AMD A10-5800K APU Review: Trinity Comes to the Desktop

By on October 2, 2012, 10:47 PM

We first laid hands on AMD's Fusion series last February when we reviewed the 18W dual-core Zacate APU, formally known as the E-350. Designed for netbook-like applications, the Zacate APUs brushed aside existing Intel solutions with ease, providing an affordable yet powerful to the then common Atom/Ion combo.

Shortly after Zacate's release, we had an opportunity to test AMD's A8-3850 desktop APU, codenamed Llano, which featured "Husky" CPU cores that were essentially the mobile Phenom II architecture along with Redwood-class integrated graphics (WinterPark for the dual-core variants and BeaverCreek for the quad-core).

Like Zacate, we felt Llano was going to be a success for AMD, and for the most part, it has been a hit among certain users. Granted, Intel still dominates the processor market and its products are generally the way to go if you want the fastest CPU possible. However, AMD's APUs provide an attractive alternative for folks who don't need the horsepower of Ivy Bridge or a discrete GPU, but still want more graphics power than Intel's IGPs.

AMD has continued refining its Fusion offerings, launching its Trinity series four months ago on mobile platforms -- arguably where its APUs provide the most value. Now, the company is finally prepared to offer a desktop version of Trinity, which brings a new socket and a new high-end chipset. Given that Piledriver improved Bulldozer's power consumption, we expect Trinity to be more efficient than Llano, while Cayman's VLIW4 architecture should boost the GPU's speed -- or so we hope.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 35

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1 person liked this | Matt12345170 Matt12345170 said:

One thing I don't quite understand is why are these chips being compared to older intel solutions. Why not something more current such as a processor with intel 4000 graphics?

1 person liked this |
Staff
Steve Steve said:

They are not being compared to older Intel solutions, at least not exclusively. The latest Ivy Bridge Core i3 and Core i5 processors are included. I think where you are confused is that not all Ivy Bridge processors use the Intel HD 4000 graphics, in fact only the expensive models do, at least for the most part. The AMD A10-5800K matches the Intel Core i3-3220 (Ivy Bridge part) directly in price, this is its key competitor.

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

What a struggle! This must suck being destined to number 2.

AMD vs Intel today is like RIM vs Google. Good try, plenty of dust scrambled, but when it settles you see no substance left

The TDP on these APU isn't good either. Intel chips offer better power consumption.

Matt12345170 Matt12345170 said:

I understand that a lot of the Ivy Bride solutions do not have Intel HD 4000 Graphics and the ones that do, are not competitors. However, my irk, is that you are comparing AMD's most powerful APU solution against weaker Intel ones.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

A (pu) for effort, C+ for execution.

A little too niche imo. The boards are well featured ( but do budget/HPTC builders need or likely to use half a dozen SATA 6GB ports?), hybrid Crossfire is a nice option ( but only works with a previous generations HD 6450, 6570 and 6670), and nice clocks -but limited OC, climbing power usage and thermal throttling kicking in unless you use a more expensive cooling solution, makes it a bit of a head scratcher.

For a dedicated HPTC + light gaming on the same 1080 screen, I would think that AMD might face competition from further down Intel's product stack. A Sandy Bridge G850 (2 core/65w) + a passive HD 6770 is going to offer much the same general compute performance, and much better graphics performance for around $30 more. With a cheap A75/A85 board for $85-95 being a little more expensive than a reasonably well featured H77, it basically becomes a toss-up between a few more SATA 6GB ports vs better graphics.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I understand that a lot of the Ivy Bride solutions do not have Intel HD 4000 Graphics and the ones that do, are not competitors. However, my irk, is that you are comparing AMD's most powerful APU solution against weaker Intel ones.

Your irk is with Intel, the AMD A10-5800K costs $130, the Core i3-3220 costs $130 and the Intel Core i5-3570K with uses the HD 4000 graphics costs $230. There is the cheaper Core i3-3225 now but we have not been able to get our hands on it.

Anyway if you refer to our Ivy Bridge coverage you will see that the Intel HD 4000 graphics gets completely blown out of the water by the older A8-3850...

[link]

So you aren't missing out on much.

Twixtea said:

I actually like what AMD is offering here, this could actually work well for them, rather than racing with Intel for the high-end market.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I do like AMD also, for their effort, not for their product.

I had AMD system twice. The first one was ok, but it was so long ago. And the second one died in a funny way - one sunny day the CPU makes a smashing sound out of the blue, then gives out a very stinky smoke and the system was dead.

This kind of experience happened again 3 years ago when my NVidia 760GTX gave out a stink and blew fuses in the house. Ni-I-ice!

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I agree about invalid comparisons - Use the i3-3225 for a valid comparison as it uses the 4000 graphics. $144

[link]

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Use the i3-3225 for a valid comparison as it uses the 4000 graphics. $144

[link]

Valid point!!

Guest said:

Wonder how well XBMC will support this. Hmm the power consumption is a little on the high side.

Guest said:

XBMC already runs amazingly on the A6-3500 I have in my HTPC. Straight rips of Blurays run smooth as butter with only a slight raise in CPU usage. The power consumption is typical for a main computer. If you're going to throw this into a HTPC, that's overkill. Get yourself the A6-3500 and enjoy.

Blackened said:

This review basically tells me to only build an AMD system if Im not ever going to use a discrete video card. Not that I would ever build a system without one, I probably would not build an AMD system anyway. Last AMD I had was the first X2 and it looks like it will be a while still before I build another.

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Thanks for the review, it was nice to see.

Guest said:

I on the other hand am quite fond f the idea that it will only take one decent (= silent) cooler to keep entire system running with decent performance. The problem with discrete GPUs is that even the weakest of them are obnoxiously loud, unless you go for a passive card (which needs case fans to cool it anyway).

I'm currently using a Vapor-X edition of HD5770 which isn't that loud, but it's noticeably louder than the CPU fan so when AMD can produce an APU that matches HD5770 in performance (hopefully in next generation) while offering reasonable x86 performance I'll be replacing my old Core2 + HD5770 combination, slap on big heatsink onto it, undervolt the APU and finally enjoy the silence :)

Guest said:

"When gaming with a beefy discrete graphics card, the results were pretty close, but for CPU-dependent titles such as Civilization V, there's a clear case to be made for Intel's processors."

WOW as an editor you should NOT be biased! When it came to gaming FPS, there was a distinct winner according to anyone who can look at graphs and see the difference. Plain as day actually. This is much like those Apple iPad vs ASUS Tansformer reviews; iPad was defeated in every catagory except one, applications available; the 'clear winner' Apple! hooray!!!! you fan boys!

Staff
Steve Steve said:

It is clear by your comment that you are confusing discrete graphics card performance with integrated graphics performance in our review. As we said when it comes to gaming with a high-end graphics card the Intel processors provide a real performance advantage, particularly in games that are CPU dependent.

As for any of my Asus Tansformer reviews I am not sure where you are coming from here. I would never ever buy an iPad over the Asus Tansformer. Although the applications available comment wasn't mine, the editor did add that, we hardly said Apple wins buy the iPad instead. Somehow you made that conclusion all on your own.

Guest said:

IMO, AMD's APU could be ultrabook killer when consumer prefer with some graphic performance

Scavengers Scavengers said:

I agree about invalid comparisons - Use the i3-3225 for a valid comparison as it uses the 4000 graphics. $144

Seeing as a 3770K with 4000 graphics got thumped by the low end A8-3850 of the previous generation I am curious what makes you think that a i3-3225 has a prayer against the A10's of this generation?

Dave

Guest said:

Hi,

Perhaps indeed the person which previously posted looked at the integrated tests, however to reach a conclusion that in Civ 5 there is a clear case for intel processors is really far fetched. Amd has 91 while direct competitor has 98 FPS. Waw this is really something and its worth mentioning in the conclusions. Like 91 fps is not very good and like everybody will use GTX 580 with this cpu. Also idle power consumption is awesome and this is what matters 80% of the time, while the stress is pretty decent for the performance. I think this apu deserves more than 80. For its class is really good.

Regards,

Mike

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I agree about invalid comparisons - Use the i3-3225 for a valid comparison as it uses the 4000 graphics. $144

Seeing as a 3770K with 4000 graphics got thumped by the low end A8-3850 of the previous generation I am curious what makes you think that a i3-3225 has a prayer against the A10's of this generation?

Dave

The i3 3225 vs A10 comparison is obviously a price, or price/performance, or price/watt comparison...since the poster actually noted the i3's price.

The poster made no mention whatsoever about a comparison based solely upon graphics performance. That is either your perception, or a sophomore attempt at trolling the thread.

TechReport's conclusion from their comparison of the i3 3225 and A10-5800K tends to sum up nicely the relative merits of each:

You might be surprised to see that the A10-5800K beats the Core i3-3225 in overall performance, while the A8-5600K ties it. Trinity's strength here comes from its four integer cores (versus two for the Intel competition) and the fact that our CPU performance suite is very nicely multithreaded, as a rule. Trinity's per-thread performance is still a significant weakness, but AMD has priced the A10-5800K and A8-5600K appropriately, given their performance. Just don't forget that Trinity is matching the Core i3-3225's benchmark numbers by carving out nearly double the power envelope for itself.

Click over to the discrete gaming scatter, and you'll see something of a remix of our recent CPU gaming article. To those folks who requested the inclusion of a Core i3 the next time around: you were right. The Core i3-3225 is one heckuva budget gaming chip, faster overall than any CPU in AMD's lineup. The Trinity-based APUs aren't terrible for gaming, but their pokey per-thread performance can impact the smoothness of frame delivery.

Scavengers Scavengers said:

"Why not something more current such as a processor with intel 4000 graphics?"

"However, my irk, is that you are comparing AMD's most powerful APU solution against weaker Intel ones"

dividebyzero - I dont know what you are looking at but the 2 quotes here are right above the post I quoted where Guest said "Use the i3-3225 for a valid comparison as it uses the 4000 graphics."

Seems to me the price mention was simply to show it was in the ballpark of the A10's price.

Pay attentinon before you start whining about flaming. Your post gets boring.

Dave

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Pay attentinon before you start whining about flaming. Your post gets boring.

I think you're the one not paying attentinon - nowhere in any post is anyone saying that the HD4000 is better than AMD's graphics. What they are saying is that the best compute + the best graphics at the closest pricing to the A10 is a better comparison. Now let us revisit...

"Why not something more current such as a processor with intel 4000 graphics?"

"However, my irk, is that you are comparing AMD's most powerful APU solution against weaker Intel ones"

Neither of which contradict what I said. All I see is some people looking at a better all-rounder in the Intel camp for comparison purposes...performance isn't just about graphics- even graphics card comparisons aren't just about graphics.

dividebyzero - I dont know what you are looking at but the 2 quotes here are right above the post I quoted where Guest said "Use the i3-3225 for a valid comparison as it uses the 4000 graphics."

So where's the posting saying that HD4000 is better than the graphics in the A10?....Nowhere. Straw man argument....unless this...

Seeing as a 3770K with 4000 graphics got thumped by the low end A8-3850 of the previous generation I am curious what makes you think that a i3-3225 has a prayer against the A10's of this generation?

...is actually your way of saying that the A8 and A10 are superior to the 3770K as an overall package.

No, thought not.

So while world + dog are comparing the whole package- price, compute, power, and graphics, you're basing your comparison one isolated aspect...graphics performance without regard for any other metric.

Feel free to keep up the personal jibes- they suit your posting. Just make sure the grammar is up to speed.

Scavengers Scavengers said:

Yawn

Damn man you are long winded, and maybe a bit paranoid.

Look, a comment was made about integrated graphics. So I commented on that. I actually asked a question.

And as a side. The only place an AMD APU has an advantage is when its IG are put to use.

Dave

Polaco Polaco said:

One test it would be very interesting to do is to create a task list that simulates an average person using the pc daily. Use some office programs, image editing, video conversion and play a bunch of games. Pick a few persons and let them do those tasks first with an intel cpu and then with an AMD one, don't telling them which one is which. Then ask them which system they would pick. That would be a REAL world test.

Also you must consider system build price in the equation.

Polaco Polaco said:

Do you think a person may notice if the system opens office in 10 or 12 seconds? or if editing an image takes a few millisecond more to perform a task? however I do think you will notice a game running at 12fps or at 30. This is why I think A8 and A10 AMD products are great for people that wants to have a decent pc that can allow them to play games at avg settings and pc daily office/work tasks at a low budget.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

One test it would be very interesting to do is to create a task list that simulates an average person using the pc daily. Use some office programs, image editing, video conversion and play a bunch of games. Pick a few persons and let them do those tasks first with an intel cpu and then with an AMD one, don't telling them which one is which.

For the majority of people, the differences wouldn't be deal breakers, or possibly discernible. The problem with that line of reasoning is that most people aren't going to notice the difference if the blind/double-blind comparison includes a 4-5 year old system. A Core 2 Duo/Quad or Athlon II still gets the job done, so if the criteria is end-user experience what's the point of upgrading?

Do you think a person may notice if the system opens office in 10 or 12 seconds? or if editing an image takes a few millisecond more to perform a task? however I do think you will notice a game running at 12fps or at 30.

Same deal I noted earlier in the thread.

Quad Core AMD: A10-5800K + A75/A85 board (A55's have no SATA 6GB) w/ reasonable onboard sound = ~$220

Dual Core Intel: G850 + H77 board + passive HD 6770 = ~ $215

Similar compute performance, and the Intel setup for the same money will give a much superior gaming experience.

You could go with a 65w dual core Trinity ( imo a better bet for HTPC), but likewise it's then competing against Sandy Bridge Celeron's

Guest said:

This APU could be the right choice for building my new slim HTPC

Polaco Polaco said:

Can't talk about the Celerons, but a few month ago I had to build a pc for a friend, an architect. He uses autocad (2d mostly), office, some photo editing software, etc and occasionally games. I can say that with the A8 3850K he has been able to play CODMW, CODMWII, Prototype, Battlefield BC2, and a few others at medium settings. The Intel contender CPU at the moment was the i3-2120, with bad gpu, lame video drivers and 10% more expensive. With the difference I bought more high performance ram and in case he wants to go further in gaming he can add an inexpensive AMD6670 and do crossfire, that's not even a remote option for Intel. I really think it's way more possible that he needs more GPU than CPU since all the software he uses for work just fly on that CPU.

AMD won that budget hands down, I truly believe this APUs are a nice component for a budget pc.

Polaco Polaco said:

For the majority of people, the differences wouldn't be deal breakers, or possibly discernible. The problem with that line of reasoning is that most people aren't going to notice the difference if the blind/double-blind comparison includes a 4-5 year old system. A Core 2 Duo/Quad or Athlon II still gets the job done, so if the criteria is end-user experience what's the point of upgrading?

Well, from my point of view for people that has a pc that still get it's job done and that performs the same a new budget build there would be almost no reason to upgrade, would be better to wait for another hardware generation, except they want to go for a more expensive build.

ikesmasher said:

You dont buy APUs for hardcore processing, you buy them for budget gaming.

Guest said:

I AGREE! A silent PC is important -JL

cmorticum cmorticum said:

I don't think people, including reviewers, really understand how to interpret power consumption figures. The stress test involved running Crysis which taxes the GPU, and the AMD system, while drawing 90% more power than an Intel Core i3 system, is performing more than 90% faster. So the figure that really matters, namely the performance/power ratio, is better on the AMD system. I think the performance-per-watt of AMD and Intel is pretty close.

Guest said:

This is a nice cpu with great video I own one and its sweet for 459.67 I pay for it.

Guest said:

At the end of the day, if you have run this cpu 24/7 with say 20% loading, and 50W excess peak power you'll average 10W/hr extra over the i5 (for less performance).

In the course of a year that'll be about 88kW-hr in utility bills ( at say $0.2 ) so $18 extra/year.

So the extra power would only justify buying the Intel after 5 years or more, (or if you ran it at 100% loading for a year :-) ).

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