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AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review

Written by

Antony Leather

April 24, 2014 | 09:28

Tags: #best-cheap-cpu #cheap-gaming-pc #cheap-pc #htpc #kabini

Companies: #amd

1 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review2 — The Kabini APU and AM1 Platform3 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Test setup4 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Cinebench and WPrime Performance5 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Image Editing and Video Encoding Performance6 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Multi-tasking and Overall Performance7 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — OpenCL and OpenGL Performance8 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Gaming Performance and Power Consumption9 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Performance Analysis and Conclusion

Manufacturer:AMD
UK price (as reviewed):£40. 72
US price (as reviewed):$63.99

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There was some interesting news regarding AMD recently. Financially, it recorded some significant losses throughout 2013, which can arguably be traced all the way back to Intel’s launch of its Core architecture and AMD’s somewhat ill-fated Phenom. However, while it hasn’t really clawed back any significant ground in the high performance desktop CPU market, the APU arena is a very different story.

The case for budget gaming systems is pretty strong, and Kaveri and Richland (think A10-7850K and A10-6800K) have strengthened the idea that there are playable frame rates to be had below your typical budget CPU and cheap discrete GPU setup.

AMD has seen enhanced sales of GPUs thanks to cryptocurrency mining (not forgetting that the company is also in a fairly equal fight with Nvidia when it comes to frame rates too), and it also has fingers in plenty of next-gen console pies. Its Q1 2014 net income of -$20m is actually a lot better than what we’ve seen recently — the same quarter last year, for example, saw its net income at -$146m.

Things are arguably looking up for AMD, then, and with Intel’s inferior but ever-increasing graphics performance on its CPUs, with Kabini, AMD’s latest APU, it is looking to cement its dominance at the extreme budget end of the market, and fend off competition from budget Intel CPUs.

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So where exactly does Kabini fit in? Well, AMD wanted to be clear here — this isn’t a 1080p gaming setup, nor is Kabini going to be competing with Pentiums or Core i3’s in 2D performance stakes either. It’s not even really a cut down version of Kaveri — Kabini is essentially a low power desktop version of its latest mobile and console-based silicon sporting up to four Jaguar cores along with a Radeon GPU portion — more on the technical side of things over the page.

As we reported here on the day of launch, Kabini is essentially AMD’s answer to Intel’s Bay Trail, which is found in some low-power Pentium, Celeron and Atom-based systems including NUCs amongst other things. Steam OS, HTPCs and generic budget systems all come into play here, especially as Kabini APUs also sport Radeon graphics, and this market is precisely what AMD is aiming at.

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It’s certainly lucrative given the sheer volumes involved, especially in the home/office PC side of things. However, something that’s really raised some eyebrows is the cost of the APUs and indeed their counterpart Socket AM1 motherboards. The latter are currently available for as little as £20, and the top-end APU that we’re looking at here today, the Athlon 5350, only costs £40 with the low-end Sempron 2650 retailing for just £24. Throw in a budget PSU, 4GB of RAM and a mini-ITX case such as Cooler Master’s Elite 130, and you’re looking at a complete base unit price of no more than £150 — something Intel simply cannot match, at least if you’re buying up-to-date gear.

AMD has cited a need from developing countries for a low-cost offering and price-wise it’s certainly met that, but where the new Socket AM1 also surprised us when we first heard about it, is that it’s socketed — not embedded like its predecessors. The reason for this, again according to AMD, is to offer a modicum of future proofing for the new socket but also to allow some flexibility when it comes to hardware choice, even if at launch there are only four models to choose from.

APU Model Athlon 5350 Athlon 5150 Sempron 3850 Sempron 2650
CPU Frequency 2.05GHz 1.6GHz 1.3GHz 1.45GHz
GPU Radeon R3 8400 Radeon R3 8400 Radeon R3 HD 8280 Radeon R3 HD 8240
GCN Radeon Cores 128 128 128 128
GPU Frequency 600MHz 600MHz 450MHz 400MHz
Maximum memory speed 1,600MHz 1,600MHz 1,600MHz 1,333MHz
Total Cache 2MB 2MB 2MB 1MB
TDP 25W 25W 25W 25W

1 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review2 — The Kabini APU and AM1 Platform3 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Test setup4 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Cinebench and WPrime Performance5 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Image Editing and Video Encoding Performance6 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Multi-tasking and Overall Performance7 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — OpenCL and OpenGL Performance8 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Gaming Performance and Power Consumption9 — AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini) Review — Performance Analysis and Conclusion

Budget CPU Roundup: AMD Kabini vs.

Intel Bay Trail-D

AMD set its sights on desktops in emerging markets last month, announcing its AM1 platform and the first Kabini-based socket APUs. The Kabini architecture arrived last year for ultra-mobile and embedded devices, bringing 28nm chips with TDP ratings as low as 3.9w, though most parts were rated for 8 to 15w.

When they first landed, Kabini chips were BGA parts using the Socket FT3 and featured either two or four cores using the Jaguar microarchitecture. Unlike Kaveri desktop APUs which have a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller, Kabini parts are limited to a single-channel DDR3 controller that tops out at 1600MHz.

Low-end desktop SoCs typically come soldered to motherboards, including AMD’s 2011 Brazos platform with the E-350 as well as Intel’s Bay Trail-D architecture. Since upgradability is limited in that scenario anyway, many people see tablets and related options as being more practical considering their price and portability.

AMD hopes to change that with its AM1 platform, which currently offers four APUs as well as a range of affordable motherboards from Asrock, Asus, ECS, Gigabyte and MSI. This gives the platform an edge over previous budget SoCs as it provides entry-level buyers the flexibility enjoyed by the rest of the desktop market.

While checking out the new AM1 APUs, we included many potentially competing chips we had on hand and we picked up the the Intel Core i3-4130, Pentium G3220 and Celeron G1820. This should provide a clear picture of what is available in the low-end CPU market and help determine which solution is right for you.

The AM1 platform launched with four APUs, though we expect the number of options to grow as the platform matures. Below is a table highlighting the key features of these new APUs.

Athlon 5350 Athlon 5150 Sempron 3850 Sempron 2650
CPU Cores 4 4 4 2
CPU Frequency 2.05GHz 1.60GHz 1.30GHz 1.45GHz
GPU Cores 128 128 128 128
GPU Frequency 600MHz 600MHz 450MHz 400MHz
Memory Frequency 1600MHz 1600MHz 1600MHz 1333MHz
L2 Cache 2MB 2MB 2MB 1MB
TDP 25w 25w 25w 25w
MSRP ($) $55 $45 $36 $31

The Athlon and Sempron brands are back (sadly Duron hasn’t returned).

The Athlon 5350 is at the top of the AM1 food chain with 4-cores, 2MB L2 cache and a 2.05GHz operating frequency. It also features the 128 SPU GPU which comes clocked at 600MHz. At a cost of just $55, the Athlon 5350 is today’s most expensive AM1 APU.

At $45, the Athlon 5150 can be had for $10 less and is the same as the Athlon 5350 except in clock speed, which has been reduced to 1.60GHz.

The Sempron 3850 is even cheaper at just $36, and while it maintains all four cores they are clocked at just 1.30GHz. The GPU has also been clocked down to 450MHz and yet despite all that the same 25w TDP rating still applies.

Finally, the cheapest of the lot is a $31 dual-core version called the Sempron 2650, which is clocked at 1.45GHz with a 400MHz GPU clock speed and is limited to DDR3-1333 memory. The L2 cache has also been reduced to just 1MB while the 25w TDP rating still applies. When it comes to $31 processors, the Sempron 2650 is the beginning and the end.

Although the platform has been named AM1 the socket is actually called FS1b. At this stage there are no standard ATX motherboards, with most being based on the MicroATX form factor, and a few Mini-ITX boards we prefer.

The motherboards themselves are extremely simplistic given that the AM1 processors are SoCs with integrated memory, PCIe, USB, Gigabit Ethernet and SATA controllers. You get a single-channel 64-bit memory controller supporting DDR3/DDR3L memory, two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 support, up to four eDP/DP/HDMI video outputs as well as a VGA output, four PCIe 2.0 lanes for a discrete GPU/PCIe device, two SATA 6Gb/s ports, and four PCIe 2.0 x1 lanes though one is dedicated to the Gigabit Ethernet controller.

With the most expensive AM1 APU costing just $55 we don’t expect to see any crazy motherboard designs or feature sets. For the most part we suspect motherboard makers will leave the APU to deliver the bulk of the features.

The same goes for the CPU coolers as we suspect most systems will feature AMD’s low profile stock cooler. The cooler uses a pushpin retention system that is a little fiddly and not nearly as elegant as the latch leaver system used on Intel’s mainstream platforms. Given that AMD’s cooler uses a small fan we hope to see some passively cooled solutions in the future.

Getting back to the motherboards, the best AM1 example we have seen so far is the Asrock AM1H-ITX and it’s just one of three Mini-ITX AM1 boards that we know of. The other is made by MSI and while that board offers some nice overclocking features, we don’t like how it requires the 4-pin power connector.

The Asrock AM1H-ITX also has another significant advantage: a DC Jack on the I/O panel that is compatible with a 19V power adapter. This makes the $59 Asrock AM1H-ITX our first choice for any AM1 build.

AMD Kabini series processors.

AMD Kabini series processors.

AMD Kabini processors –
APUs with ultra-low power consumption and targeted at tablets. Hybrid
the processor is based on the x86 Jaguar core and the familiar graphics architecture Graphics
CoreNext.
28nm system-on-a-chip AMD A4-5000 , also belongs to AMD ‘Kabini’ APU series, but designed for
portable PCs and comes only in PGA-version, differing in this
minimum power consumption and heat dissipation (the TDP value is only
15 W). In addition to four ‘Jaguar’ processor cores clocked at 1.5
GHz and integrated graphics unit AMD Radeon HD 8210, operating at a frequency of
300 MHz AMD A4-5000 9 SoC die0003 also
includes controllers for RAM, USB, SATA, PCI Express and more
peripherals. The motherboard BIOSTAR A68-N 5000 does not have a separate chipset, or rather, it simply
moved under the processor cover in a somewhat truncated form. As
sound chip, BIOSTAR engineers chose the Realtek ALC662 6-channel codec, and for
Ethernet connections are answered by a Realtek RTL8111G gigabit network adapter. For
installation of DDR3 RAM modules with a frequency of 800/1066/1333/1600 MHz on
motherboard BIOSTAR A68-N 5000 has two 240-pin
DIMM slots, however, RAM can only work in a single-channel
mode, and its maximum size should not exceed 16 GB. single slot
expansion PCI Express has a full-size version, but only supports
4 PCIe 2.0 lanes. nine0007

Miniature dimensions, fully passive cooling and basic
the level of equipment, of course, determine the main scenarios of operation. She
can become a sufficiently equipped and at the same time affordable basis for
small multimedia system, silent HTPC (Home Theater PC) or
nettop, designed to perform everyday tasks (Fig. 1).
Developers also draw the attention of potential buyers to support
motherboard BIOSTAR A68-N 5000 UEFI BIOS and BIO-Remote
2. The last option allows owners of smartphones on iOS and Android platforms
remotely control a PC using the appropriate application, supporting
touchpad and controller emulation for presentations. nine0007

AMD A4-5000 — quad-core processor for budget laptops,
in addition to 4 processing cores operating at a frequency of 1.5 GHz (turbo mode
no), the 28nm processor also includes an integrated Radeon HD 8330 graphics card,
a southbridge with various I/O ports and a DDR3(L)-1600 memory controller.
Architecture.
Both Kabini (for laptops) and Temash (for tablets and subnotebooks) are based
on the new Jaguar architecture that replaced the Bobcat models (for example,
E-350). According to AMD, the performance per clock has increased by about 15
percent. In addition, different modern sets are now supported.
instructions: SSE up to version 4.2, AVX and AES. Through production at 28nm
process technology at TSMC factories, undervoltage is now possible
and/or increased frequencies compared to Bobcat models, as well as 4 cores
(Bobcat: 2 cores). nine0013 Performance.
Due to the low frequency of 1.5 GHz, performance in applications with poor or
the missing implementation of multithreading is low, just a little bit higher than
in the old E2-1800. But if all 4 cores work on the task, then
performance can be equal to the Intel Core i3-2377M of the Sandy family
Bridge. A4-5000 has enough power for office and multimedia applications, but with
it will not cope with more demanding tasks and games. nine0013 Graphics.
The processor has a built-in Radeon HD 8330 graphics card with 128 stream processors,
based on the GCN architecture and operating at a frequency of 500 MHz (turbo mode
No). On average, the HD 8330 is on par with the Radeon HD 7470M and Intel HD
Graphics 4000. Therefore, many new games will not be able to play, but more
older and less demanding ones can run smoothly.
Energy consumption.
The estimated power consumption of the processor is 15 watts. Therefore A4-5000 is more
more economical than its predecessors and suitable for smaller subnotebooks. nine0007

nine0058

Series

AMD A-Series

Codename

Kabini

Frequency

1500MHz

L1 cache

256KB

L2 cache

2048KB

Number of cores

4 / 4

Thermal pack (TDP)

15 W

Process

28 nm

Features

SSE (1, 2, 3, 3S, 4. 1, 4.2, 4A), x86-64, AES, AVX,
DDR3L-1600

64 bits

+

Virtualization

VT

Announcement date

05/23/2013

Fig. 1. AMD Kabini platform.

AMD Sempron 3850 Kabini Box reviews, price

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