We’ve all known for a while that AMD would be releasing desktop Richland SKUs, and there have been a few leaks—including the APUs going up for sale at Newegg yesterday, one day before the NDA. The details of the new AMD Elite A-Series Desktop APUs don’t muddy the waters too much. These are updated Trinity cores, built on the same manufacturing technology, with higher clock speeds and improved memory support thanks to a maturing process and the passage of time. We’ve already covered the mobile Richland APUs, which are starting to show up in laptops (though sadly we haven’t had any in for review yet). Here are the details of the desktop parts, six of which are now available.

AMD Elite A-Series Desktop APUs, aka Richland
Model A10-6800K A10-6700 A8-6600K A8-6500 A6-6400K A4-4000
Modules/Cores 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 1/2 1/2
CPU Base Freq 4.1 3.7 3.9 3.5 3.9 3.0
Max Turbo 4.4 4.3 4.2 4.1 4.1 3.2
TDP 100W 65W 100W 65W 65W 65W
Graphics HD 8670D HD 8670D HD 8570D HD 8570D HD 8470D ?
GPU Cores 384 384 256 256 192 128
GPU Clock 844 844 844 800 800 724
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 1MB 1MB
Max DDR3 2133 1866 1866 1866    
Price (MSRP) $150 ($142) $149 ($142) $120 ($112) $119 ($112) $80 $46

Just to put things in perspective, here are the previous generation Trinity desktop APUs:

AMD Trinity Desktop APUs
Model A10-5800K A10-5700 A8-5600K A8-5500 A6-5400K A4-5300
Modules/Cores 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 1/2 1/2
CPU Base Freq 3.8 3.4 3.6 3.2 3.6 3.4
Max Turbo 4.2 4.0 3.9 3.7 3.8 3.6
TDP 100W 65W 100W 65W 65W 65W
Graphics HD 7660D HD 7660D HD 7560D HD 7560D HD 7540D HD 7480D
GPU Cores 384 384 256 256 192 128
GPU Clock 800 760 760 760 760 723
L2 Cache 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 2x2MB 1MB 1MB
Max DDR3 2133 1866 1866 1866    
Current Price $130 $129 $110 $105 $70 $55

All of the CPU and GPU clocks are up (with the exception with the budget-minded A4-4000), as expected. Maximum Turbo Core speeds across the lineup range from 200MHz faster (A10-6800K) to as much as 400MHz faster (A8-6500); the base CPU clocks have also been increased 100-300MHz, with the 300MHz increase coming on the highest performance models. We’ve also been informed that the Richland APUs will be more likely to hit their maximum Turbo Core clocks, whereas Trinity was more likely to run at the base clock, so all told, we would expect performance to be up anywhere from 5% to as much as 25% in extreme cases, with the average being more likely in the 10% range.

On the GPU front, the Richland APUs are likewise clocked 5-11% higher (the only 11% gap being the A10-6700 vs. the A10-5700; the rest are 5%). At least for now street pricing is also up around 10-15%, so you’re basically paying a bit more to get a bit more performance. Also worth mention is that all of the Richland parts will work in existing socket FM2 motherboards, with support for the A85X, A75, and A55 platforms. There will be forward compatibility with FM2+ motherboards as well. It’s unlikely many people will be looking to upgrade from Trinity to Richland (just like we don’t expect many people to move from Ivy Bridge to Haswell), but the existing FM2 motherboards will help keep the price of adoption low.

While it may appear that Intel’s new Haswell chips could cause AMD some grief in the graphics department, there’s more to the story than just performance. With Trinity and Ivy Bridge, AMD clearly had a faster iGPU, but depending on what you’re looking at that’s no longer inherently true. It’s going to be a bit closer now when we compare Intel’s HD Graphics 4200/4400/4600 with the HD 8670D, but the GT3e Iris Pro 5200 should prove substantially more potent. That will likely be true of the GT3 HD Graphics 5000 when compared with mobile Trinity as well. However, Iris Pro 5200 also ends up adding to the cost of a Haswell chip, and U-series Haswell chips will be selling in substantially more expensive Ultrabooks. So we’re basically back to the same story as before: AMD will sell you “good enough” performance at a much lower price than Intel.

The fastest AMD A10-6800K costs $40 less than the least expensive Core i5 Haswell CPU, and in fact it’s still $30-$40 less than Core i5 Ivy Bridge. Intel competes against the A10-6800K with their Core i3 CPUs, which on the desktop remain Ivy Bridge for now. Unless you need absolutely top CPU performance, AMD’s A10 APUs have proven more than sufficient for most tasks—even high-end gaming rarely benefits from a faster CPU than an A10 until you start using two or more GPUs. That’s really the question you need to answer: what do you intend to do with your PC? For pure CPU performance, Intel wins easily, and Quick Sync is great for fast video transcoding; outside of those use cases, though, AMD’s APUs continue to provide a good experience that will keep all but the most demanding of users happy.

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  • TomWomack - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    I tried to buy an A4-4000 a couple of weeks ago, and was bitten by AMD being incompetent at sales chain management in comparison with Intel; since they didn't change the socket for Richland, there are motherboards on the shelves into which Richland fits but doesn't work, and where the advice to buyers is 'just fit a Trinity CPU and upgrade the BIOS'.

    I left the Trinity CPU in, and have a surplus A4-4000 which the dealer won't take back; anyone want it?
  • superflex - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    So Newegg got these yesterday, the day before the NDA is released, but you managed to get your hands on one a couple of weeks ago? Did you think that maybe you should wait for a BIOS update from your board manufacturer before jumping in head first. And your crying over $46?
    Go away Intel troll.
  • TomWomack - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    I'm in England, and I assure you that on 20 May I ordered an "AMD A4 4000 sFM2 65W 1MB" from scan.co.uk which arrived on 22 May. Maybe they broke an embargo; so be it.

    I expect that, if I buy a motherboard saying 'FM2 socket' on the box, and a processor saying 'FM2 socket' on the box, they should work together. Either AMD should contrive that their processor doesn't require a BIOS upgrade, or they should say that it requires an FM2+ motherboard.

    Yes, there's a BIOS upgrade available from the board manufacturer, but an end-user can't install it without BUYING A NEW PROCESSOR; I can't see how anyone could consider that acceptable.

    I am going to complain about wasting £32.88 in the hope that it stops other people from wasting £32.88.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    LOL, not everybody here is in the States and as such has access to Newegg. Even so, is it that unreasonable to expect chipset and driver support before launch? If I am correct, the latter certainly happened.

    Personally, I'd have a word with Scan and ask them to change the listing at the very least. I've had the same with Dabs before - a Thermaltake PSU I bought about a decade back didn't even come with a UK cable.
  • TomWomack - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Haswell thermal-throttles perfectly reasonably; with the Intel heatsink that came in the box it quietly runs at average 2.9GHz when doing eight threads of number-crunching 24/7, and I start to wonder if it's worth 30W (ie $150 over three years) for 500MHz more.

    You don't need a new PSU unless you want to enable the super-idle functionality; that saves you five watts at idle, which doesn't add up to being worth a new PSU.

    I'll admit you need a new motherboard.
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Considering that you don't know which CPU he came from, you have to assume a new MB with a Richland purchase as well. Richland fits in FM2 but if you come from a Llano or a Phenom you have to upgrade the MB.
    And if you are buying a high end CPU, chances are you already have a high end cooler or don't care about noise much. And saying you need a new PSU for Haswell is pretty stupid as well. Many current PSUs support the low power states and even if not I haven't seen anyone say using a PSU without that support is dangerous.
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    As others have said.. this comment totally missed reality. Current PSUs work jsut fine without super-idle (not any worse than Ivy). And power consumption is lower than Sandy, so you don't need a beefier cooler (unless you go for extreme OC - but then you need a beefy cooler with any chip).
  • Veroxious - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Correct on all counts. That is why I am hoping the Ivy Bridge pricing will drop now that Haswell has launched. That said I am disappointed in both Ivy Bridge and Haswell from a thermal perspective. We have a mixture of Sandy and Ivy Bridge chips in out organization. Being the geek I am I often benchmark the shit out of everything I lay my hands on. I have noticed though that the Ivy CPU's idle is much higher than Sandy Bridge and the difference in temperature between cores is more pronounced and in my opinion hampers overclocking by lowering the thermal ceiling for the entire CPU.
  • testbug00 - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Haswell is not bad, it is just not a leap in any one area unless your getting GT3(e)

    and over 100 fahrenheit? um... why does it matter in idle?? power consumption is down and idle heat isn't that big of a deal (at that temp).
  • silverblue - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Who did the TLB bug actually affect, in all honesty?

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