The beginning of summer in the market of computer hardware was very hot. Most manufacturers tried to tie announcements of promising products to the last exhibition Computex, which firmly won the title of the largest industry show. As a result, now we have to work tirelessly – new items arrive in the laboratory one after another. And this applies not only to video cards, but also to processors, although the competition in this sphere has not seemed to be full of late. Nevertheless, while Intel introduced its quad-core Broadwell for desktop and mobile systems, AMD also did not lose time, which announced the delivery of hybrid Carrizo processors that combined the Excavator cores with a graphics core with the GCN 1.2 architecture. Laptops based on them should appear in the very near future, but we do not have such samples yet, and therefore we will not talk about Carrizo. In the same review, it will be even more about one novelty of AMD, announced simultaneously with Carrizo, – hybrid processors Godavari, oriented to use in desktop systems.
Despite the fact that Carrizo and Godavari come out almost simultaneously, the differences between them are fundamental. And it’s not just that Carrizo is a mobile design, and Godavari is a desktop design. While Carrizo has absorbed all the latest development of the company, Godavari is just a refreshed version of last year’s Kaveri, a kind of Kaveri Refresh, if you use Intel’s terminology. And it turned out not because of any particular dislike of AMD developers for traditional desktop computers, but because when creating Carrizo, energy efficiency was given too much attention. To produce such chips, a special 28-nm process technology with an increased density of transistors was introduced, which does not allow clocking at frequencies above 3.4 GHz. It is clear that processors with such characteristics of users of desktop computers are almost impossible to interest, so for this audience AMD offered not full-fledged novelties, but slightly old-fashioned old acquaintances, which even if they are based on the Steamroller microarchitecture and use the GCN 1.1 graphics core, but possess more with solid frequencies up to 4.1 GHz.
Of course, such a Godavari – at first glance, not the most attractive offer for the fans of desktop computers, who are hungry for innovative solutions. However, not paying attention to it would be wrong, because AMD managed to raise the operating frequency noticeably enough. For example, the GPU in Godavari received a 20 percent acceleration compared to older Kaveri, and it gives us hope that AMD’s new desktop APUs can still offer some important performance improvements over their predecessors. Actually, this is exactly what we will check in the framework of this review.
As for desktop hybrid processors built on Excavator microarchitecture, they will also appear, but in about a year. Therefore, with representatives of the Godavari family, we will have to deal long enough. While this family consists of one flagship model A10-7870K, but in the near future it will expand due to cheaper retail and OEM-variants that will displace some of the Kaveri modifications released from the market last year. But in this review we will talk about the A10-7870K – the version that you can already buy in stores.
⇡ # Read more about AMD A10-7870K
So, neither the general architecture, nor the structure of the processor and graphics core of the A10-7870K compared to the A10-7850K have changed. The most important thing in the novelty, named for the second largest Indian river, is increased frequencies. Assembled on the basis of two modules Steamroller four-core A10-7870K has a nominal frequency of 3.9 GHz, and technology Turbo Core can overclock it at a partial load up to 4.1 GHz. This is 200 and 100 MHz, respectively, better than the characteristics of the older processor in the original Kaveri family. However, this frequency is still not impressive: the new Godavari did not manage to overtake the hybrid processors of the Richland family of the 2013 model, which reached about 400 MHz higher frequency. According to the specific performance of Kaveri (and, consequently, Godavari), it differs from Richland very little, so, oddly enough, AMD still can not beat its own record, established two years ago.
At the same time, in part of the built-in graphics, Godavari made an indisputable jerk. Built in this APU graphics core series Radeon R7, belonging to the class Volcanic Islands and having 512 executive devices, received a frequency of 866 MHz, which is 20 percent higher than the frequency of the graphics core in A10-7850K. And this made the A10-7870K the first AMD hybrid processor with more teraflops power. By the way, it’s worth recalling that this performance was promised in the original Kaveri, but in fact AMD took an additional year to implement the original plan.
The improvement of the frequency characteristics of the A10-7870K is provided by three circumstances directly or indirectly related to the aging of the 28-nm process technology. First, thanks to the efforts of AMD’s production partner, GlobalFoundries, the quality of Kaveri semiconductor crystals coming off the pipeline has improved. Secondly, with the expansion of the APU line, AMD has gained more space for selecting the most successful crystals that can be used in the flagship model. And thirdly, in the A10-7870K the manufacturer slightly (about 0.05 V) increased the supply voltage.
If you look at the screenshot of the diagnostic utility CPU-Z, you can notice that the new processor up to A2 has grown and the version number of the kernel. However, there is no question of any modernization: the differences of A10-7870K from past Kaveri are purely cosmetic.
For clarity, we compared the characteristics of A10-7870K and A10-7850K in the following table, which shows clearly what the novelty actually differs (or does not differ) from its predecessor.
|AMD A10-7870K||AMD A10-7850K|
|The code name of the||Godavari||Kaveri|
|Nuclei||4 cores (2 modules)||4 cores (2 modules)|
|The processor socket||Socket FM2 +||Socket FM2 +|
|The unlocked multiplier||There are||There are|
|The clock frequency||3.9 GHz||3.7 GHz|
|The frequency in the turbo mode||Up to 4.1 GHz||Up to 4.0 GHz|
|L2-cache||2 × 2 MB||2 × 2 MB|
|The graphic core||Radeon R7||Radeon R7|
|Architecture of the GPU||GCN 1.1||GCN 1.1|
|The shader processors||512||512|
|Frequency of the GPU||866 MHz||720 MHz|
|Support for DDR3||DDR3-2133||DDR3-2133|
|TDP||95 W||95 W|
|The retail price||$ 150||$ 130|
In addition to frequencies, in the characteristics of Godavari there is nothing new. Therefore, everything that we knew about Kaveri can be equally transferred to A10-7870K. For example, the integrated video core of this processor using Dual Graphics technology can be mated to CrossfireX-bundles with various Radeon R7 video cards. And as the most favorable option that provides the greatest performance gain, AMD continues to recommend the Radeon R7 250 with DDR3-memory.
Have not changed in the A10-7870K and the properties of the memory controller. Officially, it supports dual-channel DDR3 memory at speeds up to DDR3-2133, but there is also an undocumented possibility of operating this APU together with DDR3-2400 SDRAM. By the way, the memory controller of AMD’s hybrid processors works best with two-storing modules, and this feature should be kept in mind.
It’s quite natural that the new A10-7870K is fully compatible with the entire AMD A88X / A78 / A68H / A58 motherboard based motherboard after the BIOS update. Some manufacturers decided to coincide with the appearance of the A10-7870K release of new versions of their cards for Socket FM2 +, but this does not mean that the old motherboards with this processor will not work.
Despite the increase in operating frequencies and the increase in the supply voltage, Godavari has not changed and the declared level of heat generation is the same 95 W. However, judging by the indirect signs, the new processor has become a bit hotter than its predecessor. In favor of this is the fact that in the boxed version of the delivery the A10-7870K is equipped with a cooler that is more productive than the A10-7850K. Now the standard cooling system has become similar to the complete cooler of AMD FX series processors: it received a copper base and even uses heat pipes.
Over the past year since the release of Kaveri processors, AMD has seriously rethought the positioning of its APUs. If initially she tried to represent the flagship APU as a solution to the class higher than the Intel dual-core Core i3, today this is no longer the case. In early May, all AMD processors affected a serious markdown, and the A10-7870K immediately set such a cost that it can be considered as a direct competitor to the older Intel dual-core processor Core i3-4370. There is no question of any juxtaposition of the younger Core i5, and this is perhaps even more interesting quality of Godavari than the 20 percent overclocking of the GPU.