AMD A8-5600K Trinity APU
Earlier this month AMD launched new Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) based on the Trinity architecture along with the socket FM2 motherboards that are needed to for the new processors. AMD has a number of APUs that are based on the Trinity APU architecture, but we have only reviewed the A10-5800K. The AMD A10-5800K is the flagship APU and thus, it is also the most expensive at $129.99 shipped. We found this processor to perform well, but it left us wondering what could be had for less money. Not everyone wants to buy the most expensive processor in a series, so if you are looking something that is in the middle of the pack you are in luck!
Today, we are going to be looking at the AMD A8-5600K APU (model number AD560KWOHJBOX) that can be bought today at Newegg for $99.99 shipped after using coupon code "EMCYTZT2363". The AMD A8-5600K is an unlocked quad-core processor that has a base clock of 3.6 GHz with a Turbo allowance up to 3.9 GHz. The A8-5600K APU is rated at 100W TDP and has a 4MB L2 cache. So, you have a processor with a 200MHz lower base clock and the same amount of cache for $30 or roughly 30% less money.
Where the AMD A8-5600K APU is significantly different is the DirectX 11 graphics processor. The AMD A8-5600K uses the less powerful AMD Radeon HD 7560D graphics processor. This GPU solution has 256 Radeon (shader) cores running at 760 MHz, which means it has 33% fewer GPU cores and to make matters worse they are clocked lower as well. That means that the AMD A8-5600K graphics will be significantly slower than the AMD A10-5800K. The question that we have to ask is by how much in the games. Regaurdless, the AMD A8-5600K should still be better than Intel HD 4000 Graphics offered by Intel's latest third-generation Core processors, codenamed Ivy Bridge. We've never seen for a 3.6GHz quad-core CPU for under $100 shipped before, so this processor sounds good on paper.
AMD’s new 'Trinity' APU arel manufactured by GlobalFoundries' on the 32 nm SOI process process, using the newer Piledriver x86 architecture. This is the same architecture that is used on high-end Bulldozer processors, so we are finally seeing this technology available on mainstream processors. The Trinity APU has roughly 1.3 billion transistors and is 246mm2.
AMD A8-5600K 'Trinity' APU CPU-Z 1.61.3
Taking a quick look at CPU-Z 1.61.3 above, we can see our AMD A8-5600K 'Trinity' APU has a Bclk of 100MHz, though the GIGABYTE GA-F2A85X-UP4 picks it up at 99.8MHz. The base multiplier sits at 36x and ramps up to 3.9GHz when the AMD Turbo Core is enabled as we can see above.
AMD A8-5600K 'Trinity' APU Radeon HD 7560D GPUz 0.6.5
Taking a look at the latest release of GPUz 0.6.5, we can see the details mentioned above. The AMD Radeon HD 7560D has 256 AMD Radeon Cores running at 760MHz. At default settings in the BIOS on the GIGABYTE GA-F2A85X-UP4 dedicates 512MB of the 8GB installed to the graphics processor. From within the GIGABYTE UEFI BIOS we can manually set the frame buffer size up to 2Gb.
Enough with the small talk, lets move on to the testing!
The Legit Reviews Test System
The Test System
Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test
system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows
7 Ultimate 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no
other software programs running.
AMD A85 Test Platform:
The AMD Socket FM2 platform that we used to test the AMD A10-5800K processor was the Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 motherboard with BIOS F3b that came
out on 9/19/2012. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB 1600Mhz memory kit was run at 1.50V with 9-9-9-24 1T timings.
You can see CPU-Z version 1.61.3 and screen shots below for additional platform information.
Let's get on to the testing!
Futuremark 3DMark 11
3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
We ran 3DMark11 with both the performance and extreme presets to see how our hardware will run.
3DMark11 Performance Benchmark Results:
Benchmark Results: The AMD A8-5600K was able to score 1197 3DMarks overall. This is 82 points faster than the first generation AMD A8-3870K. Though the physics score of the AMD A8-3870K was able to edge out the new Trinity A8-5600K, the graphics score of the A8-5600K was able outperform the graphics score of the 3870K.
Aliens Vs. Predator
Aliens vs Predator is an entirely new title for PC and high-definition consoles from acclaimed British developer Rebellion, the team behind the 1999 original PC gaming classic. Bringing the most intense war between two of science-fiction’s most popular characters FPS fans, AvP delivers three outstanding single player campaigns and provides untold hours of unique 3-way multiplayer gaming. Experience distinctly new and thrilling first person gameplay as you survive, hunt and prey in the deadly jungles and swamps surrounding the damned colony of Freya’s Prospect. Aliens vs Predator D3D11 Benchmark v1.03 is a standalone benchmark test based upon Rebellion's 2010 inter-species shooter Aliens vs. Predator. The test shows xenomorph-tastic scenes using heavy tessellation among other DX11 features. The benchmarks independent GUI was used for testing shown below.
Running the benchmark on the XFX Radeon HD 6950 we cranked up all the image quality settings in the benchmark to the highest level possible, so we were running 4x AA and 16x AF with SSAO enabled at both 1920x1080 and 1280x1024.
Benchmark Results: The AMD A8-5600K was able to hold its own in the Aliens Vs. Predator benchmark. Though it was much closer to the first generation AMD A8-3870K than we had hoped. The A8-5600K averaged 16.3 frames per second at 1280x1024 while the 3870K averaged 15.7, a difference of 3.8%. With the resolution increased to 1920x1080 the AMD A8-3870K was able to take a slight lead over the Trinity 5600K.
Dirt 3 (stylized DiRT 3) is a rallying video game and the third in the Dirt series of the Colin McRae Rally series, developed and published by Codemasters. However, the "Colin McRae" tag has been completely removed from this iteration. The game was released in Europe and North America on the 24 May 2011.
Dirt3 uses Ego 2.0 Game Technology Engine (more commonly referred to as Ego Engine or EGO, stylised ego), which is a video game engine developed by Codemasters. Ego is a modified version of the Neon game engine that was used in Colin McRae: Dirt and was developed by Codemasters and Sony Computer Entertainment using Sony Computer Entertainment's PhyreEngine cross-platform graphics engine. The Ego engine was developed to render more detailed damage and physics as well as render large-scale environments.
Sleeping Dogs is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix. The game was released on August 14, 2012, for Microsoft Windows. The game uses the Havok physics engine.
We used the Adrenaline Sleeping Dogs Benchmark tool to benchmark this game title to make sure the benchmarking was consistent. We tested with 'Medium' quality setting at 1280x1024 and 1920x1024 resolutions.
Benchmark Results: The AMD A10-5800K clearly dominated the field in Sleeping Dogs. At our lowest resolution of 1280x1024 the A10-5800K was able to average 28.13 frames per second. That is 5.53 frames per second or 24.5% faster than the A8-3870K. If we were to compare it to the much pricier Intel Core i7 3770K we can see a difference of 68.44% with the A10-5800K in the lead. Once we fired up Sleeping Dogs at 1920x1080 the A10-5800K increased the gap over the AMD 3870K APU to 30% leading by 4.47 frames per second!
SiSoftware Sandra 2012 SP6 Memory Bandwidth
The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!
Benchmark Results: It is still a little surprising to see that memory performance has dropped in the second generation Trinity APU's. The AMD A8-5600K has an aggregate memory performance of ~14.22GB/s while the first generation A8-3870K has and aggregate performance of ~15.12GB/s. This is a 6% difference in the wrong direction, performance should go up not down with the new generation.
POV-Ray 3.7 RC6Processor Performance on Pov-Ray 3.7 RC5:
The Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer was developed from DKBTrace 2.12 (written by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins) by a bunch of people (called the POV-Team) in their spare time. It is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux. The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package. These scenes can be modified so you do not have to start from scratch. In addition to the pre-defined scenes, a large library of pre-defined shapes and materials is provided. You can include these shapes and materials in your own scenes by just including the library file name at the top of your scene file and by using the shape or material name in your scene. Since this is free software feel free to download this version and try it out on your own.
The most significant change from the end-user point of view between versions 3.6 and 3.7 is the addition of SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support, which, in a nutshell, allows the renderer to run on as many CPU's as you have installed on your computer. This will be particularly useful for those users who intend on purchasing a dual-core CPU or who already have a two (or more) processor machine. On a two-CPU system the rendering speed in some scenes almost doubles. For our benchmarking we used version 3.7 RC5, which is the most recent version available. The benchmark used all available cores to their fullest extent to complete the render.
Once rendering on the object we selected was completed, we took the elapsed time from the dialog box, which indicates the exact time it took for the benchmark to finish the benchmark. A lower time indicates faster system performance. This benchmark used all 12 threaded and loaded each one up at 100% load!
Benchmark Results: Due to the shared resources on the AMD 'Pile Driver' cores, the multi-core performance isn't as strong as the single core performance. When we run the SMP benchmark in POV-Ray 3.7 RC6 the Trinity APU's fall behind the first generation A8-3870K. The AMD A8-5600K was nearly 15 seconds behind the A8-3870K when it was more than 266 seconds faster in the single threaded benchmark.
x264 HD Video Encoding
Simply put, the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can
encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video
file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip
and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate
internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video
encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All
these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different
processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test.
This application did fairly well when run on 12 threads, as you can
see from the screen shot above. The first pass was not using all of the processing power available on the cores, but on the second pass all 12 threads were at
Benchmark Results:The AMD A8-5600K fell right between the AMD A10-5800K and the A8-3870K with average rendering speeds of 31.9625 frames per second on the first pass and 7.125 frames per second on the second pass.
HyperPi & SuperPi
Super Pi is used by many overclockers to test the performance and stability of their computers. In the overclocking community, the standard program provides a benchmark for enthusiasts to compare "world record" pi calculation times and demonstrate their overclocking abilities. The program can also be used to test the stability of a certain overclock speed. If a computer is able to calculate PI to the 32 millionth place after the decimal without mistake, it is considered to be moderately stable in terms of RAM and CPU. However, longer tests with other CPU/RAM intensive calculation programs will run for hours instead of minutes and may better stress system stability. While Super Pi is not the fastest program for calculating Pi, it remains very popular in the hardware and overclocking communities. You can find the latest version of Super Pi here
Benchmark Results: The AMD A8-5600K completed the 1m benchmark in 24.476 seconds which is just a hair faster than the AMD A8-3870K. The 32M benchmark is a different story though, the A8-5600K completed the benchmark in 1453.829 seconds while the A8-3870K took only 1311.489 seconds, a difference of 10.9%.
Hyper Pi is a front end mod for Super Pi. Hyper Pi allows you to run multiple instances of Super Pi automatically without manually setting processor affinity. Super Pi is a utility that allows you to calculate between 16 thousand and 32 million decimal places of Pi. Pi was originally calculated to 33.5 million places using a Pentium 90MHz processor, 40MB of main memory, and 340MB of available storage. This system was able to calculate the 33.5 million digits within 3 days! Fortunately we are able to do it a little bit quicker today.
Benchmark Results: Once again we can see the shared resources rearing it head and biting us. The AMD A8-3870K was four seconds faster than the A8-5600K in the 1m test and 208.414 seconds faster in the 32M test.
MAXON; CINEBENCH R11.5:
MAXON recently released CINEBENCH Release 11.5, an advanced hardware testing suite that assesses a computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on the same powerful technology as MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. The new version of CINEBENCH includes the ability to more accurately test the industry’s latest hardware, including systems with up to 64 processor threads, and the testing environment better reflects the expectations of today’s production demands. A more streamlined interface makes testing systems and reading results incredibly straightforward. Again, higher Frames/Second and point score equal better performance.
Cinebench R11.5 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.
Benchmark Results: The AMD A8-5600K Trinity APU was able to outperform the A8-3870K in the single threaded tests with a score of 1 compared to the .9 of the A8-3870K. Multi-threaded the A8-5600K suffers once again from the shared resources on the 'Pile Driver' modules and loses to the A8-3870K with a score of 3.17 vs. 3.6.
System Power Consumption
Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fans, video cards and hard drives. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about real world scenarios, we decided to drop Furmark and ran 3DMark 11 on the performance preset and took the maximum power consumption during the first GPU test.
Benchmark Results: The AMD A8-5600K was the lowest power consumption in all three of our tests, well almost all three. The gaming numbers show the Intel Core i7 3770K beating the the A8-5600K but the performance of the 3770K is nowhere near that of on of the AMD APU's. At idle, the A8-5600K was sipping power at only 26 Watts, under a CPU load in Prime95 it was pulling 112 Watts, and gaming in Sleeping Dogs it pulled only 86 Watts.
AMD A8-5600K Trinity Overclocking
To overclock the AMD A10-5600K APU we decided to how far we could push the processor with the factory AMD retail boxed cooler. This is a budget processor and we figured that many will try to overclock with stock cooler.
We were able to get up to 4.1GHz by raising the multiplier from 36x to 41x without any voltage increase. To raise the multiplier past 41x we needed to increase the voltage from the default of 1.400V. With an increase to 1.425 we were able to bring the multiplier to 42x, 1.45V was able to hit 43x. We tried to bring the AMD A8-5600K to 4.4GHz, but nothing we could do would bring any sort of system stability. At stock speed on the AMD A10-5600K APU we scored 3.17 pts on the Cinebench R11.5 CPU multi-threaded test. With the AMD A10-5600K APU overclocked to 4.3GHz we scored 3.60 pts.
All in all, 4.3GHz isn't a bad overclock on a stock cooler. Obviously we were hoping for more, but then again who isn't hoping for more. We though about pushing a little harder, unfortunately we were unable to determine what our temperatures were at.
We tried several different software applications to check the temperature of the AMD A8-5600K, all of them were reading zero degrees Celsius at idle. While I know the Legit Reviews lab can be a little on the cool side, it's not quite that cold in here. This led us to believe that our load temperatures weren't right either, and we didn't want to kill the A8-5600K on the first overclocking run. That can wait until the second time!
We only had to make three adjustments to hit our 4.3GHz overclock today. The first was to simply disable the Turbo core feature on the AMD A8 APU, second was the CPU Core multiplier. In AMD Overdrive we can either select all cores, or each core individually. Today we went with all cores at once, we worked our way up to 43x and were unable to get any higher. The final adjustment that we made in AMD Overdrive was the voltage. Our particular AMD A8-5600K has a VID of 1.4V, as we increased our multiplier we gradually increased the CPU Voltage as well and ended up on 1.45V which gave us complete system stability.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The AMD A8-5600K left us with a mixed bag of emotions. Ultimately the x86 performance wasn't any better than the first generation of 'Llano' APU's. We saw multiple occasions that the x86 performance was considerably slower than the AMD A8-3870K. This is due to the shared resources on each of the 'Pile Driver' modules. Instead of each core having dedicated resources, the two cores on each module have to share several of the same components which as we saw in some of our benchmarks hurt the system performance. The only time that we really ever see this though is in heavily threaded benchmarks that peg the x86 architecture at 100%. Truth being told, when is the last time that your system was pegged at 100% for extended periods of time?
That question is one that AMD is banking on. I doubt that AMD is targeting people who are doing heavy number crunching, video rendering or other applications that can put a heavily threaded load on the x86 cores for extended periods of time. AMD is targeting the everyday user looking for a fast system with great graphics at a low price point. In that respect AMD has hit one out of the park with the AMD A8-5600K and other 'Trinity' APU's! Sitting on the test bench at the moment I have the AMD A8-5600K system, and the Intel Core i7 3770K system, both systems are currently connected to the KVM. When it comes to using both of these systems I truly have had to check which one the KVM is switched to several times because it's almost impossible to tell the difference as the user experience is nearly identical for most tasks.
When looking at the performance numbers from the systems mentioned above it is rather obvious which system they came from. Anything that has to do with x86 processing, the Intel Core i7 3770K system is a clear winner. If it has to do with gaming or anything that will take advantage of the AMD Radeon HD 7560D or Intel HD 4000 graphics, the AMD A8-5600K dominates. Tossing the AMD A10-5800K into the mix and the same rings true for the x86 performance. The A8-5600K does lose out to the A10-5800K, but that wasn't unexpected.
The AMD A10-5800K uses the AMD Radeon HD 7660D which features 384 Radeon Cores that run at 800MHz. The AMD A8-5600K has the Radeon HD 7560D which uses 256 or 33% fewer Radeon cores. In addition to 33% fewer cores, they also run slower than the cores on the Radeon HD 7660D. The 7660D features a clock speed of 800MHz while the 7560D is running at only 760MHz. Obviously there are some very significant differences between all of our processors today, and in the end I think each one has a different audience. The Intel system is great if you will be running heavily threaded applications frequently and speed is of the essence. Though unless you add in a discrete level graphics card, your graphics will be significantly less capable compared to the AMD 'Trinity' systems.
Each of the two AMD 'Trinity' APU's that we have looked at thus far has been impressive in it's own right. The A10-5800K was easily the clear winner when it came to gaming performance. The biggest difference that we saw in our gaming benchmarks was in Aliens Vs. Predator, in this benchmark there was an average difference of 21.6% between the A10-5800K and the A8-5600K. To be fair though, both systems were struggling in this game and neither was exactly playable at the image quality settings that we used. The strongest point of the AMD A8-5600K is the price. Currently you can pick up the AMD A8-5600K for as little as $99.99 shipped after using coupon code "EMCYTZT2363". This is ~$30 less than the AMD A10-5800K
On the fist page we mentioned that this processor looks good on paper. After all it runs at a base speed of 3.6GHz and a Turbo Core of 3.9GHz, features the latest Microsoft DirectX 11 graphics power, and can be had for under a hundred bucks. Now that we have made it through the review, I think it's fair to say that the AMD A8-5600K is not only good on paper, but also in reality.
Legit Bottom Line: The AMD A8-5600K may not have been as fast as the A10-5800K, but it is still a great piece of Silicon that will save you $30 and still run like a champ.