The Competition

It is no secret that AMD is attempting to fire a shot across Intel’s Bay Trail. The low power x86 desktop space is almost all AMD vs. Intel (VIA still produces x86 parts), and the socketed direction for AMD’s Kabini is a new approach in this area. The claim of low power, quad core and low cost is something that entry-level desktop integrators might find hard to ignore – in fact AMD have stated that the feedback from their Latin America integrators for an upgradeable Kabini solution is very good.

While we have not necessarily looked at Bay Trail from a desktop perspective, there are products on the market today. In the UK for example, it is easy enough to purchase an Intel Celeron J1800-based motherboard and have it shipped next-day delivery. 

AMD considers the Athlon 5350/5150 parts (quad core, 2.05 GHz and 1.6 GHz) in line with Intel's Pentium J2850/J2900, and the Sempron 3850 with the J1850/J1900 - all Silvermont based SoCs. In fact, I think the 5350 vs the J1900 is a better fit:

AMD Athlon 5350 vs. Intel Celeron J1900
  Athlon 5350 Celeron J1900
CPU Architecture Jaguar Silvermont
CPU Cores 4 4
CPU Frequency 2.05 GHz 2.0 GHz
2.4 GHz Turbo
GPU Cores 128 SPs 4 EUs
GPU Frequency 600 MHz 688 MHz
Memory Interface 1 x 64-bit 2 x 64-bit
Memory Frequency 1600 MHz 1333 MHz
L2 Cache 2 MB 2 MB
TDP 25 W 10 W
Price $55 $82

The big issue that AMD will point out is the price of the J1900. One of AMD’s big selling points will be the price of an APU and a motherboard, which as we discussed earlier should stretch from $56 to $90 depending on the APU/motherboard. On ark.intel.com, Intel does list the tray price of the J1900 as $82, however you can find a motherboard with integrated J1900 at Newegg for $92. Now either the motherboard manufacturer is getting a good deal on the CPU below tray price (most likely), or Intel is subsiding the cost, or the tray price is incorrect. We can only speculate, but it does mean that the Athlon 5350 and J1900 square off in terms of cost.

For CPU core counts and frequency, the 5350 and J1900 are closely matched with both being quad core parts at ~2.0 GHz, although the J1900 can boost up to 2.4GHz. AMD likely holds the GPU advantage with its R3 graphics/Radeon HD 8400 compared to Intel's 4 EU HD Graphics. With the Athlon there is a higher supported memory frequency, but only a 64-bit wide memory interface. That might hamper the IGP in our testing, and provide memory limited benchmarks an easy ride on the J1900. There's a pretty substantial TDP difference between the two as well, with Intel holding the theoretical power advantage. Intel does make a 20W Silvermont based SKU, the Atom C2750, although that is an 8 core module aimed at servers and costs $171.

The Test

Our AM1 Kabini coverage will be in two parts due to time constraints. This first part of the review is to explain the ecosystem with some Athlon 5350 numbers to compare against other platforms including a couple of Bay Trail and older Intel parts. We aim to publish a second review next week with more numbers, specifically a wider range of Kabini APUs and the key battle of the 5350 against the J1900. We were unfortunate to not be able to source a J1900 in time for this launch.

Our main Kabini Test Setup is as follows:

Test Setup
CPU AMD Athlon 5350
Quad Core, 2.05 GHz
Motherboard GIGABYTE AM1M-S2H
Memory 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-10-10
SSD SF-2281
Power Supply Antec High Current Pro 1200
Graphics Integrated
Graphics Drivers 14.3 Beta

For other platforms:

Test Setup
CPU Motherboard Platform Cores /
Threads
Frequency IGP
AMD
A6-5200
ASRock
IMB-A180-H
Kabini 4 2.0 GHz HD 8400
Intel Celeron
J1800
GIGABYTE
J1800N-D2H
Bay Trail 2 2.4 GHz HD (Ivy)
Intel Atom
C2750
ASRock
C2750D4I
Avoton 8 2.4 GHz None
Intel Celeron
G1101
MSI
Big Bang Fuzion
Nehalem 2 2.3 GHz Not Tested
no IGP outputs
Intel Celeron
G465
ASUS
Maximus V Gene
Sandy Bridge 1 / 2 1.9 GHz HD (Sandy)
Intel Celeron
G2030
ASUS
Maximus V Gene
Ivy Bridge 2 3.0 GHz HD (Ivy)

Other results in this review were taken from our AMD Kaveri launch review.

Introduction CPU Productivity
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  • meacupla - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    oh, god... semiporn is back... Reply
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    There's a Duron joke in here somewhere... Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    The good old days for AMD. That's when I got into PC stuff. Good times. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    Please tell me you are going to pair Kabini with 295x2. LOL Reply
  • scottjames_12 - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    That WOULD be interesting! See how starved the monster GPU gets with an anemic CPU.. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    I know that people are always trying to pair appropriate CPUs and GPUs together to avoid bottlenecks, but the honest truth is that a lot of people just leapfrog their builds every few years alternating between CPU and GPU upgrades. I don't know many people that buy/build a completely new system every 2 or 5 years. I know it happens plenty, but I know a lot of people running Conroe-era CPUs with modern GPUs. Up until a year ago, I was running an old GTX 470 on my 3570K. If money were no object, I would constantly be upgrading, but for now I wait until I absolutely need to.

    I'm probably just weird, but I spent a couple *hours* over the weekend watching YouTube videos of old PCI or AGP-based Pentium and Athlon systems playing modern games and modern OSs. Some are terrible while others are actually playable. Pushing old or slow hardware beyond the reasonable limits to see just what you can get away with is a fun pastime of mine.
    Reply
  • NeatOman - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    I always tell people to go a little overkill on the CPU in case later on they upgrade the GPU.. mostly because they wont be gaming on it most the time and i think its money better spent and later it won't give you much of a CPU bottleneck. Also because if you got a i7 from 6 years ago (yeah, they came out in 2008).. it would only be about 15%-20% slower. But a GPU that was $300 6 years ago lol, yeah right... a HD 3850 from around 6 years ago is about 1/3 the speed of a HD 7850 and twice the price. So over time a CPU holds it value and GPU can drop from year to year by up to half (for the high end models).

    I've found that spending more then $250 ($200 being the sweet spot) is a point of diminishing returns, and same goes for CPU's.
    Reply
  • fokka - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    i'd still go with a fast i5 instead of i7, except i've really got money to burn. i5 is where you get the best bang for your buck at intel, with a level of performance sufficient for the following years. paying 50% more for 10-20% increased performance doesn't seem very effective to me. this might have been a bit different with the first core-i CPUs.

    you're right about the GPUs though.
    Reply
  • jonathanharrison - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    I wish they made more P-series chips, like the i5-3350P, that has the graphics core disabled, for gamers who are just going to get a discrete card(s) anyway. An i3-4370P (you could speed bump the core to 3.8, maybe 4.0GHz since you would be disabling the graphics core) would be nice. So would an i5-3570PK :) But that would just be tantamount to intel admitting failure at delivering 3D performance. Oh, this is an AMD article? Heh, I almost forgot with everyone talking about intel. Reply
  • tecknurd - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    You may think that going "a little overkill on the CPU" may be a good suggestion, but it is not. I found over the years that it is better to spend on the storage system and memory. Back in 2012, I went with a i3-3225. I could go with an i5-3570 processor. That i5 processor will be a little overkill of what I do. The cost of that i5 processor just gives me a lot of grunt that I will rarely will use. That i5 processor will cut in my budget, so I can not go with a good storage system and/or go with a decent size of memory. If I add a graphics card, the med-end graphics models would not be bottleneck by my processor. If I go with a high-end graphics models, then yes the processor that I picked will bottleneck the high-end graphics card.

    A CPU only holds value if it is overclockable and the motherboard supports overclocking the processor. The storage system holds more value than any hardware in your computer because the reason why people went from hard drives to solid-state drives. A graphics card has no value since the technology of graphics changes dramatically. Also high quality or details of graphics during game play does not matter.
    Reply

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