PCMark8 and GPU Performance, Conclusions

The mobile Kaveri FX-7600P is able to compete very well with the desktop AMD processors in our testing and actually outperforms Intel's Core i3-4330 by a fairly wide margin. The application tests in PCMark8 utilize OpenCL to a higher degree than nearly all programs do today but it does so in an attempt to be forward looking.

Gaming performance is great on the FX-7600P, as you would expect. The mobile part pulls in the best 3DMark Cloud Gate graphics result over even the desktop options! Compared to the Intel Core i3-4330, the FX-7600P is 58% faster and even with the large lead seen in the Physics portion of the test for Intel's CPU, the FX-7600P retains the overall score lead.

One quick real-world gaming test was run to see how well the FX-7600P could handle some more modern titles. Battlefield 4 was run at 1920×1080 at the Low preset and we were JUST shy of reaching the 25 average FPS mark. Other games like Bioshock Infinite were able to run quite well on their lower presets and you would have no problems playing titles like Skyrim on the integrated R7 graphics solution.

For those curious, I did try out a Mantle version of BF4 on our Kaveri reference system but the performance delta was pretty close to zero. Though AMD was hesitant to confirm anything, talk amongst the editors in the benchmarking room confirmed that most of us had yet to encounter a situation (outside StarSwarm) in which Mantle had a noticeable performance impact on gaming with a mobile APU. I do hope AMD improves on this with new drivers and Mantle releases because these are definitely the platforms that could use the improved performance the most.

Closing Thoughts

You can probably see now why I titled this story a "preview" rather than a "review" – I simply don't have enough data to make a concrete decision on the mobile version of Kaveri. My initial impressions though are positive – the experience of using the AMD FX-7600P system was top notch and other than a couple of software hiccups that are expected this early in the system development process, all went well. The interaction was smooth, the x86 performance was solid and right where I expected it to be. Nothing great, but competent enough to stand up to daily computing tasks.

The GPU performance stood out of course and AMD is surely hoping that the continued migration of software to an OpenCL friendly design will help push its advantage even further. PCMark8 is still a bit too forward-looking to really put all of our weight behind, but the results are great for AMD. If you want a mainstream notebook that can do some basic gaming at 1080p without the need for a discrete GPU, then the Kaveri APU is going to be leaps and bounds ahead of anything Intel has in the same thermal envelope. 

For now, AMD needs to get some Kaveri APU notebooks out in the market. But not just any notebooks, good notebooks. I don't want to keep seeing AMD relegated to the $300-400 notebook market and instead would like to see high resolution panels, great touchpads and even some advanced materials design with an AMD sticker on the inside palm rest. These flagship systems are hard to wiggle into with the weight of Intel at the other end of the negotiation table, but AMD continues to believe its product will make the point and get them in the door. I hope so as we desperately want to see competition increase and drive prices down.

You can be sure we will keep an eye out for designs based on the FX-7600P to reach retail so we can pick one up for a full, standard notebook review. Only then, when we find one that we love and can recommend to the consumer, will our review of mobile Kaveri be complete.

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