With the recent release of the “Trinity” quad-core AMD A8-5600K Accelerated Processing Unit with the Radeon HD 7560D graphics (as well as other APUs from “Trinity” lineup), AMD has provided customers with possibility to build very cheap gaming PCs. True, its performance isn’t top-notch, but it is capable of running many of the popular games at decent frame rates, as the benchmark results below show. In addition, the A8-5600K is overclocking-friendly thanks to its unlocked multiplier, resulting in even better fps. And all that for under $500.
Let’s take a look at an example of how you can build an A8-5600K-based gaming machine without monitor for that amount of money.
- AMD A8-5600K (“Trinity”, quad-core, 3.6-3.9GHz, 4MB cache, 100W, 32nm, socket FM2) with AMD Radeon HD 7560D (256 shaders, 8 ROPs, 760MHz GPU clock, 800MHz memory clock, 128-bit bus width, DirectX 11): ~$110
- MSI FM2-A55M-E33 (socket FM2, micro ATX, DDR3 1866/1600/1333/1066, 2 RAM slots, PCIE 2.0 x16, PCIE, PCI slots, UEFI BIOS, HDMI): ~$50
- Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB, 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM, 1866MHz): ~$25
- Western Digital Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD: ~$65
- Cooler Master Elite 311 RC-311B-OWN1 Case: ~$40
- Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus RS500-PCARD3-US 500W ATX12V Power Supply: ~$40
- DVD burner: ~$20
- Sharkoon Tactix 000SKTK Black USB Wired Gaming Keyboard: ~$20
- Inland 07242 Black 6 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Optical Gaming Mouse: ~$12
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit OEM: ~$100
- Total: ~$482
Of course, for similar prices of the motherboard, RAM, HDD and other components, you can buy these parts by other manufacturers.
Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-built A8-5600K-powered machine, such as the HP Pavilion p7z with the same processor, RAM, and HDD size for about $430. However, I’m not sure if its motherboard allows overclocking. The MSI FM2-A55M-E33 surely does. I got stable operation at overclocked 4.1Hz Turbo speed, up from 3,9GHz. Graphics runs stable with the Radeon HD 7560D GPU clock speed set at 844MHz, up from standard 760MHz.
Note: Since I hadn’t 1866MHz memory modules at the time of the review, I’ve used 1,600MHz memory. However, that doesn’t change the final results much.
Here are CPU-Z and GPU-Z infos for the A8-5600K and HD 7560D after overclocking:
This is a PassMark CPU benchmark chart, showing that the chip has a speed sitting between the 3rd Generation Intel Core i3-3220 and i5-3330, in both normal and overclocked mode. As expected, the processor runs slightly slower than the A10-5800K, which is the next part in the hierarchy.
Here are the results for the AMD Radeon HD 7560D GPU, with the 7660D of the A10 being noticeably faster:
This is Windows Experience Index score for the machine when overclocked. In standard mode the only difference is in calculations per second, which is 7.2 by default.
3DMark Vantage results show significant difference between normal and overclocked modes.
This is PCMark Vantage score:
When it comes to the real-world game titles, I’ve tested Crysis 2, Mass Effect 3, and Call of Duty 4. Crysis 2 at 1280×800 and basic “Gamer” detail settings runs at between 30 and 40 frames per second. Mass Effect 3 at the same resolution and anti-aliasing and dynamic shadows off runs at about 30 fps. Call of Duty 4 is much better when it comes to performance, since I was able to set resolution to 1600×900 and all details on highest and get mostly between 30 and 40 fps. Increasing resolution to full HD leads to frame rates of between approximately 25 and 35 fps.
Regarding the processor temperature with the stock cooler, on idle it was about 35 degrees with ~1,800 rpm fan speed, while during Crysis 2 gameplay it was around 65 degrees with the fan spinning at about 2,200 rpm.
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