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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  • flyck - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    i withhold my comment on that until we see the ontario product competing with a single core atom... which will be a 9W single core 1.2Ghz and not zacate. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    So based on these results, despite a bit of excitement of AMD showing Apple computers on their recent press slides, it doesn't seem like Fusion is Apple's ideal CPU/GPU solution. Brazos has neither the CPU or GPU power to replace the current CULV Core 2 Duo + 320M solution in the 11.6" MacBook Air. For 13.3" MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, Llano looks to have the GPU power, but not the CPU power to go against Sandy Bridge, but the bigger problem is timing since it looks like volume shipments won't be until H2 2011 which will be close to Ivy Bridge. As such, Apple's best solution for their 11.6" and 13.3" models seems to be to stick with Intel processors for best CPU performance and figure out how to fit a discrete GPU, which could be an AMD one if they can get an acceptable hybrid switching implementation.

    For the rest of Apple's lineup, they'd probably stick with Sandy Bridge over Bulldozer since Sandy Bridge looks to have the stronger AVX implementation which should be useful for their multimedia and content development applications.
    Reply
  • flyck - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Didn't you look at the power consumption at all?

    Brazos system consumer 9watt idle, the SU 20W and atom single core 15W

    the SU is always 10W higher than Brazos. Only the Atom can be lower with some loads (altough in gaming the atom is not fast enough)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Idle power consumption on CULV 11.6" is down around 9W for the entire platform, and for 10" Atom it's about 6W. Then along comes Apple's MacBook Air and their idle power consumption is apparently in the realm of 5W. Yes, that's FIVE watts for CULV, based on the Air 11 review (http://www.anandtech.com/show/3991/apples-2010-mac... That's a 35Wh battery lasting basically seven hours for light web browsing. Damn!

    I hope Microsoft can do something with Windows 8 to finally get C-state use to improve. Right now, it's like Windows 7 (which is better than Vista and XP in my testing) still goes around waking up devices and applications. "Hey hey hey! Excel! Yes, I'm talking to you! I haven't seen you request any resources for a while and you look idle, but I'm just making sure. Do you need the CPU? I just woke him up to help out. No? Are you sure? Okay... go back to sleep CPU and Excel. I'll be back in a few milliseconds to see if you've changed your mind! Oh, hey! Word... how ya doin'!? ...."
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Is this level of performance even relevant in the notebook form factor?
    It doesn't do anything I wont be able to do on the next years smart phones.

    Sure, bobcat will do it all faster, but I'll have to lug around a notebook!
    Reply
  • haukionkannel - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Well, actually this is guite good. It seems not eat too much power. It can be used to read web pages like, atom. You can even use word prosessor on it. And when you play, it seems to beat atom.
    It is not mean to be gaming prosessor. It is very low end mainstream CPUGPU that has reasonable graphic power, and it can delivere just that.
    If you want gaming laptop, you have to go to i3 or i5 and from 350 (5650) to 460 (5870). They are in very different league.
    I would be nice to see for example a "gaming" tablet made around this product!
    Reply
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    I really don't get the benefit of this gpu. Does anyone really play starcraft 2 or an FPS on a netbook? No, at least not with these results. IMHO this gpu thing is overrated for netbooks. It should play media files including 1080p (for attaching the netbook to the TV) and also be able to play flash video flawlessly and render flash-heavy web-pages. All of it not really needing a gpu but mainly the video decode engine. Browsing mainly needs (single-threaded) cpu power.

    And then think it's funny you say the platform felt snappy when it has a crucial ssd and most atom systems ship with a crappy 5400 rpm drive at best. probably 99.9% of the good experience was due to the ssd. I must say pretty smart move from AMDs side.

    So an ideal netbook has a semi-decent ssd (even JMicron based ones will be good enough), good single-threaded performance ( I mean video encoding on netbooks is very important,,..NOT) and a video decode engine for the common stuff including software (driver, apps) supporting it.
    Reply
  • Calabros - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Steve should buy this company.. its the only solution :-) Reply
  • ET - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    I do like that different sites use different benchmarks, and it's a good way to get a better overall picture, so even though some other sites have benchmarks that I find more interesting I have no problem with that.

    Even looking at other reviews, the Brazos looks disappointing from a consumer point of view. It loses in performance to Intel CULV CPU's and isn't much better than available Atoms. It even lost to an Atom D525 + Ion2 in some cases. Extrapolating to the 9W variants suggests that performance will be pretty low.

    That said, from an OEM point of view it should be a good replacement for some Intel platforms, because while it doesn't break new ground it should replace the Atom+Ion combination with something smaller and cheaper, and the lower power versions will likely still compete with the Atom while providing better graphics.

    Still from my POV I'm pretty disappointed. I had really hoped for something that's game changing.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    perhaps read that review again...

    http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Zacate-E350-Pro...

    in some cases it loses and most it wins to a 525 yes which has 2 cores 4 threads and a 1,8ghz, and yes some gpu are better because of the ion2 but it also requires 60% idle power and 30% less load power, say again where it fails? for only being released few months after on first revision...

    it makes the competition harder so better for us.
    Reply

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