AMD A8-3870K Black Edition APU review

The makings of a low-cost gaming media centre

AMD A8-3870K Black Edition APU
A 100MHz speed hike and some extra OC goodness

TechRadar Verdict

Pros

  • +

    Asymmetric Crossfire

  • +

    Decent onboard graphics for 720p, almost 1080p friendly

Cons

  • -

    Old architecture

  • -

    Core i3 still faster with discrete GPU

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Not to be outdone by new graphics releases AMD is going back to the APU drawing board with the new AMD A8-3870K processor.

While its flagship FX processors are failing to shine it does seem a little on unfair on AMD that at the other end of the market it has a chip which really ought be cleaning up.

Its Llano Fusion APUs, which combine a multi-core CPU and a Radeon graphics part on one die, are actually rather good.

They may be based on an older processor architecture, but quad core examples like this A8-3870 hold their own against Intel's similarly priced dual core Core i3s in CPU benchmarks.

When it comes to 3D tasks like gaming, the on board HD6550D is simply in a different league to Intel's laggardly HD Graphics 3000 cores.

AMD a8-3870k

How could they get better? We'd like a chunky price drop, but that's not going to happen.

Instead, AMD has introduced 'Black Editions' of the chips, recognisable by their 'K' suffix. Just like Intel chips with a K moniker, they come with an unlocked multiplier which makes them more suitable for overclocking.

Now, you might think that anyone who wants to overclock a chip will be looking at something a little more high-end than these very basic processors, but the entire raison d'etre for overclocking is to turn something cheap into an unexpected powerhouse.

An unlocked, gaming-capable hybrid chip for just over £100 sounds like the stuff hardware hackers' dreams are made of. But does it deliver on that promise?