You Should Avoid "Bristol Ridge" CPUs
If you can't already tell, we're not impressed with the A12-9800 and we strongly recommend you avoid purchasing any of the Bristol Ridge CPUs. We've thought long and hard and we can't come up with one valid reason or situation where these CPUs make an ounce of sense.
You wouldn't buy any of them as placeholders, which makes about as much sense as using a Kaby Lake-X CPU as a placeholder. Sure the Athlon X4 950 is cheap at $60, but it delivers the exact the same performance as the A12-9800 with a discrete GPU. The G4560 can be had for around $90 and it's worlds better in every single way when compared to the Athlon.
In order to use the Athlon X4 950 or the A12-9800 you need to buy a new AM4 motherboard along with some new DDR4 memory. Let's say you go with an ultra cheap A320 board for $50 and 8GB of DDR4 for $70, that means the A12-9800 upgrade package will set you back $230. The same motherboard and memory combo with the Ryzen 3 1200 plus the GeForce GT 1030 will cost $300, so that's 30% more money for over twice the CPU power, and twice the GPU power.
Meanwhile, if you opt for the Athlon X4 950 and GT 1030 combo instead, that's even worse as the Ryzen 3 1200 with the same discrete graphics card costs just 20% more.
We haven't touched on overclocking and frankly we're not going to bother. Even if you could push the A12-9800 to something insane like 5.5GHz it would still suck. Of course, it can't operate at that frequency. We've heard of people getting up to 4.8GHz and at that rate it would still struggle to keep pace with the G4560 while consuming three times more power.
Faster memory will no doubt help, assuming the memory controller can handle it, but even DDR4-4000 memory isn't going to save these Bristol Ridge CPUs. With the same DDR4-2400 memory as the G4560, we saw less than half the available bandwidth.
There's simply no saving grace here. AMD's intention was to feed the OEM channels with these rubbish chips and now they're buying a little time before the Zen-based APUs arrive next year. In our opinion they've just tainted the AM4 platform with an architecture we'd all like to forget about and I would have thought AMD felt the same way.
Anyway, our advice is to not buy these chips and instead wait for the real deal. We expect the Zen-based APUs to be something quite special and they will no doubt give Intel quite a few headaches.
Pros: Nothing. There's no apparent reason to purchase these Bristol Ridge parts. Stay tuned for Zen-based APUs.
Cons: Poor performance and overall value compared to options such as the Ryzen 3 1200 and Pentium G4560.
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