Comparing AMD Carrizo to Intel Core

While generational updates are a crucial part of the examination, there has to be comparison with the competition. Intel has an overriding advantage in process node, meaning that performance per watt is difficult to compete against, but also OEMs seem unwilling to use Carrizo in the same device designs as they do with Core either due to partnerships or other issues (e.g. ASUS UX301/UX305 uses 15W Core i5). Nonetheless, Intel’s product line is a sequence of parts that intersect each other, with low end models equipped with dual core Pentiums and Celerons, stretching into some i3 and i5 territory while still south of $1000. In this mix is Core M, Intel’s 4.5W premium dual core parts found in devices north of $600.

AMD Carrizo vs Intel Core
SoC A12-8800B FX-8800P   i5-5200U   m3-6Y30 i5-6300U i7-6600U
CPU Carrizo
2M/4T
>3.4 GHz
Carrizo
2M/4T
>3.4 GHz
  Broadwell
2C/4T
>2.7 GHz
  Skylake
2C/2T
>2.2 GHz
Skylake
2C/4T
>3.0 GHz
Skylake
2C/4T
>3.2 GHz
CPU TDP 15W 15W   15W   4.5W 15W 15W
GPU R7
GCN 1.2
512 SPs
800 MHz
R7
GCN 1.2
512 SPs
800 MHz
  HD 5500
Gen8
24 EUs
900 MHz
  HD 515
Gen9
24 EUs
850 MHz
HD 520
Gen 9
24 EUs
1 GHz
HD 520
Gen 9
24 EUs
1.05 GHz
DRAM 1x4GB
DDR3
1600MHz
1x8GB
DDR3L
1600MHz
  2x8GB
DDR3L
1600MHz
  2x4GB
DDR3L
1600MHz
2x4GB
DDR3L
1600MHz
2x8GB
LPDDR3
1866MHz
Storage 128GB
SSD
750GB
HDD
  256GB
SSD
  256GB
SSD
256GB
SSD
256GB
PCIe
SoC Price ~$150 ~$150   $281   $281 $281 $393

As part of this comparison, we took our results from the 15W Carrizo laptops home and put them up against several Intel parts. The main comparison point is the i5-5200U, a 15W Broadwell part from Intel (in this case from the BRIX mini-HTPC I have at home) and the i5-6300U, a 15W Skylake part from the Surface Pro 4. Both Intel parts have a slightly lower frequency than the top-end Carrizo parts, but match Carrizo's 2MB L2 cache while also implementing a 3MB L3 cache, which gives them an advantage in cache-limited scenarios. The Skylake i5, compared to the Broadwell i5, uses a newer architecture and increased frequencies, and both are made on 14nm rather than 28nm, which gives Intel a significant process node (and by extension a perf/watt) advantage.

To add some more interesting points into the mix, we have also pulled in some results from the ASUS UX305, a Skylake-Y based Core M device at 4.5W. Our UX305 uses a lower-end m3-6Y30, but it gives us an idea of how very low power Core fares in comparison to 15W Carrizo. Meanwhile at the opposite end of the spectrum we also have thrown in an i7-6600U system, one of Intel's top 15W SKUs, allowing us to compare the best 15W part from AMD to the best 15W part from Intel. That said, given the current performance realities of the CPU market, it is worth noting here that the these parts are in two different segments to Carrizo based on price/performance and performance/watt ($393 for the i7-6600U alone can be as much as a full Carrizo laptop).

First up, a selection of CPU tests:

3D Particle Movement, Single Threaded

3D Particle Movement, MultiThreaded

WinRAR 5.01

POV-Ray 3.7 Beta

HandBrake Low Resolution h264 Transcode

HandBrake High Resolution h264 Transcode

7-Zip MIPS

Cinebench 15 - Single Threaded

Cinebench 15 - Multithreaded

Cinebench 11.5 - Single Threaded

Cinebench 11.5 - Multithreaded

x264 HD 3.0 - Pass 1

x264 HD 3.0 - Pass 2

Most tests in this case favor the Intel 15W parts, with only POV-Ray being a fully multi-threaded integer workload pushing over the Broadwell i5-5200U. Ultimately this points to where Carrizo lies in performance: somewhere between Core M and Core i5, and it can sometimes lose to both in single threaded performance.

On the GPU and OpenCL tests:

PCMark08 Home - OpenCL Accelerated

PCMark08 Work - OpenCL Accelerated

PCMark08 Creative - OpenCL Accelerated

Agisoft PhotoScan - Total Time CPU + GPU

3DMark: Ice Storm Unlimited, Overall

3DMark: Ice Storm Unlimited, CPU

3DMark: Ice Storm Unlimited, Graphics

3DMark: Cloud Gate

3DMark: Sky Diver

3DMark: Fire Strike

Rocket League, 720p High Average on IGP

One of AMD’s big pushes is with gaming, OpenCL, and their Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA). With all three markets, AMD wants to beat Intel. But here we have an issue – both of the AMD parts we have tested here are by default equipped with single channel memory, and may not even be dual channel capable if they share a device design with Carrizo-L (more on this in the next couple of pages). The use of single channel memory when Carrizo systems are sold essentially chokes the key parts of AMD’s offering.

A number of users might think it's unfair to show the results of two single channel Carrizo systems against dual channel Broadwell/Skylake systems, and we totally get that. After speaking internally with other editors however, we came across the situation that many Intel laptops come with dual channel memory as standard or a fixed memory arrangement to begin with. Looking at it closer, there is somewhat of a pattern:

AMD Carrizo vs Intel Core
Current Laptop Designs on the Market
Name Lenovo
Y700-15ACZ
HP Elitebook 745 G3   HP Elitebook 840 G3 Dell
XPS 13
ASUS Zenbook UX303 HP
Envy 13t
Size 15.6" 14"   14" 13.3" 13.3" 13.3"
Resolution 1080p 1080p   1080p 1080p  1080p  1800p 
Touch No No   No No Yes No
SoC FX-8800P A12-8800B   i5-6200U i5-6200U i5-6200U i7-6500U
µArch Carrizo Carrizo   Skylake Skylake Skylake Skylake
Integrated GPU R7
512 SPs
R7
512 SPs
  HD 520
24 EUs
HD 520
24 EUs
HD 520
24 EUs
HD 520
24 EUs
Discrete GPU R9-M380 4GB -   - - - -
TDP 35W+? 15W   15W 15W 15W 15W
Memory 1x8GB
DDR3L
1600 
1x4GB
DDR3L
1600
  2x4GB
DDR4
2133
2x4GB
LPDDR3
1866
2x4GB
DDR3L
1600
2x4GB
DDR3L
1600
Memory
Channels
Single
Only
Single /
Dual
  Dual Dual Dual Dual
Storage 1TB 5400 RPM 256GB
SSD
  128GB
SSD
128GB PCIe 256GB
SSD
512GB
SSD
Battery Size 60 Wh 45.76 Wh
> 8.5h
  45.76 Wh 56 Wh 50 Wh
> 7h
45.76 Wh
> 7.5h
Weight 5.72 lbs 3.41 lb   3.41 lb 2.7 lbs 3.2 lbs 3 lbs
OS Win10 Home Win10/7
Pro
  Win7
Pro
Win10 Pro Win10
Home
Win10 Home
Warranty 1Yr Base 3Yr Parts
3Yr Labor
  1Yr Parts
1Yr Labor
1 Year 1 Year 1 Year
Price £799 / $972 $1049   $1149 $1049 $899 $1050

After doing research for that table, there’s a clear relationship between the nature and style of the device. In each circumstance, the default Carrizo arrangement had only single channel memory whereas each Intel device came with dual channel as standard. Part of this is down to cutting costs, while part of it comes to the Carrizo/Carrizo-L shared design in the case of the Lenovo Y700. In each case, the system is being un-necessarily cut off from available performance due to choices at the point of product inception.

With that being said, there are some Intel designs that specifications wise do knock it out of the park. If there’s willing to be compromise a bit on the styling or warranty around this price point, then at the same price as the Elitebook G3 there can be an i7-6500U and a QHD+ display through the HP Envy 13t. But in each other case where the Intel system gets dual channel memory there’s also either a smaller drive or a more restrictive warranty on the Intel system. Or in the case of the Carrizo based Lenovo Y700, under $1000 gets a discrete graphics card, the 35W version of the APU, but it’s still limited to single channel memory by design, which is frustrating.

The situation looks a bit worse if we do a direct comparison between two equivalent price Lenovo Y700 systems:

AMD Carrizo vs Intel Core
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 15.6-inch
Name Lenovo Y700-15ACZ   Lenovo Y700-15
Visual

 

Size 15.6" 1080p IPS   15.6" 1080p IPS
Touch No   No
Processor AMD FX-8800P (35W)
2M/4T, 2.1-3.4 GHz
  Core i5-6300HQ (45W)
4C/4T, 2.3-3.2 GHz
Graphics R6 + R9-M380 4GB   HD 530 + GTX 960M
TDP 35W + ?   45W + 65W
Memory 1 x 8GB DDR3L-1600 
Single Channel
  2 x 4GB DDR4-2133
Dual Channel
Storage 1 TB 5400 RPM   500 GB 5400 RPM
Battery 60 Wh   60 Wh
WiFi 'Lenovo AC'   Intel 3165 802.11ac 1x1
Dimensions 15.24 x 10.91 x 1.02"   15.24 x 10.91 x 1.02"
Weight 5.72 lbs   5.72 lbs
Webcam 1280x720   1280x720
OS Windows 10 Home   Windows 10 Home
Warranty 1 Year   1 Year
Price £799 / $972   $980

Here are the two Lenovo Y700 models at the same price, one with AMD and the other with Intel. The Intel part has a quad core i5 with a 45W TDP, a GTX 960M for graphics (similar in GFLOPS to the R9 M380) and dual channel memory. The models should compete similarly in gaming at 1080p, but if the AMD system allowed dual channel and CrossFire between the integrated APU and the discrete card it would handily get a boost. DirectX 12 might help here, if it can use both cards depending on the firmware, but at this point the positive for AMD over Intel is the larger hard disk. The Intel model has single stream 802.11ac wireless, which can be upgraded for $20, whereas the AMD wireless is not specified.

There’s no sugar coating the fact that there is a deficit in performance per watt between AMD’s best and Intel’s best in this regard, due to both the architecture and the process node. The price/performance ratio is a little bit trickier to digest, especially when so few AMD designs are by default equipped with enough memory and it can limit the maximum platform performance. In the case of the Y700 above, it’s because the product shares a platform with Carrizo-L making it limited to single channel memory, although I can't exactly find a Carrizo-L APU in a Y700 on the market.

Additional February 10th:

Since the publication of the review, a couple of things have come to our attention. Our pre-production Lenovo Y700, with both memory slots populated, was performing in single channel mode although our source for this sample assumed it was dual channel. Our testing confirmed single channel. However, the full retail version of the Y700 has an updated motherboard design to enable dual channel operation when both memory slots are populated with compatible memory. As far as well can tell, all Carrizo Y700 units at retail should be able to support dual channel memory.

Gaming Benchmarks: 3DMark and Rocket League How Hot is too Hot? Temperatures and Thermal Results
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  • ImSpartacus - Friday, February 05, 2016 - link

    Holy shit, I haven't seen that many pages in a long time. You don't see this much content very often. Gotta love dat chorizo. Reply
  • close - Friday, February 05, 2016 - link

    ImSpartanus, they're just writing a comprehensive article. I'm sure they put in good work with all of them. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, February 05, 2016 - link

    I think this article provides a pretty delicate and nuanced treatment of chorizo and its place in the market (both potential & actual). There's no doubt that the circumstances demanded it. This was not business as usual and I'm glad Anandtech recognized the need for that additional effort.

    We're fooling ourselves if we pretend that any journalistic entity puts the sane amount of effort into every project. We're talking about living, breathing humans, not robots.
    Reply
  • fmcjw - Friday, February 05, 2016 - link

    I found the language convoluted, verbose, and difficult to read, compared to, say, Anand's straightforward and logical writing:

    "Nonetheless, Intel’s product line is a sequence of parts that intersect each other, with low end models equipped with dual core Pentiums and Celerons, stretching into some i3 and i5 territory while still south of $1000. In this mix is Core M, Intel’s 4.5W premium dual core parts found in devices north of $600."

    "south of/north of"... can't you just put in "below/above"? And all that "intersecting of parts", can't you just say from the Atom to Pentiums, Celerons, i3's, and i5's....

    The whole thing reads like they're paying you to score a high word count. Lots of information to extract here, but it can be 3 pages shorter and take half as long to read.
    Reply
  • Cellar Door - Friday, February 05, 2016 - link

    That is why Anandtech has video adds on their main page - designed for people like you. Who simply lack reading comprehension past 8th grade and find it hard to understand. Just watch watch the video on how to loose weight that auto-plays on the side.

    Or... try Tom's Hardware - they cater to your demographic.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, February 05, 2016 - link

    There's no question that Anand had a powerful way of writing that was uniquely simple yet educated you nevertheless. And for a layman that reads this sort of stuff to learn new information, that's very attractive and I kinda miss it (along with Klug).

    However, I give Ian a pass because he at least attempted to use other brand of conveying his ideas. In certain sections he used special table-like fitting to separate "parallel" sections/stances so that the rader would be more apt to compare them. So there's at least some effort, though he surely could do better.
    Reply
  • 10basetom - Saturday, February 06, 2016 - link

    fmcjw does have a point, but in all fairness it is much harder to explain techical stuff in layman terms than it is to be long-wordy. Carl Sagan was the master of it on TV, and Anand was excellent at it on paper. Reply
  • JMC2000 - Sunday, February 07, 2016 - link

    I didn't find anything wrong with the language Ian used, as this is piece is still on a technical level, but can be understood by the layman that knows a bit more than just what the stickers on the outside tell.

    To me, the phrase "parts that intersect each other" lays out that there is a myriad of options where configurations overlap, where as saying "from the Atom to Pentiums, Celerons, i3s and i5s" indicates that there is a pricing structure that is related to general CPU performance, which there really isn't when it comes to low-end machines.
    Reply
  • plonk420 - Monday, February 08, 2016 - link

    "south of/north of" sounds better than "greater than/less than," which is more correct than "below/above" Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    yeah, colorful language is nice. Dumbing down adjectives or descriptions can often construe the true message IMO. This way, it paints a more descriptive/colorful picture.

    Keep up the good work Ian.
    Reply

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