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A10-5800K: The Undervolt And Overclock

AMD's Trinity APU Efficiency: Undervolted And Overclocked
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It would have been easy enough to drop the clock rate on our A10-5800K and nudge its voltage down as well, triggering lower power consumption. But this exercise wasn’t about cramming a 100 W APU into a mini-ITX chassis. Rather, we wanted to maintain stock performance at the lowest voltage possible.

A BIOS-set 1.25 V seemed like it was going to be stable. After the system hung a couple of a times in our multi-hour benchmark suite, though, we settled on 1.275 V instead. With all of the platform’s power-saving features already enabled, further cuts would have taken a more efficient power supply, different memory, perhaps, or maybe a minimalist motherboard. Really, though, we were most interested in power cuts directly attributable to the processor.

Overclocking was a little more exciting. Based on our conversation with Sami Mäkinen in Professional Help: Getting The Best Overclock From AMD's A8-3870K, we began our quest with a graphics tweak, pushing the integrated Radeon HD 7660D core from 800 MHz all the way up to 1083 MHz in AMD’s OverDrive utility (this required a 1.275 V northbridge setting). From there, we edged the processor clock up to a stable 4.4 GHz at 1.5 V.

The A10-5800K in our preview story managed a stable 4.5 GHz with all four cores under full load. We tried the same thing this time around, but discovered that, at just under 70 degrees Celsius, cores would jump back down to 1.4 GHz at .91 V to throttle heat if we were using AMD’s reference FX cooler. Even switching over to AMD’s Asetek-designed closed-loop liquid cooler wasn’t enough to get the chip stable at 4.5 GHz this time.

So, we settled for 4.4 GHz across all cores—as high as we could go without triggering performance-debilitating issues throughout our suite. But we noticed another strange behavior that might affect the peak overclock of an aggressive enthusiast. As soon as we crested 4.5 GHz and started trying to push 4.6 and 4.7 GHz, slowly increasing voltage along the way, MSI’s FM2-A85XA-G65 motherboard forcibly pushed down our multiplier (as low as 29x in some cases), despite UEFI and OverDrive ratios that read otherwise.

We’re not sure if this is a deliberate mechanism to protect the motherboard’s power logic, but it’d make sense when you get to our power analysis and see how quickly consumption ramps up as you increase clock rate and voltage.

At the end of the day, it looks like there might be a couple of different protection mechanisms in play: AMD’s thermal monitor keeping the APU from exceeding a ceiling, and what appears to be MSI’s motherboard from jumping over a certain power level, even with temperatures well under the aforementioned limit.

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Top Comments
  • 41 Hide
    esrever , October 2, 2012 6:50 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.
  • 37 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , October 2, 2012 7:02 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.
  • 29 Hide
    cangelini , October 2, 2012 7:03 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.
Other Comments
  • 41 Hide
    esrever , October 2, 2012 6:50 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.
  • 11 Hide
    tacoslave , October 2, 2012 6:58 AM
    man getting this in a 17inch laptop with a 12 cell battery would make it an instabuy
  • 37 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , October 2, 2012 7:02 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.
  • 10 Hide
    DjEaZy , October 2, 2012 7:03 AM
    ... i like the WinZip with OpenCL acceleration benchmark... it shows...
  • 29 Hide
    cangelini , October 2, 2012 7:03 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.
  • 18 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , October 2, 2012 7:05 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.
  • 19 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , October 2, 2012 7:11 AM
    Chris, it would be great to see some benchmarks of applications that uses the new FMA3 instructions of the Piledriver.
  • 16 Hide
    cangelini , October 2, 2012 7:27 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.
  • 14 Hide
    techcurious , October 2, 2012 7:35 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.
  • 7 Hide
    sarinaide , October 2, 2012 7:46 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.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , October 2, 2012 7:57 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.
  • 14 Hide
    m32 , October 2, 2012 7:57 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.
  • 26 Hide
    bulldozer83 , October 2, 2012 8:17 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.
  • 0 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , October 2, 2012 8:19 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?
  • 26 Hide
    americanbrian , October 2, 2012 8:34 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!
  • 2 Hide
    americanbrian , October 2, 2012 8:36 AM
    I mean really, why not show people what they want to know? I WANT TO KNOW.
  • 10 Hide
    theconsolegamer , October 2, 2012 8:45 AM
    Where's the gaming benches of the retail APU?
  • -3 Hide
    chesteracorgi , October 2, 2012 9:30 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.
  • 12 Hide
    abitoms , October 2, 2012 9:36 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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