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AMD AM1 Athlon 5350 Reviewed: Low Power, Low Price APU For the Masses

Author: Josh Walrath
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Results: Euler 3D, Unigine Valley, and Power

Euler 3D

This is a scientific application that simulates air flow over an air foil, and it heavily relies upon a robust floating point unit.  It also really seems to favor Intel based parts.  I test 1, 2, and 4 threads in 20 steps.

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Single thread performance in this application, with the 5350, is a painful experience.  15 minutes to complete the first test!  Doesn’t AMD realize that I am on a deadline here!  All joking aside, this is a pretty unfair test for the 5350.  HPC applications will not make their way onto this particular part.

 

Unigine Valley

This is the latest benchmark from the nice Unigine people that really pushes DX11 based parts.  I run the benchmark at 1280x720, high quality preset, and no AA.

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This application really exposes the performance differences between the much larger part and the little old Kabini.  Previous benchmarks in this review show it to be within around 50% of performance of the larger part, but in this case it was just pushed a little too hard and is sitting in the 33% range.  Memory bandwidth is going to play a big part in an application like this.

 

Power

Now we finally come to the heart of the matter.  Power is the primary goal of the Kabini design, and now we get to see if AMD delivers on that promise.

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Idle numbers are not terribly impressive, but I honestly cannot see them going much lower.  The 5350 is still 10 watts lower than the 6790K.  Both parts exhibit aggressive clock throttling and gating.  Add into that equation the inefficiency of a 500 watt power supply pushing 23 watts… we can see that the potential for a system with a much smaller and efficient power supply could potentially get down to the 12 watt range.

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At load we see a much different and compelling story!  The 5350 is pulling 37 watts at max.  The 6790 is way up at 117 watts!  Sure, overall the 5350 is about half of the performance of the 6790, but it consumes a third of the power at the wall.  We would again see more gains with a smaller power supply.  At least with the 6790K and its 117 watts it is getting into the higher efficiency range of this particular 500 watt power supply.  37 watts isn’t even pushing this supply in the least.

April 9, 2014 | 09:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Good review. Nice to see AMD back in the upgradeable low-end arena again unlike it's competitor. I believe in emerging markets this might be a hit as well as HTPC/router/NAS for the rest of us.
Question though how well does this play 4k high bit-rate videos? Does it play the puppy video well?

April 9, 2014 | 09:40 AM - Posted by idiot101 (not verified)

Have you tried streaming the 4K videos posted on YouTube? I would also like to know how well it would handle Bluray playback too.

April 9, 2014 | 09:42 AM - Posted by Pholostan

Nice article :)

AMD did extensive work on the front end (including a beefier branch predictor), re-arranged the integer and SSE/MMX/AVX pipelines to balance out the workload, and improved the caches.

According to Kanter over at Real World Tech, that branch predictor proved to be quite good so AMD implemented it also in Piledriver. I think a evolution of Jaguar keeps getting more and more interesting :)

April 9, 2014 | 09:43 AM - Posted by SKLDRBLDS (not verified)

Quarter of the power, half of the performance.
^This is what tweaks my nethers!!!!!
EPIC JOB AMD!

April 9, 2014 | 10:23 AM - Posted by John Hendrick (not verified)

"It is unfortunate that I was unable to get a working Intel Bay Trail D based product in for testing, but all indications point to these AM1 parts outperforming the Intel J1900 and J2900 products across the board. "

Unlikely.

Anandtech has a few dual core bay trail D numbers, bay trail out performs in some (single threaded), not in others (multithreaded i.e. dual vs quad). The quad core bay trail D, I suspect would come in equivalent to slightly better on the CPU side at lower power while the GPU will be behind, naturally.

April 11, 2014 | 04:07 PM - Posted by Hikingmike

Here's a good comparison at the Tom's Hardware article-
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-5350-am1-platform-review,3801...

April 9, 2014 | 11:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hey Josh, good review, but can we get a more sensible approach to the power consumption tests? Testing a 25W Kabini with a 500W PSU seems a poor way to go about it. Might I suggest that you guys have a picoPSU for the low wattage Atoms, Kabinis and the like? These chips are likely to end up with external PSUs and in miniature form factors anyway, thus I figure utilizing lower wattage PSUs that are more efficient at these power consumptions, or even make more sense with respect to form factors, seems far more sensible.

Thanks.

April 9, 2014 | 11:34 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

I finally did get access to one of those really small power supplies.  I will see if I can't get that up and running this week to test power consumption!  

April 9, 2014 | 11:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Awesome! Thanks for the response.

April 9, 2014 | 04:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

if only they allowed overclock it would be a fun toy

April 9, 2014 | 05:38 PM - Posted by WaltC (not verified)

Good review!

April 10, 2014 | 11:13 AM - Posted by Adrian (not verified)

Good benches but please get someone to proofread your stuff before you publish it. Your writing is awful. The sentences are downright confusing, the structure is terrible and your use of punctuation is erratic at best. If it weren't for your profile suggesting otherwise I would have assumed that English is not your first language.

April 10, 2014 | 12:24 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

This article provides good benches, but please employ someone to proof-read your articles before they are published.  Your writing is awful; the sentences are confusing, the structure is terrible, and your use of punctuation is erratic at best.  If it were not for your profile suggesting otherwise, I would have assumed that English is not your primary language.

Thanks for reading!

April 10, 2014 | 05:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That's a burn. A+.

April 10, 2014 | 11:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That was awesome!

April 10, 2014 | 12:51 PM - Posted by luuk (not verified)

can the sempron or athlon (2014 version am1 socket) be crossfired or just have an graphics card like a simple r7 250 or hd7770 or something in it and does it handle stable? plz reply by mailing me @ ownertje@hotmail.com

greets

luuk AKA AMDfan :D

i have a fx8350/r9 270x rig just asking if it could be a sort of mini streaming and light gaming pc like skyrim @ low or something

April 10, 2014 | 10:39 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

You could use a single low-to-low/mid-range graphics card, but CrossFire is basically out of the question. The Kabini chips only support 4 PCI-E 2.0 lanes, but there are AM1 Platform motherboards with x16 slots (that run at a max of x4 electrically).

April 11, 2014 | 09:20 PM - Posted by mmstick (not verified)

Actually, they support PCIE 3.0 x4, not 2.0 x4, which is equivalent to PCIE 2.0 x8.

April 12, 2014 | 01:03 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Nope, Kabini is at PCI-E 2.0.  AMD did this for power and money reasons.  PCI-E 3.0 does take up more power as compared to 2.0.  Certification for 3.0 does take more time and money in the development process.  So for a low cost/low power part like this, they stuck with PCI-E 2.0.

April 11, 2014 | 09:37 AM - Posted by Rauelius

Man, I would love to see an 8-Core Version with a GPU with 1152 Steam Processors for future steam machines. That may make a nice game system.

April 12, 2014 | 07:20 AM - Posted by raghu78 (not verified)

Josh
Kabini A6-5200 is manufactured at TSMC. But Athlon 5350 seems to be manufactured at Globalfoundries, Dresden. The "Diffused in Germany" marking on the heat spreader in the image on this page gives clues that its manufactured at Globalfoundries. Jaguar is a highly portable CPU core design and so is the GCN based GPU. With Athlon AM1, Kaveri, Berlin, Seattle and some console APU production (starting likely in H2 2014) all being manufactured at Globalfoundries, AMD should have no problems meeting the USD 1.2 billion 2014 wafer commitments.

April 12, 2014 | 01:19 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

AMD can't give official word right now on that due to them being in their "quiet period" but it does look like you are correct.  Good for GF, I guess.  Odd that it is diffused in Germany, rather than utilizing the US fabs in NY.  I thought FAB 8 was the primary site for 28 nm HKMG... guess not.

April 13, 2014 | 04:16 PM - Posted by Jon Pennington (not verified)

Josh griped on the podcast that the testing motherboard only had 2 SATA ports, so you can't have fast storage (SSD) AND big storage (spindle) AND optical storage. Optical drives work pretty well on USB 2...

April 13, 2014 | 06:36 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

This is true.  Good plan.

April 21, 2014 | 04:44 PM - Posted by Mark S (not verified)

With such low power consumption, if a board manufacturer made a raid capable board with 6+ Sata III ports, would this make a good NAS / media server? It sounds ideal.

November 28, 2014 | 11:35 PM - Posted by ventisca (not verified)

For everyone who need additional SATA port, you can always add it using PCIe card. Considering PCIe 2.0 x4 has 2GB/s bandwidth and x1 has 500 GB/s bandwidth (comparing to SATA1 150 MB/s, SATA2 300 MB/s, SATA3 600 MB/s), there are sufficient bandwidth to make SATA III run smoothly using PCIe expansion card x4 or you can use cheap 10 buck USD PCIe 2.0 1x for optical drive while the integrated SATA3 ports are used for storage drive. With 1 slot of PCIe 2.0 x4 and 2 slot x1 slot, i think we can add plenty of SATA port.

November 28, 2014 | 11:42 PM - Posted by ventisca (not verified)

^ of course you need motherboard with that feature. Kabini platform itself capable of providing 3 x1 and 1 x4 PCIe 2.0 lane.

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