AMD is revving up its latest processor, the AMD A10-7870K. This APU, which combines the company’s processor cores with an on-die Radeon GPU, is designed to provide balanced performance across a wide range of scenarios and deliver maximum value.
The processor portion of the 7870K consists of four CPU cores. These run at a maximum Turbo speed of 4.1GHz with a base clock of 3.9GHz, which means they should provide very consistent performance. The chip also boasts four megabytes of L2 cache. It’s unlocked too, so it can be overclocked with relative ease.
In the APU you’ll find eight GPU cores that run at a frequency of 866MHz. These support the latest DirectX 12 and AMD Mantle graphics APIs and are compatible with FreeSync, AMD’s frame synchronization technology. Virtual Screen Resolution, a technique that can increase game resolution beyond that of your monitor to add extra detail to scenes, is also available – though it’s hard to believe the feature will be of much use given the limited GPU power on tap.
Since this is a refresh rather than a major architecture update, the new chip will be supported by many previous FM2+ chipsets including the A88X, A78, 78H and A58. If you have one of these motherboards you may be able to drop in the 7870K as an upgrade after updating the BIOS. Check with your motherboard manufacturer to be sure.
As with previous APUs, AMD is positioning the new A10-7870K as a mid-range, do-it-all chip that provides significant bang for the buck. While not as quick as Intel processors in per-core performance, it is capable of playing games like Starcraft II, League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients at 30 FPS or better with detail at maximum and resolution set to 1080p.
That’s not bad given the $140 MSRP. A desktop Core i5 quad-core alone costs more than that. The Intel processor offers far more raw processing power, of course, but AMD’s A10-7870K could be a good alternative if you want to build a new gaming-capable rig on a very tight budget.