Mobile IGP Comparison

I narrowed down the platforms for our mobile IGP comparison. I simulated a Core i3 350M by taking an i3-530, underclocking it (I couldn't do anything about the 4MB vs. 3MB L3 cache) and capping its GPU frequency at 667MHz. This is the best case scenario for the i3-350M, and as you'll see below, it doesn't really matter. I also paired a 2.2GHz Pentium Dual-Core with a G45 motherboard, agian simulating the cheaper mobile Pentium platform. Finally I installed Windows 7 on the 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo based 11-inch MacBook Air with its GeForce 320M to give you an idea of the upper bound for mobile performance with what might as well be a low end discrete GPU.

Updated: I've added performance results from a simulated Core i3-330UM, the E-350's competition in ultra portables.

We'll start with Modern Warfare 2:

Mobile IGP Comparison - Modern Warfare 2 - 1024 x 768 - Low Quality

The E-350 puts the i3-350M, i3-330UM and Pentium DC to shame, delivering 67% better performance. The frame rate is just shy of being totally smooth however. I found that in most modern games 1024 x 768 would result in frame rates just under 30 fps.

Mobile IGP Comparison - BioShock 2 - 1024 x 768 - Low Quality

BioShock 2 showed a similar performance advantage. Again we're not able to break 30 fps but the performance advantage is huge compared to the Intel platforms with integrated graphics.

Mobile IGP Comparison - Dragon Age: Origins - 1024 x 768 - Low Quality

Dragon Age: Origins is mostly CPU bound at low quality settings and thus there's no real advantage to the E-350's Radeon HD 6310 GPU. It's faster than the Pentium/G45 platform, but significantly slower than the i3-350M. I expect most games however to be GPU bound at these settings across the board.

Mobile IGP Comparison - World of Warcraft - 1366 x 768 - Fair Quality

World of Warcraft continued the trend. The E-350 ended up 57% faster than the i3-350M, although still fell short of a discrete GPU.

Of course I wondered how well Brazos would play Starcraft 2:

Mobile IGP Comparison - Starcraft 2 GPU Test - 1366 x 768 - Low Quality

The GPU handles SC2 just fine, however the game is very CPU dependent and thus you see a pretty big advantage from the mainstream i3 system. The comparison is a lot closer when we look at the i3-330UM. The E-350 won't be able to play SC2 as well as a $500 mainstream notebook, but it'll be comparable to an ultraportable running ULV Arrandale.

We don't have numbers for the G45 platform here because the system wouldn't run our benchmark (our tests use an older version of SC2 which apparently had issues with the G45 drivers).

Our SC2 CPU test gives you an idea of the lower end of performance in large multiplayer battles:

Mobile IGP Comparison - Starcraft 2 CPU Test - 1366 x 768 - Low Quality

The E-350 offers only 58% of the performance of the i3-350M system. The Bobcat cores do hold the platform back from time to time. Again, compared to the i3-330UM there's no performance difference at all.

Just for kicks I also ran the Civilization V benchmark, which gave us two datapoints: GPU performance and no-render/CPU performance.

Mobile IGP Comparison - Civilization V - DX10/DX11 - 1366 x 768 - Low Quality

The benchmark doesn't score well on either platform, although AMD does hold a 72% performance advantage over the i3 and G45 platforms. The CPU test puts the E-350 at about 55% of the speed of the Pentium dual core platform.

Mobile IGP Comparison - Civilization V - DX10/DX11 - 1366 x 768 - Low Quality

Civ V is one area where the Arrandale CPU advantage wins out over GPU performance.

Overall, the E-350 has no problems outperforming any of the current Intel integrated graphics offerings in 3D games. In CPU bound titles the E-350 loses out to the mainstream i3, but is competitive with ultra low voltage i3s. Just as with Atom, you'll have to sacrifice performance vs. a mainstream notebook, but compared to low voltage Arrandale the E-350 can hold its own.

Desktop IGP Comparison: Faster than Clarkdale Final Words
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  • Jamahl - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Err no.

    http://hothardware.com/articleimages/Item1589/amd-...

    http://www.pcper.com/images/reviews/1039/power-idl...

    It will easily outlast atom and beats it in everything.
    Reply
  • HelToupee - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Your graphs show that it eats less power at idle, but when it's actually doing something, Atom burns less. Of course, we're looking at engineering sample quality hardware from AMD, and fully built, tuned systems from Atom. AMD should be able to get those power figures to come down quite a bit. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    The atom burns less because it doesnt do anything. There is no way to get better power consumption than atom unless you clock the E-350 at 800MHz and hold it there. I suspect that even at that speed, the single core performance would make the system feel faster than the atom, or at least not any slower. Reply
  • Concillian - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    The CPU uses more than an Atom CPU, but the Atom is less integrated and needs more support from the chipset.

    Arguably idle power is more important than full load power for many applications ideal for the Atom. The only load scenario that really matters much is watching a movie. IN a netbook, idle state is more important. In an integrated system like a kiosk, idle is more important, and Brazos clearly leads in idle.

    The power consumption of the entire system at load is not far off from an Atom system at full load. A D525 atom + ION is using more power, but performing worse in all aspects. At this point it comes down to cost as to whether it can compete with an Atom, as it's clear from this article that it doesn't compete well with the "real" CPUs. It has to compete with Atom, because there's no way for it to compete with even CULV Arrandales.
    Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    So this is the sort of performance that the FASTEST Bobcat product offers? Can't say I'm surprised. In many situations it's barely faster than an Atom D510. I think in some cases an Atom D525 would be faster.

    Yes, the Brazos E-350 does very well in some games. However, it also does VERY poorly in other games. Compared to AMD's hype, those are terrible performance results for Dragon Age, Starcraft 2, and Civilization 5. Civ 5 and SC2 are both very popular games, so it's not a good sign that Brazos struggles so badly in those games.

    I totally agree with the Final Words section and what you say there Anand. So really, the only situations where Brazos makes sense is GPU-dependent applications/games.

    A Celeron E absolutely SMOKES Brazos in terms of performance in most situations.

    Yes I would say this product is competitive with Intel's offerings, but it is not class-leading. At 18W TDP for a Brazos platform, that is more power intensive than an Atom platform, and almost as power intensive as a Celeron platform. Intel's i3 products also carry 18W TDP ratings.

    I agree that the success of Brazos will heavily depend on which OEMs pick up this product, and also how they integrate it.

    Once Intel integrates their new Sandy Bridge-level IGP into their low-end products next year, Brazos will look even less appealing.
    Reply
  • wiak - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    thats why amd has LIano up it sleeves Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Llano will compete with Sandy Bridge though. Do you really think Llano has a chance? It will have a dated Stars CPU combined with a decent Radeon GPU. Yes the GPU might be better than Sandy Bridge's IGP, but by how much?

    We already know that Llano will lose to Sandy Bridge in CPU performance. It might beat it in GPU performance, but we'll have to see how much of a gap it will be. Also most applications and games are still CPU-dependent. AMD is making a big gamble by having Brazos and Llano be so GPU-dependent.
    Reply
  • smookyolo - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    It'll probably beat SB in power consumption, though... D: -quakes in boots- Reply
  • wiak - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    as far as rumors go, LIano has 400 or 480 shader gpu, aka a HD 5670 discrete, in anandtech preview of sandy bridge, its is just as fast as a 80 shader HD 5450

    add a phenom II based arcitecture then you have a pretty competent mobile gaming system in a mainstream laptop without discrete graphics and way better battery life than with a discrete graphics card

    and there is nextgen bulldozer fusion and bobcat fusion still coming

    btw, do people even need a high performace CPU in a laptop anyway?, i got a laptop here with Athlon II M320 2ghz with a onboard HD 4250 IGP that decodes blu-ray flawlessly in hardware, plays youtube flash h264 video in hardware, fast enught to work with scanned pictures, digitalcamera pictures etc

    and i usely use a quad core gaming rig with a Radeon HD 5870, 4GB memory
    Reply
  • Khato - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    As far as rumors go, Llano has at best a 128 bit, DDR3 1600 memory interface, which would give it 25.6GB/s of memory bandwidth available, aka a radeon 5550 with DDR3. Of course it has to share that bandwidth with the CPU, so actually it'll be far less than that. Not to mention, how many manufacturers would actually give it full speed memory?

    Anyway, I really do quite appreciate the inclusion of the 5450 numbers in this review. It makes it far easier to determine whether the GPU portion is shader or memory bandwidth starved... Though it'd be even better if numbers for an underclocked 5450 were included as well, especially three variations of underclocked (core only, memory only, and then both equal to the 'brazos' tested.) I expect that those numbers would confirm that performance is pretty much memory bandwidth limited. In which case the step from single channel DDR3 1066 at ~8.5GB/s to dual channel DDR3 1600 at ~25.6GB/s would allow for roughly triple the graphics performance.

    Oh, and ya know that the Sandybridge preview really isn't at all indicative of actual performance, right? aka, it stands a good chance of matching a memory bandwidth-bound Llano.
    Reply

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