AMD released Ryzen earlier this year and has been a happy time for enthusiasts ever since. Budget buyers have recently received the Ryzen 3 quad-core models, while those with really tight budgets are looking for the APUs that integrate both a CPU and a GPU under one roof.
The first wave of these new APUs is known as "Bristol Ridge", and while they support the new AM4 platform, they are not what many believed (or at least hoped).
These are not Zen-based APUs that are unlikely to arrive until next year. What we have here are excavator-based CPU cores or a refined bulldozer architecture, and I use the word "refined" pretty loosely here. The A12-9800, for example, has four excavator cores in addition to a generically named Radeon R7 GPU with 512 stream processors.
Although Bristol Ridge was released through OEMs late last year, it has recently become commercially available and this has delighted many of you. The A12-9800 is now priced at $ 110, and along with the promising, fairly decent integrated graphics performance, you can use it on a new AM4 motherboard, such as the B350 chipset.
There's also a much cheaper and equally popular version without the built-in GPU called Athlon X4 950, and at $ 60, people have already started buying it. However, the less impulsive buyers among you have desperately asked us to review these new AM4 parts to see if they are any good. So let's do that …
Let's get this out of the way right now: the Bristol Ridge range currently only supports up to DDR4-2400 memory. At the moment there is simply no way to set the memory speed higher, at least on all motherboards that I have tried. Memory performance has always been a big problem for the bulldozer architecture, and after numerous revisions, it was still quite pathetic compared to the Intel competition. Here we see how the G4560 transmits more than twice the bandwidth of the A12-9800. Keep in mind that this APU also needs to power an integrated GPU with this meager 11.2 GB / s bandwidth, which is pretty tragic.
Next we have Cinebench R15, a good synthetic yardstick to measure how powerful the single and multithreaded performance of a CPU really is. As you can see, the dual-core Pentium G4560 has no problems spraying the A12-9800 in both single and multithread tests, and it's clocked significantly lower. Yes, it all looks very bulldozing to me so far.
PCMark 10 throws a number of popular productivity workloads onto the system. Here you can see the individual results for the writing and spreadsheet tests. Even these basic tasks pose a real challenge for the quad-core APU.
Don't even worry about creating content. Here the G4560 outperformed the A12-9800 by 64%. Dual cores rule and old excavator-based CPUs drool …
In the further course we tried the Monte Carlo simulation work and in this test the new APU from AMD makes us wait almost 16 seconds or 64% longer than the G4560.
Do you want to encode a budget? Then get the Ryzen 3 1200 because it was 150% faster at the same price. You need a cheap GPU, but that shouldn't be a problem for more than double CPU firepower.
The A12-9800 took 46% longer than the G4560 and 52% longer than the R3 1200 in the Corona benchmark.
The A12-9800's Blender results are actually not that bad since they beat the G4560, although it must be said that the G4560 performed poorly in this test. The APU was still 46% slower than the Ryzen 3 1200.
Hopefully, if you buy the A12-9800 for a cheap video creation rig, you will only skit for minutes, since rendering our video in 1 minute and 30 seconds took approximately 13 minutes.