thumb

Recently, we have devoted much attention to the APU, which is one of the largest inovations that AMD has introduced to the IT industry. Placing a serious graphics system inside a processor is the great success of this company wich dosn't hide their pride about this product, and with a good reason. True, the concept is not new, because Intel has earlier presented almost the same thing, except for the fact that the northbridge is not integrated in their process.

However, the APU is by far the better solution due to the fact that, depending on the model, inside it you'll find the graphics that will satisfy your hunger for gaming, while with Intel HD graphics you'll be to be sentenced to frame rate level of powerpoint presentations and on washed out textures because of lack of support for half of modern technologies.

AMD Fusion APU

In translation, Intel HD graphics can be used for "first aid", and in that sense represents a good and efficient solution, but if you have any ambition of decent gameing experience on an integrated computer, APU will be your first choice.

Needless complication ...

AMD is a company that knows how to make a good product and it has repeatedly shown that, however when it comes to issues of product labeling, some one slacks in that departman a big time. Probably you have noticed that in addition to the APUs beginning marked with the markings very similar to the Cortex processors, like in example A8, A6
and A4 (and like Audi cars - Pr. Out.), the second part of the label is almost the same as labels of previous generation of graphics cards: to be precise - Radeon HD3000 series.

apu 3

This combination of labels is hardly comprehensible and if we have hard time of "geting" sens of all of markings, we fear even to think of how will average users cope it. The suffix K is popular with Intel's "unlocked" processor, those with unfixed multiplier, and with a similar motivation this suffix have been added on A8-3870K model. Either way, AMD A8-3870K has not undergone any significant changes in relation to the A8-3850, instead
it represents a classic refreshment of the offerment, and isn't a real novelty. Anyway, the suffix "K" in marking means that the multiplier is unlocked, wich increase the possibility of processors overclocking, while at the same time overclocking limits of the GPU part have been significantly increased in comparsation to conventional models.


Marginaly higher speced

From the specifications perspective, the differences are minimal, so its quad-core processor that is most similar to the specifications of Athlon II X4 processors, operates at 3 GHz instead of 2.9 GHz, wich is the case with the older model. Like the other models from the A8 series, the L3 cache is missing, and there is a 4 MB L2 cache and 512 KB L1 cache. L3 cache is  removed from the APU in order to leave room for the graphics part and for the northbridge, bbut also to remain within the TDP limits, that would not be insanely high. Besides that, this processor has enough power and due to four core it does a great job in multithreaded applications.

IMG 4525 s

Graphics part is Sumo core and the whole graphics system is labeled Radeon HD6550D which is identical to that found in A8-3850 model. It has 400 stream processors, eight ROPs and twenty texture units, which makes it extremely powerful, moreover even faster than "low-end" offer of discrete Radeons. Sumo uses system memory and its "bandwidith" is dependent on the system RAM speed.

IMG 4526 s

Of course, because of that it is recommended that when you buld a system that is based on the APU you should select RAM memory declared at least at 1600 MHz, while a maximum of 1866 MHz will be of great importance to the overall performance, although you should only decide to use it if the price is not disproportionately higher than the price of modules declared at 1600 MHz. Also, you should not forget to adjust the frequency in the BIOS, because if you leave the clock speed to "Auto", it will only run on 1333 MHz, which will result in noticeably degraded performance, but we should get back to the A8-3870K.

IMG 4527 s

There are almost no differences to the older model, but thanks to the new board on which we performed tests, we noticed considerably greater benefits of overclocking graphics part of APU. Specifically, as with the A8-3850 we reached 960 MHz for the GPU core, but in practice the results were actually  fifty percent higher, wich we have not been able to achive with the ASRock motherboard. The reason for this is still unknown to us, but judging by everything, ASRock motherboard has reported a higher clock speed than they actually were and in accordance with this acceleration was below expectations.

IMG 4528 s


 

Specifications & Results

 

Specifications - CPU  AMD A8-3870K
Frequency [GHz] 3 GHz
Number of cores 4
Socket AMD FM1
L1 / L2 / L3 cache 4 x 128 KB / 4 x 1MB / 0
Memory type DDR3
IGPU HD6550D (600 MHz/400 SP/8 ROP/20 TMU)
Fabrication process [nm] 32
TDP [W] 100
Price [€] 125
Contact: www.amd.com

 apu

Specifications - Integrated GPU  Radeon HD6550D
GPU Sumo
Fabrication processs [nm] 40
GPU Frequency [MHz] 600
No. of Stream processors 400
ROP / Texture units 8 / 20
Memory type system memory speed

 apu 4

 

CPU Performance
 CPU Results
3DMark 11 Physics Score 3.766
3DMark Vantage CPU Score 9.638
Aida64 Extreme 2.00
memory read/write/copy [MB/s] 8.023 / 9.201 / 10.798
memory latency [ns] ** 61,8
7-Zip 9.20 x64 comp./decomp. [kB/s] 8.824 / 127.544
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 encoding [fps] 20,6
Winrar x64 4.10 Beta 2 1.847
Blender x64 [sec] ** 214,8
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL / CPU 27,14 / 3,57
True Crypt 7.1 [Mean score]
AES [GB/s] 511
Twofish [MB/s] 343
Serpent [MB/s] 231
Test setup: AMD A8-3870K, ASUS F1A75-M PRO, 2 x 2GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 2133MHz, Verbatim 128GB SSD, Catalyst 8.863 (ASUS official driver)
** less is better

 apu

 

GPU Performance
1680x1050 0xAA 0xAF
GPU / MEM (effective) 600MHz / 666MHz (1333MHz) 960MHz / 933MHz (1866MHz)
3DMark 11 Graphics Score Performance 714 1.008
3DMark Vantage Graphics Score Performance 2.464 3.682
Left4Dead 2 High [fps] 49,5 77,3
Resident Evil 5 DX10, Medium [fps] 31,2 44,2
StreetFighter IV DX11, High [fps] 54,5 69,7
Test setup: AMD A8-3870K, ASUS F1A75-M PRO, 2 x 2GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 2133MHz, Verbatim 128GB SSD, Catalyst 8.863 (ASUS official driver)


An excellent choice as before

Although it practicaly does not bring anything new except for 100 MHz higher clock speed, the new APU is an excellent product with which we managed to achieve the desired overclocking acceleration. This is the fastest APU at this point, and it offers the greatest overclocking potential. Given that it is not dramatically more expensive even right on market appearance and that it's prices will probably slightly decrease in next period it is clear that this is a great choice if you have overclocking ambitions. Otherwise, feel free to choose the less expensive A8-3850 model, because you will not feel the difference of only 100 MHz, not even in the slightest degree.

AMD Fusion APU