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Thread: CPU vs APU

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    CPU vs APU

    I am considering the purchase of a computer combo kit from either Newegg or Tigerdirect. Some of these kits come with AMD APUs (A4, A6, etc.). Others come with AMD CPUs (ie, Athlon X3). I'm looking at AMD because they seem to be somewhat cheaper. I've been trying to understand the differences but the only thing I almost understand is that the APUs are accelerated and have both CPU and GPU on board. For a low middle-of-the-road general purpose computer (not a gamer) is one any better than the other?
    Thanks

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    As I understand it, similar to you, the CPU and GPU are on the same die, instead of the motherboard maybe having a graphics chip or maybe not depending on what a builder wants.
    For onboard/integrated graphics they are some of the best available but of course they still can't compete with a good to great graphics add on card. For a non-gaming rig, one or two monitors up to 1920x1080 resolution; should be great.

    If you decide on a traditional CPU-based processor, you want to pay attention to whether the motherboard has on board graphics or not. If you get one without integrated graphics you'll need to add a discrete video card.

    So it kind of depends on which one would be a better fit for a given situation.

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quite a lot of information about both Intel and AMD combined CPUs and Graphics Processing Units in this article.
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

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    CPU vs APU

    Thanks for the good information. It looks like APUs are here to stay. For my purposes, it looks like the way to go. Also, after posting my question, I found out that the AMD APU will work with a discrete GPU add-on card should I decide later that I need one .

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    Yes, just about anything will work with a discrete card later on as long as the motherboard has a discrete graphics slot physically available. If you're not gaming hard core and get an APU-type processor with HD6000 series graphics support and above, it should cover everything except the one aforementioned activity, with adequate RAM as well of course.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    When you finally get your hands on the APU based system, let us know how it's working out for you.

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    CPU vs APU

    I'll sure let you know. It may be a while as I haven't yet decided whether I really want to do this or stick with WinXP for a little longer.

    I've been looking at combo kits at Newegg and Tigerdirect. Any other suggestions? My concern with Tiger direct is that most everything in the kit is OEM. They claim that the only difference is in the packaging. Based on past (bad) experience, I don't believe it.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I've been looking at combo kits at Newegg and Tigerdirect. Any other suggestions? My concern with Tiger direct is that most everything in the kit is OEM. They claim that the only difference is in the packaging. Based on past (bad) experience, I don't believe it.
    Probably OEM for a cheaper pricing deal.
    Figure out what processor you want, then work on a motherboard to go with it. The rest, with proper research, will fall into place.

    Occasionally, you may get something that has be "recertified". Meaning that it has been used, returned, and simple repackaged
    for resale. Personally, I would avoid this unless I have some serious budget concerns. Usually computers get my budget priority.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-03-07 at 23:18.

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    Smile CPU vs APU

    Clint,
    Your point is well taken. I suppose it is naive to think that all the compatibility issues are already worked out and put into a good kit. I am just so ignorant of all the terminology that I was trying to avoid the hours of research that it will take to make a good decision. I'm not lazy. I try to find answers to my computer problems on my own. And, sometimes I do. It's just not something I enjoy doing. I would rather be out in the shop making sawdust and toothpicks .

    I may take another look at the Newegg kits. Their stated policy is that individual kit components are returnable for replacement and none are listed as OEM. For me, that's a plus.

    Thanks

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    That's probably the good thing with the barebones kits, compatibilities are worked out for the most part.
    But determining compatibilities with major and common components is not too hard.
    It does take a bit of effort overall, and in my opinion, it is well worth every ounce once the time come to sit down and do the actual build.
    There is nothing worse than having surprises during a build, unless they are pleasant surprises.

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    I've more or less given up on the kit approach and have been researching separate components. At this point I have selected:
    AMD A4 3400
    Asus F1A75-M
    Crucial 8 GB (2x4)
    W. D. 1 TB
    DVD R/W (no brand selected yet)
    Antec EA-500D (to upgrade old case for re-use)

    I have a question about RAM. The specs for the APU indicate "DDR3 speed = 1600". Does that mean that the RAM I install must be 1600 speed or up to 1600 or other?

    Also a question about the APU. There is not a huge cost increase to bump up to a 4 core A6. For a non-gaming computer, is there any particular advantage to doing this? If the answer to the first question is yes then I will need 1866 speed RAM for the A6 APU. It is considerably more expensive.

    Thanks

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Yes, get the quad core processor if you can. The more cores the better, this will allow for smoother multitasking.
    On the RAM, ensure that it is capable of being clocked up to 1600 at least.
    If the board supports an XMP profile, Make the RAM XMP so that you may set it's speed to 1600, or whatever it's capable.
    On most boards your default will be 1300, most higher settings will be an overclock. [generally]
    If the answer to the first question is yes then I will need 1866 speed RAM for the A6 APU.
    No. As long as the memory you do get for it is known compatible. Use the website of the memory vendor that you plan to purchase from
    to get a compatibility list for the board your planning to go with.
    Crucial

    Other product recommendations:
    CORSAIR H80 (CWCH80) High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler


    Post a link to your boards.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-03-16 at 10:57.

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    Clint,
    I went to the Crucial site and came up with a very long list of similar models and a lot of information I didn't understand. I then went to the Asus site and looked up their Qualified Vender List (QVL) for the MB and APU I plan to use. This produced a very short list of specific memory sticks by model number. All are XMP. This made the selection easier. I found 4 of the size and speed that I want and also found them on Newegg. I've changed my list as follows:

    AMD A6 3500
    Asus F1A75-M
    G. Skill 8 GB (2x4) (XMP)
    W. D. 1 TB
    DVD R/W (no brand selected yet)
    Antec EA-500D (to upgrade old case for re-use)

    See any other problems?

    Do I understand correctly that a DVI port also works for VGA? I plan (if possible) to use my old CRT for a while.

    Thanks for the help.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Check the specs on the board to see what type of port is available, at worst, all you may need is a converter for your older CRT monitor's cable. If you are also purchasing an on GPU card you may also need a converter. Visually inspect both your CRT monitor's plug, and that of the motherboard your planing on getting.

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    I guess the question is moot. I got a hold of Asus tech support and they said that a VGA port is available on this MB. This is not clear on the spec sheet. However, I did find a picture of the back plane and, low and behold, there it is.

    Thanks again

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