We are generally not very optimistic about the Richland-based APUs offered by AMD as an update to their Socket FM2 ecosystem. We just don’t see any significant innovations. The microarchitecture of the x86 cores and the integrated graphics core have been borrowed from the Trinity design without any changes, using the same Piledriver+VLIW4 formula. Most of the specs, such as the number of x86 cores, the number of shader processors, cache memory amount, etc., have remained intact, too. The Richland APUs are actually just slightly overclocked Trinity ones but with much higher model numbers.
According to our tests, the new 6000 series is a mere 6-7% faster than the corresponding 5000 series APUs on average. The maximum advantage of the Richland over the Trinity design can be observed at multithreaded loads. It amounts to 9-10% only. The new A10, A8 and A6 APU models do not change anything in the market positioning of the Socket FM2 platform, so this is all just a cosmetic facelift.
When it comes to x86 computing performance, the quad-core A10 and A8 series models can be viewed as competitors to the Core i3 series, but only at multithreaded loads. At single-threaded loads, the A10 and A8 slow down and fit in between the Core i3 and the Pentium. The dual-core A6 series, in its turn, looks absolutely uncompetitive against LGA1155 CPUs that cost the same money.
The support for OpenCL-based heterogeneous computing touted by AMD doesn’t change anything. As we’ve made sure in our tests, Intel CPUs are as compatible with OpenCL as their Richland and Trinity counterparts, so they ensure the same performance boost in applications which can use graphics cores for general computing purposes. So even in the most favorable situations for hybrid processors, the senior models of the AMD A10 series cannot match the speed of Intel’s junior quad-core CPUs but offer the same performance as Core i3 processors with HD Graphics 4000.
Summing everything up, we can say that the Richland-based APUs, like their predecessors, are not good for mainstream computers. They are more appropriate for entry-level configurations thanks to the good 3D performance of their integrated graphics core which may let you do without a discrete graphics card. Well, the Richland’s 3D performance is actually the topic of our next review!