AMD A10-7890K APU Review

Results: Gaming

Detailed Gaming Performance Results

For comparison, we're including an AMD Athlon X4 760K overclocked to 4.1GHz backed by a simple Radeon R7 250. The point is to see how well the APU could have performed if it wasn't held back by the Power Control.

Games like CS:GO are a great fit for AMD’s APU, so long as you turn anti-aliasing off. Even at high detail settings, the APU benefits from its FreeSync support, which works exactly as it's supposed to.

AMD’s APU should be just as fast as the Athlon X4 760K and Radeon R7 250. However, it falls behind because the CPU clock rate is throttled back.

The A10-7890K falls back even further in the Dota 2 benchmark. This game relies heavily on the CPU, so its loss of clock rate has a larger impact on overall performance.

The results of our GTA V benchmark make the same point a third time. The reduction in CPU processing power due to Power Control holds the game back to the point that it becomes unplayable. An average of 35 FPS is technically alright, but a minimum frame rate under 20 FPS isn't fast enough for an enjoyable experience.

Fortunately, there are games the APU handles more adeptly. Grid, for example, is limited by graphics performance, not the CPU. In this title, the A10-7890K falls behind due memory performance, rather than host processing. Its DDR3 is shared by multiple subsystems, whereas the discrete Radeon R7 250’s GPU has an entire gigabyte of GDDR5 memory to itself.

Bioshock Infinite is playable as well, so long as taxing detail settings and anti-aliasing are turned off. The APU’s Steamroller-based cores rarely hold the rest of the system back, though the discrete card again benefits from its faster GDDR5 memory.

Subjectively, FreeSync makes a noticeable difference. With frame rates fluctuating between 41 and almost 100 FPS, activating FreeSync smooths the action out quite a bit.

AMD’s A10-7890K is definitely suitable for gaming, even though you won't be able to play the latest titles with their quality presets turned up. Online games like Counter Strike, Dota 2 and a little bit of StarCraft 2 are all you can expect to run at decent frame rates. Then there the few titles that scale down well, such as Grid and Bioshock Infinite. Older games typically run smoothly enough too, though they're often bottlenecked by CPU performance, rather than on-die graphics.

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    Top Comments
  • logainofhades
    This thing is useless at $180. You can get an 860k, and a 750ti for less.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD Athlon X4 860K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card ($103.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Total: $173.98
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-03-21 23:39 EDT-0400
    16
  • Other Comments
  • megamanxtreme
    As an AMD fanboy, this just came out as a disappointment. I hope Excavator does well. I might just wait for a Zen APU in 2017.
    4
  • SteelCity1981
    i see no point in this when you can get a 7860k godrvari apu, at a lower watt rating, thats cheaper and overclock it.
    1
  • kunstderfugue
    Quote:
    i see no point in this when you can get a 7860k godrvari apu, at a lower watt rating, thats cheaper and overclock it.


    The one value proposition of the 7890k that I see is the bundled Wraith Cooler. I wish toms had a performance benchmark on it because if it's good enough to cool your overclocked 125W APU (and even the 7860k should be rated at 125W TDP) then you won't have to spend the money on aftermarket cooling like I used to recommend. But considering you can get capable aftermarket cooling for as little as 15-20$, the 7860-7890 price difference is going to have to be quite small.
    7
  • Onus
    If you used a R7 250 with the Intel CPUs, what happens? My guess is the APU is, sadly, left in the dust. It's a little more money, but the performance gain should be worthwhile.
    5
  • Memnarchon
    $180 for 7890K?
    This is too much. AMD needs to drop prices a bit cause APUs have potential in the market but with these prices, it will target only people that don't have enough space...
    You can buy an FX6300 with R7 360 2GB that they will blow 7890K out of the water for the same money.
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core OEM/Tray Processor ($88.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon R7 360 2GB Core Edition Video Card ($100.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Total: $189.98
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-03-22 08:50 EDT-0400
    7
  • logainofhades
    This thing is useless at $180. You can get an 860k, and a 750ti for less.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD Athlon X4 860K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card ($103.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Total: $173.98
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-03-21 23:39 EDT-0400
    16
  • 1cichfishy
    What's wrong with AMD when it comes to itx builds. I'd love something besides APU boards.
    -3
  • logainofhades
    FX's high power requirements is the problem. Really hope Zen improves this problem.
    2
  • dstarr3
    What a glorious day it will be when AMD finally manages to be competitive again.
    9
  • LordStreetguru
    I have no clue why no one has made a 1080p 60HZ IPS free-sync display, there are TN ones for around $150, but who the hell wants a non 144hz TN display in this current year?
    -1
  • InvalidError
    IGPs will become really interesting options when models with 2-4GB HBM become available next year. The IGP performance ceiling will rise from R7-250/250X to R9-380X, possibly higher.
    4
  • alextheblue
    The main takeaway I got from the article is that FreeSync doesn't make much sense on budget APU builds right now, because of the cost displayport-capable mainboards add. For that value segment, HDMI FreeSync is more interesting.

    Still, I bet that anyone looking at a budget APU rig isn't aiming for ANY adaptive sync solution, at least not yet. I mean if you eliminate that from the equation you can build the entire system for even less money and either use a pre-existing display or buy one for way less.
    4
  • babernet_1
    Quote:
    As an AMD fanboy, this just came out as a disappointment. I hope Excavator does well. I might just wait for a Zen APU in 2017.


    The Zen is due this October. Should have 8 cords and multithreading and about the same instructions per clock as the Broadwell. Will be a great chip.
    1
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    How about a DX12 test like running Ashes of the Singularity on the APU against the x4 760K+R7 250 against the APU+R7 250? In my opinion a very good use of an APU is to complement a dedicated GPU, even an entry level one.
    2
  • Mac266
    "Conuter Strrike: GO"

    The 'prrof-reading' is getting beyond a joke.
    3
  • FormatC
    Ashes is too much for this APU if you are using the Compute options. The VGA part is simply too slow for this.
    3
  • mtcn77
    How about "Devastator Powertune" - the software power management disabling tool?
    0
  • beetlejuicegr
    I hope AMD becomes more competitive, this is the wrong road to take. APUs should be cheap and reliable for general computing and cost less than a cpu+discrete gpu.
    That less cost should be giving same performance/price ratio as a cpu+discrete gpu.

    It is the wrong way to try and push APUs being more expensive for some fps more. I would also like to see APUs crossfireX (not sure its called that) being something cool and actually give some oomph.
    2
  • TX_Tech
    You compared this chip to the $370 Intel i7-6700k, WHY? Then you compared it to the out of date Haswell i3, WHY?

    Give a nice i5-6500 a try with the same HD 530 GPU in it that the i7 has. Heck, the i3-6100 has the same GPU and may well perform nearly as well as the i7 did.
    2
  • envy14tpe
    And exactly who is that 0.1% group that this is designed for?
    3