Kabini Windows 8 Laptop Performance

With the SoC and “lighter device” benchmarks out of the way, let’s also look at what Kabini offers for a full laptop experience. Let me preface this section by simply stating many of our laptop benchmarks really aren’t a good fit for an APU like Kabini—e.g. doing 3D rendering or x264 HD encoding on such a chip is just asking for poor performance. We’re also looking at different OS configurations (Windows 7 vs. Windows 8, IE8/9 vs. IE10), so there’s a slightly higher potential for margin of error here.

Our current list of laptops includes AMD's Brazos E-350 (MSI X370), Kabini A4-5000, and Trinity A10-4600M; on the Intel front we have i7-3517U (Dell XPS 12) and Pentium 2020M (a late addition when we managed to get a laptop for short-term testing). Both of the Intel chips are 22nm parts, but note that the Pentium chip is a 35W part. Sadly, we have not yet been able to get a Pentium 2117U as a comparison. [Note: Some laptops are still being tested on some of the benchmarks; their scores will be added/updated as they complete.]

We do want to see what sort of gains are present relative to Brazos, however, so let’s get started. We’re presenting an abbreviated look at performance here, but we have the full set of benchmark results in Mobile Bench, including some of our older benchmarks that we’ve run against Brazos and other laptops prior to 2013. There are two main questions to consider for each benchmark: how much faster is Kabini than Brazos (and where does it place relative to other options), and does Kabini provide enough performance to handle the task represented by the benchmark?

PCMark 7 (2013)

Cinebench R11.5—Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5—Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

Starting with PCMark 7, we have both HDD and SSD results. As usual, the presence of an SSD boosts performance in the overall score by more than 50%, so Kabini with an SSD can feel far more responsive than Ivy Bridge with an HDD, depending on the task. Relative to Brazos, even with an HDD on both laptops, Kabini is nearly 50% faster. ULV Ivy Bridge on the other hand offers twice the performance of Kabini in the overall score, though Quick Sync skews that pretty heavily. Looking at the individual results, ULV IVB is around 30-50% faster on most CPU tasks, and it’s even a bit faster on the GPU side in most areas as we’ll see in a moment.

Update: We've added Pentium 2020M to the above charts, which lacks Quick Sync support and runs at a maximum clock speed of 1.8GHz. It's clearly slower than the i7-3517U in the Dell XPS 12, but it's also still a healthy step up from Kabini in terms of performance. The 2020M is a full 35W part, like the A10-4600M, and it tends to slightly outperform Trinity on CPU tasks while trailing in GPU performance. On the Kabini front, however, even the Pentium 2020M is able to lead on nearly all the performance metrics.

The CPU performance testing of x264 HD 5.x and Cinebench confirm the CPU deficit AMD faces with Kabini. In heavily threaded workloads, Ivy Bridge ULV is 50-100% faster, but the real problem is in the single-threaded workloads. A single Jaguar core in Cinebench manages to score just 0.39 compared to IVB ULV’s score of 1.24, so worst-case Kabini is one third the speed of Ivy Bridge. Standard Voltage Trinity APUs are likewise a big step up from Kabini, offering roughly twice the CPU performance in some cases. Of course, the power draw from standard Trinity tends to be far higher than Kabini.

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark06

Quickly looking at the 3DMark results, if you were hoping Kabini would be fast enough to handle modern games at moderate detail settings, the relative standings in 3DMark should help prep you for what’s to come. The A10 Trinity can handle many titles at moderate details, but even it struggles with many of the latest releases; Kabini has about a third of the total GPU compute performance of Trinity, and while it’s a bit faster than that in some games, for the most part it’s best suited for older games that don’t require as much from the CPU or GPU.

As for Intel's chips, while the Core i7 ULV part ends up faster than Kabini, the same can't be said of the Pentium 2020M; it's a tie in some tests but falls behind (sometimes significantly, e.g. 3DMark 11) in others. As neither chip is really fit for high-end graphics work, it's not really a major concern. If you want decent graphics performance, you're going to want more than either Kabini or Ivy Bridge has to offer.

Kabini vs CT/ARM: GPU Performance Kabini Gaming and Battery Life


View All Comments

  • georgec84 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    These chis look great! I hope it can provide AMD with a small spark. They certainly seem to be looking up compared to 2 years ago. Reply
  • Nintendo Maniac 64 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I think it would have been interesting if Anand tested the CPU against some older mid-range to high-end CPUs. From my own assessments it looks like Jaguar has slightly better IPC than K8 and is overall comparable to the original Phenom (though obviously without the huge power consumption). Reply
  • JDG1980 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I really want to see a comprehensive rundown of single-threaded tests with constant clock rate. We have a rough idea of which architectures have better IPC, but I'd like to see some hard numbers. Reply
  • Streetwind - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    This is the first real step forard for AMD I've seen in nearly a decade... everything else were minor clock speed bumps, experimental architectures that ended up being slower clock-for-clock than the old ones, big iGPUs and shuffling around its product stack to target a changing market with the same technology.

    The performance advantage Intel has accumulated over the years means that AMD can still only really compete via price, but Kabini is finally the kind of product that attempts to narrow the gap with the competition again. Please AMD, more of this! Maybe in one or two years we the consumers will have a real choice in the x86 market again if you keep it up.
  • KaarlisK - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Regarding memory performance: as I understand it, Kabini supports two DIMMs, but only single-channel. Reply
  • darkich - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Why are you always comparing that dual core ARM chip?
    Why not Octa chip?(like, the best currently available ARM chip)
    And why always avoid using Geekbench, but instead use a heavily software dependant tests?
    This always seems to be case when dealing with ARM on this site.
    Really, it looks like a deliberate undermining of the architecture, in my mind.
  • kyuu - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    One: the "octa chip" is really quad-core.

    Two: Geekbench is not a great benchmark utility, especially when comparing cross-platform.

    Three: Attributing an anti-ARM agenda to this website is pretty freakin' silly.
  • darkich - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    One: the chip has 4+4 independently operated core clusters.
    Operating at low power cores makes for a very advanced solution, compared to big cores revving down for a certain task.
    Besides, what does your remark have to do with what I said?
    My point is, Octa is a FAR more capable ARM chip than the one used in this comparison.. yet it doesn't cost more, and consumes up to 70% less power.

    Two: as opposed to what? Comparing Chrome for Android with Chrome for Windows?
    Geekbench is not perfect, but it is the best you can try when comparing across platforms.
    It is the ONLY credible comparison of pure processing abilities in this case.

    Three: answer the first two then. What am I missing here?
  • darkich - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Correction..I meant two modules (core clusters), with 4 cores each, of course Reply
  • Wilco1 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    And those 2x4 cores can run simulataneously with the right software, hence the name Octa.

    I agree with darkich that Anand always appears to show ARM in the worst light, first by only showing JavaScript browser tests rather than native code benchmarks, and second by insisting on the Chrome browser rather than the stock or fastest available browser. For example Geekbench shows that Exynos Octa easily beats Bobcat at the same frequency:


    This means Jaguar will get very close to A15 - until Cortex-A57 is released of course.

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