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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  • V900 - Friday, May 15, 2015 - link

    Nah, you can get a really nice gaming PC for even just 500$... Sure it won't be a octo core CPU, probably not even a quad core, but the performance and graphics will be hard to tell apart from a PS4. Especially once DX12 games become common.

    Yeah, you might get a few more FPS or a few more details in some games on a ps4.

    But just set aside the 10-30$ you save every time you buy a game for a PC vs. a PS4 and you should be able to upgrade your computer in a year or less.
  • V900 - Friday, May 15, 2015 - link

    For those on a very tight budget, wish for PC games* AND who already have a motherboard that uses the same socket as these APUs, I would add.

    Zen is going to require a new socket, so you're kinda stuck in regards to upgrades from this.

    And if you have to go out and get a new motherboard as well, than it really only makes sense to go for Intel. Yup,

    Skylake is also going to need a new socket, but if you go the Intel route, at least there's a possibility to upgrade to a Haswell i3/i5/i7 from a Pentium down the road, so you have the possibility of a lot more performance.
  • ES_Revenge - Saturday, May 16, 2015 - link

    I don't really get the point of this CPU at all. It comes out, now, in May 2015? And it's really nothing new yet AT bothered to review it? It's a few bucks more than an A8-7600 but it has higher TDP and is otherwise nearly exactly the same. Sure it's unlocked but it doesn't overclock well anyway. Might as well just save the few bucks and the 30W power consumption and get the 7600. OTOH if you want something with better, you'd just go for the $135-140 A10 CPUs w/512 SPs. The 7650K seems to be totally pointless, especially at this point in 2015 where Skylake is around the corner.

    The Dual Graphics scores look pretty decent (other than GTAV which is clearly not working with it), but there's no mention at all in this review about frametime? I mean have all the frametime issues been solved now (particularly with Dual Graphics which IIRC was the worst for stuttering) that we don't need to even mention it anymore? That's great if that's the case, but the review doesn't even seem to touch on it?
  • 1920.1080p.1280.720p - Sunday, May 17, 2015 - link

    For the love of everything, test APUs with casual games. Someone who wants to play something like GTA V is likely going to have a better system. Meanwhile, games like LoL, Dota 2, Sims 4, etc have tons of players who don't have great systems and wouldn't like to spend much on them either. Test games that these products are actually geared towards. I appreciate the inclusion of what the system could become with the addition of differing levels of gpu horsepower, but you are still missing the mark here a bit. Everyone seems to be with APUs and it drives me nuts.
  • johnxxx - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    hello , what's the best solution for you ?

    (internet , mail, office , game , listen music and see a movie )

    apu + r7 for dual graphics
    apu + nvidia card
    apu only (oc with a big fan )

    x4 860k + r7
    x4 860k + nvidia card

    or pentium g3xxx + r7
    pentium g3xxx + nvidia card

    or i3 4150 + r7

    thank you very much
  • ES_Revenge - Saturday, May 30, 2015 - link

    A little late but it mainly depends on what R7 you're talking about. If you're talking about an R7 240, then yeah it's better to do dual-graphics, 'cause a 240 on its own is not going to do much for gaming. If you're talking about a single R7 260X or 265 then that's a different story (and a much better idea).

    For gaming, a quad-core CPU really helps for modern games BUT dual-core with HT (like an i3) is quite good too. Dual-core only isn't the greatest of ideas for gaming, TBH. So, ditch the Pentiums and dual-core APUs.

    Out of your choices I'd probably go with the i3 4150 and an R7 260X, R7 265/HD 7850, or GTX 750 Ti. Unless you already have some parts (like the motherboard), this will be the best of your choices for gaming (everything else you listed is no problem for any of those CPUs).

    The i3 4150 is benefits from newer features in Haswell and has HT. Compared to the X4 860K It may still lose out in some [limited] things which really make use of four physical cores, but not very much and probably not anything you'll be doing anyway. The Haswell i3 also uses very little power so it's good in a small/compact build where you want less heat/noise and can't use a large air cooler easily (or just don't want to spend a lot on a cooler).

    If you're talking about an R7 240 though, then go with an A8-7600 and run Dual Graphics. It might be cheaper but it won't be better than the i3 and higher-end R7 card.
  • CVZalez - Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - link

    It's time for this so called benchmarks make the scripts and data processed available to the public, for example, is the AgiSoft PhotoScan OpenCL activated in the preferences, if it's not, only the CPU will be used, and it makes an huge difference, we all know what AMD is good at with those APUs, not in the CPU but in the GPU and multithread, I find it hard to believe that Intel i3 had such better results.

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