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We tested one more CPU from the socket FM2+ Athlon lineup from AMD: the Athlon X4 860K. Let’s test it and compare it to its main competitors.
At first, all processors for FM2+ platform were “APUs”, which is how AMD calls their CPUs with integrated video. Atfer a while, AMD launched some models without an integrated GPU for this socket, using the Athlon brand, like the Athlon X4 880K and the Athlon X4 845. Today, let’s test another model, the Athlon X4 860K, which has four cores, 3.7 GHz base clock and 4.0 GHz maximum clock.
The main competitor of the Athlon X4 860K is the Pentium G4500, which we tested recently. So, we ran our benchmarks on the Athlon X4 860K and on the Pentium G4500, also including the FX-4300 and the Athlon X4 880K, to see how the X4 860K compares to them.
Figure 1 unveils the box of the Athlon X4 860K we used in our tests.

Athlon X4 860KFigure 1: box of the Athlon X4 860K

Figure 2 shows the box contents: a manual, the CPU itself, a case sticker, and a cooler.

Athlon X4 860KFigure 2: box contents

Figure 3 unveils the Athlon X4 860K CPU.

Athlon X4 860KFigure 3: the Athlon X4 860K CPU

Figure 4 shows the bottom of the CPU.

Athlon X4 860KFigure 4: underside of the Athlon X4 860K

You need to keep in mind the Athlon X4 860K, as well as the FX-4300 and the Athlon X4 880K, doesn’t offer integrated video, so you need to use a “real” video card or a motherboard that offers it.
So, we tested the CPUs with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti video card installed, as a way to check the pure processing performance of each one of the tested CPUs.
Let’s compare the main specs of the reviewed CPUs in the next page.
[nextpage title=”The Reviewed CPUs”]
In the tables below, we compare the main features of the CPUs included in our review.

CPU Cores HT IGP Internal Clock Turbo Clock Core Tech. TDP Socket Price
Athlon X4 860K 4 No No 3.7 GHz 4.0 GHz Kaveri 28 nm 95 W FM2+ USD 80
Pentium G4500 2 No Yes 3.5 GHz Skylake 14 nm 51 W LGA1151 USD 74
Athlon X4 880K 4 No No 4.0 GHz 4.2 GHz Godavari 28 nm 95 W FM2+ USD 97
FX-4300 4 No No 3.8 GHz 4.0 GHz Vishera 32 nm 95 W AM3+ USD 90

Below you can see the memory configuration for each CPU.

CPU L2 Cache L3 Cache Memory Support Memory Channels
Athlon X4 860K 2 x 2 MiB Up to DDR3-2133 2
Pentium G4500 2 x 256 kiB 3 MiB Up to DDR4-2133 or DDR3L-1600 2
Athlon X4 880K 2 x 2 MiB Up to DDR3-2133 2
FX-4300 2 x 2 MiB 8 MiB Up to DDR3-1866 2

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions, the only variable devicand was the CPU being tested, besides the motherboard and memory, which had to be replaced to match the different CPUs.
Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • NTFS
  • Video resolution: 1920 x 1080 60 Hz

Driver Versions

  • NVIDIA driver version: 375.95

Software Used

Error Margin
We adopted a 4% error margin. Thus, differences below 4% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 4% should be considered as having similar performance.
[nextpage title=”PCMark 8″]
PCMark 8 is a benchmarking software that uses real-world applications to measure the computer performance. We ran three tests: Home, which includes web browsing, writing, light gaming, photo editing, and video chat tests; Creative, that includes web surfing, video editing, group video chat, video conversion, and gaming; and Work, which runs tasks such as writing documents, web browsing, spreadsheets, editing, and video chatting. Let’s see the results.
Athlon X4 860K
On the PCMark 8 Home benchmark, the Athlon X4 860K was 18% slower than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.
Athlon X4 860K
On the Creative benchmark, the Athlon X4 860K was 17% slower than the Pentium G4500, also performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.
Athlon X4 860K
On the Work benchmark, the Athlon X4 860K was 14% slower than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.
[nextpage title=”3DMark”]

3DMark is a program with a set of several 3D benchmarks. Fire Strike runs a “heavy” DirectX 11 simulation. Sky Diver also measures DirectX 11 performance, and is aimed on average computers. The Cloud Gate benchmark measures DirectX 10 performance, and the Ice Storm Extreme measures DirectX 9 performance and is targeted to entry-level computers, so we don’t ran it.

Keep in mind that we used a GeForce GTX 950 VGA in this test on all CPUs.

Athlon X4 860K

On Fire Strike, all the CPUs were on a technical tie.

Athlon X4 860K

On the Sky Diver benchmark, the Athlon X4 860K performed similarly to the other CPUs.

Athlon X4 860K

On the Cloud Gate benchmark, the Athlon X4 860K was 10% faster than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.

[nextpage title=”Performance in programs”]

 Cinebench R15

Cinebench R15 is based on the Cinema 4D software. It is very useful to measure the performance gain obtained by the presence of several processing cores while rendering heavy 3D images. Rendering is an area where a bigger number of cores helps a lot, because usually this kind of software recognize several processors (Cinebench R15, for example, can use up to 256 processing cores).
We ran the CPU benchmark, which renders a complex image using all the processing cores (real and virtual) to speed up the process. The result is given as a score.
Athlon X4 860K
On Cinebench R15 CPU benchmark, the Athlon X4 860K was 10% faster than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.

CPU-Z

On its current version, the well-known hardware identification software CPU-Z comes with a benchmarking tool, which measures CPU performance for one core and for all available cores.
Athlon X4 860K
On the single thread benchmark, the Athlon X4 860K was 36% slower than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.
Athlon X4 860K
On the multiple thread benchmark, the Athlon X4 860K was 46% faster than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K, and being 15% faster than the FX-4300.

DivX

We used the DivX converter, a tool included in the DivX package, in order to measure the encoding performance using this codec. The DivX codec is capable of recognizing and using all available cores and the SSE4 instruction set.
We converted a Full HD, six-minute long .mov video file into an .avi file, using the “HD 1080p” output profile. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
Athlon X4 860K
On DivX encoding, the Athlon X4 860K was 20% slower than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K, and being 7% faster than the FX-4300.

Media Espresso

Media Espresso is a video conversion program that uses the graphics processing unit of the video engine to speed up the conversion process. We converted a 1 GiB, 1920x1080i, 23,738 kbps, .mov video file to a smaller 320×200, H.264, .MP4 file for viewing on a smartphone. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.

Athlon X4 860K

Here the Athlon X4 860K was 25% slower than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and being 6% faster than the FX-4300.

Photoshop CC

The best way to measure the performance of a CPU is by using real programs. The problem, of course, is to create a methodology that offers precise results. For Photoshop CC, we used a script named “Retouch Artist Speed Test,” which applies a series of filters to a standard image and gives the time Photoshop takes to run all of them. The results are given in seconds, so the less, the best.
Athlon X4 860K
In this test, the Athlon X4 860K was 32% slower than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.

WinRAR

Another task where the CPU is very demanded is on file compacting. We ran a test compacting a folder with 8 GiB on 6.813 files to a file, using WinRAR 4.2. The graph below shows the time taken on each test.
Athlon X4 860K
On WinRAR, the Athlon X4 860K was 18% slower than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.
[nextpage title=”Gaming Performance”]

 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an action RPG with FPS elements, launched in August 2016, that uses the Dawn engine, being compatible with DirectX 12. We tested it using the benchmark included in the game, with DirectX 12 enabled, graphic options “medium” and MSAA off.
The results below, in Full HD, are expressed in frames per second.
Athlon X4 860K
On Deus Ex: Mankind Divided all the CPUs had the same performance.

Dirt Rally

Dirt Rally is an off-road racing game released in April 2015, using Ego engine. To measure performance using this game, we ran the performance test included in the game, in 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) resolution and image quality configured as “medium” and MSAA off.
The results below are expressed in frames per second (fps).
Athlon X4 860K

In this game, the Athlon X4 860K was 30% slower than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V, or simply GTA V, is an open-world action game released for PCs in April of 2015, using the RAGE engine. In order to measure the performance on this game, we ran the performance test of the game, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran GTA V at Full HD, with all image quality set at the minimum.

The results below are expressed in frames per second.

Athlon X4 860K

On GTA V, the Athlon X4 860K was 36% faster than the Pentium G4500, performing similarly to the Athlon X4 880K and the FX-4300.

Hitman

Hitman is an action/stealth game, launched in March 2016, that uses a DirectX 12 compatible version of the Glacier 2 engine. To measure performance in this game, we ran the benchmark in it, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran this game with DirectX 12 enabled, with image quality set as “high” and FXAA on.
The results below, in Full HD and 4K, are expressed in frames per second.
Athlon X4 860K
On Hitman, all the CPUs performed the same way.

Rise of the Tomb Rider

Rise of the Tomb Rider is an adventure/action game launched in January of 2016, based on Foundation engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran the benchmark included on it, using Full HD resolution and graphics quality set to “medium”.
The results below are expressed in frames per second.
Athlon X4 860K
Also on Rise of the Tomb Rider, the performance was also the same on all CPUs.
[nextpage title=”Overclocking”]
As you may tell because of the “K” at the end of the CPU’s name, the Athlon X4 860K has an unlocked multiplier, which means you can overclock it just by modifying its clock multiplier.
We were able to configure the CPU to run stable at 4.2 GHz (100 MHz reference clock and x42 multiplier), with the original voltages. It may be possible to reach higher frequencies if you “play” with the available adjusts.
However, if you intend overclocking the Athlon X4 860K, it is good to use a better cooling system, because the cooler that comes with this CPU is a very simple one.
It is also good to keep in mind that the overclock capability depends on pure luck, since two CPUs of same model can reach different maximum clocks.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
The Athlon X4 860K is an inexpensive CPU. Compared to its direct competitor, we can say there is a technical tie. In several benchmarks, they both performed similarly. In the tests where the one-core performance matters, the Athlon X4 860K was slower, but it was faster on the applications that take advantage of the four cores.
Comparing the Athlon X4 860K to the Athlon X4 880K (which has a similar architecture, but a slightly higher clock) and the FX-4300 (which uses a different platform, but has similar specs,) we can also say there was a technical tie.
So, the conclusion is that the Athlon X4 860K offers an excellent cost/benefit ratio. Considering also it is unlocked and you achieve higher speeds by overclocking it, it is a great CPU if you are looking for an inexpensive one, with good performance.