Richland is a small step forward for AMD, as our ridiculous wealth of benchmark results has indicated. We can summarize things with a few of our famous value scatter plots, which mash up price with performance in several categories. As always, the better values will be closer to the top left corner of each plot.
The value scatter plots illustrate one of the strange things about Richland. The A10-6800K's performance is a bit better than the older 5800K's, and the new A10-6700 matches the 5800K within a smaller power envelope. Yet whichever one of these products you choose, AMD is asking an extra $20 for it. The price increase means these chips now cost more than the Core i3-3225, and it means Richland's value proposition hasn't really improved much from Trinity.
What AMD is offering you for $142 is better performance than the Core i3 in the sort of multithreaded applications that make up the bulk of our productivity suite, along with much nicer integrated graphics. The downside of this deal is that the A10 doesn't perform as well in games when paired with a separate graphics card, in part because Intel's individual CPU cores tend to be much more potent. Also, either version of the A10 burns quite a bit more power in real-world use than the Core i3-3225, regardless of how close the numbers in TDP specs might be. That will result in more heat and more noise than the competing Intel solution.
That said, I do think the A10-6700 seems like a more rational offering than the other Richland and Trinity parts we've encountered. I can see how a system builder—either a hobbyist or a big PC maker—putting together a basic system for a certain sort of user might like its mix of reasonably solid CPU performance, best-in-class integrated graphics, and a 65W power envelope. For the right system in a compact enclosure at a modest price, the A10-6700 could make more sense than the Core i3-3225. That's more than I was able to say for the Trinity-based A10-5800K, which just didn't seem to have a natural spot in the market.
Going forward, Intel apparently has plans to introduce Haswell-based Core i3s with HD 4600 graphics some time in the third quarter of this year. That will create a much tougher challenge for AMD's APUs. Fortunately, before the year is out, AMD is slated to release an all-new replacement for Richland code-named "Kaveri." That chip will feature the updated "Steamroller" CPU architecture and AMD's excellent GCN graphics architecture. Who knows how the competitive picture will shape up once Haswell meets Kaveri? I suspect we'll have an appropriately outsized collection of benchmarks to size things up when the time comes.
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