While the CPU landscape has not changed significantly in recent years there has been some interesting developments, particularly in the integrated graphics department. Despite dedicated graphics cards being the clear choice for gamers, many consumers use integrated graphics built into their CPU. It makes sense that AMD and Intel have been striving to improve their integrated GPU performance. Today we will be taking a look at the AMD A6-7400K APU which, at the time of this review, is priced at £45.
The A6-7400K APU is a dual core processor with a base clock speed of 3.5GHz. This model is apart of the Kaveri family and it utilizes the FM2+ socket and includes 1MB of cache with a TDP of 65W. The A6-7400k has a configurable TDP, allowing you to set a TDP of either 45W or 65W in the BIOs, which makes it ideal for compact systems which may not have efficient airflow, such as HTPCs. Lowering the TDP of this APU will reduce it’s performance, giving users a difficult choice between a cooler, more efficient APU or overall performance.
Included in the box is the A6-7400K APU, a user manual and the stock cooler which has thermal paste preapplied.
The stock cooler is compact, allowing it to fit snugly inside a compact PC. We initially used the stock cooler on this APU however, we found that it was loud and offered poor cooling performance when under stress. While it will be suitable for casual users who will only occasionally put stress onto the processor, we recommend replacing it with a 3rd party cooler if possible to achieve cooler temperatures and less noise.
The AMD A6-7400K is a value oriented APU which boasts powerful integrated graphics performance. Despite this, we decided to put the APU through it’s paces to see how it copes with the CPU benchmark, Cinebench R15.
Our test system:
AMD A6-7400K @ 3.5GHz APU Gigabyte F2A68HM-HD2 FM2+ Motherboard Crucial 2x4GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM SuperFlower 350W 80%+ Gold Power Supply 1TB Western Digital Blue hard drive
The A6-7400K manages to score 85 points in the single core test and 146 points in the multithreaded test. The scores are a little disappointing despite it’s clock speed of 3.5GHz. When placed along side the i3 4150, another sub £100 processor, the APU is unable to keep up in Cinebench R15 in both the single core and multithreaded benchmark. The graph above shows a substantial 84% difference in performance between the Intel i3 4150 and AMD A6-7400K in the multithreaded benchmark. At the time of this review, there is a £38 price difference between these processors, which is a considerable amount when comparing budget components. Despite the low result in Cinebench, this APU still allows for a snappy experience when performing common tasks such as browsing the web and watching full HD videos.
We would have liked the performance of this APU to be a little better, especially since desktop PCs are often multitasking however, the performance it offers is acceptable for those who are most likely to purchase this processor, such as a office user.
Integrated graphics have been improving at a staggering rate in recent years, which is fantastic news for compact PCs, HTPCs and laptops. AMD has been focusing their efforts on the integrated graphics within their APUs to improve performance, which is great as it enables those unable to install a dedicated graphics card to enjoy more powerful graphics processing. In order to evaluate the graphical performance of the A6-7400K we decided to put this budget dual core APU to the test in two popular games at the resolution of 1920×1080.
Our first game was Tomb Raider. The Tomb Raider reboot offered fantastic visuals which can strain even high end graphics cards. Unfortunately, the APU struggled to play this game at the lowest settings at 1080p. In our tests we found that the average FPS was only 23FPS.
On the other hand, Counter Strike: Global Offensive had a much better result with an average frames per second of 59FPS at low settings on 1080p which gave us a pleasant surprise. In a range of maps and matches we found that this budget APU managed to consistently achieve playable frame rates.
We cannot criticize the performance of the APU much, given the fact that it is an budget APU which prides itself on low power consumption. We wished the performance in recent games such as Tomb Raider was better however, we appreciate that this APU is not intended to be running the latest games. Despite this, the APU achieved acceptable frame rates in the less demanding game Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
An important consideration when developing processors is their power consumption, especially in processors like the A6-7400K. This APU could be used in a range of systems such as OEM machines and compact HTPCs which makes it important for APUs to consume as little power as possible. It’s clear to see that AMD has given this some thought since they allow you to change the TDP to either 45W or 65W. Our test measures the overall power consumption of a system using the A6-7400K when idle, playing Tomb Raider and running Prime95.
At idle the overall system power consumption using the A6-7400K APU was just 35W. When both cores were being stressed by Prime95 the system continued to contently sip power, consuming only 84W which is considerably less than a typical gaming computer. Gaming on this system consumed less power than Prime95, measuring at 74W.
The AMD A6-7400K is a budget APU which seeks to strike a balance between graphical and CPU performance. Priced at just £45 at the time of this review the APU manages to demonstrate good GPU performance which is capable of playing games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive at impressive frame rates. On the other hand, the CPU department seemed to be a little behind. Scoring only 146 points in the multithreaded Cinebench R15 benchmark we feel that the performance of the CPU could be improved. The APU managed to keep up with every day tasks such as web browsing however, when we started to multitask the APU showed signs of struggling.
The ability to change the TDP of this APU to either 45W or 65W impressed us as it allows the APU to adapt to a wide range of environments. You could change the TDP to 45W if you have a compact HTPC whereas you could change it to 65W if you have ample airflow.
Overall, we would feel comfortable recommending the A6-7400K to someone who is seeking an affordable processor which has good GPU performance. We feel that this APU would be most suited to budget HTPCs or office machines due to it’s ability to play HD media, affordable cost and good upgrade path to another FM2+ processor such as the A10-7850K.