One of the most interesting things about the Wired2Fire Velocity Ultima rig is that it demonstrates just how competitive AMD's top quad-core APUs can be when it comes to gaming performance - even the last generation Trinity chips.

The A10-5800K is a Black Edition APU, which means it's open to a little overclocking past the 4.2GHz maximum turbo on offer out of the box. Even without that to hand, it's still pretty competitive with the Haswell i3 in the Chillblast machine on every front, bar memory bandwidth performance. It's competitive when you take into account the gaming and graphical performance, too.

This Velocity Ultima and the Chillblast Fusion Cannon are running with the same Nvidia GTX 650 Ti Boost graphics card, and there is almost no difference in gaming performance between them. Even in the seemingly CPU-intensive Company of Heroes 2 benchmark there's barely anything to separate them. Where the Intel chip does score an advantage here is in the minimum frame rate, which is much more effective with the Haswell CPU.

Road ahead blocked

The combination of A10 APU and the GTX 650 Ti Boost makes this a very effective budget gaming rig, taking the bronze medal in the benchmarking race. It really wouldn't take a lot of tweaking of game settings to get this rig running quite beautifully at 1080p in the latest titles, and because you're running an Nvidia GPU, the GeForce Experience software will be there to make things as easy.

The top-end APU chipset in the Asus mobo, the A85X, gives the Velocity Ultima all the connectivity options it needs. The full SATA 6Gbps range and multiple USB 3.0 ports makes it a very forwardthinking rig. Well, as long as you ignore the fact that you're not going to be doing any upgrading on the chip at its heart. There is always the Richland APUs to upgrade to, but they offer no tangible performance boost and the future Kaveri APU wont be compatible with the FM2 socket on this board.

Benchmarks

Multi-thread CPU performance
Cinebench 11.5: Index score: Higher is better

Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 3.7
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 3.66
Computer Planet ND 200: 2.96
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 1.53
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 3.96
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 5.53
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 3.25
Vibox Crypt: 3.45
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 3.28

Gaming performance
Heaven 4.0: Frames per second: Higher is better

Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 9.1
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 25.4
Computer Planet ND 200: 22.5
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 14.7
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 28.8
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 15.2
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 18.7
Vibox Crypt: 11.5
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 25.1

Bioshock Infinite: Frames per second: Higher is better
Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 16
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 46
Computer Planet ND 200: 39
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 26
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 51
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 25
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 33
Vibox Crypt: 19
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 44

CoH 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 6
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 16
Computer Planet ND 200: 18
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 6
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 19
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 11
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: A8 6
Vibox Crypt: 6
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 15

GRID 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 27
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 52
Computer Planet ND 200: 50
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 33
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 60
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 38
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 45
Vibox Crypt: 26
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 49

Video encode performance
X264 4.0: Frames per second: Higher is better

Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 24.64
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 21.63
Computer Planet ND 200: 18.64
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 10.79
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 28.44
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 33.39
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 21.86
Vibox Crypt: 22.34
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 21.42

Memory bandwidth @ optimised defaults
SiSoft Sandra: Gigabytes per second: Higher is better

Aria Gladiator Hurricane: 15.53
Chillblast Fusion Cannon: 21
Computer Planet ND 200: 8.63
Cyberpower Ultra Fusion: 8.53
DinoPC Batman GTX 660: 16.32
Palicomp Haswell i5 Gamer: 21
PC Specialist Trinity Trion A8: 7.5
Vibox Crypt: 12.14
Wire2Fire Velocity Ultima: 12.26

Still, it offers decent performance for a budget games rig, and still has a few upgrading tricks up its sleeve. You can always swap out the GPU, and the Trinity APU is capable enough to give most cards the processing back up they need. We're not close to properly utilising the PCIe 3.0 bandwidth, so the fact that this board is still stuck on PCIe 2.0 isn't going to be an issue.

A decent SSD dropped into this rig will also make a tangible difference to its general performance, and is a fairly affordable option these days. There are some odd choices here - the budget chassis lacks serious airflow, and the reference cooler isn't going to generate anything by itself, so this machine may well get a little toasty.

Wired2Fire has gone to the effort of installing Classic Shell on the Win8 OS though, so you can boot straight to desktop, and have a pseudo Start button.