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AMD’s desktop APUs have been budget DIY enthusiasts ‘ dream solution since it launched. The APUs have always delivered very good multimedia performance without having to invest in additional parts like a discrete CPU. Also, being an AMD component, the pricing has been very pocket-friendly when compared to the competition. This June, AMD launched the 2013 Elite A-Series APUs as a follow up to last year’s Trinity APUs. The new chips are more of a refresh to Trinity rather than a brand new architecture, and now feature bumped up clock speeds, faster memory bandwidth, and an upgraded GPU. Today we’ll be taking a closer look at their flagship A1O-6800K APU, which will eventually replace the quite popular A10-5800K Trinity APU.

Before we delve into the nitty-gritties of what makes up the A10, take a quick look at the new li ne-up of APUs—ranging from the A10 to the cheapest A6—in the table below.

The APU consists of two or four ‘Piledriver’ CPU cores built on the 32nm fabrication process. The new APUs use the same FM2 socket, so any A55, A75 or A85X motherboards are compatible with it. The new APUs have varied TDP5 ranging from 65W to 100W too. The A10-6500K that we have here runs at a stock speed of 4.1CHz with the ability to Turbo up to 4.4CHz. The APU has 2MB of L2 cache per dual-core module, giving you a grand total of 4MB. The 6800K is the only APU currently in the family to natively support DDR3 2,133MHz, which is quite impressive.

The Richland APUs feature a new Radeon HD 8000 graphics chip. These use the older VLIW 4 architecture first seen on AMD’s HD 6900 series desktop CPUs. The onboard graphics is pretty si milar to the one on the 5800K APU, and we have a total of 384 shaders, DirectX 11 support and a slightly higher clock speed of 844MHz. The CPU and APU clocks can all be controlled via AMD’s OverDrive utility.

For setting up the A10-6800K, we turned to an MSI FM2-A85XA-G65. Based on the FM2 socket, this fulI-ATX motherboard supports memory up to 2,133MHz (and beyond with OCR), has a digital PWM and Military Class III components for good stability, and supports CrossFire, AMD Dual Graphics and many more. Most importantly, the board worked very well out-of-the-box with the A10-6800K.As expedited, the A10 finds it quite difficult to keep up with the likes of the latest Haswell or even Sandy Bridge processors. However, it’s not too far behind the 2600K when you look at the overall performance. The A10 may not have the computational prowess, but when it comes to games, it still holds the lead. We have to say that Intel’s new HD 4600 graphics onboard Haswell is closing the gap, so AMD might not hold its lead for too long.

Except for Resident Evil 5, the HD 4600 put on a very good show, and gave us very playable frame rates all around. The A10-6800K still manages to inch ahead thanks to its higher clock speed and better architecture.

The new Elite A-Series A10-6800K is priced at Rs 10,000, which is a little more than its predecessor. The A10 is targeted at someone who’s looking for a one-stop-solution for a CPU and CPU, and would not want to invest more in a discrete card. Yes, you can get a more powerful Intel CPU for this price, but you’ll have to spend at least Rs 3,000 more on a graphics card if you plan to play games sometimes. In this respect, the A10-6800K will be a slightly cheaper solution. If you already have a A10-5800K, then upgrading to this one won’t yield any noticeable increase in performance. If it’s raw performance you crave, then Intel’s Core i5-4430 (Haswell) is not out of reach, and you also get a pretty decent onboard GPU for gaming.


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