After a long period of status quo, AMD is showing signs of life on the graphics side with the kick-ass Radeon R9 Fury and Fury X and the new Radeon R300-series. The company’s still in comeback mode when it comes to computer processors, however, after a recently sluggish PC market resulted in lower APU sales.
Hoping to deliver another punch against Intel’s Core i3 line—and just in time for Windows 10—AMD recently announced the $118 quad-core A8-7670K desktop APU.
Similar to the A10-7870K that showed up in May, the A8 processor is aimed at budget PC builders looking to get their game on for a low price. The A8-7670K features a base clock of 3.6GHz compared to 3.9GHz on the 7870K; it’s also a little slower on the GPU side, running at 757MHz compared to 866MHz on its A10 counterpart. The A8-7670K is also running with two fewer GPU cores—six, compared to eight on the A10-7870K.
Beyond the basic specs, the A8 features most of the goodies you’d like to see in a modern chip such as Virtual Super Resolution, and AMD’s FreeSync feature that lets graphics processors and compatible displays sync their refresh rates.
That FreeSync support may wind up being important. AMD expects many current games to run around 30 frames per second at 1080p with the A8-7670K’s integrated Radeon graphics processors, such as League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, and Dota 2.
Now, 30fps is a far cry from the PC gaming gold standard of 60fps, and is considerably poorer than the 49 fps AMD was claiming for the 7870K running Dota 2. Nevertheless, it’s still at the bottom end of playable and FreeSync may be able to squeeze a little more smoothness out of your typical 30fps experience if you pick up a display with a variable refresh rate that supports frame rates that low.
If you’re already rocking a set-up and thinking about trying to drop in the A8-7670K, it’ll fit the FM2+ socket just like the A10-7870K.
The impact on you at home: At $118, the A8-7670K sounds like a bargain, but if you spring for an extra $32 you can up your game to the slightly more powerful, $150 A10-7870K. That’s not a massive price difference for a few more GPU cores, a higher base clock, and a better expected frame rate—depending on the game. If you’d rather save the extra cash for a FreeSync display or a discrete graphics card, however, the A8-7670K is supposed to be available now from your favorite e-tailer on Monday. At this writing there was no sign of the chip on Amazon or Newegg.