AMD has pushed the performance of its Kaveri-based APUs a little higher with the release of its new A10-7890K. Although a performance increase is always welcome, what really steals the show today is AMD's new Wraith stock CPU coolers.
A New Flagship: The A10-7890K
The A10-7890K is almost completely identical to the A10-7870K. The only difference between the two CPUs is that the clock speed on the A10-7890K is 200 MHz higher, with a base frequency of 4.1 GHz and a turbo of 4.3 GHz. Typically, when AMD releases a new CPU with boosted clock speeds, it's because of the gradual maturity of the 28 nm process, resulting in better yields of higher-quality chips. Although that may factor in here as well, the speed increase of the A10-7890K likely has more to do with its CPU cooler.
The stock coolers that AMD previously provided with its APUs were relatively low-end. This has been common practice for a long time, and anyone really concerned about cooling their CPU would likely buy an aftermarket cooler anyways.
Even though stock coolers often are discarded, especially by enthusiasts, they still must be capable of sufficiently cooling the CPU. As a result, the stock cooler ultimately places a thermal limit on how far companies like AMD can push the factory set clock speeds on their products.
As the old stock cooler included on APUs was an especially poorly performning cooler, AMD opted to release its AMD Wraith cooler on the A10-7890K. The immediate benefit of this is that it allows the company to push its CPU harder, and thus allows it to ship clocked higher than the older A10-7870K.
The use of the Wraith cooler also helps to make AMDs APUs a more viable solution for gamers on a tight budget. Typically, a gamer building an APU system would have little choice but to get an aftermarket cooler or deal with significant throttling, but the Wraith cooler is rated to chill CPUs with a considerably higher TDP (up to 125 W), so it shouldn’t have any issues keeping the 95 W TDP A10-7890K cool even with a mild overclock.
For users on a tight budget, this extremely helpful, as instead of tossing out $20 on an aftermarket cooler when you only have $400 to build a PC, you can then repurpose those funds into some other aspect of the system.
A New 125 W TDP Cooler
Although the A10-7890K is now the fastest APU on the market, the A10-7870K still offers the best value. The A10-7890K would have a significant advantage because of the Wraith Cooler, but AMD announced that the A10-7870K is getting a new cooler, too.
The new cooler shipping with the A10-7870K doesn’t have a name; it's simply referred to as AMD’s new 125 W thermal solution, but it is actually the Wraith Cooler with the plastic shroud removed. AMD informed us that there is absolutely no difference between the two in terms of their cooling performance or noise production, as they both use the same metal heatsink and fan.
The A10-7870K equipped with this 125 W TDP cooler will likely have little difficulty matching the clock speeds of the A10-7890K. As the A10-7890K is set with a suggested price (SEP) of $164.99, whereas the A10-7870K with the new cooler will be introduced at the same price point as the A10-7870K with the old stock cooler ($139.99 SEP), gamers on a tight budget will likely find more value in the A10-7870K.
|CPU||AMD Athlon X4 860K||AMD Athlon X4 880K||AMD A10-7870K||AMD A10-7890K|
|CPU Speed||3.7 GHz||4 GHz||3.9 GHz||4.1 GHz|
|Turbo Speed||4 GHz||4.2 GHz||4.1 GHz||4.3 GHz|
|GPU Frequency||N/A||N/A||866 MHz||866 MHz|
|TDP||95 W||95 W||95 W||95 W|
|Thermal Solution||Old Stock Cooler||New 125 W Thermal Solution||New 125 W Thermal Solution||AMD Wraith Cooler|
|L2 Cache||4 MB||4 MB||4 MB||4 MB|
|Price||$72.99 (Newegg)||$94.99 (SEP)||$139.99 (SEP)||$164.99 (SEP)|
The AMD Athlon X4 880K
AMD released another new FM2+ CPU as well, the Athlon X4 880K. The X4 880K, compared to the X4 860K that it replaces, benefits from a 200 MHz increase to the base clock and a 300 MHz boost to the Turbo frequency. It also comes with the same 125 W TDP cooler as the A10-7870K.
Although it is faster at stock speeds, it will likely have trouble attracting budget-oriented gamers. Just like with the A10-7890K, the X4 880K’s increase in performance is likely due to the better thermal solution AMD bundles with it, and a properly cooled X4 860K will likely be able to match overclock at the same speed.
The price for the X4 860K on Newegg is currently over $20 less than the the SEP of the X4 880K, so users could realistically buy the X4 860K and choose from a variety of decent aftermarket air coolers and come out at about the same price as the X4 880K.
All of these processors are available now.