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Conclusion

The Kaveri brings about a few innovations and technologies like hardware HSA support, but most of them offer no real benefits right now.

Promoting the Kaveri series to the desktop market, AMD puts an emphasis on several things such as the Steamroller microarchitecture with allegedly higher efficiency, the fast graphics core with GCN architecture, HSA support for heterogeneous computing, and affordable pricing.

However, these advantages are all very questionable. The new Steamroller microarchitecture ensures but a small performance growth which is negated by the reduced clock rates of the new APU models. As a result, senior Richland-based APUs are even faster than the new Kaveri in terms of x86 performance.

The potentially fast graphics core is limited by the low memory bandwidth. The A10-7850K has a third more shader processors than the A10-6800K but its actual gaming performance is only 10% higher. It goes without saying that the Kaveri’s integrated graphics is superior to any other, yet it still cannot ensure a playable frame rate in any game at the Full-HD resolution even with low visual quality settings. It must be granted, though, that the A10-7850K delivers a high enough frame rate at 1920x1080 in a number of popular games including some online ones.

As for HSA, the related hUMA and hQ technologies look highly promising but it'll take a lot of time until they become practically applicable. With the current implementation of heterogeneous computing the Kaveri series aren’t any faster than their Intel competitors. The OpenCL support is but rarely implemented in modern applications. Besides, Intel’s APUs benefit from it just like AMD’s, so this doesn’t change the overall picture.

For all that, AMD prices the A10-7850K very high, pitting it against junior Core i5 models which are actually much faster except when we use the integrated graphics. That’s why the A10-7850K seems only to be interesting for users of compact entry-level gaming configurations.

 
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