The staggered birth of Kaveri has been an interesting story to cover but it has been difficult to keep all the pieces right in the forefront of memory. The initial launch in January 2014 saw a small number of SKUs such as the A10-7850K and the A8-7600 at first and since then we have had a small trickle at a rate of one or two new models a quarter hitting the shelves. We've seen 65W SKUs, such as in the form of the A10-7800, which offer 45W modes as well. Today we're reviewing the most recent Kaveri processor to hit the market, the A8-7650K rated at 95W and officially priced at $105/$95.

AMDs APU Strategy

Integrated graphics is one of the cornerstones of both the mobile and the desktop space. Despite the love we might harbor for a fully discrete graphics solution, the truth of the matter is that most people and most places still have that integrated platform in both consumer and business. Whenever I meet with AMD, the question from them is always simple - when you build a system, what would you get from AMD/Intel at a similar price point? The APU series tackles the sub-$200 price bracket from head to toe:

CPU/APU Comparion
AMD Kaveri Amazon Price on 5/12
Intel Haswell
(4C/4T, 88W)
3.5-3.9 GHz
HD 4600
    $199 i5-4590
(4C/4T, 84W)
3.3-3.7 GHz
HD 4600
    $189 i5-4460
(4C/4T, 84W)
3.2-3.4 GHz
HD 4600
3.7-4.0 GHz
512 SPs
(2M/4T, 95W)
$140 i3-4330
(2C/4T, 54W)
3.5 GHz
HD 4600
3.5-3.9 GHz
512 SPs
(2M/4T, 65W)
3.4-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
(2M/4T, 95W)
$120 i3-4130
(2C/4T, 54W)
3.4 GHz
HD 4400
3.3-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
(2M/4T, 95W)
3.1-3.8 GHz
384 SPs
(2M/4T, 65W)
$96 Pentium G3430
(2C/2T, 53W)
3.3 GHz
HD (Haswell)
3.7-4.0 GHz
X4 860K
(2M/4T, 95W)
    $70 Pentium G3258
(2C/2T, 53W)
3.2 GHz
HD (Haswell)
3.5-3.9 GHz
256 SPs
(1M/2T, 65W)
$64 Celeron G1830
(2C/2T, 53W)
2.8 GHz
HD (Haswell)

I first created this table with launch pricing, and it had some of the APUs/CPUs moved around. But since the release dates of these processors varies on both sides, the prices of individual SKUs has been adjusted to compete.  Perhaps appropriately, we get a number of direct matchups including the A10-7700K and the Core i3-4130 at $120 right now. This table is by no means complete, due to Intel’s 20+ other SKUs that fight around same price points but vary slightly in frequency, but that tells a lot about each sides attack on the market. Some of AMD's recently announced price cuts are here, but for consistency our results tables will list the launch pricing as we have no mechanism for dynamic pricing.

Testing AMDs APUs over the years has provided results that these are not necessarily targeted to the high end when it comes to multi-GPU systems that total $2000+, although AMD wouldn't mind if you built a high end system with one. The key element to the APU has always been the integrated graphics, and the ability to offer more performance or percentage of transistors to graphics than the competition does at various price points (irrespective of TDP). Ultimately AMD likes to promote that for a similarly priced Intel+NVIDIA solution, a user can enable dual graphics with an APU+R7 discrete card for better performance. That being said, the high-end APUs have also historically been considered when it comes to single discrete GPU gaming when the most expensive thing in the system is the GPU as we showed in our last gaming CPU roundup, although we need to test for a new one of those soon.

Part of the new set of tests for this review is to highlight the usefulness of dual graphics, as well as comparing both AMD and NVIDIA graphics for low, mild-mannered and high end gaming arrangements.

The A8-7650K

The new APU fits in the stack between the 65W A8-7600 and before we get into the A10 models with the A10-7700K. It offers a slightly reduced clock speed than the A10, but it is built (in part) for overclocking with the K moniker. The integrated graphics under the hood provide 384 SPs at 720 MHz, being part of AMDs 4+6 compute core strategy. The A8-7650K is designed to fill out the processor stack to that end.

AMD Kaveri Lineup
Price $140 $135 $120 $104 $96 $83 $64
Modules 2 2 2 2 2 2 1
Threads 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
Core Freq. (GHz) 3.7-4.0 3.5-3.9 3.4-3.8 3.3-3.8 3.1-3.8 3.7-4.0 3.5-3.9
Compute Units 4+8 4+8 4+6 4+6 4+6 4+0 2+4
512 512 384 384 384 N/A 256
IGP Freq. (MHz) 720 720 720 720 720 N/A 756
TDP 95W 65W 95W 95W 65W 95W 65W
2133 2133 2133 2133 2133 1866 1866
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 1MB

At a list price of $105 (current $104), we were at a quandary with what to test against it from team blue. The Pentium G3258 sits at $72 with two cores at 3.2 GHz and HD (Haswell) GT1 graphics. The next one up the stack is the i3-4130, a dual core with hyperthreading and HD4400, but sits at $120. Ultimately there is no direct price competitor, but AMD assured us they were confident in the positing of the SKUs, particularly when gaming is concerned. Due to what I have in my testing lab, the nearest competitor to this is the i3-4330, a model with a larger L3 cache which has a list price of $138, or the i3-4130T which is a low power SKU.

New Testing Methodology
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  • TrackSmart - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    This comment is for Ian Cutress,

    First, thank you for the review, which was rich with performance figures and information. That said, something seems missing in the Conclusion. To be precise, the article doesn't really have a clear conclusion or recommendation, which is what many of us come here for.

    It's nice to hear about your cousin-in-law's good experiences, but the conclusion doesn't clearly answer the key question I think many readers might have: Where does this product fit in the world of options to consider when buying a new processor? Is it a good value in its price range? Should it be ignored unless you plan to use the integrated graphics for gaming? Or does it offer enough bang-for-the-buck to be a viable alternative to Intel's options for general non-gaming usage, especially if motherboard costs are considered? Should we consider AMD again, if we are in a particular niche of price and desired features?

    Basically, after all of your time with this chip and with your broader knowledge of the market offerings, what is your expert interpretation of the merits or demerits of considering this processor or its closely related AMD peers?
  • Nfarce - Thursday, May 14, 2015 - link

    " Ultimately AMD likes to promote that for a similarly priced Intel+NVIDIA solution, a user can enable dual graphics with an APU+R7 discrete card for better performance."

    I have *long* wondered why Intel and Nvidia don't get together and figure out a way to pair up the on-board graphics power of their CPUs with a discrete Nvidia GPU. It just seems to me such a waste for those of us who build our rigs for discrete video cards and just disable the on-board graphics of the CPU. Game developers could code their games based on this as well for better performance. Right now game developer Slightly Mad Studios claims their Project Cars racing simulation draws PhysX from the CPU and not a dedicated GPU. However, I have yet to find that definitively true based on benchmarks...I see no difference in performance between moving PhysX resources to my GPUs (970 SLI) or CPU (4690K 4.7GHz) in the Nvidia control panel in that game.
  • V900 - Thursday, May 14, 2015 - link

    Something similar to what you're describing is coming in DX12...

    But the main reason they haven't is because unless youre one of the few people who got an AMD APU because your total CPU+GPU budget is around 100$ it doesn't make any sense.

    First if all, the performance you get from an Intel igpu in a desktop system will be minimal, compared to even a 2-300$ Nvidia card. And secondly, if you crank up the igpu on an Intel CPU, it may take away some of the CPUs performance/overhead.

    If we're talking about a laptop, taking watts away from the CPU, and overall negatively impacting battery life will be even bigger drawbacks.
  • Nfarce - Thursday, May 14, 2015 - link

    "But the main reason they haven't is because unless youre one of the few people who got an AMD APU because your total CPU+GPU budget is around 100$ it doesn't make any sense."

    Did you even read the hardware I have? Further, reading benchmarks from the built in 4600 graphics of i3/i5/i7 CPUs shows me that it is a wasted resource. And regarding impact on CPU performance, considering that higher resolutions (1440p and 4K) and higher quality/AA settings are more dependent on GPU performance than CPU performance, the theory that utilizing onboard CPU graphics with a dedicated GPU would decrease overall performance is debatable. I see little gains in my highly overclocked 4690K running at 4.7GHz and running at the stock 3.9GHz turbo frequency in most games.

    All we have to go on currently is 1) Intel HD 4600 performance alone in games, and 2) CPU performance demands at higher resolutions on games with dedicated cards.
  • UtilityMax - Friday, May 15, 2015 - link

    I am guessing that they didn't get together because dual-graphics is very difficult to make to work right. AMD is putting effectively the same type of GPU cores on the discrete GNUs and integrated APUs, and it still took them a while to make it work at all.
  • V900 - Thursday, May 14, 2015 - link

    I guess one thing we all learned today, besides the fact that AMDs APUs still kinda blow, is that there is a handful of people, who are devoted enough to their favorite processor manufacturer to seriously believe that:

    A: Intel is some kind of evil and corrupt empire ala Star Wars.

    B: They're powerful enough to bribe/otherwise silence "da twooth" among all of Anandtech and most of the industry.

    C: 95% of the tech press is corrupt enough to gladly do their bidding.

    D: Mantle was an API hardcoded by Jesus Christ himself in assembler language. It's so powerful that if it got widespread, no one would need to buy a new CPU or GPU the rest of this decade. Which is why "they" forced
  • V900 - Thursday, May 14, 2015 - link

    Which is why "they" forced AMD to cancel Mantle. Then Microsoft totally 110% copied it and renamed it "DX12".

    Obviously all of the above is 100% logical, makes total sense and is much more likely than AMD releasing shoddy CPUs the last decade, and the press acknowledging that.
  • wingless - Thursday, May 14, 2015 - link

    AMD DOMINATION!!!!! If only the charts looked like that with discrete graphics as well....
  • Vayra - Friday, May 15, 2015 - link

    Still really can't see a scenario where the APU would be the best choice. Well, there may be one: for those with a very tight budget and wish for playing games on PC regardless. But this would mean that AMD has designed and reiterated a product that would only find its market in the least interesting group of consumers: those that want everything for nothing... Not really where you want to be.
  • UtilityMax - Friday, May 15, 2015 - link

    Well, right now arguably, if one has $500 bucks or less for a gaming PC build, it would be better to buy a Playstation 4. High end builds is where the money is in the enthusiast gaming market.

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