APU OR CPU: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
AMD pioneered APUs (Advanced Processing Unit), which combines the Radeon graphics chips found in their discrete graphics cards, with the CPU processing technologies onto a single chip. While the the graphics technologies found within the APU isn’t as fast as a dedicated graphics card, they do yield the benefits of energy efficiency and low power requirements. These traits also apply to the CPU section of the APU, while still maintaining the multi-core technologies featured on standalone CPUs.
With AMD CPUs (Central Processing Units), you have the flexibility to choose the best discrete graphics card solution for your budget. CPUs offer faster clock speeds, enhanced user control, reliable overclocking capabilities and multi-core variants that offer improved performance over APUs. These serve as the best choice for gamers and high-performance consumers.
AMD PROCESSOR PRODUCT RANGE:
Socket AM1 – Athlon/Sempron APUs.
Socket AM3 & AM3+ – Piledriver FX-4 Quad Core, FX-6 Six Core, FX-8 Eight Core.
Socket FM2 – AMD Trinity/Richland A4, A6, A8, A10 APUs.
Socket FM2+ – Kaveri A6, A8 and A10 APUs. Athlon X4 CPUs.
Socket AM4 – Ryzen 1800X, 1700X, 1700 CPUs.
Delivering flexibility and choice within four different platforms, AMD processors are designed to meet every price point and every computing requirement. While the FM2 and AM1 platforms such as the A4 7300 are best suited for everyday computing, those such as FM2+, AM3+ and the latest AM4 are built to meet the needs of the high-end enthusiasts as well as power users. Along with four, six and eight-core variants processors such as the latest Ryzen 1800X feature 8 Cores with 16 threads, as well as an unlocked multiplier for clock speeds over 4GHz. Those looking to gain the most from these processors will find aftermarket coolers to be a necessary requirement should they wish to maintain consistent performance and low temperatures.
Buyers looking to build a machine for the purposes of general computing and everyday tasks will find valuable purchasing options with processors such as the Athlon X4 860K or the Athlon X4 845. These processors do well in delivering high clock speeds as well as multi-core variants, making them ideal for simultaneous multi-tasking such as browsing the internet or video playback while word processing.
As these processors do not contain an on-board graphics chip, users of these CPUs will require the use of a dedicated graphics card solution, making them also ideal for casual gaming and light-media production work. Functional with FM2 and FM2+ socket motherboards, the selection for different form-factors does well in catering to the consumer – providing personal preference – all the while being valuable and compatible with the selected processor.
Placed on the high-end of AMD's mainstream line-up, gamers and enthusiasts will find the most benefits from their computing requirements primarily within the AM3+ and AM4 Series of desktop processors. Utilizing the benefits of the 14nm FinFET technology, AMD Ryzen CPUs implement the latest technologies in processor design, modern features such as PCIE 3.0 and USB3.1 – Gen 2, and support for faster memory speeds on the DDR4 platform. Utilising Simultaneous Multithreading – also known as SMT, CPUs such as the the 1800X, 1700X and 1700 feature 8 Cores and 16 threads, giving way to improved functionality in multithreaded scenarios where each core is provided with two threads for simultaneous processing.
As all Ryzen CPUs are unlocked for overclocking, AMD’s latest Extended Frequency Range technology (XFR) allows for automatic overclocking while taking into account the extra cooling capabilities of the CPU cooler, while still providing manual users with the tools for personal preference.While buyers can expect ultra-fast performance directly out-of-the-box, those who wish to gain extended performance will want an aftermarket cooler in order to maintain lower temperatures. Recommended processors within this line-up would include the FX-8350, Ryzen 1800X, 1700X and the 1700.
Designed in-mind for energy efficiency while still retaining outstanding performance, the AMD APU platform combines the benefits offered by both the CPU and the GPU – leveraging the technologies of Radeon Graphics without the need for an dedicated graphics card – everyday tasks and demanding applications can run faster and perform more efficiently all in one package, saving on power usage when the user demands it.
The benefits for gamers comes in the form of the Radeon APU technology being present in the latest gaming consoles. Utilizing the APU in the PlayStation4 and the Xbox One means that PC gamers who use an APU or Discrete graphics cards of similar performance will see improved benefits when using high speed system RAM. This also means that games developed in-mind to take advantage of Radeon-based GPUs will provide PC gamers with the same benefits that’s available to the PlayStation4 and the Xbox One.
Utilizing dual-core and quad-core technology paired with extremely fast clock speeds the improved energy efficiency gains of the Athlon and A-Series APUs have proven time and time again to be a valuable solution for everyday multitasking and casual gaming – without the need for an additional graphics card solution. By providing direct access to the system's main system memory the performance benefits that can be leveraged from the Radeon graphics cores can give way for a greatly improved gaming experience, while still being more than capable for the needs of video playback, media entertainment and everyday computing. – Making the technology ideal for families, students, and casual users.
Compatible with the FM2 and AM1 platforms APUs from the Athlon series such as the 5350 and 5150 are valuable options for building budget-oriented PCs. Casual gamers looking to make the most out of the APU Radeon cores will find their requirements met within the AMD A-Series, with models such as the A6 7400K providing entry-level overclocking features – without the need for an aftermarket cooler.
Geared directly towards the gamers who demand a better than average experience at full HD resolutions without the means of a dedicated graphics card, the AMD A8 and A10 APUs have been built to deliver. Utilizing the energy-efficiency savings of the lower-end offerings while upping the performance gains with improved core speeds and graphical grunt – the increase of the available Radeon cores means products such as the A8-7890K and the A10-7870K are viable solutions for hardcore gamers and eSports competitors. Owners of the A8 and A10 APUs will require an FM2+ motherboard.