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AMD A10-7850K and A10-7700K Kaveri APUs are here – HTPC / Small Factor Beasts – From £119.99 £119.99

AMD A10-7850K and A10-7700K Kaveri APUs are here – HTPC / Small Factor Beasts – From £119.99

  • Price
  • Performance
  • Value for Money

AMD have carved themselves a good niche with their APUs. Having the processor combined with a good onboard graphics card for low cost, has proved very successful in laptops, and ideal for HTPC and small form factor PCs. Not having to worry about a large graphics card in a tiny PC has a lot of advantages, nevermind the costs sometimes involved. With the new Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 having modified versions of these APUs in them, we know the potential power can be there, and the latest Kaveri APUs have had budget gamers excited with this prospect.

What Systems are Kaveri AMD APUs for? What are the Options

If you have a good mid range or above graphics card already, then ignore them. Get an FX processor. However if you are looking at a system build which case size or noise is a factor then these are for you. There are three versions out of varying power. The base A8-7600, which offers very low power (as in watts), while the next step up is the A10s, which are the A10-7700k and the A10-7850K. Both of which are Black Editions so expect some overclocking. Prices currently range from £119.99 for the A10 with the A8 expected to be around the sub £100 mark.  The top end A10-7850K has a 3.7GHz Quad Core CPU (turbo to 4GHz), and a 512 Shader Core Radeon R7 graphics card built in. They all run on the FM2+ socket motherboards.

What is the Gaming Performance like on the A10-7850K?

Well take a look for yourself!  To summarise the video, it can play Battlefield 4 on medium at 1080p at around 30FPS. Pretty good for such a device. And there is a bonus as Mantle, AMDs new technology for gaming, is supposed to boost performance by over 10% in some games. That comes as soon as the new patch for the game is released. Expect most new games to have Mantle upon release in Q2 2014 onwards.

A10-7850K Battlefield 4 – Ultra 720p at 30FPS

A10-7850K Skyrim – High 1080p 42FPS

What Alternatives are there to APUs?

If you are running a standard mATX motherboard / case combination then for the £125 it will cost to get the top A10-7850K you could buy an Athlon X4 740 (£56 Amazon) and a HD7770 (£73 Amazon) which would outperform the APU and be more upgradable for the future. Plus you would not need to worry about buying expensive 2133MHz RAM to get the most out of the APU Graphics.  This is quite a radically different setup, but if your aim is not for near silent PC or small form factor like HTPC then you might be better off.  For comparison, this can be seen running Battlefield 4 at 1400×900 averages 45FPS on High which is very impressive for the money.  A little bit apples and oranges, but it depends on the intended place and usage of your PC.


Overall Thoughts

I like to view APUs as for what their main purpose is rather than compare to the example above. As a way to have good graphics, low power and noise without spending a fortune, they are a superb purchase. It will be very interesting to see what AMD do with the latest APUs for laptops. For desktop and small factor, there is very little on the market which can match the A10-7850K for its cost. The only downside is that the RAM has to be fast to get the most out of it. While the A10s are very good, if the A8-7600 price is right, it could be the one to go for. As it stands its main competition is the A10-6800k from the previous generation which has dropped in price (floating around the £100 mark) and represents excellent value.