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Discrete GPU gaming

For now, we have only a single game test, Thief's built-in benchmark, to show us discrete gaming performance. No matter. The results tell a familiar story. AMD's latest CPUs just aren't terribly good at cranking out frames quickly in PC games. Even the stock-clocked Pentium G3258 outperforms the A10-7800 in this game's default Direct3D mode. With its higher clock frequencies, the A10-6700 is slightly faster than its Kaveri-based counterpart, too. Since it has only two relatively pokey integer cores (and a single, shared FPU), the A6-7400K suffers even more.

Switching over to AMD's Mantle graphics API, with lower CPU overhead and apparently better threading, seems to help somewhat. All of the CPUs get faster, and the A10 APUs are at least able to maintain a 60 FPS average (although FPS averages alone won't tell you much about true smoothness.) Oddly, the two dual-core CPUs wouldn't start Thief properly in Mantle mode, for whatever reason, which is why those results are missing above.

Gaming with integrated graphics
In the test above, we used a discrete GPU to remove any graphics bottleneck from the picture. Now we'll consider what happens when we switch to the graphics processors integrated into each of these chips. In this case, the IGP is much more likely to be the primary performance constraint—which puts us on Kaveri's home turf.

Yeah, that changes things. Not only does Kaveri have more graphics grunt than Richland and Haswell, but AMD has also officially blessed the use of DDR3-2133 memory with the A10-7800. As a result, the 7800 clearly outperforms both its predecessor and the competition from Intel in these tests.

This outcome is a big part of AMD's pitch: if you care about both graphics and CPU performance, Kaveri can offer the best mix of the two. I can see the logic, but there's still not enough bandwidth going into the CPU socket to allow graphically intensive 3D games to run terribly smoothly on this IGP. Hmm.