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

Author: Josh Walrath
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Test Setup and Errata

Luck was not exactly with us when I received several parts through FedEx.  The AMD products came through quite nicely, but I was going to compare the Athlon 5350 to the Intel J1900 Celeron/ITX product from Gigabyte.  That particular product, a dual core Bay Trail D, comes in around the same price as the Asus AM1I-A motherboard and Athlon 5350.  It did not survive shipping.  The J1900 is a 10 watt part with Intel HD graphics and is priced around $94.

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The Gigabyte F2A88XN-WIFI on the other hand is exceptionally crowded and feature packed!

To get some comparison numbers for performance vs. power consumption, I utilized the Richland based A10 6790K.  This is a… odd choice, but one that I really could not avoid due to timing issues and what products I had on hand.  The 6790K is a 100 watt TDP part, but it is a little less aggressive in terms of clockspeeds than the A10 6800K.  It also matches up fairly well in clocks to the lower TDP A10 6700.  We can get a pretty good idea of where this product falls when compared to these larger, more expensive, and more power hungry parts.

Unfortunately, I did not have access to the latest Kaveri low TDP parts as well.  That would have been a pretty interesting comparison, especially with the APUs with the configurable 45/65 watt TDPs.  Even though the 45 watt TDP part is approaching the 25 watts of Kabini, it also exists on a much more complex motherboard with a separate FCH/southbridge.  Price is also a big concern, as the Kaveri parts that are available start at $149.  The configurable TDP APUs have yet to see retail.

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The heatsink for the AM1 platform (left) is very reminiscent of mid-90s CPU cooling.

In the end the A10 6790K running on the Gigabyte F2A88XN-WIFI motherboard made for an interesting comparison.  The price of that combination is around $230 US.  Compare that number to the $99 to $104 that we will expect to see the 5350 and motherboard combo go for.

The smallest power supply I have on hand that would support both setups is a 500 watt Antec Earthwatts 80+ Bronze unit.  In theory a user will want to get a power supply that is no more than 200 watts with such a setup.  The PSU is fairly efficient, but the amount of power being drawn by the Athlon 5350 is a pretty small fraction of what that unit can provide.

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If the case isn't dusty, it isn't being used!

AMD A10 6790K and Athlon 5350

Gigabyte F2A88XN-WIFI ITX Motherboard w/ 2 x 4 GB DDR-3 1866 memory

Asus AM1I-A Motherboard w/ 1 x 4GB DDR-3 1600 memory

WD 1TB Green HD

Lite-On BD-ROM

Antec Earthwatts 500W

Windows 8.1 Pro

AMD Catalyst 14.3 Beta 8

April 9, 2014 | 01:28 PM - 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 | 01:40 PM - 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 | 01:42 PM - 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 | 01:43 PM - Posted by SKLDRBLDS (not verified)

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

April 9, 2014 | 02:23 PM - 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. "


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 | 08:07 PM - Posted by Hikingmike

Here's a good comparison at the Tom's Hardware article-,3801...

April 9, 2014 | 03:08 PM - 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.


April 9, 2014 | 03:34 PM - 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 | 03:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Awesome! Thanks for the response.

April 9, 2014 | 08:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

if only they allowed overclock it would be a fun toy

April 9, 2014 | 09:38 PM - Posted by WaltC (not verified)

Good review!

April 10, 2014 | 03:13 PM - 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 | 04:24 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 | 09:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That's a burn. A+.

April 11, 2014 | 03:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That was awesome!

April 10, 2014 | 04:51 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 @


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 11, 2014 | 02:39 AM - 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 12, 2014 | 01:20 AM - 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 | 05:03 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 | 01:37 PM - 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 | 11:20 AM - Posted by raghu78 (not verified)

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 | 05:19 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 | 08:16 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 | 10:36 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

This is true.  Good plan.

April 21, 2014 | 08:44 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 29, 2014 | 04:35 AM - 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 29, 2014 | 04:42 AM - 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.

December 29, 2014 | 10:58 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I want to see this progress its way to having R9 GPU cores and maintain the 2ghz quad core. 60mm copper/aluminum water cooler with a variable speed pump run off CPU fan header. get someone to make a single channel dimm board with no pci-e slot. have x1 slot for wifi chip. 1 8 gig stick of 1866 with a built in cache slot on board like used in older laptops. Would make a pretty nice really small form factor gaming rig in the 4-500 dollar range. Kinda almost have to rethink the whole mini itx thing tho. laptop disc drives onboard power adapter.say like 4.5x4.5x4.5 gaming rig that was almost silent.

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