I don’t know if the price is right ofr an old platform that is…
The A9-9820 mounted on a motherboard (Image source: @momomo_us)

An Aliexpress seller recently listed what appears to be a rare, unreleased AMD APU from the Excavator era. The 8-core A9-9820 leverage R7 350 graphics and bear striking similarities to the Xbox One’s performance profile.

An Aliexpress seller recently listed for sale what appears to be a rare, unreleased, pre-Ryzen era AMD APU. The A9-9820 (as spotted by @momomo_us) features 8 Excavator cores and a GCN-based R7 350 GPU. If released, the APU would likely have been the top-tier offering in AMD’s 2016 Bristol Ridge lineup. 

The A9-9820 spotted here is interesting for a number of reasons. For starters, AMD has only recently rolled out eight core APUs as part of the Renoir lineup. Earlier APU models topped out at four cores and eight threads.

We’ve never seen an eight-core Excavator APU before, at least for PC. Things are different in the console space, however. The Xbox One’s and PS4’s APUs both package relatively weak 8-core Jaguar CPUs with powerful GCN graphics. We see that approach mirrored here with the A9-9820. While Excavator features a higher IPC than Jaguar, we’re still looking at eight very weak CPU cores paired with a relatively powerful GPU, the R7 350 in this case.

This GCN-based part features just 512 shaders and is clocked at 800 MHz, making it roughly 20 percent slower than the Xbox One’s GPU. The substantially faster CPU could mean that the A9-9820 delivers roughly equivalent gaming performance to the Xbox One.

While it has been rendered irrelevant by newer Zen-powered APUs, the A9-9820 is an interesting piece of hardware in and of itself. If it’d seen the light of day, it could’ve offered budget PC gamers a console-equivalent experience years before Renoir. 

Arjun Krishna Lal, 2020-10-15 (Update: 2020-10-15)

I’ve had a passion for PC gaming since 1996, when I watched my dad score frags in Quake as a 1 year-old. I’ve gone on to become a Penguin-published author and tech journalist. When I’m not traveling the world, gathering stories for my next book, you can find me tinkering with my PC.

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