It's been quite some time since there was a major range of new releases from AMD, and with their next generation of processors not expected until next year they have a few new refresh chips coming out to fill the gap this year. The first of these is the A10-7870K. Coming out as the replacement for the current top chip on the FM2+ socket, the A10-7850K, the 7870K is intended to keep the platform fresh for another year.
On paper, the 7870K looks to be very similar to its predecessor:
Both chips are a quad core processor with an 8 core integrated GPU. A slight increase in the standard clock speed aside, the only other listed difference is the jump in the speed of the integrated R7 graphics.
When I first got my hands on the boxed processor, I was surprised to see that it was packaged quite differently to what I expected. Instead of the standard box that the rest of the APU range come in, as well as most of AMD’s other chips, it comes in a larger box reminiscent of the high end AM3+ processors.
The reason for this is that it comes bundled with the same heatsink and fan combo that those units do, which strikes me as a little odd. This cooler is much larger and features copper heatpipes instead of just a standard aluminium heatsink and is designed for use with the top end quad core and higher units of the AM3+ range that have a significantly higher cooling requirement – the specs for the 7870K state that it has the same TDP as the 7850K so logically it would have come with the same cooler. I believe the intention is to allow the processor to run at boost speed for longer before having to throttle itself down without overheating, however it does come with a substantial side effect as this cooler (or at least, the unit that I’m testing with anyway) is massively louder than the standard APU cooler.
The processor itself is exactly what you would expect, if you’ve seen an APU in the last couple of years it looks exactly the same so no surprises here.