Kaveri Versus Richland: A Performance Per Clock Comparison

Another 10 percent confirmed…

AMD A10 LogoWhen AMD launched its latest APU, Kaveri, almost two weeks ago it touted the gains in performance per clock that this new APU brought with it. The quad-core, dual module CPU on Kaveri is the first implementation of the company’s Steamroller core. The last generation APU, Richland used AMD’s Piledriver core which was notable for being about 6 percent faster per clock than AMD’s Bulldozer core which was the first design in the family tree.


When AMD launched the Bulldozer core and CPU architectural family in late 2011 the company presented a rather anemic roadmap for consistent ten to fifteen percent performance gains with each new generation of Bulldozer based core. Three years later it is both gratifying and disappointing to see that AMD has more or less stuck to its word on that roadmap.

Steamroller 10 percent

In the Kaveri launch day slide deck AMD noted that on average the new Steamroller core provides 10 percent higher performance per clock than the outgoing Piledriver core and in some cases can be up to 20 percent faster at the same clock speed. Unfortunately for AMD and consumers alike Global Foundries’ new 28nm SHP manufacturing process is less frequency focused than the old 32nm SOI process. Thus at launch the highest performance Kaveri SKU is more or less a match for older Richland chips in terms of absolute CPU performance.

test sytem PPC

We decided to try and verify AMD’s claims of higher per clock performance. To that end we benchmarked the A10-6800K and the A10-7850K against one another. Both chips had turbo disabled and had a base clock speed of 4 Ghz. As always you can find our raw testing results on Mega. First we have our numbers in table format.

Richland Kaveri Comparison

And now those numbers again in bar chart format.

Richland Kaveri Comparison Bar Chart

AMD claimed a 10 percent average PPC boost for Kaveri over Richland. According to our test results the company actually delivered an average improvement of 11 percent. There were a couple of minor regressions in Cinebench and LuxMark performance, but outside of those two cases Kaveri performed equally or better than Richland. The widest gap was in the wPrime 1024M benchmark where Kaveri was 38 percent faster than Richland.

So there you have it, AMD’s Steamroller core offers 11 percent higher per clock CPU performance than its old Piledriver core. It’s clear that Steamroller’s biggest advantage over Piledriver is its performance in multithreaded applications. There is a bump in single threaded performance, but the difference in multithreaded benchmarks is a much more compelling story.S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.