Setting Performance Expectations

AMD provided this slide of PCMark Vantage and 3DMark Vantage performance of Brazos compared to its existing mobile platforms (Danube and Nile):

If you look at the PCMark Vantage numbers you'll see that AMD's E-350 provides roughly the same performance as an Athlon V120. That's a single core, 45nm chip running at 2.2GHz with a 512KB L2 cache. Or compared to a dual core processor, it's within striking distance of the Athlon Neo K325 which features two cores running at 1.3GHz and 1MB L2 per core. The GPU performance however tells a very important story. While AMD's previous platforms offered a great deal of CPU performance and an arguably imbalanced amount of GPU performance, Brazos almost does the opposite. You get a slower CPU than most existing mainstream platforms, but a much better GPU.

In the sub-$500 market, you're not going to get much in the way of a discrete GPU. What AMD is hoping for is that you'll be happy enough with Brazos' CPU performance and be sold on its GPU performance and total power consumption. From AMD's standpoint, there's not much expense involved in producing a Zacate/Ontario APU, making Brazos a nice way of capitalizing on mainstream platforms. The 75mm2 die itself is smaller than most discrete GPUs as well as anything Intel is selling into these market segments.


AMD's Zacate APU, 19mm x 19mm package, 413 balls, 75mm^2 die

The Comparison

Brazos, like Atom, will fight a two front war. On the one hand you have the price comparison. The E-350 will be found in notebooks in the $400 - $500 range according to AMD. That puts it up against mainstream notebooks with 2.2GHz Intel Pentium DC and 2.26GHz Core i3-350M processors. Against these platforms, Brazos won't stand a chance as far as CPU performance goes but it should do very well in GPU bound games. I've included results from a 2.2GHz Pentium dual-core part (1MB L2 cache) as well as a simulated Core i3-350M in the mobile IGP comparison.

The other front is, of course, the ultraportable space. Here you'll see the E-350 go head to head with dual-core Atom, Core 2 ULV and Arrandale ULV parts. AMD's CPU performance should be much more competitive here. From this camp we've got the Atom D510 (close enough to the N550) and a simulated Core i3-330UM. The expectations here are better CPU performance than Atom, but lower than Arrandale ULV. GPU performance should easily trump both.

Introduction CPU Performance: Better than Atom, 90% of K8 but Slower than Pentium DC
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  • IMPL0DE - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    ...underwhelming. I was hopeful to see more performance out of this one. Let this not be the sign of the things to come. I still have faith in Bulldozer. Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    If Bulldozer underwhelms or disappoints, AMD might be finished. I don't see how AMD could continue to be in business if two of their major new products are both underwhelming.

    For AMD's sake, Bulldozer needs to extremely competitive, at the very minimum.
    Reply
  • wiak - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    AMD Radeon is one line you should not underestimate ;) Reply
  • GeorgeH - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Bulldozer is only a piece of the puzzle. AMD's killer chip is the one that seamlessly combines what will (hopefully) be a Bulldozer core's awesome integer performance with the floating point performance of a GPU, all with competitive mobile power consumption and a process node that will allow them to make a decent profit while competing with Intel on price. Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    That will come in 2012 with the successor to Llano.

    The thing that AMD needs to be worried about is getting Llano out in a time frame to be competitive. It has seemingly been pushed into the middle of 2011 instead of the early 2011.
    Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Great, we've been hearing that for years. First we heard that AMD's "killer product" was going to be a combination of a CPU and GPU, except they got beat by Intel on that front.

    Now, AMD's "killer" product apparently will be a Bulldozer CPU combined with a good GPU.

    It seems that AMD's "killer" product is a continually changing target, and is something that may never arrive.

    What if the competition is much stronger by the time AMD releases a Bulldozer Fusion product? What will the "killer" product for AMD be then I wonder?
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Well, years back, AMD was generally crushing Intel with its crappy NetBurst line. That may never happen again, but it was fun while it lasted. The problem for AMD is that Intel has to really screw up for it to have a chance, given Intel's leverage. An absurd design like Prescott is unlikely to come again. Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    That's really the point. Even if Bulldozer is very impressive, for AMD to make financial or market share gains, Intel has to stumble. By all accounts, Sandy Bridge will be a very strong product.

    As I say, Intel stumbling on the scale of the P4 Netburst fiasco is unlikely to happen again. Intel is very well known in the industry for learning from their mistakes.
    Reply
  • GeorgeH - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    AMD hasn't been beaten to anything yet. CPU/GPU hybrids aren't about slapping a classical IGP together with a CPU. CPU/GPU hybrids are about combining the compute performance of a CPU with that of a GPU into a single flexible unit.

    Intel is moving towards that target with good CPUs and substandard GPUs. AMD is moving towards that target with substandard CPUs and good GPUs. If/when/where they meet is the point where AMD has the potential to deliver an awesome product.

    Sandy Bridge, Llano, and the like are only the first few baby steps towards the goal, and it's silly to claim a "moving target" just because those steps aren't as large or as relatively impressive as we might like.
    Reply
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    AMD should have never had so much hype behind Fusion in the first place then, as the product that you describe won't be on the market for several years. Reply

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