Hello Everyone, My name is Cody Aka ForceFedFlesh on forums.
I am now a Sponsored AMD TestDriver to where all this was given to me for Free I would like to note which are labeled with (AMD Sponsored for Free), Anything else I personally put into it
My review on this is based purposely more on Gaming performance even though it may not be much, I feel that Real in game playing is more important then benchmarks.
But to first get to the point of some things...
My final build consists of the following parts, and anything not labeled (AMD Sponsored for Free) is what I put in myself
AMD A10-6800K APU (AMD Sponsored for Free)
Asrock FM2A85X Extreme6 FM2 A85X motherboard (AMD Sponsored for Free)
2x4gb G.skill Ripjaws DDR3 1600mhz
Fractal Arc Midi R2 Case (AMD Sponsored for Free)
Fractal Tesla R2 650W Power Supply Unit (AMD Sponsored for Free)
Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 2.5" 60GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (AMD Sponsored for Free)
OCZ Sata 2 30gb SSD
seagate 1tb solid state hybrid drive
LG 24X DVD Burner (AMD Sponsored for Free)
Windows 8 64bit OS Disc (AMD Sponsored for Free)
Asus Wifi card Asus PCE-N13
Dell 2407wfp Monitor 1920x1200
(I want to note that 2gb Memory is dedicated to the APU Set in the Bios as well)
Now for other parts I did receive which I want to talk about, Sadly they have died in a freak accident which I can not figure out.
These parts were in the build of the Original first setup.
I received a pair of AMD Memory 2x4gb 1866mhz, ASRock FM2A75M-ITX motherboard, and another A10-6800k APU and Fractal Tesla R2 650W psu.
During this build, Everything went smoothly for a couple of days with the original parts I received, which below in my whole build I will discuss.
So... Of course I got done with the build, it ran, I stressed it a bit, Used stock for everything, even the memory, and tried it out, installed everything, the typical way I do my builds.
I then let it rest a few days, and let the computer sit in sleep mode.
I turn it on, and it worked, but as soon as I started transferring photos to it, as soon as it was about to be done, Windows occurred a error, which is also the New BSOD.
After that windows kept trying to fix it's self with the new feature it has built in after BSOD It seems.
Well... After a few times, it just stopped posting.
Amd then sent me a new motherboard first, in-case that was the issue.
Well when I received the new motherboard which is my final build motherboard, It still would not post, and resulted in the codes on the motherboard as this one had the Debug LED say the Processor was not installed.
So I try a bunch of stuff, worked with a few buddies online for help in-case it was the motherboard, but to no avail did it work.
(Thanks again Peter and Sandy!)
These are my pictures of the finished build that occurred the the posting problem after awhile. "I totally named it when I was done too. I called it the Little Engine That Could".
Just to be Clear, this is not the Finished WORKING build, this was the build I first received that components died on. Of course I loved this little monster but sadly it had to be let go...
So I sent AMD another email, and the Gladly sent me another APU, and upon request I also requested a new PSU in-case the PSU was faulty and shorted the Processor, which they had no problem doing.
Upon receiving the new APU and motherboard, It finally Posted again, so I was quite happy since Amd worked with me and I constantly updated them on anything I tried during the whole process.
After it posting, I of course started to install Windows 8.
Here where it gets quite weird...Apparently it seemed like my Hard drives were faulty, as I can't remember the error exactly but it kept saying something with the Hard Drive via google and Microsoft.
Of Course I tried 3 different drives and I was still getting that same error, so after trouble shooting with friends and AMD, I could just not figure it out, after being up for a good 2 days already straight and it being in the high 90s here aggravation came in and I started forgetting basics.
So... The last thing I tried was different Memory, Just in case, Well... It turns out the Memory also went bad.
Pretty Weird the Mobo, APU, Memory, and PSU (by assumption till I buy a PSU Tester and a new Multimeter) all went together. As I can not figure out the reason but I just assume all 4 went bad since this happened, But for sure the APU and Memory died, and a possible cause is either the Motherboard or Power supply.
Of course this would be a terrible experience for a complete beginner, but I found this to be a VERY enjoyable process.
Why was it enjoyable? Well it doesn't seem like it with the frustration I was through at first, but looking back at it, I learned what some errors can be linked to, and what can go when something else goes on a computer.
This experience pretty much kept me on my Toes and made me remember things I would have possibly forgotten, and along the way my friends involved in this program as well Also taught me a few other things to try which is always good.
Of course I am not going to bash any company because anything can happen when building a computer and this is why there is the RMA services provided as parts are shipped As Is and sometimes people can just receive a faulty part due from Shipping unlike pre-made and checked computers before giving them to the customer.
With this program though... AMD Professionally and Understood Everyone's small or big problem that occurred as it does happen from time to time, and Respectfully answered everyone's questions and helped them every way they could.
Seriously AMD is such a great company and made this entire process a Amazing time to me.
In-case they wanted me to use AMD Memory I respectfully emailed them as well by the way, and told them if they would allow me to, Let me use My memory as It is spare memory and the fact AMD has done so much already I am perfectly fine with DDR3-1600mhz memory in my Test Drive APU Computer, so they allowed it.
Now on with some pictures!
This is my finished build setup, including just showing inside and outside the case.
reinstalled a new motherboard, as well as starting the cable management.
Cable Management Done!
Everything looks clean in the front, Cable Management a Success!
Time to Start Testing it out!
Now Regarding some benchmarks and temps ect. Here is a picture showing Cinebench and of some temperatures.
Of course what I found out is that the APU is hard to get a good temperature program for as well as correct values compared to some other monitoring programs. "such as CPU hitting almost 100c"
So I ran Cinebench both the CPU and onboard GPU and recorded with multiple programs so you can see a average of what it will seem to be.
Other notes is that I had my Memory timings ect. shown as well as I am not using the same Memory as others are in the #AMDTestDrive Program.
So onto what I care about... Gaming!
I play mainly Moba's and since Hon is one of my personal Favorites as I enjoy the Graphics, and the Mechanics of the game I decided to run it on Hon.
Now, Please note, I am playing the game at 1920x1200 not 1280x720 or 1920x1080, so this is also a bit more impressive.
So to start off... I Preset the game to High settings, pretty much Ultra without max AA and and Texture Filtering. Being on the main screen alone, I was shot with 60fps, according to fraps. You can see below I show all settings.
With these settings I would be UNABLE to play in game without stuttering, as I would shoot around 15fps.
Next I started Tweaking the settings, I needed to shoot for around 100-125fps on the main screen, I achieved this by Lowering the Texture Filtering and having No AA, The typical settings you Always want to mess with first.
Then I lowered the shadow quality another easy way to get good FPS.
Now, With these settings, I achieved a easily nice stable smooth screen for gameplay with minimum 30fps, with 60fps peak.
As some don't know Hon does take quite a bit out of your gpu, but I like some of the effects while I play so I keep them enabled for a smoother sensation at the loss of some minor game qualities.
The main concern for needing this was of course when heavy fights would break out, where I could be left Lagging from the slow framerates in game resulting in slow character movement or stuttering, But in these Huge fights I was able to achieve 30+FPS I want to say as I never see it go below 30, which is the Minimum you want. Meaning you would get smooth game play.
Of course, I could tweak the settings a bit more, by doing so I could achieve that 60fps at the loss of quality during huge battles, but I was able to do everything at the rare 30fps and below battles without any delays and stuttering, which is Fine for the quality and resolution I Play at.
So the APU here has REAL good potential already, seeing that you can build around a APU and have a pretty solid gaming rig for Moba's. Which is the E-Sports growing game genre.
Also with what I have seen with this APU, it also means it is possible to make a Quality stream while gaming. By this I mean it's possible to achieve 720P Streaming "if your internet allows so".
So with a budget build you can EASILY make a USD $400 budget build AT MOST with just the APU, or if you want to be prepared for the future go $450 to be safe and then later add in a Crossfire capable GPU for the APU and get even more performance.
Now, Other uses for the APU which I used it for is some Watching of HD Movies and Shows via Netflix and Hulu and all your other favorite HD Streaming services, as well as watching DVD's and Bluerays of course.
I downloaded a few blueray files and found them to play smooth and clear the entire time which were sample downloads off the internet to try.
So of course you can build a Amazing HTPC Around the AMD APU as also on pretty much all of their Motherboards, you can have 7 Sata ports that are off the same Controller, meaning unlike marvel controllers you see on intel based motherboards that have usually Terrible read/write and stalling performance on connected devices, these give full performance.
So Storage as well is not a problem.
Heck you can even make a nice NAS System around a APU but it does not have to be the a10-6800k.
What I would LOVE to note for all APU System builders thinking about a APU, I do suggest atleast ddr3-1600mhz memory. Memory for Gaming and videos ect. DO benefit Quite a bit off faster memory. If you can afford It I suggest you get 2133mhz or atleast the 1866mhz.
So to Conclude my review, I must say Thanks to AMD and also all my friends who also helped me.
I must say I was a little skeptical of the performance it may bring at first, but I was proven quite wrong, as I have not touched my Main rig since I been testing this computer, It turned into a Daily used setup, and I can't believe the performance it has gave to me.
Please if you are thinking about getting a APU but doubt the performance, I really do suggest you think twice as it does bring some nice performance to the table, especially for the price, and how nice of a Budget build you can put together with it.
It can Handle Multiple applications while Gaming, and Streaming ect. and is quite the powerhouse for such a build, as I think many people are underestimating it.
This also can be a great setup for you to start your or a friends building addiction as well, and understand how to build a computer too.
So thanks everyone taking the time to read my review, as well as AMD for making me a Sponsored Test Driver!
I hope all of you enjoyed reading, and hopefully I'll play another game soon and see what it brings for games maybe such as World Of Warcraft as well as other games that I used to play, as I am more of a Moba guy these days =)
Also pretty much every other photos that didn't make it so I don't flood the forum post with pics go here =)