[nextpage title=”Introduction”]
AMD has maintained, for some time, two main families of processors: the FX models, with no integrated video and using AM3+ socket, and the A-series processors (A.K.A. APUs,) with integrated video and using FM2+ socket. Recently, however, AMD announced new processors that use the FM2+ socket with no integrated GPU, using the brand Athlon. One of them is the Athlon X4 880K, which we are testing today. But is it a good buy? Let’s check!
The Athlon X4 880K uses the classic name that, some years ago, was used by the high-end CPUs from AMD, but that has been used recently by the entry-level models like the Athlon 5150, which uses AM1 socket.
The new Athlon X4 880K is the most high-end of the new CPUs with “Athlon” brand. It is actually an A10 processor with the integrated GPU (iGPU) disabled. It has almost the same characteristics of the A10-7870K (which we tested recently), but its clock is a little higher (4.2 GHz maximum clock vs. 4.1 GHz of the A10-7870K) and, obviously, without the iGPU that is a trademark of the A10. It is also based on the “Godavari” core.
Therefore, the Athlon X4 880K is aimed on value/mainstream workstations or gamer computers with a “real” video card.
In terms of price, the Athlon X4 880K is a direct competitor of the Pentium G4500 from Intel. In our test, however, we used the Pentium G4400, which is the closest match we had at our lab. The main difference between the G4500 and the G4400 is the integrated GPU, besides the 3.3 GHz clock of the G4400, while the G4500 has a clock of 3.5 GHz. As the Athlon X4 880K has no integrated video, we will also disable the integrated GPU on the Pentium G4400.
We also included the A10-7870K in this comparison, to check if its performance with disabled iGPU is close to the Athlon X4 880K. In theory, the Athlon X4 880K should be a little faster than the A10-7870K, because of the 100 MHz higher clock. Let’s se if it is true in real-world tests.
In our tests, we used a GeForce GTX 950 video card from Gigabyte, since there is no sense in using a low-end or high-end VGA paired with a value/mainstream processor like the Athlon X4 880K.
Figure 1 reveals the Athlon X4 880K we used on our tests.

Athlon X4 880K ReviewFigure 1: the Athlon X4 880K processor

Figure 2 shows the bottom of the CPU.

Athlon X4 880K ReviewFigure 2: bottom side of the Athlon X4 880K

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 880K

4

No

No

4.0 GHz

4.2 GHz

Godavari

28 nm

95 W

FM2+

USD 95

A10-7870K

4

No

Yes

3.9 GHz

4.1 GHz

Godavari

28 nm

95 W

FM2+

USD 140

Pentium G4400

2

No

Yes

3.3 GHz


Skylake

14 nm

54 W

LGA1151

USD 65

Below you can see the memory configuration for each CPU.

CPU L2 Cache L3 Cache Memory Support Memory Channels

Athlon X4 880K

2 x 2 MiB Up to DDR3-2133 Two

A10-7870K

2 x 2 MiB Up to DDR3-2133 Two

Pentium G4400

2 x 256 kiB

3 MiB

Up to DDR4-2133 or DDR3L-1600

Two

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions, the only variable device 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 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • NTFS
  • Video resolution: 1920 x 1080 60 Hz

Driver Versions

  • NVIDIA driver version: 358.91

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 880K Review
The Athlon X4 880K had a score similar to the A10-7870K, and 10% lower than the Pentium G4400, on the Home benchmark.

Athlon X4 880K Review

On Creative benchmark, the Athlon X4 880K reached a score similar to the A10-7870K, and 10% lower than the Pentium G4400.

Athlon X4 880K Review

On the Work benchmark, the Athlon X4 880K also reached a score similar to the A10-7870K, but 8% below the Pentium G4400.
[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 880K Review

On Fire Strike, all the three processors obtained similar performances.

Athlon X4 880K Review

On the Sky Diver benchmark, the Athlon X4 880K performed similarly to the A10-7870K, and it was 9% faster than the Pentium G4400.

Athlon X4 880K Review

On the Cloud Gate benchmark, the Athlon X4 880K was on tie with the A10-7870K, and it was 21% faster than the Pentium G4400.

[nextpage title=”Photoshop CC and Cinebench R15″]

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 880K Review
In this test, the Athlon X4 880K was 4% faster than the A10-7870K, but 18% slower than the Pentium G4400.

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 880K Review
Here the Athlon X4 880K was 3% faster than the A10-7870K and 28% faster than the Pentium G4400.
[nextpage title=”Video encoding”]

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 880K Review

On DivX encoding, the Athlon X4 880K obtained the same performance of the A10-7870K, while being 11% slower than the Pentium G4400.

DVDShrink

DVDShrink is an old but still very useful program to “shrink” video DVDs that have more than 4.7 GiB of data to fit single-layer DVD media. We used it to compress the DVD of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” DVD to 4.7 GiB. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
Athlon X4 880K Review
In this test, the Athlon X4 880K was 4% faster than the A10-7870K and 73% faster than the Pentium G4400.

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 880K Review

Here the Athlon X4 880K had the same performance of the A10-7870K and 16% slower than the Pentium G4400.
[nextpage title=”Gaming Performance”]

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 is the latest installment in the Battlefield franchise, released in 2013. It is based on the Frostbite 3 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure performance using this game, we walked our way through the first mission, measuring the number of frames per second three times using FRAPS. We ran this game at Full HD, setting overall image quality at “low.”
The results below are expressed in frames per second (fps) and they are the mean between the three collected results.
Athlon X4 880K Review
On Battlefield 4, the Athlon X4 880K obtained the same performance of the A10-7870K, and was 15% faster than the Pentium G4400.

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 “low” and MSAA off.
The results below are expressed in frames per second (fps).
Athlon X4 880K Review

In this game, the Athlon X4 880K was on tie with an A10-7870K, but was 14% slower than the Pentium G4400.

Dying Light

Dying Light is an open-world horror game launched in January 2015, using the Chrome Engine 6. We tested the performance at this game with quality options at the minimum and Full HD resolution, measuring three times the frame rate using FRAPS.
The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.
Athlon X4 880K Review

In this game, the performance of the Athlon X4 880K was similar to the A10-7870K, and 29% higher than the Pentium G4400.

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 image quality set as “normal” and MSAA off.

The results below are expressed in frames per second.

Athlon X4 880K Review

On GTA V, the Athlon X4 880K had the same performance of the A10-7870K, and was 73% faster than the Pentium G4400.

Mad Max

Mad Max is an open-world action game launched in September of 2015, using the Avalanche engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran its intro, measuring the framerate with FRAPS three times. We ran the game at Full HD, with image quality set as “normal”.

The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.

Athlon X4 880K Review

In this game, all of the three CPUs had the same performance.

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 “low”.
The results below are expressed in frames per second.
Athlon X4 880K Review
In this game, the Athlon X4 880K obtained the same performance of the A10-7870K, but was 10% slower than the Pentium G4400.
[nextpage title=”Overclocking”]
The Athlon X4 880K has an unlocked clock multiplier, which means it is possible to overclock it just by adjusting its clock multiplier.
In quick tests, we manage to run the Athlon X4 880K with stability (we tested stability with Prime95) up to 4.4 GHz, with 100 MHz base clock and x44 multiplier, with default voltages. At 4.5 GHz, we don’t get full stability.
Just keep in mind that we reached this overclock without changing any voltage configuration. So, if you have patience to adjust them, and other advanced options, you may reach higher clocks.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
Our feel from the beginning was that the Athlon X4 880K was actually an A10-7870K with the integrated video disabled and 100 MHz more clock. Our tests were consistent with that: the Athlon X4 880K performed barely better than the A10-7870K, but the difference was so small that we can consider both the CPUs were similar in performance.
Comparing it to the competitor Pentium G4400 (remember that the direct competitor of the Athlon X4 880K is the Pentium G4500, which has 200 MHz more clock than the Pentium G4400), we concluded that, while each core of the Pentium has a higher performance of an Athlon core, the fact the Athlon X4 880K has four cores made a difference on some applications. So, in programs that use one or two processing cores, the Pentium G4400 (and, consequently, the Pentium G4500) is a little faster, but in programs that uses the four cores, the Athlon X4 880K has a higher performance.
On the games we tested, it was also clear: on one game the CPUs were on a tie, on two titles the Pentium G4400 was a little faster, but on three games the Athlon X4 880K performed better. Keep in mind that, in our tests, the integrated video was disabled and a mainstream video card (GeForce GTX 950) was used.
After all, the Athlon X4 880K is a good buy? Yes, if you are building a computer for gaming or working, with a dedicated video card, and need to focus on cost/benefit ratio, it is a good processor.
Particularly, if you are thinking about building a computer based on an AMD A8 or A10 CPU, but want to disable the integrated video and use a mainstream video card, the Athlon X4 880K is a better option.