AMD A10-5800K “Trinity” APU Review With Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 Motherboard

AMD A10-5800K “Trinity” APU Review With Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 Motherboard

Introduction

AMD launched their first APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) platform
codenamed “Llano” in 2011 which merged the GPU and CPU architecture on a
single die. We have already seen integrated graphics solutions from
Intel on their processors under the HD Graphics brand so what was so
special about these newly released chips by AMD when Intel has already
been doing the same thing since Sandy Bridge generation of processors?
What AMD has did with their APUs is that they added a graphics parts that was already available on the discrete
graphics solution, merged it along side the CPU core and what consumers
got were much more visual horsepower to manage visually demanding
applications in a low power package. The first APU platform was co-developed for both laptops (Brazos based on Bobact architecture) and Llano for desktops which is based on the K10 architecture
Although the first generation of APUs failed to attract a wider desktop audience which later become a known reason for the delay of
AMD’s second generation APU platform since the company wanted to clear
out the remaining chips that hadn’t been sold. Though they didn’t gain
much attention over at the desktop end, AMD still had faith and with a
strong know-how of the new APU platform waited for the right moment to
launch their 2nd generation of APUs codenamed “Trinity”.

AMD Trinity Merges x86 CPU With Radeon Core

In October 2012, AMD released their latest “Trinity” APU platform as
the worlds first Accelerated Processing Unit that featured x86
architecture and powered with Radeon cores.
The processor was launched a year later after the Bulldozer
architecture arrived in October 2011. Bulldozer is highly regarded as
the biggest flop of AMD’s history one which hit the company so hard that
it cost the CEO of the company “Rory Read” his job (Via PCWorld).
But that hit was a lesson learned hard for AMD and they know that
bringing the x86 Bulldozer architecture to the desktop market would mean
in-efficiency with mediocre performance so they wanted and a year later
introduced “Trinity”, not with their older x86 Bulldozer architecture
but with the new and improved x86 “Piledriver” revision.
Piledriver got the things right which Bulldozer couldn’t at its launch.
AMD’s Trinity APU accommodates 1.303 billion transistors on its die
which measures 246mm2.
The new revision meant higher efficiency over the older Bulldozer
architecture that allowed AMD to fuse their Radeon core architecture
(VLIW4) from HD 6000 series on top of the APU die. This meant that the
CPU side was about to get a major boost over the older K10 architecture
in the Llano APU and at the same time, improved visual performance was
expected from the new APUs due to the addition of Radeon Cores. The APUs
were still based on the 32nm architecture which meant that the TDP
would remain higher and the x86 performance was not much impressive
against a year old Intel architecture. But the graphics side shined and
Intel had competition at such a competitive price range which their Core
i3 and Core i5 chips couldn’t outlast.
But bringing the high-performance x86 architecture “Piledriver”
wasn’t feasible for an processor which had to accommodate a enhanced
graphics core that would result in higher cost and inefficiency so a few
features had to be cut down. The major thing that was cut out from the
APU model was L3 cache since it was most demanding in power consumption
and the least performance awarding. AMD’s APUs were limited to L2 cache since AMD chose efficiency over performance for their new Fusion platform.
Trinity APU Die
The graphics side was merged with a Radeon Core fused with 384 stream processors
which is quarter the size of what consumers got on the Radeon HD 6970.
The graphics core was based on the VLIW4 architecture which was an
update over the VLIW3 based Llano APUs HD 6000 iGP. The graphics core
was smaller but much more power ful and efficient which allowed AMD to
not only use the latest Turbo Core 3.0 technology on the CPU side but
also on the GPU side which allowed the APU to adjust clock speeds when
under load by a demanding application or based on the available TDP room
the clocks would go higher.
The second generation AMD A-Series APU provides higher performance and capabilities over the first generation:
  • More than 700 GFLOPS of compute performance;
  • Up to 4.2 GHz max frequency;
  • Unlocked Central Processing Unit (CPU) with AMD OverDrive software for up to 6.5 GHz of extreme overclocking performance.

AMD Trinity Tech Specs:

  • Die size: 246mm2
  • 1.303B Transistors
  • Process: 32nm SOI
  • 2.09W MM07 Power
  • 1.08 idle Power
  • Power reduction during HD media playback
  • Unified Northbridge (UNB)
  • Quad Core and Dual core configurations
  • Updated AMD Radeon DirectX11 GPU
  • Northern Islands GPU With Upto 384 Cores 2.0
  • 3 dedicated display outputs
  • 4 independent display controllers
  • DisplayPort 1.2 with symbol rates of 1.62, 2.7 and 5.4 Gbit/s
  • UVD and AMD Accelerated Video Converter
  • IOMMU v2
AMD Trinity
All in All, AMD tasked their team to make one of the most efficiency
processor that delivers on both the CPU and GPU end under normal usage
at an affordable price range that’s much lower compared to their
competitors. The new APU platform is also targeted towards budget gamers
since options such as CrossfireX and Dual graphic give a boosted
performance to the overall gaming experience at a low cost. You can see
from the slides below that AMD has done some aggressive marketing with
their Trinity APU platform:

AMD FM2 Socket and A75 / A85X Chipset

For the new Trinity platform, AMD released the new FM2 socket
motherboards which meant that the FM1 socket would only last one
generation of APUs. The FM2 socket is only compatible with Trinity and
Richland Accelerated processing units. Users with Llano APUs can’t
upgrade to FM2 since the new socket isn’t pin-compatible with the older processors.
Trinity A85X Chipset
However, AMD is still using the A55 and A75 chipsets on their new FM2
motherboards along with the latest A85X chipset codenamed “Hudson D4″
that’s built to unleash complete features available on the Trinity APU
platform. The A85X chipset is going to be shipped with the high-end FM2
motherboards allowing upto 8 SATA 6GBps ports, four USB 3.0, ten USB 2.0
ports, High Definition audio and AMD CrossfireX support. AMD has
arranged their new chipsets in three tiers; A55 Chipset for Entry FM2
solutions, A75 chipset for media users and gamers while the A85X chipset
is targeted towards performance users who want to feast upon all the
features available on the APU platform.
AMD Trinity FM2

AMD Trinity APU Lineup

AMD has a total of eight SKUs under its Trinity platform of APUs, six
of these APUs fall under the A-Series branding while the remaining two
are branded as Athlox X4 parts. AMD would later on continue the Athlon
branding for their APUs but do note that these models come without a
integrated graphics core but go for a much affordable price with higher
clock speeds and better performance compared to Athlon II processors.
The AMD Trinity APU lineup is listed below:

AMD Trinity APU Lineup

Model

A10-5800K

A10-5700

A8-5600K

A8-5500

A6-5400K

A4-5300

Athlon X4 750K 

Athlon X4 740

Cores 4 4 4 4 2 2 4 4
TurboCore 3.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CPU Clock (Base/Turbo) 3.8/4.2 GHz 3.4/4.0 GHz 3.6/3.9 GHz 3.2/3.7 GHz 3.6/3.8 GHz 3.4/3.6 GHz 3.4/4.0 GHz 3.2/3.7 GHz
L2 Cache 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB 1 MB 1 MB 4 MB 4 MB
Unlocked Design Yes  No Yes No Yes No Yes No
Integrated Graphics “Radeon” HD 7660D HD 7660D HD 7560D HD 7560D HD 7540D HD 7480D Discrete GPU required Discrete GPU required
GPU Clock 800 MHz 760 MHz 760 MHz 760 MHz 760 MHz 724 MHz Discrete GPU required Discrete GPU required
GPU Cores 384 Cores 384 Cores 256 Cores 256 Cores 192 Cores 128 Cores Discrete GPU required Discrete GPU required
DDR3 Frequency 1866 1866 1866 1866 1866 1866 1866 1866
TDP 100W 65W 100W 65W 65W 65W 100W 65W
Price $122 $122 $101 $101 $67 $53 $81 $71
Trinity APU Lineup

AMD A10-5800K – The Flagship Trinity

The APU we have today for testing is the flagship “Trinity” desktop
part aka the A10-5800K that replaces the A8-3850 Llano APU from 2011.
The A10-5800K is powered with four x86 piledriver cores and a VLIW4
architecture based Radeon GPU with 384 cores.
Trintiy Box
The A10-5800K comes with a clock speed of 3.8 GHz with Turbo core
frequency boosting it upto 4.2 GHz which is a absolute treat for an
accelerated processing unit. The HD 7660D graphics core operates at 800
MHz and can be configured to run at idle mode when not under operation
or direct load from a demanding application. The graphics core can
support “Dual graphics” allowing select motherboards that allow the
features to pair up the graphics core with a discrete graphics solution
allowing an operation similar to CrossfireX in which power can be
utilized from both cores.
HD7660D_GPUz A10_5800K_CPUz
The A10-5800K comes with a TDP of 100W which is high compared to its
counterparts from Intel but its due to the 32nm process which Intel’s
Piledriver architecture is built around. Heat is the least of an issue
for the new processors.At launch, the A10-5800K had an MSRP of $122
which is quiet a reasonable price for a chip that packs the CPU and GPU
with fast clock speeds.
Trinity APU

Gigabyte FM2A85X-UP4 Motherboard

There are a wide variety of FM2 motherboards to choose from, all of
which fall under the sub-$150 price range. We used Gigabyte’s latest
FM2A85X-UP4 motherboard for testing which is the manufacturer’s flagship
product for the FM2 platform equipped with the latest A85X “Hudson D4″
chipset.
Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4
The motherboards based around the FM2 socket would not be loaded with
features as those based on AM3+ or Z77/Z87 chipsets but the main reason
behind that is the price to performance ratio which manufacturer’s are
targeting with the FM2 boards. The want to keep the prices of these
boards low and bundle enough features, technologies to make consumers
happy about their purchase. The Trinity platform doesn’t even require
high-end motherboards since these slimmed out boards offer the same
performance at a much lower cost allowing the manufacturer’s to spend
R&D on other key features for the boards.
The Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 is a standard ATX size motherboard that comes
with the Ultra Durable 5 design. As a part of their Ultra Durable 5
design, the company has featured PowIRStage IR3550 integrated circuits
that will combine power delivery MOSFETs for longer stability and higher
cooling performance. Though, this does increase the overall cost of the
motherboard by a bit but whether or not it makes any kind of difference
compared to other boards is something we will see later in this review.
So let’s take a closer look at the board itself.

Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 Features

Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4
Price $129.99 US (Newegg Link)
Size ATX Form Factor
CPU Interface FM2 Socket
Chipset AMD A85X “Hudson D4″ Chipset
Memory Slots Four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 64 GB
Dual Channel, 1066-1866MHz
Video Outputs D-Sub
DVI-D
HDMI
DisplayPort
Onboard LAN Realtek 8111
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC892
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x16/- or x8/x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4
3 x PCIe 2.0 x1
1 x PCI
Onboard SATA/RAID 7 x SATA 6 Gbps, Supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
1 x eSATA 6 Gbps
USB 4 x USB 3.0 Ports (Chipset) [2 back panel, 2 internal]
2 x USB 3.0/2.0 Ports (Etron EJ168) [2 back panel]
10 x USB 2.0 Ports (Chipset) [2 back panel, 8 internal]
Onboard 7 x SATA 6 Gbps
1 x USB 3.0 Header
4 x USB 2.0 Headers
5 x Fan Headers
1 x COM Header
1 x S/PDIF Output Header
1 x TPM Header
Power/Reset Buttons
Clear CMOS Button
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX Power Connector
1 x 8-pin CPU Power Connector
Fan Headers 1 x CPU (4-pin)
4 x SYS (4-pin)
IO Panel 1 x PS/2 Combination Port
2 x USB 3.0 (Etron)
2 x USB 3.0 (Chipset)
D-Sub
DVI-D
HDMI
DisplayPort
Optical S/PDIF Output
2 x USB 2.0
1 x eSATA 6 Gbps
1 x Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek)
Audio Jacks
Warranty Period 3 Years

A Closer Look At Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4

The motherboard is packed within a standard cardboard packaging which
has quiet a lot of technology and feature labels on it. Both the front
and backside detail the Ultra Durable 5 power design while a
specification sheet at the back provides compatibility and support list
for the F2A85X-UP4 motherboard.
There’s no foam or any handling material that’s shipped inside the
package which will make it a bit risky while shipping the board from one
place to another. The motherboard is contained inside a anti-static
sheet which helps protect it from magnetic surges.
Beneath the motherboard, we found three black SATA cables, a
motherboard manual and a driver installation disc. There’s nothing else
inside the package and i guess nothing more was needed since most of the
features are already available on the motherboard.
FM2A85X-UP4_1_1
The motherboard comes with a matte black 2x Copper PCB with humidity
protection technology. This is great for humid areas since it would
prevent the motherboard from rusting or instability.
The motherboard comes with a black and grey color theme, the FM2
socket is the only one that comes with a white color which looks unusual
but most of it becomes hidden when equipped with a processor. Its hard
to spot any major difference in the FM1 and FM2 socket but processors
from both platforms are incompatible due to a different Pin layout.
FM2A85X-UP4_13
Gigabyte’s F2A85X-UP4 comes with a 6 +2 Phase VRM each linked to a
choke upto 60A. It should be noted that only a single aluminum heatsink
with cooling pad is located on one side of the VRM module, the other
side is kept bare. The CPU socket is powered through an 8 Pin connector.
FM2A85X-UP4_9
There are four DDR3 DIMM slots that offer support for DDR3
2400(OC)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules with capacities upto 64
GB in Dual channel mode. Right next to the DIMM slots, we can find the
24-Pin ATX connector plus a Clear CMOS and power On/Off switch.
FM2A85X-UP4_8
AMD’s A85X “Hudson D4″ PCH is well hidden underneath a large aluminum
fin array. We took it off to show you what the chipset looks like, its
small compared to Z77/Z87 chipsets and within a couple of generations we
would see the PCH fused on the APU die since AMD is aiming towards a
SOC form with their next generation APUs. Right next to the PCH, there
are Six SATA 6 GB/s ports which support RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10,
and JBOD. The motherboard also supports Dual BIOS, a DeBUG LED is
located right under the BIOS chips.
FM2A85X-UP4_10_10
Expansion slots are provided in the form of three PCI-e 2.0 x16
(Electrical; x16/x8/x4), three PCI-e 2.0 x1 and a single PCI slot.
Though AMD has PCI-e 3.0 compliant graphics card out since January 2012,
they still haven’t brought PCI-e 3.0 functionality to their AM3+ or FM2
motherboards.
The backpanel I/O has two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports while in
total the board offers 4 USB 3.0 (2 through internal header) and 10 USB
2.0 ports. Additionally the motherboard features PS/2 port, D-Sub, DVI,
Optical s/PDIF, HDMI, Display Port, eSATA 6 GB/s, RJ-45 port and a 6
channel audio jack. The motherboard is bundled with a backpanel I/O
shield that can easily be equipped on the rear of the chassis.
FM2A85X-UP4_15 (Large)
The Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 can be considered a high-end motherboard for
the FM2 platform. It comes with a solid PCB design and supports
technologies such as 2-Way CrossfireX, Dual graphics, All Digital Power
and 3D UEFI Bios. The motherboard costs $119.99 US which is a price that
goes well with the $122 US A10-5800K and features the support for AMD’s
Richland platform which we will review in the upcoming week. You can
check out more images in the gallery available below:

Test Setup

Processor
  • AMD A10-5800K
  • Intel Core i7-4770K
  • Intel Core i7-3770K
  • Intel Core i3-3220
Motherboard:
  • Gigabyte F285X-UP4 Motherboard
Power Supply: Xigmatek NRP-MC1002 1000 Watt
Hard Disk: Intel SSD 520 Series 256 GB (OS)
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12
Memory: 4 x 4 GB Kingston HyperX 2133 MHz
10th Anniversary Edition Memory Kit
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932
Video Cards: AMD HD 7660D
Intel HD 4600
Intel HD 4000 Intel HD 2500
Cooling Solutions: Corsair H60 Hydro Cooler
OS: Windows 8 Ultimate 64-bit

We used the high-end Core i7 processors just to compare the fastest
available graphics chip from Intel against the fastest graphics chip
available on AMD APUs. The compute test was compared against an Intel
Core i3-3220 which falls within the same price range as the A10-5800K.

A10_5800K_CacheandMem

Overclocking the A10-5800K

Overclocking the A10-5800K was a fairly easy job, we just had to
raise the multiplier from 38x to 44x without any voltage adjustments and
the processor was overclocked to 4.4 GHz. This is a good improvement
over the base speed of 3.8 GHz. The A10-5800K can easily reach around
4.6-4.7 GHz overclocked frequencies with better coolers. Although
high-performance coolers don’t make a sense with a budget APU like the
A10-5800K but those who still want extra performance can go for a nice
cooler around the $49-$59 range.
We didn’t face any thermal throttling issues since our setup included
the Corsair H60 which is adequate enough to handle overclocked loads.
We also bumped the clock speed of the Radeon HD 7660D IGP to 1050 MHz
from its stock 800 MHz limit. The overclock was stable for both CPU and
GPU, the respective GPUz and CPUz screenshots can be seen below. We have
included the overclock scores in the charts which are provided in the
performance section.

AMD A10-5800K 4.4 GHz / Radeon HD7660D 1050 MHz Overclock:

A105800K_OC

APU Performance

X264 HD Encode Benchmark

This benchmark measures the encoding performance of the processor. It
offers a standardized benchmark as the clip as well as the encoder used
is uniform.
A10-5800K_X264HD

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench is based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D. It is used to compare
graphics as well as processor performance. We are using the CPU
performance numbers for our comparison.

A10-5800K CineBench

A10-5800K CineBench_OpenGL

7-Zip

Some might argue against using 7-zip’s compression and decompression
benchmark as a ‘real world’ test. But if you try and think about it for a
minute, the benchmark does show how fast the program will either
compress or decompress, while negating the impact of disk transfers.

A10-5800K 7-ZIP

Fritz Chess Benchmark

A10-5800K_FritzChess

POV-RAY

A10-5800K_POV-Ray

SuperPI

A10-5800K_SuperPI

WPrime

A10-5800K_WPrime

Gaming Performance

3DMark 2013

While 3DMark 11 was a success, 3DMark from Futuremark further pushes
the boundaries of benchmarking utilies going all out with cross platform
support which include Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, MAC and even
Android. The utility comes with three benchmark tests configured for
different tiers of high-performance PCs, Mid-range PCs/Tablets and
smartphone devices.

A10-5800K_3DMark Icestorm

A10-5800K_3DMark Cloudgate

A10-5800K_3DMark Firestrike

3DMark 11

Futuremark released 3DMark 11 in 2011 bringing support for the latest
DirectX 11 GPUs at that time. Since then, the benchmark tool is used
widely for evaluating performance of high-end PCs.

A10-5800K_3DMark 11

3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage is still used to this date as a complete benchmark suite for GPU and CPU performance.

A10-5800K_3DMark vantage

Resident Evil 6

Capcom brings the horror back to the screens with their blockbuster
Resident Evil 6 title which was well received among the community. The
game features three playable campaigns which include Leon, Chris, Jake
and downloadable content for Ada Wong.

A10-5800K_RE6

Tomb Raider

The Tomb Raider franchise was rebooted this year with the latest
title in the long running franchise. The players start off their journey
with a younger and under-trained version of Lara who goes off on her
first survival action journey.

A10-5800K_tombraider

GRID 2

A10-5800K_Grid2

Grid 2 is the sequel to the highly successful racing game – GRID.
While the game runs great on graphic cards, the developers have also
optimized their coding for the latest Haswell processors with fourth
generation HD graphics core which features AVX2/AVX and DirectX 11.1
support.

Metro Last Light

Metro Last Light once again puts us in the foots of Artyom, a
survivor of the nuclear holocaust that shattered Russia. Metro: Last
Light is considered as the best looking game to be released to date
making use of intensive DirectX11 Tessellation, High-Res Textures,
Global illumination lightning and more.

A10-5800K_MetroLL

Sleeping Dogs

A10-5800K_Sleeping Dogs

Skyrim

The Elders Scroll: Skyrim was released by Bethesda in fall 2011. The
game featured one of the most largest worlds ever created in an Elders
Scroll game taking the RPG genre to the next level.

A10-5800K_Skyrim

Power Consumption

When it comes to power consumption, it should be noted that while AMD
has been focusing on increasing the IPC performance of their CPU core,
Intel has opted to improve the power efficiency of their already
powerful core processors. Below, you can see that AMD has higher wattage
compared to Intel processors due to its 32nm design which has got
older, Intel on the other hand aims for 22nm with their Haswell and Ivy
Bridge processors.
AMD’s Richland APU which we will be reviewing next week improves the
power efficiency on AMD’s end but still lacks against Intel’s offerings.
Kaveri APU which is planned for Q4 2013 would be based on the 28nm
architecture and is supposed to improve performance and efficiency on
all ends. But let’s just focus on the Trinity A10-5800K part and see how
much watts it consumes in idle and load:

A10-5800K_Power Consumption

Conclusion

Testing out the AMD A10-5800K was interesting for me since this is
the first time i tested an APU. The A10-5800K tuned out to be a great
processor with just enough power to fulfill any users needs.
The new Piledriver architecture brought new technologies such as
Turbo Boost and better x86 performance but at the same time, the
performance wasn’t any better than the older K10.5 LLano core. This was a
let-down for me but i expected this since Piledriver is an updated
Bulldozer core with minor enhancements. Still, the Trinity APU holds all
the horsepower to run average office and home applications but just a
little bit slower than the similar priced Core i3-3220.
While the CPU side sounds like a disappointment, users would be
delighted to learn that the Radeon HD 7660D featured in the A10-5800K is
faster than the recently released Haswell HD 4600 chip. This means
alot, the Intel i3-3220 features the HD 2500 chip while the i3-3770K
features the HD 4000 chip which are much slower than the HD 7660D on the
IGP. Not only that, the A10-5800K can run some games at 1080P such as
Skyrim and Sleeping Dogs with medium settings at a playable frame rate
which is something achievable by Intel’s destkop lineup uptill Haswell
architecture. Putting a discrete GPU architecture on the APU die was
something that AMD did right, many people these days go for an all in
one solution and media/HTPC users who rely on low-end discrete GPU
solutions can now go for an AMD APU that offers similar performance in a
single package.
One thing to note is that the A10-5800K costs only $129.99 while the
motherboard is available for $119.99. Cheaper motherboards are also
available but the price of both products is just a $20 over the $219.99
Core i5-3570K. With the extra cash, users can buy a discrete GPU
solution for faster graphics performance or an SSD solution that offers
improved boot times.
The Piledriver architecture on the A10-5800K also allows high
overclocks, so if you got a K-unlocked APU, you can easily reach 4.5 GHz
for extra performance out of a budget processor.The AMD A10-5800K is
the best choice for household and office usage. I would also recommend
the APU platform for HTPC builders since the integrated GPU core can
easily run high-definition videos with you saving the space on a
discrete GPU. If you want a processor with enough horse power to run
your everyday apps, a graphics core that’s enough to handle games on HD
resolutions and value that no one else in the competition has to offer,
then the AMD A10-5800K is the ideal choice for you.

Here’s a tilt of hat to the good folks at AMD Middle
East, who were kind enough to share a ‘device name’ with us and made the
review possible. 

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