Skip to main content

AMD's Trinity APU Efficiency: Undervolted And Overclocked


Averaging together system power use from the previous page, the overclocked A10-5800K uses more than 155 W, which is 33 W higher than an A10-5800K at its stock settings.

Undervolting the APU to 1.275 V helps cut consumption by 14.3 W on average, though there is a cumulative performance hit of about two minutes (hardly anything when you’re talking about an almost two-hour run).

But none of the APUs finish the suite as quickly or average the same low power consumption of Intel’s Core i3-3225, which averages 80 W.

When you break down the time it takes to complete the many benchmarks in our suite, the difference between the fastest and slowest chip is less than six minutes.

This chart is an unlikely representation of something AMD keeps trying to pound into our heads: the nebulous idea of experience. Will you notice six minutes over the course of 20 back-to-back demanding tasks? Almost certainly, no. That’s the idea of “good enough” x86 performance. Will you notice the difference in gaming performance illustrated last week, though? When it means the difference between playable frame rates at 1920x1080 or choppiness, then yes.

That doesn’t make the next chart any easier to swallow, though.

In watt-hours, an overclocked A10-5800K uses almost twice as much power as a Core i3-3225 to complete the same workloads. Enthusiasts in AMD’s camp are going to look at those numbers and claim they don’t care about a marginally-higher power bill (the light bulbs on either side of your garage, together, probably use as much power), so long as they get usable 3D performance, while the cool-and-quiet crowd will remind us that a 100 W APU requires more cooling. That could mean a faster-spinning fan or a larger heat sink. Either way, that piece of logic that shifts balance from x86 performance to graphics alacrity is going to cost you.

Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.