Let’s begin with our sentiments, we know that most of you are religious Intel fans and we respect you. Of course, we too have Intel i7s sitting inside our rigs as we write this. But there are many out there who are new to buying or building desktops and have no idea which is the best bet for their money.
If you are someone who is looking for just a CPU with a good integrated GPU and don’t want to go through the hassle of buying a separate GPU, then this write-up is for you.
What is an APU and how does it differ from a CPU?
An APU is an abbreviation of Accelerated Processing Unit, which is a combination of CPU and GPU in a single package which has better integration than a normal CPU and iGPU (i stands for integrated).
Most gamers or heavy users usually decide that if they are going to buy a high-performance discrete GPU, then there is no point in buying a CPU with an integrated GPU and instead spend the money on a high-performance CPU (Intel) with an average or no GPU.
For whom do we suggest the AMD A10-7870K and why?
For anyone on a restricted budget, finding a discrete CPU and GPU can be a hassle, not to mention that it requires experience to understand which CPU to pair with which GPU for optimum performance.
For these users, an APU would be a fantastic choice. In the past, AMD’s single core performance has been far behind Intel’s, but that’s changing fast and the AMD A10-7870K is almost 70% as good as the Intel i5-6400 when it comes to multi-core performance and single core performance. So, its rest assured that the performance of the A10-7870K on regular usage will be more than adequate.
Diving deep into the GPU
The AMD A10-7870K is equipped with the refreshed R7 Kaveri lineup of GPU which some call as Godavari. It is DirectX 12 compatible and comes with AMD’s own Mantle API support. It is a 512 core GPU which should be enough to power you through almost any task thrown at it, be it video editing or mild gaming, although graphically intensive games might have a problem running at very high resolution.
In spite of Intel consistently improving its integrated GPU, the Iris graphics still does not measure up to the 512 core GPU AMD has fit inside this little wonder.
Intel vs AMD: Surprise, surprise!
Since the A10-7870K is only aimed at the low-mid end of the market for users looking for a one-chip solution, we could put up with lower tier CPU offerings from Intel. But we chose to go with the latest Intel I5-6400 which is a Skylake chipset.
It comes with integrated Intel HD 530 Iris graphics. The i5-6400 costs around $190 on Amazon.com and around INR 15,000 in India, which is at least $50 higher than the A10-7870K, have a look at the performance charts in games below to get an idea of how the 6400 compares to the 7870K.
The color of the FPS represents the following:
Green: Good frame rates and very playable.
Orange: Mediocre frame rates, but playable.
Red: Almost non-playable frame rates, good for slide show presentation.
In-short: Summing it up!
The A10-7870K displays really good performance by hitting the 50 fps mark in GTA V for low settings and 45+ fps mark for medium-low settings at 720p where the Intel i5-6400 struggles to reach barely acceptable frame rates in medium low settings at 720p.
The tests also reveal that graphically intensive titles like the Crysis 3 also reach the 40 fps mark in the AMD chip for low settings and 26 fps for medium to low settings at 720p, which while not stunning should at least let the user experience the gameplay and story instead of being on the line of playable frame rates like the Intel’s chip.
While Intel users may argue that the i5-6400 offers superior single core performance and multi-core performance, the difference isn’t huge enough to justify the price tag and real world usage differs vastly from the benchmarks. The real world usage scenario is affirmed by the game Metro: Last Light which relies heavily on the CPU as much as it relies on the GPU to render life-like visuals and physics and even in this test, the AMD pulls ahead by a significant margin of 8 fps in the lowest settings and 3 fps in the medium settings.
All these tests may focus solely on the games, but if a processor can pull ahead in the most intensive of games like The Witcher 3 which use CPU to simulate real world physics, it is almost certain that it wouldn’t have any problems with regular application usage.
In short, both the processors are great value for money, but the A10-7870K gets our vote because of the lower pricing and the inclusion of a really capable GPU which almost eliminates the need for a discrete GPU for casual gaming (It runs the FIFA 2016 at 29 fps in 1080p high settings for god’s sake, if that does not convince you, we don’t know what will).
Under the sub $150 price range, it is hard to beat this chip. What do you think? Do you feel like there is a better chip out there which falls under the same price bracket? Let us know in the comments section below.