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

  • kyuu - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    The x202e does seem like a great platform for Kabini. Something similar as a dockable tablet design would be even more interesting. Reply
  • FwFred - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    Because Intel is able to share TDP budget between CPU and GPU. Because AMD cannot, it must 'reserve' TDP for the GPU even when a CPU-only benchmark is running. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I noticed that a few of THG's Kabini numbers appear off -- specifically PCMark 7 is clearly using an SSD on Kabini and not on the others. Which is horribly unfair, as that's the benchmark that benefits most from an SSD. For reference:
  • kyuu - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Yes, I believe THG noted that some of the numbers were skewed to due them not using an SSD across the board. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    Where did they say that? What I see is this:

    "Although we used a number of different notebooks for our benchmarks, we used the same hard drive and memory in all of them to keep our comparisons as valid as possible. We want to zero in on platform performance after all, and not the difference between a mechanical disk and SSD."

    This is clearly not true, as the Kabini laptop has an SSD for PCMark 7 while the others are HDDs. The configuration tables also make no mention of SSDs. I understand the difficulty of getting all the tests run under a time crunch, but at least we try to acknowledge the shortcomings and are honest in the configuration details.
  • yensteel - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    I think Kabini is in a similar position as Sandybridge HD 3000 was 2 years ago for gaming. Barely there in playability, but so close!

    For me, the Intel HD4000 is the bottom line for basic gaming performance (low res and quality for current gen games), I hope that AMD can pass that threshold with the next generation. With the mentality of "good enough", many people like students would find it very attractive.

    I also appreciate the improvement in efficiency and price. It's a good direction.
  • duploxxx - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    that's why A6 is there.... you see anandtech doesn't have the right HW to comapare and now all a sudden people start to see this as a counterpart of I series...

    its a a4 meant to be replacement of barzos, which it clearly does and against Atom which it destroys in any matter.
  • mschira - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    Well they should be compared to Atoms, that's their price bracket. And they destroy Atom, so thoroughly it is beyond the scales.
    And on the GPU side things are even worse. Atom GPUs are the biggest nightmare on the planet.
    So they should go in $200-$400 small systems with a 10 or 11" screen.
    Kinda like the netbooks we wanted for 5 years but we only got Atom.
  • mschira - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    By the way is Kabini made on a cheap bulk process?
    If so I think the costs for the chip would be lower than a same surface Intel Chip.
    So of course they can beat their prices easily.
  • Roland00Address - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    Intel foundries are also on a bulk process. Reply

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