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Review: AMD A8-5600K

by Tarinder Sandhu on 18 October 2012, 12:00 3.5

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD)

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AMD updated its all-in-one accelerated processing unit (APU) technology with the launch of 'desktop Trinity' chips a couple of weeks ago. These APUs combine up to four CPU processing cores and class-leading integrated graphics within chips that cost between £40-£95. AMD, therefore, positions APUs as a sensible choice for today's mainstream PCs. Though the APUs' price points are undeniably attractive, under-the-hood architecture changes means that the chips use a new socket, FM2, and need to be purchased alongside a new motherboard.

We took a look at the range-topping A10-5800K, currently priced at £95, and now run the A8-5600K through the review wringer. Here's a recap of how the desktop Trinity APUs stack up against one another.

APU Model
CPU Cores
CPU Base Clock
CPU Turbo Clock
GPU Brand
GPU Cores
GPU Clock
L2 Cache
Max. DDR3
TDP
Price
A10-5800K
4
3.8GHz
4.2GHz
HD 7660D
384
800MHz
4MB
1,866MHz
100W
£95
A10-5700
4
3.4GHz
4.0GHz
HD 7660D
384
760MHz
4MB
1,866MHz
65W
£90
A8-5600K
4
3.6GHz
3.9GHz
HD 7560D
256
760MHz
4MB
1,866MHz
100W
£75
A8-5500
4
3.2GHz
3.7GHz
HD 7560D
256
760MHz
4MB
1,866MHz
65W
£75
A6-5400K
2
3.6GHz
3.8GHz
HD 7540D
192
760MHz
1MB
1,866MHz
65W
£50
A4-5300
2
3.4GHz
3.6GHz
HD 7480D
128
723MHz
1MB
1,600MHz
65W
£40

A8-5600K is a chip that takes it specification cues from the A10-5800K. Referring to the CPU side first, there's not a lot between the two K-designated APUs. Both use the same architecture and are only differentiated by frequency; the A8-5600K Turbos up to 3.9GHz while the A10-5800K increases this to 4.2GHz.

The biggest difference between these two performance APUs rests with the quality of the integrated graphics. A10-5800K contains 50 per cent more GPU cores - 384 vs. 256 - and is clocked in a little higher. This informs us that A8-5600K's GPU performance will be fundamentally lower than the best APU's, though should still be better than the HD 4000 Graphics offered by Intel's latest third-generation Core processors, codenamed Ivy Bridge.

Sacrificing a smidge of CPU performance and a reasonable amount of GPU oomph translates to a street price of £75, or £20 below that of you-know-what. This K-suffixed model, much like its bigger brother, is primed to be overclocked, as it ships with an unlocked multiplier on the CPU. Armed with an also-matching 100W TDP and designed for folk who don't want to stretch the extra to the fastest APU of 'em all, AMD seems to have sensible differentiation throughout its Trinity catalogue.