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AMD Graphics Hardware

AMD's Fusion APU Pitted Against 21 Desktop CPUs 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the apples-and-slow-oranges dept.
crookedvulture writes "When AMD unveiled the Bobcat CPU architecture behind its first Fusion APUs, the company claimed its Atom-killer would achieve 90% of the performance of mainstream desktop processors. But does it? This article compares the AMD E-350's performance to more than 20 desktop CPUs between $87 and $999 to find out, and the results aren't particularly encouraging. Although Fusion offers much better integrated graphics than Intel's latest Atom, neither stands much chance of keeping up with even low-end desktop CPUs. The E-350 does offer very low power consumption and impressive platform integration, making it a good choice for home-theater PCs and mobile systems. Desktop users are better off waiting for Llano, a Fusion iteration due out this spring."
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AMD's Fusion APU Pitted Against 21 Desktop CPUs

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  • by Alphanos (596595) on Friday February 25, 2011 @05:52PM (#35317120)

    Ok wait, so AMD's next-gen "atom-killer" successfully trumps Intel's next-gen Atom, but "the results aren't particularly encouraging" because it doesn't also beat full-fledged desktop processors? Seriously, talk about misleading.

    In other news, iPods aren't the best at 3D graphics rendering, and cars are not the best choice for transatlantic shipping.

    This is a test of CPU/GPU integration at the low end to start with - and a successful test at that.

    • by fbjon (692006)
      The "not encouraging" part seems to be regarding the "90% of desktop power" claim. Perhaps not much surprise there.
    • by thermopile (571680) on Friday February 25, 2011 @05:58PM (#35317174) Homepage
      Hey, wait a minute, Alphanos. Give credit where credit is due (or something like that).

      As described in TFA, they sheepishly admit that they wouldn't normally pit low-power CPU's against full fledged desktops, but AMD was so brash in its product announcement that they felt compelled to do it. From the third page:

      We likened Bobcat's potential performance to 90% of the Athlon X2 255's—then arguably a "mainstream" part as these terms tend to be used—and noted that "the X2 255 is more than up to the task of running modern games" and "should be plenty adequate for the vast majority of everyday computing tasks." With prospects like that, a comparison seemed to be in order.

      The appeal of this to HTPC's and other medium-to-low end computing makes this a tantalizing prospect for me.

      • by Alphanos (596595)

        The article makes clear that the comparison to desktop CPUs is being done to clear up corporate PR hyperbole. Although it's obvious to techies that a chip in this electrical/thermal segment can't compete with desktop processors that have many times the resources to work from, it's important for average users to have that cleared up.

        However the article also makes clear that in the market segment this chip was actually designed for, it's a big success. This is of particular note since the Atom line had been

        • True, but the next generation should be as fast as "today's" desktop processors. Of course it will never catch up.

          Even now, for most purposes it is about half as fast, and therefore an adequate replacement.

    • Unfortunately, Intel's ultra-low power Sandy Bridge chips, the Core i5 2537M, Core i7 2617M, and Core i7 2657M, likely came out too late to be in this comparison.

      Reportedly, they started shipping earlier this week.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You could at least try to read the summary.

      the company claimed its Atom-killer would achieve 90% of the performance of mainstream desktop processors.

      • They probably incorporated the GPU's into the calculation. You can use OpenCL to use the GPU's for parallel tasks and take load off the Bobcat core.
    • by mykos (1627575)
      They use "gaming and rendering performance" to disprove AMD's claim about "desktop performance".

      Processors like Sandy Bridge (and probably AMD's own upcoming Llano) are also wonders of integration, on a larger scale.

      This made me rage. Do they even know what the point of ULV is?

    • by billcopc (196330)

      What I took away from the article, is that the CPU & GPU performance is slightly too low for most uses. For a netbook, OK, but for a compact and low-power desktop or HTPC, it falls short. More importantly, if it took this long for AMD to barely eke out the Atom, there's a good chance Intel's Cedar View will blow it away when it is released later this year.

      The one place where Fusion wins is power consumption, as their chipset is far more efficient than Intel's half-assed PCH. This means that even thou

      • by jvillain (546827)
        I am running Myth on an atom 330 system and it works great. This should have more oomph than a 330.
        • by timeOday (582209)
          So the linux + atom 330 combo supports hardware-accelerated video decoding? I just got a new video card supporting vdpau and finally the video is acceptably smooth. CPU alone won't do it, even if the CPU load is only 20%.
          • by billcopc (196330)

            With a video card, sure, but that's the great thing about the NVidia ION chipset, its "IGP" is a Geforce 9400M, so it handles VDPAU right in the chipset. This makes for a very compact HTPC. I have one on each TV here, running XBMC. Best damn media player ever. It smoothly handles everything I've ever thrown at it, up to high-bitrate H.264 1080p.

      • by hattig (47930)

        "barely eke out" ... also known as "comprehensively beat". It was faster, it used less power, it can play 1080p video without Ion or a dedicated decoder chip. In short, for casual or office use, it's pretty much the bees knees. It can even play games when you drop the settings - or if you're catching up on older games.

        • by billcopc (196330)

          Right... but it basically *is* AMD's response to the ION, which is the killer chipset for Atom. I've been deploying ION-based systems for nearly two years now, and non-ION Atom kits a year prior. You'll have to forgive me for being unimpressed by AMD being so late to the party. ION1 kits can be had for about $125, with ION2 hovering near $200, and a plain old D510 reference board is only $60. To me, that's not enough of a price gap to justify moving to an unproven, first-gen platform by a renowned corn

    • by arivanov (12034)

      This needs a comparative test via AMD GeoDe with a decent video adapter and Via.

      I strongly suspect that it will end up delivering very similar performance to AMD Geode (with proper Video and not the SiS used on most of them). I got a few of those - they pretend to be Athlons, but perform at a fraction of the Athlon speed. They outperform Atom as well despite being 4y old designs.

      If you graft one of these onto an on-chip GPU and add a modern chipset support this is what you would get as a result. Not impress

  • by X86Daddy (446356) on Friday February 25, 2011 @05:59PM (#35317182) Journal

    I bought an Acer Aspire One 522 recently. It's a netbook with a 10.1" screen, 1280x720 resolution, and the new Fusion chip, so it has a Radeon 3250... I can actually run games on this device. I installed StarCraft II, dropped all the settings to minimal, and received playable framerates (after upgrading to 2GB ram). I blogged about it [negative3kelvin.com] for those wanting more info. I need to make another post about Linux, because I have Ubuntu running near perfectly on it now.

    I have no idea what business this new architecture has going against powerful desktop rigs, but for low-power applications, like a netbook, this offers a balance of computing power and energy consumption that's really nice, and beats what I've seen before.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I read your blog and have a question and a comment, first the question: Have you tried using an SD card for Readyboost yet? On smaller machines such as that I've found having a dedicated Readyboost (and lets face it, 4Gb SD cards are cheap) will give it a nice pick me up, especially when it comes to game. Think of it as giving yourself some of the advantages of a hybrid drive for ultra cheap, as Readyboost will have small random reads cached to the SD (where the read speed is near instantaneous) while leavi

      • by cos(0) (455098)

        Personally I wish MSFT would sell Starter retail for say $35, I'd be buying copies of it like it were going out of style! It would be perfect for older/slower hardware, for SOHOs and other places where you just want the OS to get out of the way so you can run your programs.

        Your wish is almost true -- Microsoft allows registered refurbishers to load Windows XP Home and Pro onto used PCs for about that price. For more info, search "Microsoft Registered Refurbisher."

      • by X86Daddy (446356)

        I haven't tried readyboost yet. I'll probably install Fraps to measure game framerates and then do exactly that sometime soon.

        As for Win7 Starter: I am pleased that MS produced a netbook-friendly, low-bloat alternative... I think all of those extra bloat things can be turned off in Services or Windows Components in any edition, but having those features absent for a lower cost product / turned off from the start are great concepts. What MS did that is completely sad and lame was the intentional, extra ho

    • I'm quite jealous.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday February 25, 2011 @06:02PM (#35317204) Homepage Journal

    Really most users today do not do much with there PCs but run a browser and email. It will run Office just fine and most software you would expect to find in most offices today. It should sell like hotcakes. Look how well the Atom does for so many tasks.

    Yes if you are doing CAD, Gaming, editing video then this sucks.
    For most other people it will be small, cheap, cool, and good enough.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      Yeah. So it does basic tasks perhaps as good as the some of the cheapest Atoms you can find. Although these Atoms aren't necessarily all that cheap when compared to machines that aren't stuck in the low profile form factor. Conventional desktops easily extend into the same price range as Atom based machines while not being quite so anemic.

      Then you've got the issue of software support.

      I can recompile all of the stuff I use for a different platform. Your typical office user probably can't.

      It might end up bein

      • by hedwards (940851)

        You pay a premium for tiny. I remember when I got my Nomad Jukebox 3, the iPod of that generation was selling for a couple hundred dollars more and had less disk space, but it was a fraction of the size. People are willing to pay a lot of money for something that's tiny, whether or not that's the wisest course of action.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Umm.... It is an X86. What the heck are you talking about software support? Put Windows 7 or Linux on it and use what every you want?
        And it is a lot better than the cheapest Atom and makes a lot less heat and uses a lot less power than chips above the Atom!
        WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

      • This isn't an ARM chip.

        (I personally think AMD should be picking up ARM designs, to help us shake off the burden of x86, but that's not what this is about.)

    • I've been using the mediocre Intel IGP's for years on the last couple laptops. The GPU on these new AMD chips wipe the floor with the 2 year old Intel IGP on the laptop that I'm typing this on. Even basic home video editing doesn't really use the GPU, those goofy home videos are all CPU work.

      Having the fastest computer doesn't mean much for most people. It's the form factor and utility that counts. Heck, we're one hop-skip-and-a-jump away from perfectly adequate ARM based machines that people will use i

    • by Smauler (915644)

      The PC market has rarely been defined by "good enough". PCs are sold not by what they can do, but by specifications, even to consumers who know next to nothing about those specifications. I'd guess 90% of PCs being used now could be replaced with something with half the computational power, and the user would not notice. The point I'm making is that technobabble sells, and if someone tells your layman that for a hundred bucks more they could double the processor speed, despite that having little to no ef

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        What? If "good enough" wasn't what the PC was sold on, "IBM Compatibles" would have never gotten off the ground. The PC has lived off of "good enough" most of it's life. It didn't become the best option personal computer wise until about 1995, and by 2005, they had reached the point that people stopped caring about the speed so much. So, they only sold on performance for about 10 years.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Want to bet? Take a lot at sales number. i3s outsell i7s for the simple reason they are good enough and cheaper.
        I think you would surprised just how few people will take that upgrade. If you are looking at say a $299 notebook that works well vs a $399 notebook I think a lot fewer people will get the upgrade.
        Now if you are talking about an 1199 vs 1299 notebook you are correct.

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Really most users today do not do much with there PCs but run a browser and email.

      "not much but a browser" is an outdated statement, since that now includes watching video and playing games - even news sites' main pages weigh in the megabytes. The Linux Flash player sucks up a lot of CPU for some reason.

      I have an old 800 MHz computer that really isn't useful for browsing the web any more, although it used to be fine.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        And this chip has flash and H.264 acceleration features. Just run a browser and email.
        Yes a modern browser can do a lot but it still isn't a cad system.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Full-sized desktop processors are quite a bit faster than either the Atom D525 or the E-350.... Once you get past that realization, the next one follows almost immediately: the E-350 APU is the new champ in its weight class.... The E-350 Fusion APU is a wonder of integration, and AMD has set a new standard for basic computing platforms with the Brazos platform. For users whose needs are confined to simple office productivity, communications, and media consumption, the E-350 may well be sufficient. For thos

  • This quote is probably taken out of context as usual by Intel fanboy's. It was designed to compete with the Atom, and it beats it hands down. Not to mention AMD allows you to use OpenCL on their Fusion lines now and in the future. Im sure once people start accelerating their software with the on die GPU's it will speed things up quite a bit. Also, they could be releasing more newer fusion processors using Bobcat cores that will reach 90 percent. These processors were released specifically to compete with At
  • by TheRedDuke (1734262) on Friday February 25, 2011 @07:24PM (#35318360)
    I've been waiting for a good low-power CPU to come along that'll play 1080p and fit in an ITX rig, and it looks like this could be the one. It'll be nice to run Boxee on a computer that actually fits in my TV cabinet.
  • Very low power consumption, decent processor throughput and decent integrated GPU performance. For me its really the first and third that matter most so I am definitely in the market for designs based on this architecture.

  • I've seen nothing on Slashdot about Nufront's 2GHZ dual core A9 chip. I know it's early days for that, but I would have liked to see that in any benchmarks which can be done on non-windows boxes. I suspect that at 2 watts (1/7th the power -- at least for the chip itself) the Nufront demo boxes are quite competitive with the Atom and the AMD Fusion systems. But I need to see the benchmarks to see my suspicions confirmed or stomped.

  • Sure there are tons of people out there that insists on buying computers that waste so much power they could cook meals for a couple dozen people with the heat dissipated by their CPUs alone. They have a massive ego that requires the notion they have the fastest computer possible, even though their computer will run at less than 10% utilization almost all the time. Game vendors keep writing code evermore inefficient, same for Microsoft OSes. Some actually do need a fast computer, perhaps for encoding HD vid

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