Kabini vs. Clover Trail & ARM

Kabini is a difficult SoC to evaluate, primarily because of the nature of the test system we're using to evaluate it today. Although AMD's Jaguar cores are power efficient enough to end up in tablets, the 15W A4-5000 we're looking at today is a bit too much for something the size of an iPad. Temash, Kabini's even lower power counterpart, will change that but we don't have Temash with us today. Rather than wait for AMD to get us a Temash based tablet, I wanted to get an idea of how Jaguar stacks up to some of the modern low-power x86 and ARM competitors.

To start, let's characterize Jaguar in terms of its performance compared to Bobcat as well as Intel's current 32nm in-order Saltwell Atom core. As a reference, I've thrown in a 17W dual-core Ivy Bridge. The benchmarks we're looking at are PCMark 7 (only run on those systems with SSDs), Cinebench (FP workload) and 7-Zip (integer workload). With the exception of Kabini, all of these parts are dual-core. The Atom and Core i5 systems are dual-core but have Hyper-Threading enabled so they present themselves to the OS as 4-thread machines.

CPU Performance
  PCMark 7 Cinebench 11.5 (Single Threaded) Cinebench 11.5 (Multithreaded) 7-Zip Benchmark (Single Threaded) 7-Zip Benchmark (Multithreaded)
AMD A4-5000 (1.5GHz Jaguar x 4) 2425 0.39 1.5 1323 4509
AMD E-350 (1.6GHz Bobcat x 2) 1986 0.32 0.61 1281 2522
Intel Atom Z2760 (1.8GHz Saltwell x 2) - 0.17 0.52 754 2304
Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz IVB x 2) 4318 1.07 2.39 2816 6598

Compared to a similarly clocked dual-core Bobcat part, Kabini shows a healthy improvement in PCMark 7 performance. Despite the clock speed disadvantage, the A4-5000 manages 22% better performance than AMD's E-350. The impressive gains continue as we look at single-threaded Cinebench performance. Again, a 22% increase compared to Bobcat. Multithreaded Cinebench performance scales by more than 2x thanks to the core count doubling and increased multi-core efficiency. The current generation Atom comparison here is just laughable—Jaguar offers more than twice the performance of Clover Trail in single threaded Cinebench.

The single threaded 7-Zip benchmark shows only mild gains if we don't take into account clock speed differences. If you normalize for CPU frequency, Jaguar is likely around 9% faster than Bobcat here. Multithreaded gains are quite good as well. Once again, Atom is no where near AMD's new A4.

The Ivy Bridge comparison is really just for reference. In all of the lightly threaded cases, a 1.7GHz Ivy Bridge delivers over 2x the performance of the A4-5000. The gap narrows for heavily threaded workloads but obviously any bigger core going into a more expensive system will yield appreciably better results.

For the next test I expanded our comparison to include an ARM based SoC: the dual-core Cortex A15 powered Samsung Exynos 5250 courtesy of Google's Nexus 10. These cross platform benchmarks are all browser based and run in Google Chrome:

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark (Chrome)

Here we see a 14% improvement over Bobcat, likely closer to 20% if we normalized clock speed between the parts—tracking perfectly with AMD's promised IPC gains for Jaguar. The A4-5000 completes the Kraken benchmark in less than half the time. The 1.7GHz Ivy Bridge part is obviously quicker, but what's interesting is that if we limit the IVB CPU's frequency to 800MHz Kabini is actually a near identical performer.

Jaguar seems to be around 9-20% faster than Bobcat depending on the benchmark. Multithreaded workloads are obviously much better as there are simply more cores to run on. In practice, using the Kabini test system vs. an old Brazos machine delivers a noticeable difference in user experience. Clover Trail feels anemic by comparison and even Brazos feels quite dated. Seeing as how Bobcat was already quicker than ARM's Cortex A15, its no surprise that Jaguar is as well. The bigger problem here is Kabini needs much lower platform power to really threaten the Cortex A15 in tablets—we'll see how Temash fares as soon as we can get our hands on a tablet.

AMD’s Kabini Laptop Prototype Kabini vs CT/ARM: GPU Performance
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  • MrSpadge - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    It's a shame for Anandtech that AMD didn't include a dual channel controller on the die? Weird. Reply
  • HalloweenJack - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    rubbish Kabini includes dual channel on die - the `prototype` doesn't use it. which is ofc a shame , and if anandtech wasn't being paid by intel or employed intel staff on its website , they would likely have added another stick to show the improvement gained. Reply
  • t.s - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    "Just to call out a couple noteworthy items, first is the single-channel memory configuration. In theory that could be hampering performance somewhat, but we have no real way of knowing. While the laptop does support two SO-DIMMs, Kabini only supports a single-channel interface, so adding a second SO-DIMM wouldn't help." --Page 2

    So, Whose right? If Kabini indeed support dual channel on die, then yes, it's a shame. Knowing it will raise the bar for AMD and intentionally didn't include it with testbed in the review.
    Reply
  • GuMeshow - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Kabini does not "include dual channel on die". All the websites i've seen say "Kabini features a single 64-bit DDR3 memory controller", two SO-DIMM sockets does not mean two channels ... Unless i'm mistaken and if that is the case i would ask for your source on that. Reply
  • lmcd - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    No, you're right. HalloweenJack is spreading FUD instead of candy. Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Tool. Reply
  • johnny_boy - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    I wondered the same thing, but I thought "shame on AMD". Why would they be that retarded though? I don't get it. Reply
  • johnny_boy - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    I get it now, after having read the comments. I should also read the article. Reply
  • whyso - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I believe that kabini is typically $42-72, though I can't find the link Reply
  • polyzp - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    AMD back in the High End with Steamroller! Check out the benchmarks

    http://amdfx.blogspot.ca/2013/05/amd-steamroller-f...
    Reply

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