Finding the right processor to drive your beefy new budget PC is an important part of the planning process. Your processor choice may ultimately decide your motherboard, RAM, graphics, and power supply decisions. More than any other internal component, a computer’s speed and computing power is typically associated with a good CPU.
When AMD offered me the opportunity to try out the A8-3870K APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) in a custom PC build, I jumped at the chance. AMD has been doing exciting things with its processors in the past several years, and the APU is a hard product to overlook. Combining a quad-core CPU with a powerful AMD Radeon HD 6550D in a single FM1 socket chip is a big deal. This means power efficiency and more bang for your buck all the way.
The A8-3870K may not win you any competitions in the gaming world, but it is a capable workhorse designed to get the job done for the vast majority of users out there.
While the actual benchmark tests will take place towards the end of this article series, I’m confident the performance of this APU will make the average $100 investment well worth it, especially for users who don’t have the money or desire to go with a dedicated video card.
The A8-3870K is a special edition of the APU series that’s unlocked for easy overclocking.
Here is a look at the basic specs of the A8-3870K.
- Core: Llano (Quad-core) 64-bit
- Base Operating Frequency: 3.0 GHz
- Platform: Lynx
- L2 Cache: 4096
- Technology: 32 nm
- Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6550D (600 Mhz)
- Power: 100W
- CPU Socket: Socket FM1
- Model: AD3870WNGXBOX / AD3870WNZ43GX
Status of the Build
This particular APU is a perfect fit for the A75M-S2V motherboard that I wrote about in the first part of this series. Next week, I’m expecting to receive the RAM (2 GB) and CPU cooler. I’m still undecided on the case and power supply, though the primary hard drive will be a 1 TB Barracuda by Seagate I’m salvaging from a RAID build I did earlier this year.
- Motherboard: A75M-S2V
- Processor: A8-3870K
- RAM: Kingston HyberX 2 GB 1333
- CPU Cooler: Basic Heat Sink
- Hard Drive: 1 TB Seagate Barracuda
- Case: ???
- Power Supply: ???
- Optical Drive: ???
- Keyboard: ???
- Mouse: ???
If you know of a good microATX case and/or power supply that falls under the $100 price mark, please leave a comment below and let us know about it. Your suggestions may well help create the ultimate budget PC for my five-year-old nephew.