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
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  • tipoo - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Fair enough. But I'll trade you ANY Tegra 3 device you have for my Nexus S :P Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I almost fell on the floor laughing...

    "Why settle for crappy game play on 3~4 year old PC titles when you can get a much better experience from tablet games?"

    LMFAO!!!!!!

    Okay... now that I've calmed down.. The reason to settle for crappy gameplay on 3-4 year old PC titles, (which isn't that long ago btw, there are bajillions of good PC titles released before 2009), is because it absolutely DESTROYS tablet gaming. Hell, even Playstation 1 destroys tablet gaming. Just the incredibly massive selection, full 3D everything, an actual method of inputting your controls.

    By comparison, there is no such thing as tablet gaming. A few good titles here and there, but an overwhelming number of 2D or free-to-play/adware/begware titles with poor gameplay. (Candy Crush Saga, mentioned in these comments!) And hilariously pathetic touch-based controls.

    I have no problems with tablets in general. But there is no such thing as a "tablet gaming" experience that competes in any way with a PC or console gaming experience. I wish there was, but it's not there yet.

    I'm also no fan of AMD lately. Your post had the opposite effect on me, now I see why Kabini may actually deserve a chance in hell, even it if doesn't really stand one.
    Reply
  • yellowblue - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    The people who are going to use this will not play Oblivion or Diablo III on it. They are going to play Candy Crush Saga and other FB games. Why not add it to the benchmarks? My wife can't use her two year old SB laptop with GT 540M due to the excess heat and have been bugging me for some time now that I'll clean her laptop heat sink. iPad is not an option since the only levels she can play now are only available in FB. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Is that laptop by chance an Acer TimelineX? I've had one and Acer just pushed too hard on getting the CPU and dGPU in there. It's a shame, as it was otherwise a compelling option. I'm going to try some FB gaming today on Kabini and maybe do a short Pipeline on it. Reply
  • yellowblue - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Cool I'm looking forward to it. It's Asus n53sv and it is running around 80c when playing Candy Crush. Probably needs a new thermal paste application but don't really want to fix something that is not really broken. It just runs very hot under FB games. Reply
  • Gaugamela - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    I have a N43, but never had that type of issues... Reply
  • Gaugamela - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    eh, equal to my notebook. Core i7 Sandy Bridge with a overclocked 540M (it's just an underclocked 550M so I placed it at the 550M frequencies). Installed an SSD in it, increased RAM to 8Gb, and it will last me a long time. Perfectly satisfied with it since I play a few games every now and then. Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Right, it does not replace your Core i7 with dGPU. Reply
  • kyuu - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    I'm looking at Kabini (or Temash or Richland), and I sure as heck am not going to be playing FB games on it. One of the great appeals of an x86 tablet or ultraportable notebook to me is having the entire library of games from Steam, GOG, my old CDs, emulators, etc. to choose from instead of being limited to whatever is in an app store.

    If it could play Diablo 3 or Starcraft 2 or Civ 5 on low settings, that'd be cool too, though it looks like you still need to step up to Trinity/Richland for that.
    Reply
  • glsunder - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    I could play diablo 3 on my e-350 at around 20fps iirc. Civ 5 was barely playable on low on the smallest map. If these could turbo 1 or 2 cores up to 2.0 GHz, it'd probably make low end gaming feasible. Reply

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