The run up to Computex has been insane. Kabini, Haswell and Iris hit us back to back to back, not to mention all of the travel before receiving those products to get briefed on everything. Needless to say, we're in major catchup mode. There's a lot more that I wanted to do with Haswell desktop that got cut out due to Iris, and much more I wanted to do with Iris that I had to scrap in order to fly out to Computex. I will be picking up where I left off later this month, but with WWDC, Samsung and a couple of NDA'd events later this month, it's not going to be as quick as I'd like.

One part that arrived while I was in the middle of launch central was AMD's Richland for desktop. Effectively a refresh of Trinity with slightly higher clocks, a software bundle and more sophisticated/aggressive turbo. Richland maintains socket compatibility with Trinity (FM2), so all you should need is a BIOS update to enable support for the chip. AMD sent over two Richland parts just before I left for Computex: the 100W flagship A10-6800K and the 65W A10-6700. I didn't have time to do Richland justice before I left, however I did make sure to test the 6800K in tandem with Haswell's GPU just so I had an idea of how things would stack up going forward as I was writing my Iris Pro conclusion.

For all intents and purposes, Iris Pro doesn't exist in the desktop space, making Haswell GT2 (HD 4600) the fastest socketed part with discrete graphics that Intel ships today. In our Haswell desktop review I didn't get a chance to really analyze HD 4600 performance, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to refresh the current state of desktop integrated processor graphics. Unlike the staggered CPU/GPU launch of Trinity on the desktop, the situation with Richland is purely a time limitation on my end. This was all I could put together before I left for Computex.

Although Richland comes with a generational increase in model numbers, the underlying architecture is the same as Trinity. We're still talking about Piledriver modules and a Cayman derived GPU. It won't be until Kaveri that we see GCN based processor graphics from AMD at this price segment (Kabini is already there).

As Jarred outlined in his launch post on Richland, the 6800K features 4 - 8% higher CPU clocks and a 5% increase in GPU clocks compared to its predecessor. With improved Turbo Core management, AMD expects longer residency at max turbo frequencies but you shouldn't expect substantial differences in performance on the GPU side. The A10-6800K also includes official support for DDR3-2133. AMD is proud of its valiation on the A10-6800K, any parts that won't pass at DDR3-2133 are demoted to lower end SKUs. I never spent a ton of time testing memory overclocking with Trinity, but my A10-5800K sample had no issues running at DDR3-2133 either. I couldn't get DDR3-2400 working reliably however.

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

For my Richland test platform I used the same Gigabyte UD4 Socket-FM2 motherboard I used for our desktop Trinity review, simply updated to the latest firmware release. I ran both AMD platforms using the same Catalyst 13.6 driver with the same DDR3-2133 memory frequency. AMD was quick to point out that only the A10-6800K ships with official DDR3-2133 support, so the gap in performance between it and Trinity may be even larger if the latter tops out at DDR3-1866. The HD 4000/4600 numbers are borrowed from my Iris Pro review using DDR3-2400, however I didn't notice scaling on Haswell GT2 beyond DDR3-1866.

I'll be following up with a more thorough look at Richland once I'm back from my current bout of traveling.

Gaming Performance
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  • FriendlyUser - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    I see your point. But how many of these users need the CPU performance of the 4770? Do you think that the average business user needs a 4770 to do excel and answer emails? Will he even notice the difference? I can't really show you statistics, but I imagine that a big part of demanding users are in fact gamers.
  • JDG1980 - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    I understand why the average Intel CPU has an integrated graphics processor, but the K-series parts are specifically targeted at enthusiasts. Why don't they omit the IGP from those?
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    QuickSync is one possible answer. Another is that enthusiasts tend to swap out GPUs more frequently than other demographics so having a basic iGPU can come in handy for diagnostics now and then. And not all enthusiasts are gamers.
  • dbcoopernz - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    Are you going to look at HTPC performance for Richland? e.g. madVR, refresh rate timings.
  • RoyYoung - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the squeezing this out in such a short turn around. However I just don't think this is useful or new. I have never met anyone in the market for an i7 xxxxk cpu looking to play AAA game using the iGPU, have you? The iGPU in the i7 is just a bonus because it shares a die with the mobile counterpart, and gives you quick sync if prefer speed over quality in your transcoding.

    In today's market, the only reason to invest in the space, noise , heat, and money for a desktop gaming PC is to play games at 1080p or higher. Just get a Xbox if you need 720p. From the benchmarks its clear that neither the i-7 Haswell nor the Richland are playable at 900p let alone 1080p. On the other hand, the same tests at 768p on mobile Richland and Haswell parts makes perfect sense given the typical resolution and thermal of laptops. Given the power usage delta between the AMD and Intel desktop parts, I suspect the race is going to be a lot closer in the laptop race.
  • kallogan - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    Richland is really lame. I mean it brings barely peanuts over Trinty. Why even release that. And it's expensive. Desktop parts are really boring right now.
  • kyuu - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    I'd be interested in seeing if you can get a stable RAM clock @ 2400MHz, and if so, how much Richland scales with that. Hope you take a look at when you do the more thorough piece.
  • johnny_boy - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    APUs scale very well with faster memory almost regardless of timings. I'd like to see Richland benchmarks with DDR3 2400, though I can already make a pretty good guess of what those figures would look like.
  • Samastrike - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    So what I'm seeing here is very similar GPU performance to trinity for $20 more? Except in 3Dmark06 where it suddenly has a huge jump. Doesn't strike me as worth it.
  • firewall597 - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    I'm a little disappointed that AMD cared to release this as a new model generation at all. There's barely enough argument to avoid throwing the "rebranding" flag. Shoulda just fit the upclocked parts appropriately into the current gen's numbering and adjusted prices accordingly.

    The effort is appreciated always, but the marketing is somewhat misleading from the surface.

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