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AMD's Trinity APU Efficiency: Undervolted And Overclocked

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  • AMD
  • Trinity
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October 2, 2012 6:28:04 AM

We've been playing with AMD's Trinity APUs for four months, and they're just now being rolled out to the channel. This time, we take a look at the architecture's efficiency compared to a pair of Ivy Bridge-based Core i3s. Can A10 and A8 stand up to Intel?

AMD's Trinity APU Efficiency: Undervolted And Overclocked : Read more

More about : amd trinity apu efficiency undervolted overclocked

a b À AMD
October 2, 2012 6:50:14 AM

Most PC are idle or semi idle when people have them on. 90% of the time I use my PC, I do web surfing or watch video or a text editor for work, my pc is not loaded with benchmarks 24/7. If you look at idle power consumption, the trinity APUs are amazing. They easily beat out intels offerings. If you are looking at the power consumption over a month, the trinity will be much more energy efficient than the i3 for most people.
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41
October 2, 2012 6:58:28 AM

man getting this in a 17inch laptop with a 12 cell battery would make it an instabuy
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11
Related resources
October 2, 2012 7:02:51 AM

Quote:
In the end, then, both Intel and AMD are offering you an experience. Which one do you pick?


At this price point, i would choose AMD Trinity.
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37
October 2, 2012 7:03:02 AM

... i like the WinZip with OpenCL acceleration benchmark... it shows...
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10
October 2, 2012 7:03:46 AM

esreverMost PC are idle or semi idle when people have them on. 90% of the time I use my PC, I do web surfing or watch video or a text editor for work, my pc is not loaded with benchmarks 24/7. If you look at idle power consumption, the trinity APUs are amazing. They easily beat out intels offerings. If you are looking at the power consumption over a month, the trinity will be much more energy efficient than the i3 for most people.

Happy to set a couple of systems up and let you know what I find.
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29
October 2, 2012 7:05:44 AM

AMD should team up with developer of 7zip to accelerate it on APU's. That will make Trinity look better. A lot of people use 7zip. And most of the installation setup exe files are compressed using LZMA algorithm.
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18
October 2, 2012 7:11:33 AM

Chris, it would be great to see some benchmarks of applications that uses the new FMA3 instructions of the Piledriver.
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19
October 2, 2012 7:27:31 AM

esreverMost PC are idle or semi idle when people have them on. 90% of the time I use my PC, I do web surfing or watch video or a text editor for work, my pc is not loaded with benchmarks 24/7. If you look at idle power consumption, the trinity APUs are amazing. They easily beat out intels offerings. If you are looking at the power consumption over a month, the trinity will be much more energy efficient than the i3 for most people.

So, it's probable that we're seeing a difference in configuration. It looks like Anand is using the Gigabyte A85X board and perhaps an older driver version. I'm on the MSI board and Cat 12.8, with a different Intel setup as well. On the Windows desktop, after 10 minutes on each config, I get 59 W for Intel and 67 W for AMD at idle.
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16
October 2, 2012 7:35:07 AM

Chris, for the sake of completeness, any chance you could undervolt the i3-3225 at stock speeds and run the power consumption/efficiency tests on it? ;)  ...to reveal how low the i3 can be pushed with some tweaking as well, and create the opportunity for a more fair comparison with the undervolted Trinity results.
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14
October 2, 2012 7:46:31 AM

Thanks Chris, another great article to pass time over. You really need to comment on the forums more and more so to help out against the blatent belligerence against what AMD are trying to achieve and how they are looking to achieve it.

Hopefully this articale can start to filter around particularly for the budget users which A-series is premised to target.
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7
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 7:57:01 AM

So now that we got that out of the way...............where is the hybrid xfire chart so we know what's the max discrete card that will be supported? And while you're at it, when you find that out can you check to see if there are any significant gains when setting up a discrete + discrete + 7660 triple hybrid xfire set up, or even a quad hybrid xfire set up (3 discrete cards + 7660) of if either of those are even possible? After seeing that write up on how the dual 7750's performed, I'd love to see what trinity's version of hybrid xfire can pull off.
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5
October 2, 2012 7:57:24 AM

I could get rid of my family computer with a dedicated gpu and just slap an A10k in there. Most of the time it is just used for web browsing and such, so it would be an killer for my family and friends that don't need an lot.
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14
October 2, 2012 8:09:02 AM

Nice article, but I must say that much as I enjoy the over clocking stats from AMD; To be fair to Intel their part should also be over-clocked to make this a sporting comparison. I believe the two would be more or less equal, except for AMD's APU being considerably more capable at handling gfx tasks. And yes... As some people have stated we really need benchmarks where a discrete gfx card is used in conjunction with the APUs and HD CPUs as I believe this is what most people will do currently.
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-14
October 2, 2012 8:17:55 AM

The_TrutherizerNice article, but I must say that much as I enjoy the over clocking stats from AMD; To be fair to Intel their part should also be over-clocked to make this a sporting comparison. I believe the two would be more or less equal, except for AMD's APU being considerably more capable at handling gfx tasks. And yes... As some people have stated we really need benchmarks where a discrete gfx card is used in conjunction with the APUs and HD CPUs as I believe this is what most people will do currently.


overclock the locked Intel chips? how do you suppose they do that? they weren't testing against Intel K series unlocked chips.
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26
October 2, 2012 8:19:06 AM

Wouldn't it be more fair to compare the i3 power consumption to the 65w Trinity APUs (such as the A10-5700) rather than the 100w ones?
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0
October 2, 2012 8:34:00 AM

Umm, WHY DIDN'T YOU SHOW THE GAME BENCHMARKS WITH THE OVERCLOCKED GPU SETTINGS!!!

I can't be the only one who was waiting for the money shot of what is the difference in performance when you clock up from 800Mhz to >1000Mhz.

SUCH AN OVERSIGHT. UNFORGIVABLE!
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26
October 2, 2012 8:36:30 AM

I mean really, why not show people what they want to know? I WANT TO KNOW.
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2
October 2, 2012 8:45:44 AM

Where's the gaming benches of the retail APU?
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10
October 2, 2012 9:30:08 AM

Given the results of head to head comparison in gaming, I'm interested in seeing them compete in transcoding, and comparisons when paired with discrete GPUs. Presently AMD Trinity seems to be the runaway winner for laptops, but a poor option for desktops.
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-3
October 2, 2012 9:36:06 AM

Chris, and team, a few things I - and probably others- would like to see here;

1. overclocked/undervolted benchmarks for the i3 parts
2. dedicated gpu game benchmarks at 1440, 1680, 1920 for the A10 and the A8
3. More OpenCl benchmarks with and without dedicated GPUs for the i3 parts as well as the A10 parts

p.s. I realised I was getting thumbed up and down for this. do these seem like too many requests? nobody has covered trinity like toms and that too with superb writing quality. is it wrong for me to get greedy to read more of their stuff? :-) i'm addicted to this stuff is all. now if you'd excuse me, I have an F5 button to press.
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12
October 2, 2012 9:38:17 AM

ChesteracorgiGiven the results of head to head comparison in gaming, I'm interested in seeing them compete in transcoding, and comparisons when paired with discrete GPUs. Presently AMD Trinity seems to be the runaway winner for laptops, but a poor option for desktops.

Well, unless you're going to look at battery life, i think.
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-1
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 9:39:31 AM

Could you simulate the exact clocks of the 65 W A10 somehow and see how much power it really takes?
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2
October 2, 2012 9:56:34 AM

I would definitely pick up a Trinity A10 laptop. If they could get them down to around $500 where the i3 laptops sit, they would sell like crazy
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9
October 2, 2012 9:57:42 AM

My conclusion is this:
For regular folk (internet, word, excel, movies, some transcoding, etc without an OC), a core i3 still wins. Why? No Quick Sync on the Pentiums, afaik, otherwise i'd agree with Chris on the G2120.

For gaming with a discrete GPU: Core i3
For gaming with an IGP: Trinity

For cheap multitasking without an OC: Core i3

For exploiting as much work done as possible and exploiting all available resources with or without an OC: Trinity.

The thing is, as evidenced by your benchmarks, if you throw an average non-gaming workload at an A10 and an IVB i3, the i3 still completes tasks within the same time or in slightly more time than an OC A10 (except winzip with OpenCL, but that's because Intel/Nvidia are locked out).

So unless one's using a lot of OpenCL applications, or very heavily threaded ones, it doesn't make much sense to go the Trinity route. I think with OCing on the A10, the power consumption should off-set the price difference in some time (don't live in the US so don't know how much time). Without an OC they were pretty much the same in most cases.

As far as power consumption is concerned, even with a Intel Q8400 and a GTX560 + 2 sticks of DDR3 and 2 drives along with 4 fans (+3 if you include the CPU and GPU coolers) on an ATX mobo, i get 64W active idle. So you'll have to try and select as similar platforms as possible because there will be considerable variances.

Or, you could use CoreTemp, i saw the new version reporting the power consumption of SNB chips. Don't know if it'll work with Trinity chips though.
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2
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 10:12:34 AM

esrever said:
Most PC are idle or semi idle when people have them on. 90% of the time I use my PC, I do web surfing or watch video or a text editor for work, my pc is not loaded with benchmarks 24/7. If you look at idle power consumption, the trinity APUs are amazing. They easily beat out intels offerings. If you are looking at the power consumption over a month, the trinity will be much more energy efficient than the i3 for most people.
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6347/50410.png

nice at cherry picking a benchmark to spin your tale. how about quoting the article you picked that from?
AMD A10-5800K & A8-5600K Review: Trinity on the Desktop, Part 2
Quote:
Power Consumption
Intel has a full process node advantage when you compare Ivy Bridge and Trinity, as a result of that plus an architectural efficiency advantage you just get much better power consumption from the Core i3 than you do with Trinity. Idle power is very good but under heavy CPU load Trinity consumes considerably more power. You're basically looking at quad-core Ivy Bridge levels of power usage under load but performance closer to that of a dual-core Ivy Bridge. AMD really needs a lot of design level efficiency improvements to get power consumption under control. Compared to Llano, Trinity is a bit more efficient it seems so there's an actual improvement there.

there is NO WAY a trinity will use less power than an i3. if you fully read the article it explains why. also lets see about actually undervolting an i3 also:
Undervolting i3 2120 (the only "fun" there is)

not impressed with an undervolt of 1.280 when an i3-2120 can be stable @ 0.8 idle, 1.08 volt stressed and uses less than 40 watts when testing with prime95 on a desktop.


don't get me wrong, love how trinity is coming along, but lets keep the bias down please.
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-2
October 2, 2012 10:34:56 AM

well the article says it pretty much. AMD while balancing CPU and GPU performance run up the power which makes a lot of sense whichever way you slice it. This also highlights the two different philosophies to computing, one chasing efficiency and x86 performance mecca, the other focusing on future heterogeneous and cloud computing.
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1
October 2, 2012 10:46:09 AM

The a10 5800k is a 100W part, the a10 5700 is listed at 65W

Is there any way you can get one and add the results in as well?

If your worried about power and not overclocking, the 5700 might be the better option over the 5800k.
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4
October 2, 2012 10:51:59 AM

Yay! AMD is relevant again...sort of. I dream of the day again of unlocked low end Intel processors. I'll bet those i3's could go 5ghz if they ever had the chance.

I personally still wouldn't have a build that would be worth using the A10 in, but for some it may make sense.

The pricing is certainly attractive though, and intel will certainly make adjustments within their lines to compete.
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1
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 11:42:32 AM

100w TDP for good cpu+excellent IGPU, and very low idle power consumption sounds like a winner to me. In terms of power efficiency, if you pair up an i3 with a discrete GPU the system will cost more and will consume more power anyway, so this point isn't valid given the pricepoint. On a sidenot, as for transcoding, Quicksync is good, graned that you are willing to sacrifice quality. You will not lose image quality transcoding without QS. For $120, you will get a CPU and a good gpu in one chip. Indeed, the only way to make the i3 look good is pairing it with a discrete card.
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6
October 2, 2012 11:58:21 AM

clownbabyI'll bet those i3's could go 5ghz if they ever had the chance

nope, they won't. intel binns chips. 4.2 max would be my guess.
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0
October 2, 2012 12:21:39 PM

all Intel has to do to completely KILL Trinity and APU line is to introduce unlocked core-i3's.
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-7
October 2, 2012 12:28:26 PM

ojasMy conclusion is this:For regular folk (internet, word, excel, movies, some transcoding, etc without an OC), a core i3 still wins. Why? No Quick Sync on the Pentiums, afaik, otherwise i'd agree with Chris on the G2120.For gaming with a discrete GPU: Core i3For gaming with an IGP: TrinityFor cheap multitasking without an OC: Core i3For exploiting as much work done as possible and exploiting all available resources with or without an OC: Trinity.The thing is, as evidenced by your benchmarks, if you throw an average non-gaming workload at an A10 and an IVB i3, the i3 still completes tasks within the same time or in slightly more time than an OC A10 (except winzip with OpenCL, but that's because Intel/Nvidia are locked out).So unless one's using a lot of OpenCL applications, or very heavily threaded ones, it doesn't make much sense to go the Trinity route. I think with OCing on the A10, the power consumption should off-set the price difference in some time (don't live in the US so don't know how much time). Without an OC they were pretty much the same in most cases.As far as power consumption is concerned, even with a Intel Q8400 and a GTX560 + 2 sticks of DDR3 and 2 drives along with 4 fans (+3 if you include the CPU and GPU coolers) on an ATX mobo, i get 64W active idle. So you'll have to try and select as similar platforms as possible because there will be considerable variances.Or, you could use CoreTemp, i saw the new version reporting the power consumption of SNB chips. Don't know if it'll work with Trinity chips though.


If that discrete GPU is a lower-end model such as a Radeon 6670, then Trinity wins without a contest. Also, if we count overclocking or such, I'm damn sure that Trinity would beat the i3s. Offsetting the price in the USA (it would depend on the exact area because prices can vary by several hundred percent of the cheapest areas) is generally going to take a while given how lower end these systems are. They simply aren't power-suckers like if we compared a Radeon 7850 to a GTX 480, so even if the Trinity APU used twice as much power, It would probably take a few years for most of the USA to make a serious difference in power bills. By that time, chances are that we'd see a much higher focus on highly-threaded programming, even in gaming, and the i3s would lose anyway.
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3
October 2, 2012 12:30:37 PM

mayankleoboy1all Intel has to do to completely KILL Trinity and APU line is to introduce unlocked core-i3's.


Why buy a locked i5 if you can buy an unlocked i3 and not only match it in highly threaded performance, but also beat it in single/dual-threaded performance greatly? That might hurt Trinity, but it would hurt Intel even more with the budget enthusiast market. Besides, there's still the IGP advantage in Trinity.
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8
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 12:32:57 PM

You can purchase a number of excellent gold rated PSU for under $70.

There is absolutely no reason to write an article focusing on power consumption using a PSU that might well be running in the %60 range.

Consequently, the entire article presents almost no accurate information regarding actual Power consumption.
Score
-5
October 2, 2012 1:33:57 PM

I will concur with mdk777 here. As much power we see used by the processor and graphics card, it pales in comparison to the inefficiency of most low to mid range power supplies. For the price difference between the A10 and the i3, you could very well step up to a much more efficient power supply and reduce energy waste that way.
Score
0
October 2, 2012 1:37:40 PM

At this price point I would chose and A10 and undervolt it without a doubt.
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6
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 1:42:45 PM

So.... this CPU is years later than the core-i3, and can't compete in terms of power efficiency, and it takes a 3.8-4.4ghz AMD CPU to meat or beat a "3.3Ghz" Core -i3???

Ummm.... Yeah.... I really hope AMD finds a new engineering team sometime soon.
Score
-16
October 2, 2012 2:16:04 PM

In the preview it says that the new piledriver apu's have a base clock of 200 MHz like all previous AMD cpu's including the FX bulldozer cores. In that case the piledriver provides a 15% increase in performance over the bulldozer cores, but now it seems that the piledriver apu's have a base clock of only 100MHz.
But since a higher baseclock is genually preferred over a higher miltiplier, I wonder if the stated 15% performance increase still holds...
Score
0
October 2, 2012 2:28:17 PM

JustPosting39So.... this CPU is years later than the core-i3, and can't compete in terms of power efficiency, and it takes a 3.8-4.4ghz AMD CPU to meat or beat a "3.3Ghz" Core -i3???Ummm.... Yeah.... I really hope AMD finds a new engineering team sometime soon.

Ummmm... you dont know whats an APU, do you ?
Score
2
October 2, 2012 2:35:26 PM

JustPosting39So.... this CPU is years later than the core-i3, and can't compete in terms of power efficiency, and it takes a 3.8-4.4ghz AMD CPU to meat or beat a "3.3Ghz" Core -i3???Ummm.... Yeah.... I really hope AMD finds a new engineering team sometime soon.


You did not understand the article. This APU has a GPU that is far superior in gaming performance and the CPU components are faster; they just need code that can use them properly. Well-threaded programs will run better on these APUs compared t the i3s and the article clearly shows and even states this as well as the fact that as time moves on, we make programs that are progressively more and more well-threaded. Beyond all of this, Intel has a process node advantage, so if Intel didn't have a significant power consumption lead, there would be something wrong with their engineers. Besides, it's AMD's management, not their engineers, that is their problem.
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3
October 2, 2012 2:59:40 PM

The_TrutherizerTo be fair to Intel their part should also be over-clocked to make this a sporting comparison.

abitomsChris, and team, a few things I - and probably others- would like to see here;

1. overclocked/undervolted benchmarks for the i3 parts

Are there really this many people reading Tom's Hardware that think you can overclock the i3s?
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13
a b À AMD
October 2, 2012 3:15:32 PM

Quote:
AMD’s emphasis on balance makes the A10-5800K a better platform for more people than Intel’s closest competition.

I think this summarizes it nicely. Even if ALL Tom's readers aren't in this category, the APU is targeted to the mainstream, not to enthusiasts. Once again, AMD's business moves are looking very good.
Score
6
October 2, 2012 3:32:47 PM

Headline - Which is the 'Best' Dysfunctional CPU?

Gaming: AMD APU vs Intel HD Graphics in HD (1920x1080) ; conclusion neither.
Synthetics: AMD FM2 vs Intel i3 ; conclusion neither.
Simple Real World Tasks: AMD FM2 vs Intel i3 ; conclusion flip a coin.

There's no debating the AMD APU devastates Intel HD Graphics, but since the vast majority of folks now have HD monitors (1920x1080) neither is playable running the vast majority of today's games. Therefore, you still need a discrete GPU to obtain acceptable frame rates, and no the following isn't acceptable in HD: AVP 14 vs 8, DiRT3 32 vs 16, or Metro 2033 22 vs 16, etc.

Rendering, folks looking into 'rendering' would choose neither CPU. Transcoding, okay where's the Quick Sync?

If 'Time' in any way shape or form 'is' important then you need to compare upfront money to long term gains and when you're looking into an extra $100 or extra $1000 just for a CPU then 20%~100%+ gains, reduced time, starts to add up very quickly. However if your time is valueless ($0) or your patience is limitless or your use is very basic then pick the cheapest CPU get a AMD Sempron 145 or Intel Celeron G530. This is why I always shake my head when the 'comparisons' are so narrow and alternative CPU's are mysteriously missing.

'Value' must take into consideration the CPU's capabilities to 'Function', your personal 'Time' & 'Money' and 'Cost' in as close to a real world 'Environment' (conditions) for your use.

Example, (any CPU here in) vs i7-3930K Cinebench R11.5 3.x vs 11.x or a 300% gain in rendering time. Other encoding x264 HD Video i7-3770K 7.x vs 15.x or a 200% gain.

My point is IF these benchmarks mean anything to you -- then I must assume so does your time, and once you factor in Time vs Money all of these CPU's in this article are Dysfunctional.

Therefore, what niche are these CPU's meant for the answer is simple, General Home Use and if Gaming is important then in the real world HD (1920x1080) you'll still need a discrete GPU with any CPU today and then Intel is the clear choice for you.
Score
-5
October 2, 2012 4:02:21 PM

^ general home use market is HUGE. If AMD can capture even 40-50% of that market, they will make Billions.
Score
6
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 4:20:59 PM

luciferano:
"You did not understand the article. This APU has a GPU that is far superior in gaming performance and the CPU components are faster; they just need code that can use them properly. Well-threaded programs will run better on these APUs compared t the i3s and the article clearly shows and even states this as well as the fact that as time moves on, we make programs that are progressively more and more well-threaded. Beyond all of this, Intel has a process node advantage, so if Intel didn't have a significant power consumption lead, there would be something wrong with their engineers. Besides, it's AMD's management, not their engineers, that is their problem."

See, here's what you and AMD seem to be missing. In 5, maybe 10 years when (if) programs become more MP aware (I heard this SAME EXACT argument 10 years ago, still not there) , this "APU" will be a rusty old relic. What the industry needs RIGHT NOW is low power consumption (not from this CPU/GPU obviously), and high single core/thread performance. This is what Intel is delivering, and that is why they are not suffering like Intel.

You'd figure AMD would take note from intel's failed projects like the i860/i960, remember anyone? when Intel didn't look at the market and believed that compiler optimization would make those CPU's shine and outperform anything else on the market? What happened then? It failed. Compilers never were able to produce the code that was optimized enough to fully utilize the CPU and they performed so poorly, that only a few systems were built. The same principal applies here, AMD rolled the dice, took a chance WITHOUT looking at todays market, and lost. However, Intel had plenty of cash and a reserve market to fall back on. AMD, has neither.

You can hate what I say all you want, but everyone knows it's the truth. That "APU" consumes too much power, the GPU portion is not fast enough for gamers, and the CPU performs the same or less at ~25% higher clock. There are plenty of Nvidia GPU's out there that don't even pull 50 watts and are faster than the Radeon HD in this APU and tied together with this, or similar Core-i3 will deliver superior performance for the same wattage.
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-5
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 4:22:18 PM

"suffering like AMD" typo.
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-6
October 2, 2012 4:23:33 PM

mayankleoboy1 said:
^ general home use market is HUGE. If AMD can capture even 40-50% of that market, they will make Billions.

No debate. Then buy the cheapest CPU and there's zero need to OC.

I researched the AMD APU's for an HTPC extensively, and I would have bought one if they could game in HD. Instead I ended-up needing a discrete GPU whichever CPU I researched. Blur from a lower i.e. non-native resolution especially on a 60" LED/LCD would have looked awful. In my case I settled for an Intel i5 and AMD 7000 series GPU, vSync (including adaptive vSync) on a 120Hz monitor wasn't an issue. Both Intel & AMD = win.

Whoever can solve that (APU/iGPU) shortcoming and deliver 40-50+ FPS in HD will sell a lot of CPU's, but the discrete GPU market will suffer i.e. including AMD...something to think about.
Score
1
Anonymous
October 2, 2012 4:46:33 PM

So, am I going to be able to find a Dual socket motherboard to throw 2 of those A10's into? That thought makes me hawt
Score
0
October 2, 2012 5:00:30 PM

This APU will be great for a Budget PC
Score
0
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