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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.

  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • kunstderfugue
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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 availableGenerated by PCPartPicker 2016-03-22 08:50 EDT-0400
    Reply
  • 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 availableGenerated by PCPartPicker 2016-03-21 23:39 EDT-0400
    Reply
  • 1cichfishy
    What's wrong with AMD when it comes to itx builds. I'd love something besides APU boards.
    Reply
  • logainofhades
    FX's high power requirements is the problem. Really hope Zen improves this problem.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    What a glorious day it will be when AMD finally manages to be competitive again.
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply