AMD A10-7850K 'Kaveri' review: AMD's new APU

CPU and GPU working side by side

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Introduction

Today AMD launched its new generation APUs called Kaveri. An APU, or Accelerator Processing Unit, is AMD's term for processors with an integrated graphics card. Kaveri is a combination of a quad-core processor from the Steamroller generation with a GPU that uses the same GCN architecture as AMD's recent graphics cards. AMD is initially introducing chips for desktop PCs, unlike last time when the new generation was first released for laptops. Today we are reviewing the flagship A10-7850K. 


AMD A10-7850K

The Kaveri generation is fully compatible with HSA, or Heterogenous System Architecture. We will elaborate on that concept a bit later on, but what it basically means is that CPU and GPU can work together more effectively. AMD has remained at the forefront of graphics processing and wants to emphasise that even more with Kaveri since more and more non-gaming software is able to take advantage of the GPU, in part thanks to open standards such as OpenCL. The arrival of HSA should accelerate this process. AMD thinks that conventional CPU performance will decrease in importance and that Kaveri therefore is future-proof.  

It's true that popular software such as Adobe Photoshop and Premiere take advantage of GPUs, and that list keeps on growing. However, it's not growing quite as fast as AMD would like. Pure CPU performance remains very important.  

The powerful integrated GPU can handle the 3D graphics of games, and AMD claims it's fast enough for playing most modern games in Full HD resolution. They even cite a recent Steam hardware survey and claim that 35% of Steam gamers use a graphics card that less powerful than the integrated graphics of Kaveri. If those gamers switched to a Kaveri CPU, it would boost their graphical performance, in other words. It will be interesting to find out whether the flagship A10-7850K can live up to those ambitious claims. 


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