With the majority of the A10-7800’s transistor budget spent on graphics, it’s again no surprise they perform pretty well for integrated graphics. Depending on the game, you’ll certainly need to use lower settings and resolutions, but I was surprised to find how playable some modern games are using just the A10-7800’s integrated graphics. Incidentally, while the A10-7800 is multiplier-locked, the integrated GPU clock can still be adjusted/overclocked. I left all integrated GPUs at their stock settings for benchmarking, but I had to play a couple rounds of MechWarrior: Online with the iGPU at 1GHz to get a feel for how a notoriously AMD-unfriendly engine would perform.
With settings at low, in DX9 mode and a windowed resolution of 1280×720, I was surprised to find MWO to be quite playable, with minimum frame rates around 30 and average FPS hovering around 45. This is purely anecdotal of course, but we’re talking a game that has trouble maintaining a 60FPS floor with an overclocked Core i5-2500K and Radeon R9 290 (on max settings / 1080p+ resolutions).
Battlefield 4 was quite playable as well on the APUs. The Frostbite engine scales across quite a few platforms, so it wasn’t difficult to get a playable experience at lower settings. While multiplayer scenarios are next to impossible to benchmark (there isn’t a way to ensure a consistent, measurable experience from run to run), hopefully the following 3DMark/Unigine/Game benchmarks will give us a better idea of what to expect from each processor’s integrated graphics.
The new 3DMark FireStrike benchmark is pretty punishing on integrated graphics, since it’s really designed for discrete graphics cards and high-end purpose built gaming machines. Still, the APUs all perform better than Intel’s HD4600 graphics. The new Sky Diver update, however, might accurately capture performance of more mainstream machines (such as those that might opt to build with an APU). I’m not sure if the physics portions used OpenCL or were able to access the graphics compute cores in the Kaveri APUs, but they all scored far better than the older A10-5800K – even the A10-7800 in its 45W TDP setting.
Unigine’s Heaven and Valley benchmarks are generally more GPU bound than many game engines. I’m not sure if that’s why the Kaveri APUs all throttled down to 3 GHz (2.5 GHz for the 45W setting) while running these benchmarks, but it didn’t seem to affect the results much (CPU load was never really an issue with the Unigine tests). AMD’s focus on on-die graphics remains apparent.
For completeness, the average and minimum frame rates are recorded above. Interestingly, the A10-7800 surpasses it’s faster sibling, the A10-7850K – I had started to notice this trend earlier, and wonder if the A10-7800’s focus on efficiency has something to do with it. While a bit of overclocking and some extra cooling would no doubt bring the 7850K back to the front of the pack, it’s notable that its locked counterpart matches or exceeds the performance of the top Kaveri at stock settings during some of these tests.
Well, those are all synthetic gaming benchmarks – what about some real examples? I’d really like to add a few mainstream / Free-To-Play games like DOTA 2, World of Tanks or League of Legends to the results since they seem to be be popular and a natural match for an APU (see the earlier discussion on multiplayer benchmark difficulty), but for now Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider’s built in and repeatable benchmarking utilities will be more useful. Bioshock uses a modified version of the popular Unreal Engine, and Tomb Raider contains a few AMD-specific technologies like TressFX.
Those special features were not enabled for these particular tests – both games were tested with a 1280×720 resolution and the Medium/Normal graphics presets. While each game was playable on the i5-4430, the experience was drastically better on the APUs. Again we see the apparently successful tuning of the A10-7800 compared to the A10-7850K, even at the 45W setting.