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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  • Cataclysm_ZA - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Quite a few people who bought boards with the new BIOS that patched up the TLB issue. It dropped performance all-round by about 10% or more, depending on the workload in question. If your system never ran into the kinds of situations that brought the bug on, you could undo the patch in AMD Overdrive, because AMD persuaded motherboard vendors to ship new boards with the new BIOS with the TLB patch set to "On" by default.
  • tech6 - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    AMD desktop and server part are simply no longer competitive in the areas of raw performance and power consumption. Most likely AMD will continue to focus on the low end desktop market but put most of its efforts into mobile.
  • TomWomack - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    They're competitive in terms of cheapness if you don't need much compute; I bought mine because I wanted a reasonably energy-efficient fileserver, but insist on having Linux software RAID and a command-line to manage it so am not happy with commercial NAS offerings. Cheaper than anything Intel had when you add a mini-ITX motherboard and want USB3.
  • blckgrffn - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    idle power usage is pretty close as well - and that is where most CPU's spend their time anyway.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    The thing with Bulldozer and PIledriver is that their decoders can only work on one thread per clock, but as power consumption is managed on a modular level, the module is being underworked but still at full load. The very fact that Steamroller looks to be able to work on both threads at the same time would suggest that it'd do a lot more work for little penalty. This would obviously help performance, though I still doubt that a 2M/4C Steamroller would quite overhaul even a SB 4C/4T design. Regardless, it'd most likely crush previous FX designs. Larger L1 caches plus queues means fewer misses and fewer trips back to L3, let alone main memory, which should reduce power anyway.

    With an 8-core CPU that can more efficiently use its resources, 125W wouldn't actually appear all too bad. Of course, we have to wait to see this, but AMD could do with throwing out some more information on the subject so we're not reduced to speculation until the last moment.
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    not everybody wants to spend 1500$ and more on a cpu... for the highest compute. milj cpu are all sold in mid and low range.

    we buy every year a few hundred Servers for virtualization and are all based on AMD and recently moved to the 16core and more then happy with it. Its old school IT market and managers that is killing this, just like your post, remember no competition is only negative for consumers, many still don't get that. Even in reviews today you see tech sites comparing the A10 against the 4770 and then mention that the CPU is slower.... duh

    price/performance/power they are competative.
  • Mountainjoy - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Wow that did not take long for AMD to lose the iGPU performance crown.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    There's also the fact that its competition is priced three times higher.
  • K_Space - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    At what cost though? performance-cost ratio is waaay off the mark IMO. The frugal i3 with HD4000 served many HTPC owners quite happily; I certainly would not recommend Haswell for a HTPC build, it's prohibitively expensive (atm). On the other hand, A10 6800K sell for around £10 more than an i3-3225 (and once you throw in a mITX, they are actually the same price). This is very much in line with the article statement: " Intel competes against the A10-6800K with their Core i3 CPUs, which on the desktop remain Ivy Bridge for now."
    Thus, if A10 6800K/A10 6700 takes the performance lead in that price bracket (and by that I mean both CPU + iGPU); I'd say AMD would have taken a big slice of the HTPC pie (however small it is).
  • superunknown98 - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    AMD didn't lose the iGPU performance crown. According to this article and shown in Anands's Iris pro article, Trinity beats Intel's: HD4000,4200,4400 and 4600, Richland should do even better. Besides the, i7 4770R, which Haswell i7, i5 or i3 will have an iGPU faster than Trinty or Richland?

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