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Review: AMD A10-5800K Dual Graphics evaluation

by Tarinder Sandhu on 4 October 2012, 08:53

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabncn

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Power concerns, summary

Dual Graphics, aka CrossFire, scale nicely in 3DMark 11, providing a 35 per cent uplift over just running the Radeon HD 6670 on either platform.

More of the same in 3DMark Vantage, where we see a 20 per cent-plus improvement.

Power

Getting an award for stating the bloomin' obvious, adding a discrete card to an APU-only system increases overall power consumption. The trio of systems housing said card consume around 10W more when idling.

Here's a telling graph. Stick the HD 6670 into the Intel PC and it still draws less juice, as a platform, than the A10-5800K alone. Including the discrete card pushes power consumption up to 140W, or 40 per cent more than the Intel rig.

Summary

Dual Graphics is a feature of AMD Trinity APU systems that enables users to add a circa -£50 discrete Radeon graphics card - HD 6600-series, preferably - and lash it alongside the similar HD 7660D graphics built into the chip. Going down this route facilitates CrossFire multi-GPU rendering, useful for potentially increasing gaming performance without any further financial outlay. It's important to understand this feature is not available if choosing a price-comparable Intel platform.

The usefulness of Dual Graphics as a means of providing more gaming performance is wholly dependent on how well the title scales through CrossFire software technology. The best-case scenarios, such as DiRT Showdown, show a 40 per cent frame-rate increase over using the discrete card alone, as you would do if installing it on, say, an Intel Core i3 machine. On the flipside, Batman: Arkham City is indifferent to the charms of Dual Graphics, to the extent that performance actually drops off.

Our examination also finds that an Intel Core i3-3225 platform performs a smidge better than an AMD A10-5800K when evaluated with a discrete HD 6670 in the PCIe slot. What's more, the Core i3's power consumption is better than AMD's. Swings and roundabouts, eh?

We believe that an AMD APU's Dual Graphics capability is a useful feature if you happen to have an add-in card that closely resembles the on-board graphics' architecture. There's a reasonable chance of gaining extra performance, as shown by our benchmarks, at no extra cost. Dual Graphics, then, makes most sense in fixed-specification A10-5800K-powered base units that ship with the necessary HD 6600-series supporting cards.

Readers who consider themselves proper gamers would still be best-advised at spending at least an APU-matching £100 on a mid-range graphics card, because a Radeon HD 7850 or GeForce GTX 660 assuredly knock the spots off anything a well-matched Dual Graphics configuration can offer.



HEXUS Forums :: 26 Comments

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Interesting, so it does not work at all on Batman, but works pretty well on AMDs tame title Dirt Showdown.

As the conclusion says, even a modest gamer using a 7850 is probably better off with an i3.
Personally I'm not convinced that there is that much money to be made by targeting the most miserly of PC gamers.
Most PC gamers tend to overspec their machines rather than underspec them.
If you can't afford an extra £100 on your system for a decent GPU and CPU, you shouldn't be buying a new system in the first place (unless you are totally system-less). Therefore I can not see the point of ever buying an “performance APU” for a desktop system as you should buy a discrete GPU if you are going to game.

Slimline systems, all-in-ones, mini-systems, laptops, etc - yes, there is a market. And that's why AMD released Trinity months ago in the mobile lower-power format.

Someone make a cute case that looks like a Minecraft block, stick a mini-itx board with Trinity inside, and sell it for a reasonable price and I'll probably buy it. But I'm not buying a full ATX board and then only using a Trinity, or trying to gang it up with a cheap-ass graphics card to get a few more FPS.

OTOH Tech Report's value for money chart actually does show Trinity is pretty good value at the price point overall, and that cheaping out even further on the CPU (especially going below an i3) is very stupid.
You were surprised Dual Graphics didn't “work” in Batman? Really? Everyone knows Dual Graphics (Hybrid CrossFireX) doesn't work with DX9 games.
rpsgc
You were surprised Dual Graphics didn't “work” in Batman? Really? Everyone knows Dual Graphics (Hybrid CrossFireX) doesn't work with DX9 games.

“Invoking the DX11 path causes the Dual Graphics combo to lose more ground to running with just the Radeon HD 6670. ”
He is a another test of dual graphics:

http://www.hardware.fr/articles/878-10/gpu-f1-2011-civilization-v-battlefield-3.html

With an HD6670 GDDR5 it can hit around GT640 or HD7750 level in games it actually works in and in many it does not work ATM. Luckily one of these titles is BF3 where it just passes an HD7750 GDDR5. The IGP is around the speed of an HD6670 GDDR3 or GT630 GDDR3 using 1600MHZ DDR3. With an overclock and faster DDR3 RAM you are probably looking at HD6570 GDDR5 or HD5670 GDDR5 level. Anyway,the IGP does also have other non-gaming uses,which also helps it case for inclusion!! ;)