AMD A12-9800 Bristol Ridge APU (socket AM4) review

Sneak peek at new APU series


AMD 'Bristol Ridge' A12-9800

One of the reasons that explain why the Excavator cores were initially only used in notebook chips, is that AMD mainly focused on power consumption during the development of said chips. This is because laptops benefit much more from a power efficient chip compared to desktops - a more power efficient CPU means improved battery life - and at higher clock speeds processors will inevitably become less efficient. For this reason AMD hasn't clocked the A12-9800 very high out-of-the-box: the base clock frequency is 3.8 GHz, with a turbo of up to 4.2 GHz. These speeds are a bit lower compared to last generation's flagship, the A10-7890K, that ran at 4.1/4.3 GHz.

Even though the architectures of both the CPU and GPU part have been upgraded, the layout of the chip has mostly stayed the same. The chip consists of two so-called modules, that each contain two cores. Certain parts of the module are shared between both cores, which it's debatable whether each module contains two 'true' cores.

Both the CPU and GPU parts of the APU have been improved.

AMD has been marketing the integrated chip under the Radeon R7 name. The chip features 512 shader units, just like last generation's chip. The upgrade to the second latest GCN generation could boost performance by a small amount, however the majority of the performance boost comes from the much higher clock speed: 1108 MHz, versus 866 MHz on the A10-7890K.

The memory controller has been replaced by a dual-channel DDR4-controller that supports up to 2400 MHz - our motherboard also did not support faster memory speeds. It should also be noted that overclocking ability has been removed. Last generation's chips could mostly be overclocked, if they were overclockable they had a K-suffix. In this case you'll have to make do the standard clock speed of this A12-9800.

Product discussed in this review

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AMD A12-9800 Tray

Socket AM4, 3.8 GHz, 4 cores, 65 W, 28 nm, Integrated graphics

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