A8-5600K vs. Pentium G2120 CPU Review

Introduction

This month AMD released its second-generation of CPUs with integrated video, dubbed “Trinity.” The A8-5600K is a top mid-range model that runs at 3.6 GHz and costs USD 110, competing directly with the Pentium G2120 (3.1 GHz, USD 100) and the Core i3-2100 (3.1 GHz, USD 120).

It is interesting to see AMD starting to use the same letter as Intel to indicate its CPUs with an unlocked clock multiplier, “K.”

This new generation of AMD APUs, dubbed “Trinity,” uses a new CPU socket, called FM2, which is incompatible with the FM1 socket used by the previous generation of APUs (codenamed “llano”). They are physically different, so it is not possible to install an FM1 CPU into an FM2 socket or an FM2 CPU into an FM1 socket. The Pentium and Core i3 CPUs included in our review use the LGA1155 socket.

AMD A8-5600K APUFigure 1: The AMD A8-5600K processor

In the tables below, we compare the main features of the CPUs included in our review. The second-generation APUs (“Trinity”) finally brings support for the SSE4 instruction set (both SSE4.1 and SSE4.2). It also supports the AVX instruction set. More importantly, it has a “turbo clock” technology, which was not available on the previous generation and is not available on Intel’s Pentium and Core i3 processor lines.

The AMD CPUs included in our review are quad-core models, while the Intel CPUs included are dual-core models. However, the Core i3 processors included support the Hyper-Threading (HT) technology, which simulates one additional core per CPU physical core. The operating system “sees” these CPUs as having four cores. This technology is not available on the Pentium CPU, which is one of the main differences between the Core i3 and the current Pentium processors.

It is important to understand that with the second-generation APUs from AMD, each pair of CPU cores share the same front-end engine (i.e., the fetch unit, the L1 instruction cache, and the instruction decoders). So, each pair of CPU cores is part of the same “module,” and the A8-5600K and the A10-5800K are comprised of two of these modules. This concept was introduced with the AMD “Bulldozer” architecture, used on AMD’s FX processor line, and adopted on the “Piledriver” architecture used by the second-generation APUs. With the other CPUs included in our review, each core is a complete CPU, each with its own front-end engine.

CPU Cores HT SSE4 AVX IGP Clock Turbo Clock Base Clock Codename Tech. TDP Socket Price
A8-3850 4 No No No Yes 2.9 GHz No 100 MHz Llano 32 nm 100 W FM1 USD 95
A8-3870K 4 No No No Yes 3.0 GHz No 100 MHz Llano 32 nm 100 W FM1 USD 105
A8-5600K 4 No Yes Yes Yes 3.6 GHz 3.9 GHz 100 MHz Trinity 32 nm 100 W FM2 USD 110
A10-5800K 4 No Yes Yes Yes 3.8 GHz 4.2 GHz 100 MHz Trinity 32 nm 100 W FM2 USD 130
Pentium G2120 2 No Yes No Yes 3.1 GHz No 100 MHz Ivy Bridge 22 nm 55 W LGA1155 USD 100
Core i3-2100 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes 3.1 GHz No 100 MHz Sandy Bridge 32 nm 65 W LGA1155 USD 120
Core i3-2105 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes 3.1 GHz No 100 MHz Sandy Bridge 32 nm 65 W LGA1155 USD 135
Core i3-3220 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes 3.3 GHz No 100 MHz Ivy Bridge 22 nm 55 W LGA1155 USD 130

Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review. TDP stands for Thermal Design Power and states the maximum amount of heat the CPU can dissipate. The CPU cooler must be capable of dissipating at least this amount of heat.

Below you can see the memory configuration for each CPU.

CPU L1 Cache (I + D) L2 Cache L3 Cache Memory Support Memory Channels
A8-3850 64 KB + 64 KB per core 1 MB per core No Up to DDR3-1866 Two
A8-3870K 64 KB + 64 KB per core 1 MB per core No Up to DDR3-1866 Two
A8-5600K 64 kB per module + 16 kB per core 2 MB x 2 No Up to DDR3-1866 Two
A10-5800K 64 kB per module + 16 kB per core 2 MB x 2 No Up to DDR3-1866 Two
Pentium G2120 32 KB + 32 KB per core 256 kB per core 3 MB total Up to DDR3-1600 Two
Core i3-2100 32 KB + 32 KB per core 256 kB per core 3 MB total Up to DDR3-1333 Two
Core i3-2105 32 KB + 32 KB per core 256 kB per core 3 MB total Up to DDR3-1333 Two
Core i3-3220 32 KB + 32 KB per core 256 kB per core 3 MB total Up to DDR3-1333 Two

Below we have a quick comparison of the video engine of the CPUs.

CPU Video Engine DirectX Clock Cores
A8-3850 Radeon HD 6550D 11 600 MHz 400
A8-3870K Radeon HD 6550D 11 600 MHz 400
A8-5600K Radeon HD 7560D 11 760 MHz 256
A10-5800K Radeon HD 7660D 11 800 MHz 384
Pentium G2120 Intel HD Graphics 11 650 MHz/1.05 GHz 6
Core i3-2100 Intel HD 2000 10.1 850 MHz/1.1 GHz 6
Core i3-2105 Intel HD 3000 10.1 850 MHz/1.1 GHz 12
Core i3-3220 Intel HD 2500 11 650 MHz/1.05 GHz 6

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Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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