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


View All Comments

  • whyso - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Because no one cares about Sandy Bridge ULV considering its now end of life. They also tested a lot of highly synthetic benchmarks. i3 ULV ivy notebooks can be had for $400 on newegg, i5 ULV notebooks cost $500 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8... sale yes but sales happen all the time). Also for the greater part of its lifetime, kabini will compete with haswell. Reply
  • Gaugamela - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    No, Kabini will compete with Pentiums. You guys keep forgeting that.
    And Ivy notebooks will be replaced and Kabini notebooks won't compete with them for most of it's shelf life. As for sales, do you think you won't see sales of Kabini notebooks?
    Just because there's a small overlap of vendors clearing up inventory of Ivy notebooks doesn't invalidate that Kabini is a new chip and won't compete with Ivy Bridge for most of its life.
  • whyso - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    No, if an i5 ULV notebook costs $500, an i3 ULV notebook costs $400 and a kabini notebook costs $450 then the kabini is competing with i3/i5 and NOT pentium. Pricewise it competes with i3 and possibly i5. Haswell ULV will launch in a few months. Bobcat launched what? two years ago. With a similar lifetime (hope its shorter) jaguar will be competing with haswell for the vast majority of its lifetime. Reply
  • t.s - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Yep. The barrier IMO, is OEM. OEM tend to hiking the price. When bobcat E350 first out, the average price is ~$360. What the hell. With $460, i can get 2x performance with sandy bridge i3.

    If only AMD want to build their own machine (laptop and desktop).
  • Gaugamela - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    A Kabini notebook costs 400$. And that's without having into account promotions, which WILL happen just as they happen to those precious i3 Ivy Bridges of yours. You seem to forget that promotions happen to all notebooks. And if you keep bringing ULV i3 Ivy Bridges for that price, then guess what? I'll get a TRINITY APU notebook instead for that price! Because I can also get them!! And they have a much stronger GPU power than Kabini, and Ivy Bridge and I can also get some quite decent ultrathins. Reply
  • whyso - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Trinity and ivy bridge ULV are very similar in gpu performance. ULV ivy demolishes ULV trinity cpu wise though. Reply
  • Gaugamela - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    The top Trinity LV APU (the A10-4655M) beats the Ivy Bridge ULVs in terms of GPU performance. The issue is that there's barely any notebooks for sale with it (The Samsung Series 5 ultrathin is one, the HP Sleekbook another).

    The A8-4455M is available in the Asus U38N and a Lenovo model and that one is weak. It's comparable to a Ivy Bridge i3 em terms of CPU/GPU performance (weaker single-thread but better multi-thread - more cores).
    However, Trinity powered notebooks are usually cheaper than Ivy Bridge ones and you can get them with great promotions now.
  • whyso - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    They are very similar and within error range (+/- around 10%). Reply
  • Gaugamela - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    No, they're not. A A10-4655M with dual channel RAM beats the living crap of a HD4000. You just don't want to admit that. Go dig for benchmarks before spouting falsehoods. Reply
  • whyso - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    No, mobile amd apus do very good in 3d mark but poorly in games because games have more cpu load (unlike 3dmark which is very cpu light) and the gpu can't boost as high. For instance the 7660G generally ties with the 630m in 3dmark but loses by about 20% in games. Thats a 25 watt part so it will do better than the 17 watt ULV but beat the living crap? NO. Even the 7660G only beats the HD4000 on average by 30%, move that down to ULV and the difference is less. Reply

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