CPU Performance & Power

On the CPU front, the difference between the Core i5-3317U and the Pentium 2020M is actually quite small. The former has a nice 2.6GHz max turbo while the latter has a higher TDP and thus a higher base clock as well. The result is that most single threaded performance results are very close between the two. If we look at Kraken, SunSpider, PCMark, Cinebench (1-thread) or 7-Zip (1-thread) - the two perform quite similarly. As a result, Kabini doesn’t really gain any ground here. In my own use, I can feel a performance difference between the 2020M and the A4-5000 in tasks like installing/launching applications, as well as bigger CPU bound activities.

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
Intel Pentium 2020M (2.4GHz IVB x 2) 4214 1.00 1.96 2856 5434
Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz IVB x 2) 4318 1.07 2.39 2816 6598

A big issue here is Kabini, at least in its launched versions, lacks any turbo core support. The 15W A4-5000 runs even single threaded tasks as if all four cores were active and eating into that TDP budget. The fastest Jaguar implementation seems to be 2GHz, but even if the A4-5000 could turbo up to that level I feel like I’d still want a bit more. There’s obviously room on the table for a Kabini refresh, even at 28nm.

For light web browsing and general use workloads Kabini, like many modern platforms, can really be good enough.

It is impossible to have a performance discussion without looking at power consumption when it comes to mobile devices. This is where Kabini makes up a lot of ground. The Pentium 2020M is a 35W part (Intel does offer slower 17W parts but I unfortunately don’t have a system that uses one of those), compared to the A4-5000’s 15W TDP. I measured total platform power of both notebooks without a battery and with the display disabled (and using the same SSD in its lowest power state). While isolating SoC power would be ideal, this does give us a general idea of platform power consumption:

Platform Power Consumption
  Idle Cinebench 11.5 (1-thread) Cinebench 11.5 (multithreaded) 7-Zip (1-thread) 7-Zip (multithreaded)
AMD A4-5000 (1.5GHz Jaguar x 4) 4.75W 7.91W 11.5W 7.9W 11.3W
Intel Pentium 2020M (2.4GHz IVB x 2) 8.14W 17.9W 22.4W 17.6W 21.7W

The difference is pretty big. Kabini will either last longer on the same size battery, or be able to fit into a smaller chassis altogether. I also suspect the 15W TDP is perhaps a bit conservative, total platform power consumption with all CPU cores firing never exceeded 12W (meaning SoC power consumption is far lower, likely sub-10W).

It’s also worth pointing out that there’s clearly a lot of thermal headroom when only a single CPU core is active. Design limitations would probably keep a single core from ramping up too high, but there’s clearly room for improvement here.

The 17W Pentium/Celeron parts are architecturally very similar to the 2020M I’m featuring here, they just run at 75% of the clock speed. If we assume perfect scaling, Intel would appear to still hold substantial single-threaded CPU performance advantage even if the comparison was to a lower clocked Pentium. Interestingly enough, the multithreaded advantage would pretty much disappear though. These 35W Pentiums seem a lot more common in retail (likely because of the spec shopping that’s presumed at these lower price points).

Compared to Atom (or Brazos), Kabini does extremely well though. Similar to Brazos, AMD is looking for Kabini to do battle slightly above its weight class. In its press materials AMD specifically calls out Pentium and Core i3 as potential targets for the A4/A6-class Kabini APUs. Part of this is AMD looking at the CPU and GPU as a whole though, so let’s move on to the graphics comparison.

Introduction GPU Performance & Power vs. Intel HD Graphics


View All Comments

  • calyth - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Not everyone wants to type with a tablet. I've tried full size iPad, or a 7" android one with SwiftKey for tablet. Both makes me want to chuck it against the wall.

    When you factor in a half decent tablet keyboard to go with that tablet, it's not all that different.
  • Flunk - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    What you need to do is imagine your mother wants a new laptop and would like a nice little light one for email, surfing and maybe writing letters in a word processor. That's just one use, there are a lot of people who aren't computer enthusiasts that these will be great for. Reply
  • Granseth - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    I think it would be great in a student laptop as well. It could easily survive a day at campus on battery and still have enough power for normal usage like words, edocs, mail and such. Lets just hope somebody gives it a good enough screen and wrapping to be usable in that environment. Reply
  • axien86 - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    HP already announced new 10-point touchscreen laptops based on AMD Jaguar chips that are incredibly priced at $399 MSRP. These are going to sell in the millions. Reply
  • chizow - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Just odd to me is all, I figured there were tablets in that sub-$300 range, and something like Surface or various hybrids at that $500 and above price point. I guess this is going to go for super cheap laptop/hybrids in the sub-$300 range to compete with tablets again?

    I thought this was going to be more in that $500+ bracket with good enough CPU perf and much better GPU than Intel, but that doesn't seem to be the case?
  • thebeastie - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    I don't think you understand the core of what Anand likes about the Kabini, its going to be in a tablet that people can use all day with out having to recharge unlike a comparable Intel solution which would use ALL the battery in half the time, which means you need to recharge it twice a day type scenario...
    Kabini gives similar performance that can go ALL day.
  • Jaybus - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    Similar GPU performance, but not similar CPU. Single-core performance is still very relevant, in spite of the marketing hoopla. And the Intel has twice the single-core performance, so will be snappier. So, no surprise. Half the power and so half the performance. Both suck at games anyway, and at this price point who cares? If the AMD would have similar CPU performance at half the power, even at the expense of GPU performance, they would be a hands down winner. But that is probably not possible, so they are leveraging their superior GPU performance per Watt. But playing games in slow motion is not impressing anyone. A $300 netbook 2.0 could easily get by with 2D graphics only if it was snappy and the battery lasted all day. I don't see much use for a slow GPU with an even slower CPU. At least the Intel has a marginally fast enough CPU, but it sucks down power. Neither are adequate. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    Too expensive to sell in the millions. Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    that 10" in there previous netbook was also a selling hit. Once that brazos was introduced by HP, many vendors stopt offering the atom based netbooks in volume.

    for the rest kabine perf wise is fine for its market intention. Those who bark about unusable daily use have no idea about what was brazos in usage when paired even with a 7.2k rpm hd. THey probbaly only worked with nice atom's....

    Its a bit pitty that turbo mode doesn't work here. They either need to fix that in next update or need to bring a dual core higher ghz bin in the same TDP.
  • warezme - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    I have to agree the graphics for either Intel or AMD on these platforms are abysmal. I still have an old laptop from 5 years ago now serving up as a media server that has an Nvidia 9800GTXm and it used to pull around a 10,000 score on 3Dmark06 from what I can recall and this was years and years ago. Granted that was discrete but I would have thought things would have improved immensely on the integrated side by now. Reply

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