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Tested Processors: Athlon 5350 and Sempron 3850

We’ve got two processors to test the Socket AM1 platform with: Athlon 5350 and Sempron 3850.

AMD Athlon 5350

AMD Sempron 3850

They are actually very similar to each other. Each of these systems-on-chip contains four x86 cores with Jaguar microarchitecture and their GCN graphics core contains 128 shader processors. Each has a shared 2MB L2 cache. The only difference between them is their clock rate. The Athlon 5350 is clocked at 2050 MHz whereas the Sempron 3850, at a far lower 1300 MHz.

AMD Athlon 5350

AMD Sempron 3850

The integrated graphics cores have different clock rates, too. The senior Athlon model clocks its graphics at 600 MHz while the Sempron 3850 clocks it at 450 MHz.

Both processors work at a voltage of 1.3 volts. In idle mode their clock rate is dropped to 800 MHz and their voltage, to 1.0375 volts. The graphics core is clocked at 266 MHz in idle mode. There is no Turbo mode for the Kabini’s x86 or graphics cores.

Testbed and Methods

Announcing the Socket AM1 platform and Kabini processors, AMD positioned them as an alternative to Intel’s desktop Bay Trail-D products, namely Celeron J1800, Celeron J1900 and Pentium J2900.

The picture from AMD’s marketing department shows everything in a bright light. The Kabini series is obviously preferable in terms of price:

The reality is different from what we see in the picture, though. Desktop mini-ITX mainboards with Bay Trail-D processors are actually cheaper as Intel ships its systems-on-chip at a considerable discount. For example, a Celeron J1900 based platform from ASRock or Gigabyte can be bought for $80-90, which is comparable to the price of an Athlon 5350 plus a compatible mainboard. And the Intel solution will be far more economical. The typical heat dissipation of desktop Bay Trail-D processors is specified at 10 watts whereas the Kabini’s is 2.5 times higher.

There're also more appropriate Intel-based opponents to the Socket AM1 platform. We mean desktop mainboards with integrated low-voltage Celeron processors with Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. Mini-ITX products with Celeron 1037U or similar solutions are available from Biostar, Gigabyte, Foxconn, Elitegroup and many other brands. They cost about the same money ($70-90) and the typical heat dissipation of such processors (together with the chipset, which is necessary in this case) is 21 watts.

So, we seem to have some wishful thinking on AMD's part as the company pits the Socket AM1 platform against an opponent which is not actually an opponent. We won't buy that, so in our testing the desktop Kabini processors will be competing not only with the Bay Trail-D Celeron but also with the energy-efficient Celeron with Ivy Bridge microarchitecture.

Besides the Celeron J1900 and Celeron 1037U, the Athlon 5350 and Sempron 3850 will be compared with two regular desktop processors from the entry-level segment: Celeron G1820 and A6-6400K. They cannot serve as an alternative to the Kabini series, yet will help us realize in which aspects the energy-efficient Socket AM1 platform is better or worse than the Socket FM2 and LGA1150 platforms that can be represented by compact mini-ITX mainboards, too.

Below is the full list of hardware components we will use in this test session.

  • Processors:
    • AMD A6-6400K (Richland, 2 cores, 3.9-4.1 GHz, 1MB L2 cache, Radeon R5)
    • AMD Athlon 5350 (Kabini, 4 cores, 2.05 GHz, 2MB L2 cache, Radeon R3)
    • AMD Sempron 3850 (Kabini, 4 cores, 1.3 GHz, 2MB L2 cache, Radeon R3)
    • Intel Celeron G1820 (Haswell, 2 cores, 2.7 GHz, 2x256KB L2 cache, 2MB L3 cache, HD Graphics)
    • Intel Celeron 1037U (Ivy Bridge, 2 cores, 1.8 GHz, 2x256KB L2 cache, 2MB L3 cache, HD Graphics)
    • Intel Celeron J1900 (Bay Trail-D, 4 cores, 2.0-2.41 GHz, 2MB L2 cache, HD Graphics)
  • Mainboards:
    • ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ (Socket FM2+, AMD A88X)
    • Gigabyte C1037UN-EU (Celeron 1037U, Intel NM70)
    • Gigabyte J1900N-D3V (Celeron J1900 SoC)
    • MSI AM1I (Socket AM1 SoC)
    • MSI Z87I (LGA 1150, Intel Z87 Express)
  • System memory:
    • 2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1866 SDRAM DIMM, 9-11-9-27 (Kingston KHX1866C9D3K2/8GX)
    • 2 x 4 GB, DDR3L-1600 SDRAM SO-DIMM, 11-11-11-29 (2 x Crucial CT51264BF160BJ.C8FER)
  • Storage: Intel SSD 520 240GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5)
  • Power supply: Corsair AX760i (80 Plus Platinum, 760 W)
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64
  • Drivers:
    • AMD Chipset Drivers 14.4
    • AMD Catalyst Display Driver 14.4
    • Intel Chipset Driver
    • Intel Graphics Driver

System memory is always used at its maximum speed in each specific PC configuration. It means that the AMD A6-6400K and Intel Celeron G1820 are tested with DDR3-1866. The AMD Athlon 5350, AMD Sempron 3850 and Intel Celeron 1037U are tested with DDR3-1600, and the Intel Celeron J1900 with DDR3-1333 SDRAM.

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