AMD Refreshes FM2+ Lineup for APU and CPU

Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Clockspeed Jump and More!

On March 1st AMD announced the availability of two new processors as well as more information on the A10 7860 APU.

The two new units are the A10-7890K and the Athlon X4 880K.  These are both Kaveri based parts, but of course the Athlon has the GPU portion disabled.  Product refreshes for the past several years have followed a far different schedule than the days of yore.  Remember back in time when the Phenom II series and the competing Core 2 series would have clockspeed updates that were expected yearly, if not every half year with a slightly faster top end performer to garner top dollar from consumers?

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Things have changed, for better or worse.  We have so far seen two clockspeed bumps for the Kaveri /Godavari based APU.  Kaveri was first introduced over two years ago with the A10-7850K and the lower end derivatives.  The 7850K has a clockspeed that ranges from 3.7 GHz to the max 4 GHz with boost.  The GPU portion is clocked at 720 MHz.  This is a 95 watt TDP part that is one of the introductory units from GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28 nm HKMG process.

Today the new top end A10-7890K is clocked at 4.1 GHz to 4.3 GHz max.  The GPU receives a significant boost in performance with a clockspeed of 866 MHz.  The combination of CPU and GPU clockspeed increases push the total performance of the part exceeding 1 TFLOPs.  It features the same dual module/quad core Godavari design as well as the 8 GCN Units.  The interesting part here is that the APU does not exceed the 95 watt TDP that it shares with the older and slower 7850K.  It is also a boost in performance from last year’s refresh of the A10-7870K which is clocked 200 MHz slower on the CPU portion but retains the 866 MHz speed of the GPU.  This APU is fully unlocked so a user can easily overclock both the CPU and GPU cores.

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The Athlon X4 880K is still based on the Godavari family rather than the Carizzo update that the X4 845 uses.  This part is clocked from 4.0 to 4.2 GHz.  It again retains the 95 watt TDP rating of the previous Athlon X4 CPUs.  Previously the X4 860K was the highest clocked unit at 3.7 GHz to 4.0, but the 880K raises that to 4 to 4.2 GHz.  A 300 MHz gain in base clock is pretty significant as well as stretching that ceiling to 4.2 GHz.  The Godavari modules retain their full amount of L2 cache so the 880K has 4 MB available to it.  These parts are very popular with budget enthusiasts and gaming builds as they are extremely inexpensive and perform at an acceptable level with free overclocking thrown in.

Click here to read more about AMD's March 2016 Refresh!

The Godavari parts are derivatives of the previous Kaveri models but with some tweaking done to power distribution, firmware optimizations, and improvements in GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28 nm HKMG process.  These changes have expanded the top end clockspeeds of these products as well as given rise to another interesting member that was introduced some weeks ago.  The A10 7860K is clocked very closely on the CPU side to the 7850K, raises the GPU clock to the 866 MHz level, and lowers the overall TDP of the part down to 65 watts.  Consider back in 2009 AMD released their new 45 nm Phenom II X4 940 at 3.0 GHz when the previous 65 nm Phenom topped out at 2.6 GHz.  AMD achieved a 400 MHz improvement by going a full node down as well as redesigning the chip.  Certainly that 400 MHz was a larger percentage in those older parts as compared to what we are seeing with these latest APUs, but it does put this clockspeed jump into perspective.

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While we were expecting more information about the upcoming AM4 platform and accompanying APUs and CPUs, this is a good taste as to what can be expected.  AMD will not leverage the Samsung/GLOBALFOUNDRIES 14nm LPP process until Zen and its derivatives, so we can expect these upcoming parts to be 28 nm as well.  With the further redesign for the new socket as well as significant power tweaks , I would imagine we will see these new parts ramp up in performance above that of these newly released APUs.  What we don’t know is the timing for that particular launch.  For those looking to invest in a new, low priced gaming and productivity system, the new 7890K and 880K parts are good values.  The 7890K retails for $165 while the 880K is down at $95.

The faster GPU clockspeed translates directly into better 3D performance.  Many popular games such as League of Legends, CS:GO, DOTA 2, and others do not require the very highest performing graphics solution to run at fast framerates.  The latest APUs with the 866 MHz clock can handle many of these titles at 1080P as well as some selected titles at 1440P.

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The boxed 7890K will also feature the new Wraith cooler that has been talked about quite a bit lately.  In fact, it is a little amazing that we have covered an upgrade to stock coolers so extensively.  The Wraith only adds about $10 in cost as compared to the older unit, but it is far more competent in its job.  The 7890K is a 95W part while the Wraith is rated for over 125 watts.  The LED shroud is a nice addition and overall the unit stays very cool and quiet.  The 880K features a nearly identical 125 watt cooler, but without the LED shroud.  This obviously takes off a few dollars, but performs identically to the Wraith.  AMD is also offering updated 95 watt and 65 watt coolers for their other APUs and CPUs.  These will not have a shroud or fancy LEDs, but they will improve the cooling efficiency of the included stock cooler in boxed units.

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Finally AMD wants to remind us that they continue to work with their motherboard partners to improve upon those products.  The very latest motherboards feature fun things like USB 3.1, RGB lightning, M.2 support, and other gamer-centric features.  The A88X is still a relatively new chipset while the 970 and 990 were first introduced as the 800 series back in 2009.

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It is good that AMD does continue to iterate and refresh their lineup through what looks to be a rough year in the CPU business.  Things do look brighter when we look at the graphics portion of their portfolio, but for now AMD is leveraging the Piledriver, Godavari, and Carrizo units for their top to bottom lineup on desktop and mobile.  AM4 will bring improvements as well as set the stage for the Zen release in late 2016.  It will be nice for consumers to not have to look at two different socket types when choosing an AMD processor.  Until that time, we have a fairly decent refresh of the APU product stack from AMD for very competitive prices.

March 2, 2016 | 10:46 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)


March 4, 2016 | 03:05 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Malibu Stacy with New Hat!

March 2, 2016 | 11:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I was I could have waited on one of my APU builds that I literally just built today so I could have gotten the new Wraith cooler, damn.

March 2, 2016 | 11:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Josh I have a question for you. Why do so many reviewers not overclock the APUs? You guys at PcPer did and it showed pretty decent gains from doing so. But what most of them do is just drop it in and say they are weak as hell. I don't own one and I know they are not the best, but there are gains to be had if you show it being overclocked.

This should include the igpu as well because that is where most of the gains are going to be. I know a lot of people wants to just drop and go but if you don't give them the info they won't know that it can be had, even though it's a k sku. Just curious about your thoughts on that.

March 4, 2016 | 11:49 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Yeah, not real sure why that isn't covered in other places.  A lot of free performance there for the taking, especially with the GPU.  The 7850K with the GPU portion clocked at 720 MHz was not really pushing the architecture.  That could often go to 950 MHz+ and there were some serious perf improvements to be had there.  Oh well.

March 3, 2016 | 03:10 AM - Posted by [CoFR]Prodeous (not verified)

I have to admit... AMD fan since well pre K6-2 days. fx8350+r9290x+gtx680 in my rig (yes gtx680, at its time AMD didn't have anything competitive in the performance or power. Now at least in performance it is close.

With AM4 so close, this release is kind of .. pointless at this point. I hope they would use Carizzo, but it seems that only 845 which is locked will be released to clear out their inventory?.. :(

I guess they are keeping it for the AM4 platform. I hope it is going to happen Soon, as in this month? AMD I want to give you money, just give me something that is worth it.

Ranting aside, nothing else to add :(

March 3, 2016 | 04:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

We all want to give AMD our money really. AMD stuff is always more fun, especially the CPU`s.

But if AMD cant get a fucking grip in 2016, i much rather them go bankrupt and Samsung or Intel buying up the hardware licenses.

Also, they will keep refreshing these shitty processors until they have cleared most of the stock.

March 3, 2016 | 07:10 AM - Posted by [CoFR]Prodeous (not verified)


Though for me Intel can't purchase that as it would cause monopoly in the market. Samsung might be an interesting thing. The only other two "competitors" in x84 are Via and wasn't there a software emulation one, Transmeta had it but was sold and unsure to whom.

Either way, they better get AM4 out the doors very soon. I'd happily switch to Excavator based chips until Zen comes out.

March 3, 2016 | 07:58 AM - Posted by Tucker Smith (not verified)

Same here. I'm itching furiously for a new build, and have been for many, many months. My cheap, aging Trinity-based lappy has performed admirably connected to the living room TV, especially after an SSD upgrade and fresh Win 10 install, but it certainly is starting to show its age. I'd like to expand my Steam library to recent AAA titles, but my lagging hardware essentially defines my current use case. I don't envision a TV upgrade in my near future, so 1080p @ 60Hz is where I'll be for the next half-decade. I'm holding out for AM4 and Bristol Ridge where I can upgrade through Zen/Polaris and their successors. While I know current offerings will very me where I need to go, I'm hesitant about jumping on an end of life bandwagon, because I can see my needs and wants expanding beyond what my hardware is currently limiting to. Hopefully this happens soon!

March 3, 2016 | 08:42 AM - Posted by Cyclops

More bread crumbs, AMD. Where is the full course meal? We're starving out here!

March 3, 2016 | 09:06 AM - Posted by [CoFR]Prodeous (not verified)

lol.. Well said.

March 3, 2016 | 02:18 PM - Posted by boothman

Actually curious to see what gains can be seen when comparing the Athlon 845 vs. Athlon 840, the Kaveri part. If I recall, I remember them speaking highly of improved power management and IPC.

But, I also agree with everyone above, we need more info on Zen/Polaris. I've held the line with my 8320 + R9 290 for some time now, and I'm hoping they'll give me a reason to continue to build AMD. Prefer to stay with Team Red, but Haswell-E is looking awfully good.

March 3, 2016 | 03:29 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

so what if its a refresh, for people on a budget AMD is the way to go!

They will sell just fine.

March 4, 2016 | 11:52 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

They do seem to have the sub-$100 market well covered these days.  880K is an interesting chip for a budget gaming build.

March 3, 2016 | 04:00 PM - Posted by Lance Ripplinger (not verified)

Great slides and article. The slide showing what chips come with what cooler was very nice. Glad that AMD finally has addressed their horrible cooling with that very nice Wraith cooler. I wonder how that new 125watt near silent once also performs? At any rate, those coolers are a big leap ahead of Intel's stock crap.

March 3, 2016 | 06:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I like the idea of using the 7890k in an arcade machine, I'm just not lovin' FM2+.

March 3, 2016 | 11:20 PM - Posted by Bill (not verified)

Look! We have a new cooler....with lights! Welcome to 2006 AMD, we're glad you're here.

9 months later and a 200mhz speed increase. Damn, things must really, really be bad there.

March 3, 2016 | 11:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

a new cooler...with lights....that is silent...copper base.......heat pipes......that you get for free with your CPU purchase

but sure intels push heat sinks rock! that is, if they even give you one.

and yea a FM2+ refresh is nice as well.. the athlon X4 860k performs VERY WELL for its price range, and even performs VERY WELL OUT of its price range


860k : 5636
i3 6320: 5810

geekbench mulit core

860k : 8155
6320 : 8444


860k 72.00
6320 168.00

and anything below the 6320 it comes out ahead...but I just wanted to put it up vs the king i3

value for price...uh its clear.

so yea the 880k that might break into lower end i5 territory.

These are insane budget procesors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 4, 2016 | 10:22 AM - Posted by Fasic (not verified)

You compare it with 6320 because of price of that part, 6100 is a part with -200MHz (3.7GHz) for <120$!!! much better perf./price!!!

Then you compare an CPU without integrated GPU vs one with HD530 in side?! if you won to do that find AMD-s APU and then compare price/performance...not like this...LoL...

You put results of synthetic test's with multicore test only!!!! and it is 2 core (+HT) vs 4 cores...look at single core results...and go and find "real wourld" stuff like Gaming?! i3 is 20-25% better then AMD one (for gaming) end yea AMD part is 20-25% better at perf./price!!! but for 860k or 880k there is no upgrate, but on i3 side you can buy i5-i7 after, a year or upgrading on AMD is 0!!! vs 10 on Intel...

ps. if AMD successfully make ZEN part 20-25% better then 860k (880k), quadCore without GPU, and mekes it priced same (~80$) then i will buy it, otherwise NOP! I doubt that they will succeed...

March 4, 2016 | 02:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Easy, you want real world?

go to amazon, go to newegg, go where ever, read the reviews on the 860k hundreds and hunderds of positive awesome things to say about it by people who purchased and use it everyday.

you won't find one bad thing anywhere on the 860k

March 4, 2016 | 09:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You are literally retarded and fuming. I bet you are having a seizure right now lmao

March 4, 2016 | 10:25 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

well... to be honest, hes right. You can't find a negative 860k review.

All buyers are totally pleased.

but hey would you like to take a trip down money for money lane? intel vs AMD?

I bet I can find a 150 AMD processor that totally stomps the intel i3 170.00 processor and you know it.

yea hm lets put up an FX 8350
vs an i3 6320


yea having a seizure due to L-M-A-O

look at how AMD can troll intel on prices.... its no contest.

how does that bait taste?

March 4, 2016 | 12:20 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

???? none of those tests take into account of the GPU... save that crap for CPU boss LOL they will flunk every athlon because it gets a ZERO in graphics.. lol no shit

okkkk so 6100

860k : 5636
6100: 5517

price? 70 vs 130...?

real world stuff like gaming.....the 860k is really a great part.
and its dirt cheap. There is no reason to pay the extra cash for an i3
zero.. NONE!

Real world gaming is going to matter more on what card you match with your proc, you aren't just going to take some magical 25% hit cause you picked "AMD"

Games are not leaning on the processor that much, you can pair the 860k all the way up to an R9 380 and still not hit a CPU bottle neck.

Upgrade path? if you are an intel fan building an i3 rig.. you really think in 1 year you will be forking out i7 money? seriously...say that with a straight face. that i7 will cost as much AS YOUR ENTIRE BUILD. LOL ..also did you buy a nice board to fully take advantage of all the i7 features? Probably not cause you are building an i3 and are on a budget....... You will also have to upgrade your GPU cause im sure you didn't put in some top of the line GPU for your budget i3 ..... again more $$$$$$$$$$$$

you'd be better off retiring your i3 and building from scratch, so that is a non issue.

This is about budget bang for the buck power and AMD has it...but you know keep telling yourself otherwise...its your bank account not mine.

March 30, 2016 | 12:30 PM - Posted by Níqui (not verified)

I would rather get the new Athlon than the new APU because I have read repeatedly that with AMD APU's the CPU component gets throttled considerably when the GPU component is active, while Athlons are not throttled because they don't have an active GPU component. For the money you save you get a decent separate graphics card, and together they will outperform the APU and stay cooler (the latest APU's can go to 130 Watts or so).

I don't think that AMD is doing the refresh in order to clear their stock. After all, the new units are made with slight changes in terms of manufacturing, design, etc. These are highly optimized parts now and I think well worth the money because the whole platform is very mature by now.
Not sure whether there will be another refresh before they let that platform die. I don't think so. But maybe they should make one last super Athlon, the Athlon 1000, to break with all naming conventions :) It should have a fixed 4.5 Ghz clock speed, overclocking unnecessary.

When Zen stuff is launched later this year (or so they say, but AMD sucks at keeping deadlines), there will likely be problems for months, so I don't expect to see rock solid Zen systems before mid-2017. I need a new computer now, though, as my current AMD system is getting really old and components start to fail.

Regarding AMD's strategies, they should make their processors modular so that Asus etc. can design multi-CPU motherboards again. AMD could sell their Athlons in packs :D The power of two 880K's for 150 bucks for instance...

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