FreeSync And Conclusion
FreeSync For Everyone?!
If you want to experience FreeSync on AMD's newest APU, then you'll almost certainly need a new monitor, and that's a tall order when we're talking about a very budget-conscious platform. AOC's G2460PF sells for approximately $240. It’s a 24-inch display with low enough latency for gaming and a TN-based panel that’s nice to look at for long periods of time.
The biggest problem with both of the major variable synchronization technologies, both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync, is still the premium you pay for the screen. Perhaps AMD's plan to enable FreeSync over HDMI will help pull prices down a little.
Until then, enabling FreeSync requires a motherboard with DisplayPort output. Hopefully, more monitor options surface to give gamers with any budget options to choose between.
We did need to download a beta driver from AOC to get FreeSync working without problems at refresh rates down to 30Hz. The combination of this driver and AMD’s current Radeon Software Crimson Edition had FreeSync running smoothly on our APU-based platform, though. Once you're at that point, you find yourself asking how you lived without a variable refresh technology of some sort all these years.
Before we get to our conclusion, let’s take a look at how much a system like this, or a less expensive alternate version, would actually cost. The budget version has to make do without DisplayPort, but it does have a slightly better power supply.
|Our Setup||Inexpensive Version|
|APU||AMD A10-7890K||Approx. $180*||AMD A10-7870K||Approx. $130|
|RAM||16GB DDR3-2400||Approx. $75||8GB DDR3-2133||Approx. $45|
|Motherboard||Asus A88X-Pro||Approx. $120||MSI A68HM-P33||Approx. $120|
|Power Supply||ATX, 80+ Bronze 400W||Approx. $55||ATX, 80+ Bronze 350W||Approx. $45|
|SSD||Crucial BX200 240GB||Approx. $65||Crucial BX200 240GB||Approx. $65|
|Optical Drive||LG CD/DVD Super Multi Drive||Approx. $20||None||---|
|PC Case||Aerocool GT-RS||Approx. $75||Raijintek Arcadia||Approx. $35|
|Total||Approx. $590||Approx. $440|
*AMD set the A10-7890K’s MSRP at approximately $180. It’s not available in stores though, so we won’t know what the street price will be for a little while yet. Also remember that the above system doesn’t include an operating system. Its cost needs to be added in unless you already own a license.
AMD’s A10-7890K is an interesting APU...if you're a match for its target audience. Unfortunately, that's a fairly narrow slice of the market. Gamers wanting even a little bit more speed will find themselves disappointed. On an extreme budget, this is a good choice for online and browser-based games. In fact, what keeps us from recommending the A10-7890K wholeheartedly doesn't have much to do with the APU itself. Rather, its price to performance ratio just isn’t that great compared to the A10-7870K.
Sure, the A10-7890K is slightly faster than its predecessor, and it does come with certain bragging rights given those factory clock rates. But we question whether those are worth the extra money. Frankly, we'd rather pick up the A10-7870K with its 125W no-name CPU cooler (which seems identical to the Wraith aside from its label) and overclock it a little bit.
FreeSync is a boon to the whole APU ecosystem, so long as you can push enough performance to keep it effective.
In the end, AMD’s special product launch doesn’t so much benefit enthusiasts as it does AMD itself. Like it or not, ultimately, the A10-7890K is a halo product intended to buy AMD a little more time before the next generation surfaces. The new APU does work as intended; it's just not a particularly attractive purchase at the current estimated price.