddling 846! To me that just seems horrible - I mean, the old rig ran a 1914. Again, I know that an 8570D isn't a 460 - the 460 has more shaders, more and faster memory, and all that, but still - more than twice the score, with a much faster CPU and faster RAM? It doesn't even seem to match up with A8 Fire Strike scores I've seen on the Internet, which puts the A8 at closer to 1500 or so. It goes beyond Fire Strike, too - I loaded LA Confidential, thinking it's a couple years old and shouldn't be too taxing, but I've had to turn all the settings to low in order to maintain 30 FPS.

So my question is this - is this par for an A8-6600K? Did I just make a really, really bad decision to take a chance on an APU? Or is there something wrong with my chip, or maybe just misconfigured? Advance thanks for any help!
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  1. Best answer
    you should plug in the 460GTX back in

    that aside, I guess you arguably made a bad decision. on the CPU side the A8 is faster, but you should have probably gotten an octacore FX CPU and just keep using your 460 until you can get something better
  2. also, keep in mind that 3D mark is HIGHLY graphics biased. your CPU score probably improved dramatically, but 3D mark doesn't care about that
  3. vmem said:
    also, keep in mind that 3D mark is HIGHLY graphics biased. your CPU score probably improved dramatically, but 3D mark doesn't care about that

    You're correct - PCMark on the new setup ran a much higher score than the old one, but I expected that. I had thought about possibly putting the 460 back in, but the reason I went with the A8 is because I had other plans for the 460, and thought the A8 would give me similar, if maybe a little lower, performance. I might be able to scrap my plans for the 460, but I'd still really like to know why the A8 is running so much worse than I think it should be - I found 2 forum posts that benchmarked the A8 Fire Strike at double what I got. An 846 score is just not what I'd expect from an 8570, even if it is integrated.
  4. unfortunately we're still a long way from doing any 'serious gaming' with integrated graphics of any sort. that said, the 8570 will let you play just about anything at 720p on medium to low settings. which I know it's disappointing, but hey, they call that 'playability' :P
  5. Well I did a lot of checking on the system today. I dug into the BIOS and it looks like everything it running correctly - the memory is showing the right speed and timings, the CPU looks to be showing the proper settings. I ran diagnostics on the CPU, memory and graphics and they all came up clean, so it certainly appears that the hardware is healthy. I did notice that I could go in and manually configure the GPU memory in the BIOS, which had defaulted to 512 MB. I bumped it up to 1 GB and ran Fire Strike again. The increase was nominal - it moved up to 855, but there was an increase, which leads me to believe that if I were to install 8 GB of 1866 or 2133 MHz memory and allocate 2 GB to the GPU that the score would go up even more - the real question, of course, being just how much it would go up.

    I did also notice in 3DMark, if it's to be believed, that my results actually fell in with the majority of systems with similar hardware, so maybe it is par for the course.

    So now I need to decide whether I want to scrap my plans for the 460 and put it back in. One thing that concerns me are the AMD drivers. This being an AMD CPU and all, I can't just uninstall everything, but I'm not sure exactly what to uninstall in order to clear the GFX stuff out. Any idea?
  6. you're already scoring on par or slightly better than the average A8 6600k is scoring on 3DMark (you can look up their averages etc). that said, since the iGPU uses system memory, any increase in memory speed would provide some nominal gains in performance and benchmark scores. though almost all such increases have little real world effect imo. I would be surprised if you can get your firestrike score about 900 short of some really overclocked memory sticks.

    Here's the thing, to-date, no AMD APU has achieved a graphic score higher than their aged Radeon HD 6670, they're all scored SIGNIFCANTLY lower, with the newest R7 architecture in Kaveri getting within 80-90% according to benchmarks on Anandtech (Tom's will publish their own soon i believe). if you want any noticable improvement you'll need that 460, or get a 6670 or something and do some crossfiring with the iGPU
  7. Yeah, I had to make a snap decision back on the 31st - I thought I was going to need that 460 urgently in another computer, and let myself believe AMD's hype about these APUs. But from what I can tell so far I really don't think the graphics are much better than mb-integrated ones. I'm pretty disappointed in AMD, and now find their claims that these APUs will run games like Battlefield 4 to be dubious at best - and this coming from a long-time AMD customer. I won't go so far as to say I got cheated, as from the benchmarks I've seen the CPU performs easily as good as an FX-4300, and the price I paid is about the same. So I haven't lost any money, it just looks like I've lost the freedom to repurpose that 460. Oh well, live and learn. Thanks for your input, vmem. And btw, any thoughts on which parts of the Catalyst software should be uninstalled to remove the video drivers?
  8. make no mistake, Kaveri will run B4: at 720p and medium settings or 1080p at low settings. but hey, that's better than what a $200 Haswell chip can do :P

    Trust me, I've liked AMD for a long time and still run AMD GPUs myself, but as I got older, exposure to various research industries and a better understanding of the market taught me that Intel isn't the 'evil monopoly' people make them out to be. Sure, they did some pretty sketchy stuff back in the day to beat AMD, but I feel like they've left those days behind them. The processor business is a bit of a natural monopoly to begin with (similar to cellular network and cable companies). you have to invest insane amounts of money into engineering and fabs to start off, and reduced revenue due to competition will drive your profit to zero or even into the negatives. Right now, AMD simply does not have the resources to keep up. worse, Intel has signed mutual agreements with AMD to share Patents at no licensing fee to either company, therefore if AMD pushes out anything 'worthwhile', Intel can immediately flood the market with a superior product due to them always being one process ahead of the world (they're pushing for 14nm next year, TSMC and Global Foundries are still working on 20nm).

    As for the Catalyst software, it has always been a bit dubious for me how the APU package works (I have a Llano chip myself and have been regretting it since 2011 :P). it seems that the CPU and GPU drivers are packaged together and cannot be uninstalled separately. That aside, I hear the APUs play well with Nvidia graphics, but have no personal experience with this.
  9. I hear you. Well, I'll just take my chances with the video drivers, but I think the only way to get decent performance out of this is to just bag the onboard graphics and try to get the 460 working. I'll just be sure to take a restore point before I do anything. Thanks for your help.
  10. your welcome and thanks for best answer, good luck!
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