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Why the AMD A4 5300 3.6Ghz FM2 APU is a piece of junk!
Feb 9, 2013 (Updated Feb 12, 2013)
by Reuben Gathright
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Cons:Heatsink is horrible, poor graphics performance
The Bottom Line:
The AMD A4 5300 stumbles to do anything of consequence with gaming video and should only be used for the reasons outlined below.
Over the past few years, AMD has been releasing some exciting new computer processors which feature an integrated 3D graphics chip based on Radeon HD technology. The AMD A4 5300 3.6Ghz FM2 APU AD5300OKHJBOX is the baseline model of the latest generation of this computer technology. However before you decide to buy this processor, you need to know some of its weakness and strengths which can affect how it performs in your next computer.
Recommend this product?
Here are some of the questions answered in this review:
Will the stock AMD heatsink provided with the A4-5300 3.6Ghz processor work for you?
What type of computer components will you need to make an AMD FM2 system?
Read On To Find Out The Answers To These Questions And More!
Overview Of The Technologies Integrated Into The AMD A4 5300 APU
At its heart, the A4-5300 APU offers two cpu cores running at 3.6Ghz and supports 64bit operating systems to give you the ability to use over 16Gb of system memory. The two central processing units have 64Kb of Level 1 cache and 1Mb shared of Level 2 cache. The cache of a processor enhances its ability to perform large computations which results in better gaming and Litecoin generating performance.
The GPU in this processor provides 3D gaming support and supplies the power needed to play back x264 encoded high definition videos on your 1080P HDMI television. The AMD A4 5300 features an integrated Radeon HD 7480D GPU which runs at 723 MHz and has 128 Radeon cores. As a comparison, the A10-5800K has a Radeon HD 7660D GPU which runs at 800 MHz and has a total of 384 Radeon cores. The Radeon cores act like individual cpu cores and will increase your video game performace dramatically. Please note that these integrated GPU cards are not as fast as the plug in PCIe graphics cards for many reasons, but mostly due to memory speed.
AMD Provides A Heatsink With The AMD A4 5300 Processor
The heatsink that comes with this processor is a small piece of rectangular aluminum with fins cut in a pattern out from a solid core center. The stock heatsink supplied by AMD for this APU measures approximately 2.5” x 3” x .75” inches and has a 70MM fan mounted on top. When the heatsink is placed over top of the AMD cpu, it does not even fully cover it.
The main problem with the design is that it forces hot air down onto the processor and motherboard which tends to trap the hot air overtop of your components while in use.
The second problem is the noise the fan makes while the computer is playing HD movies or during a brief video game benchmark. Fan noise sounds like a high pitch whine which can be heard from several feet away even though the Antec Three Hundred Gaming Case is fully closed up.
Finally, the A4-5300 processor easily broke system temperatures in excess of 110F while idle in Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit with the stock heatsink installed. After running a few benchmarks on the processor, the temperatures rose to as high as 130F! It became apparent that no other option but complete heatsink replacement would work if I wanted to complete my review and use this computer for video surveillance. The solution was installing an Arctic Freezer 13 heatsink to replace the stock fan and to help move air away from the processor. Upon next reboot into the operating system, the cpu temperature was holding steady at 85F.
Choosing The Right Hardware Components To Build An AMD FM2 Computer System
You now know that you will need a better heatsink for your new AMD dual core processor. Additionally, you will need a socket FM2 motherboard like the ASUS F2A55-M LE FM2 Motherboard. Since this is a low power draw processor, you can use the economical Corsair Builder Series CX 430 Watt ATX/EPS 80 PLUS power supply and a Crucial m4 (CT256M42) (CT256M4SSD2) 256 GB SATA Solid State Drive (SSD) to save a vast amount of electricity. For your memory requiements, I had great success with Corsair XMS3 MB DDR3 SDRAM (CMX8GX3M2A2000C9) last year and continue my recommendation for these next generation AMD APU computer systems. Your choice of computer case is more a sense of style and function which is not my particular department of expertise. Finally, please consider using a Targus (ADV01US) (92636248178) External DVD Drive instead of an internal model since most data is now transferred over the internet today and it will give your netbooks a way to use a DVD drive as well!
Overclocking With The AMD A4 5300 with an ASUS F2A55-M LE FM2 Motherboard
While the remainder of this review may look like an overclocking bonanza focused entirely on the AMD A4 5300 processor, it is actually a testament to the stability of the ASUS F2A55-M LE FM2 motherboard and how it performs under extreme situations. The bios provided by ASUS is truly top notch with a slick high resolution set of gauges that greet you upon the initial entry screen.
Performance Testing With An AMD A4 5300 APU
A total of four software benchmarking utilities were used to test the processor featured in this review. Each of the utilities have been tested with other hardware in previous reviews to help give you a comparison point. The goal of these tests is to stress the processor while overclocked to find its point of failure to help determine how much abuse it can really take. All tests were performed with air cooled components in a room that is temperature controlled to 72F with less than 35% humidity.
SuperPi is an application that extrapolates the specified digits of PI into a text file. The calculation is single threaded in this version so you only see the performance of one cpu core. In this test, I analyzed the performance using the 1,000,000 digits of Pi calculation.
AMD A4 5300, 3.6Ghz, stock: 27 seconds
Here is how the AMD A4-5300 Dual Core stacks up against the competition in Super Pi:
Intel Celeron 1.8Ghz 400Mhz FSB Socket 478: 2 minutes 20 seconds
AMD A8-3850 2.900 Ghz: 26 seconds
AMD PHENOM II 4X Z965 AM3 BLACK EDITION Processor: 20 seconds
1090T 3.2GHz AMD Phenom II X6 Six-Core Processor: 19 seconds
Intel Xeon E5450 3.0Ghz 12Mb cache four core processor: 15 seconds
Intel i7 920 Socket 1366 processor 2.667Ghz: 14 seconds
Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33Ghz processor: 13 seconds
POV-Ray 3.7 RC3 32Bit
POV-Ray, the popular freeware 3D animation utility, has a release which that offers SSE2 enhanced processing extensions. POV -Ray stresses the floating point unit and memory bandwidth of the processor to render stunning 2D images. The raytracing software package also makes use of all available logical cpu cores in your computer system to render images. Because this benchmark is multi-threaded, it will use all both cpu cores of the AMD A4 5300 to improve these results.
For this test, I am using the benchmark.pov file with QuickRes.ini value of 512x384 NO AA since it is provided with all new installations of POV.
AMD A4 5300 3.74 Ghz, 110 Mhz bus speed, overclocked: 3 minutes 23 seconds
AMD A4 5300 4.08 Ghz, 120 Mhz bus speed, overclocked: 3 minutes 06 seconds
AMD A4 5300 4.42 Ghz, 130 Mhz bus speed, overclocked: 2 minutes 52 seconds
For a quick comparison, take at look at what these AMD and Intel processors can do with the same benchmark.
AMD Sempron 140 Socket AM3 2.7Ghz Processor: 13 minutes 11 seconds
Intel E1400 Celeron Dual Core 2.0 Ghz, stock speed: 5 minutes 51 seconds
AMD 1090T 3.2GHz Phenom II X6 Six-Core Processor: 3 minutes 53 seconds
Intel i5-2430M in Sony VPCSC31 laptop: 2 minutes 31 seconds
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 Processor EU80569XJ080NL: 1 minute 41 seconds
AMD Opteron 6128 2.0 Ghz, 16 cores, two physical processors: 48 seconds
PassMark - G3D Mark Version 7.0 Benchmark
The video card inside the AMD A4 5300 is an ATI Radeon HD 7480D.
Among all these results, higher scores are better:
AMD A4 5300 3.74 Ghz, 110 Mhz bus speed, 733 Mhz DRAM Frequency, overclocked: 674.7
AMD A4 5300 4.08 Ghz, 120 Mhz bus speed, 800 Mhz DRAM Frequency, overclocked: 755.03
AMD A4 5300 4.42 Ghz, 130 Mhz bus speed, 866 Mhz DRAM Frequency, overclocked: 804.3
As a comparison here are some other results for another apu processor:
AMD A4-3400; 2.70 Ghz, 100 Mhz FSB, 667 Mhz DRAM Frequency, stock speed: 499.2
AMD A4-3400; 2.70 Ghz, 100 Mhz FSB, 800 Mhz DRAM Frequency, overclocked: 564.4
Heaven Benchmark v2.5 Basic Benchmark
To test the graphics card, I installed the Heaven DirectX 11 Benchmark version 2.5. The benchmark is my current favorite because it runs 26 different tests on your video subsystem to simulate the experience you would have while playing games like Dirt 3 or Deus Ex Human Revolution.
Render: Direct3d11, Mode: 1366x768 fullscreen, Shaders: high, Textures: high, Filter: trilinear, Anisotropy 4x, Occlusion: enabled, Refraction: enabled, Volumetric: enabled, Tessellation: normal
AMD A4 5300 3.74 Ghz, 110 Mhz bus speed, 733 Mhz DRAM Frequency, overclocked:
Min FPS: 4.0
Max FPS: 12.7
AMD A4 5300 4.08 Ghz, 120 Mhz bus speed, 800 Mhz DRAM Frequency, overclocked:
Min FPS: 5.2
Max FPS: 18.9
AMD A4 5300 4.42 Ghz, 130 Mhz bus speed, 866 Mhz DRAM Frequency, overclocked:
Min FPS: 6.7
Max FPS: 26.4
As a comparison, here are the results for an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550Ti video card:
Min FPS: 9.8
Max FPS: 19.9
As a comparison, here are the results for an ASUS brand ATI HD 5850 video card:
Min FPS: 7.4
Max FPS: 82.9
Results Of AMD A4 5300 Performance Testing
The AMD A4 5300 is a real slug compared to many other processor options on the market today. The Radeon graphics chip shows how ineffective it really is with just 128 cores.
The performance tests show that the graphics system of the processor and motherboard respond dramatically to higher clock speeds. Overclocking reached its limit at 866 Mhz and 130 Mhz bus speed because the DDR3 ram only supports 800Mhz speeds. Above this level, you can expect the system to not be stable which is what happened at 140 FSB. Now, the motherboard does offer CPU/NB Load Line Calibration, CPU Current Capability and CPU Power Phase Control which in my opinion gave me the ability to push the processor to 4.42 Ghz on air cooling.
The AMD A4 5300 stumbles to do anything of consequence with gaming video and should only be used for a cheap media center computer. Of course I have no room to complain when considering the low price of $40 I paid for this processor. The heatsink is horrible, the video performance was miserable and processing power is far below any modern standard of a desktop computer. My rating of two stars reflects the fact that the processor is still functional at basic computer tasks. I still wish I spent a little more and bought the AMD A6 5400K instead and save myself the hassle of watching a great video surveillance system get slowed down while playing multiple video streams at once.
The entire fiasco I went through with this AMD A4 processor is just another example of why cheap and computer technology should not be in the same discussion!
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