The Kaveri A8-7600 with Radeon R7 on-die graphics is supposed to offer an attractive all-in-one solution for mainstream users. At $119 it is relatively affordable and it makes a lot of sense for casual gamers or home users. Sadly though, the A8-7600 is still not available in retail, although it was announced a couple of months ago.
The A10-7700K and A10-7850K are the only Kaveri desktop parts you can actually buy today. They are quite a bit more expensive and both are 95W parts. Last week AMD announced the A6-7600, 65W dual core APU, priced at $86 making it about $30 cheaper than the quad core A8-7600. Also new is the A10-7800, a 65W quad core APU which should have a retail/e-tail price of around US $150.
The A8-7600 on-die GPU is vastly superior to Intel’s offerings in this price range, but as usual Intel pulls ahead in the CPU department. However, in many respects the A8-7600 looks like a more balanced package, as it delivers a lot more GPU performance in market segment dominated by integrated graphics.
At lower resolutions and with lower detail settings, the A8-7600 can run some nice games, not to mention older titles or certain undemanding genres. So, while it’s not fast enough to meet the demands of regular gamers, the A8-7600 delivers quite a punch. In some instances the integrated Radeon R7 even manages to beat low-end discrete cards. What’s more, you can boost performance by adding an entry-level Radeon discrete card to the mix.
With an R7 240 on board, our Kaveri cube was transformed into a small gaming rig capable of running the latest games at 1080p, with low to medium details. High details and gratuitous eye candy should not be a problem in somewhat older titles. Needless to say this is very impressive for a $119 processor backed by a $69 graphics card.
The speed of the system memory plays a huge role because the on-die GPU uses system memory. We've carried out a few tests and they proved that making a small investment in faster RAM pays off if you are planning to buy a Kaveri-based system.
And then there's Mantle. The Mantle uplift varies greatly depending on the configuration and the biggest benefits are to be reaped on the CPU side of things, when the system is not bottlenecked by a weak GPU. However, even with an A8-7600 APU and on-die GPU we saw a good 15% better results with Mantle in Battlefield 4. There is a caveat though. We still don’t know how much traction Mantle will get moving forward and due to some teething problems it does not really work with Dual Graphics. We expect AMD to iron out the issues sooner or later.
Bottom line, AMD did a pretty good job with Kaveri. Intel still has a clear lead in terms of CPU performance, but the value proposition easily swings to AMD’s side if you want a more balanced system sans discrete graphics. The A8-7600 is interesting on more than one level. Unlike the three A10-series Kaveri parts, the frugal A8-7600 can operate at just 45W, it is relatively affordable and in case you ever need more GPU performance on a budget you can always get a cheap R7 240 for some Dual Graphics action.
In short, although the latest, graphically demanding titles are not playable at 1080p, bear in mind that we are talking about a $119 APU with no discrete graphics. When we factor in the price and the fact that this is merely a mid-range processor, we must admit we are very impressed by the level of performance offered by the on-die Radeon R7.
We would gladly recommend the A8-7600, but it's simply not available and we have no idea when AMD plans to actually ship it.