Memory and Cache Latencies

The Brazos platform was configured with 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory. The IDF system had memory running at DDR3-1333, however AMD had to decrease clocks presumably to meet validation requirements for final silicon. I measured an 86.9ns trip to main memory, a 3 cycle L1 and a ~22 cycle L2 cache. That's a lower latency memory interface than Atom or Core 2 based processors, but a higher latency L2.

CPU Performance: Better than Atom, 90% of K8 but Slower than Pentium DC

Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Retouch Artists Benchmark

AMD's performance target for Bobcat was 90% of the performance of K8 at the same clock speed and our Photoshop CS4 benchmark shows that AMD can definitely say that it has met that goal. At 1.6GHz the E-350 manages to outperform a pair of K8s running at 1.5GHz in the Athlon X2 3250e. Unfortunately for AMD, Intel's Pentium dual-core running at 2.2GHz is much quicker. Most notebooks in the $400+ range have at least a 2.2GHz Pentium. Even the Atom D510 isn't far behind.

AMD tells me that in general purpose integer tasks, the E-350 should do well and it may even exceed AMD's 90% design target. However in higher IPC workloads, for example many floating point workloads, the E-350 is constrained by its dual issue front end. In these situations, the out of order engine is starved for instructions and much of Bobcat's advantage goes away.

x264-HD Benchmark - 1st Pass

Our x264 HD test has the E-350 performing within 86 - 92% of the Athlon X2 3250e, once again meeting AMD's design targets. Unfortunately, this isn't much faster than an Atom - mostly thanks to Atom's Hyper Threading support. Although not an out of order architecture, Atom gets a healthy efficiency boost by being able to execute instructions from two threads per core. Once again, compared to a 2.2GHz Pentium, the E-350 isn't close. Even VIA's dual core Nano is faster. When it comes to power consumption however, the E-350 can't be touched. I measured max system power consumption at 25.2W while running the x264 encode test. With the exception of the Atom D510, the rest of the desktop platforms here consume much more than that at idle (much less under load).

x264-HD Benchmark - 2nd Pass

3dsmax 9 - SPECapc CPU Benchmark

Despite being a offline 3D rendering benchmark, our 3dsmax 9 test does fall in line with expectations. The E-350 delivers 92% of the performance of the Athlon X2 3250e and outperforms the Atom D510 by 26%. Unfortunately for AMD, the Pentium dual-core holds onto a significant performance advantage here. Clock for clock, Bobcat won't be able to do much against anything Core 2 based. The real advantage here will be GPU performance.

Single Threaded Performance

Cinebench R10 - Single Threaded

In most of our benchmarks the performance advantage over Atom isn't huge, yet using Brazos is much better than using an Atom based machine. It all boils down to one thing: single threaded performance. Atom can make up for its deficiencies by executing a lot of threads in parallel, but when you're bound by the performance of a single thread the E-350 shines. The E-350 is 65% faster than the Atom D510 in the single threaded Cinebench R10 test. It's this performance advantage that makes the E-350 feel so much quicker than Atom.

The Core i3-330UM manages a 46% performance advantage over the E-350. Even in the ultraportable Arrandale ULV space at lower clocks, AMD still leaves a lot of CPU performance on the table. The advantage here will be cost. A single E-350 is less than 40% of the die area of a Core i3-330UM. You may not get the same CPU performance, but performance per mm^2 is much higher. 

Cinebench R10 - Multithreaded

In the multithreaded Cinebench test Atom is able to catch up quite a bit, but the E-350 still holds an 11% advantage.

File Compression/Archive Recovery Performance

Our final two CPU tests are both multithreaded and they show the E-350 equaling and falling behind the performance of the 1.5GHz Athlon X2. As we explained earlier, the gap between the E-350 and Atom shrinks as you add more threads to the workload.

Par2 - Multi-Threaded par2cmdline 0.4

WinRAR 3.8 Compression - 300MB Archive

Setting Performance Expectations Desktop IGP Comparison: Faster than Clarkdale
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  • krumme - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    For the first time in history we have a dirt cheap product to produce, that manages to just handle all the basic task and gaming on the modern windows platform. Its an entry to windows and multimedia for 3B on this earth that can not afford an i3.

    And then this idiotic review giving all the wrong impressions to the casual reader. How sad.
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    An entry for the billions that don't have a computer? Give me a break.

    Most people in the world that currently don't have a computer due to financial reasons wouldn't be able to afford a $300-500 netbook/notebook anyways!

    Even a $100 computer would be difficult for a lot of these people to afford.
  • Kim Leo - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    This comes as a very very small chip, have you ever seen the Ion GPU? It's not exactly small. This will finally make it possible to build better netbooks at either a cheaper price, or the same price. Or just a long lasting work notebook, which is what I'm hoping for.

    People who says this is not impressive live in a dream world, where every netbook has a high clocked Atom with Ion, which somehow magically consumes less power than this 18W beauty.

    This is probably the first product that has gotten me interested in what Apple has planned with it's OS where it uses the GPU for certain tasks, AMD demonstrated that this APU can do a lot more than just being a good netbook CPU, I hope we this getting used to it's full potential.
  • redisnidma - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Zacate is smaller than Atom, it's out-of-order architecture makes it a better overall performer than Atom and in some cases AMD's own nile platform, it has better GPU that rivals current offerings from both AMD's IGP and intel's and it has a lower TDP. I really don't see any reason not to like this little chip. Better performance than Atom, acceptable performance vs Intel's ULV offerings and superb GPU vs everything else.
  • AMDJunkie - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Bobcat is officially a disappointment. $500 machines that can't run Crysis? AMD is dead. :*(
  • SandmanWN - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    As any enthusiast knows, there isn't any $500 notebook that can run Crysis, so there cannot be disappointment in something that doesn't exist.
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Didn't AMD hype claim that Bobcat would be "good enough" for gaming? Clearly, it isn't.
  • silverblue - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Define "gaming". AMD clearly have an idea of what they want these products to run - who says it has to include the latest cutting-edge titles?
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Who says? AMD themselves. Their hype for Bobcat implies you can run modern games on it with ease.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Throw me a link. I doubt it says anything about running Crysis in Enthusiast settings, for a start.

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