GPU Performance

Looking at 3DMark’s Ice Storm test, the comparison between Intel’s 22nm HD Graphics in the Pentium 2020M and the Radeon HD 8830 in the A4-5000 is extremely close. In fact, across almost all of the 3DMark benchmarks we see the two perform very similarly. The lone exception being 3DMark 11 where the A4-5000 maintains a significant lead and even approaches Trinity in terms of performance (making it feel more like a fluke than the norm).

Turning to GFXBenchmark (formerly GL/DXBenchmark), we see performance tilt in favor of Kabini once again. The T-Rex HD test is extremely shader intensive. There’s about a 20% gap in raw shader performance between the 2-CU GCN implementation in Kabini and the 6 EU Gen7 graphics core in the Pentium 2020M, which maps almost perfectly to the performance delta we see in T-Rex HD. Now we see where the Pentium/Core i3 comparison comes from.

GPU Performance
  3DMark Ice Storm 3DMark Cloud Gate 3DMark Fire Strike 3DMark 11 3DMark 06 GFXBenchmark T-Rex HD
AMD A4-5000 (Radeon HD 8330) 23196 2159 310 580 3803 37 fps
Intel Pentium 2020M (HD Graphics) 23135 2168 285 401 3542 30 fps

All of this is fine if we’re looking at theoretical GPU benchmarks but what about actual games? In our Kabini review Jarred found the A4-5000 to be incapable of playing modern titles at reasonable frame rates, but what about titles from a few years ago? To find out, I dusted off Oblivion (with the Shivering Isles expansion) and threw it on my Kabini, Brazos and IVB Pentium systems.

I configured all three systems the same way: 1366 x 768, with medium graphics quality presets. I even used our old Oblivion SI benchmark from 2007. The results seemed to mirror what we saw in 3DMark:

GPU Performance
  Oblivion - 1366 x 768 Medium Diablo III - 1366 x 768 Low Oblivion - Power Consumption
AMD E-350 (Radeon HD 6310) 20.1 fps 21.9 fps  
AMD A4-5000 (Radeon HD 8330) 26.1 fps 25.8 fps 15.2W
Intel Pentium 2020M (HD Graphics) 27.7 fps 20.3 fps 31.4W

Kabini is about 30% faster than Brazos in GPU performance, and almost identical to the Pentium 2020M. Intel has a 6% performance advantage here, but I’m wondering if that’s from the CPU and not the GPU (Oblivion tends to hit both pretty hard). At lower quality settings (and/or resolution) you can definitely get Kabini above 30 fps, but even here I’d say it’s playable. More importantly, it’s performance competitive with Intel’s HD graphics.

I was also curious to see how Diablo III ran on Kabini so I fired up an early save and ran through the Cemetery of the Forsaken recording average frame rate. On a more modern title, both Kabini and Brazos actually hold a performance advantage over the Pentium 2020M.

As far as power goes, Kabini delivers relatively similar performance at roughly half the power of the Pentium 2020M.

With any of these integrated GPUs, the gaming experience even on previous generation high-end titles isn’t going to be a walk in the park.

CPU Performance & Power vs Pentium 2020M Final Words
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  • chizow - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    I don't understand what the market is for one of these. Pretty poor CPU performance and untenable graphics performance for anything more than video streaming/web surfing. Seems to me like a faster CPU with less emphasis on GPU (i3-3XXX) paired with a low-power, low-profile discrete GPU would be the better way to go. Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Uhh... these are going into $300 laptops. There will be no discrete GPUs here. Reply
  • Frenetic Pony - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    This is really the market here. I'm fine with my 17 watt Ivy Core i5 Ivy bridge thanks, and my sister will be good with a 15 watt Haswell when she gets a new laptop next month. The key here is price, not performance per watt, in which case you'd just go with a Core i-whatever (possibly with a dedicated Nvidia GPU) and call it good. Reply
  • medi02 - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    So what kind of apps does our sister run, to justify need for a faster performing CPU? (and doh, just i5 won't cut it, you need a ULW part, or you are losing on longevity vs Kabini; So we are talking what, twice or triple the price?) Reply
  • chizow - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    I see, so these are like Netbook 2.0, I figured it was the first step to making AMD's Fusion a huge success with the APU, offering much faster graphics than ever before on a CPU. But it's really AMD's version of the Atom? Reply
  • Gigaplex - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    AMD has two main Fusion lines. This line is the Atom competitor, which uses the low power CPU architecture (Bobcat derivative). The APUs that offer the high end graphics use the higher performance architecture (Bulldozer derivative). It sounds like you'd be more interested in the upcoming Kaveri chips. Reply
  • Voldenuit - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    I'm with chizow. AMD is trying to sell a sub-par device upmarket. These things really belonged in netbooks from 2 years ago. Their performance and and pricepoint is irrelvant today when a $200-300 Android tablet is a better ancillary computing device than a $300-400 netbook.

    The tablet may have less computing power and not be able to run the full suite of x86 productivity software, but will have a better screen, better battery life, more portability, and more importantly, said tablet would be better suited to running its native lightweight Android apps and games than Kabini, which is burdened with full-fat x86 programs targeted at more powerful CPUs/GPUs.
    Reply
  • glsunder - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    If you're not gaming, this would be quite nice for a little laptop. Most laptops with these apus won't have dvd drives, so they won't be used for ripping. If I'm going to play a game, it'll be on my desktop.

    I have an e-350 based laptop that I bought a few years ago. Under windows, it was plenty fast enough to do coding on and run VMs (vs no VM on atom). It was too slow to run an android ARM emulator, but native x86 android worked fine for testing apps. I recently switched it to Ubuntu, which is quite a bit more responsive than Win7.
    Reply
  • hyperspaced - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    "Full-fat x86 programs"? Are you talking about the CISC-RISC age-old comparison?

    So, what's your point? The same software will run better on RISC architecture?
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    The point is that most apps on Android are simpler and less resource-intensive because they are designed for:
    a. lower power CPUs
    b. lower feature set
    You can do more with most windows program suites than the comparable alternatives on Android, but if you want to do anything beyond basic editing/viewing, you'd be better off with a Corei/Richland laptop anyway.
    Reply

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