So far we've focused on the performance of AMD's new A10-5800K, but we've yet to touch on what is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle: its price. Out of the gate, AMD has priced its new chip at $130, which happens to match the Core i3-3220. Budget system builders seeking a new platform will have a tough decision ahead, but we'll try to offer some guidance with a summary of our findings.
In our application tests, we were surprised how similarly the A10-5800K and Core i3-3220 performed. There was little difference between them in Excel while the Core i3-3220 provided superior WinRAR performance and the A10-5800K gave superior Photoshop CS5 results. Things were also close in our encoding benches, with the A10-5800K doing a tad better in Handbrake and slightly worse in TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress.
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. On the other hand, when it comes to gaming on a budget using the integrated graphics, the A10-5800K is hard to beat providing playable performance in the eight games we tested at 1280x800, whereas the Core i3-3220 really only delivered in three of those titles.
During our stress test, the A10-5800K-equipped machine consumed roughly four less watts than the system outfitted with the Llano-based A8-3850. Although the A10-5800K is more efficient than last year's APU, we found that the new chip's performance lead was roughly equal to its clock speed advantage of 31%, so Piledriver has really just made Trinity faster than Llano by enabling higher frequencies.
While on the subject of clock speeds, it's worth noting that this is a K-series model with an unlocked multiplier. With a turbo frequency that already hits 4.2GHz, we weren't sure how much higher the A10-5800K could go. Using the Prolimatech Megahalems, we were limited to 4.5GHz using 1.5v and although we were able to load Windows at 4.6GHz, it failed to pass our stability tests. The overclock amounted to 18% over the 3.8GHz base clock frequency and only 7% over the 4.2GHz boost clock rate. Unfortunately this didn't really increase performance all that much.
As we found with Llano, Trinity appears to be a bit soft on the processing horsepower side - in spite of being a quad-core part - however its integrated graphics performance is currently unmatched.
Overall, Trinity appears to iterate on the success of Llano, providing an affordable package that offers enough processing speed for most users while supplying sufficient graphics muscle for most of today's PC games on modest settings.
Pros: Excellent integrated graphics performance, adequate CPU horsepower for the price.
Cons: AMD is leaving the performance race all to Intel. New motherboard needed. Unlocked multiplier doesn't translate into good overclocking.
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