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Intel Celeron G440 vs. AMD E-350

I have to admit that Celeron G440 didn’t do that well in the company of other LGA1155 processors. It has only one core, works at low clock frequency, has a small cache – in other words, this very inexpensive product needs to be compared against other competitors different from the regular desktop dual-core processors. In our opinion, Intel Atom and AMD Brazos platforms targeted primarily for nettop computer systems will be the best rivals for it.

Let’s think outloud. A Mini-ITX platform that includes an inexpensive LGA1155 mainboard on Intel H61 chipset and a 37-dollar Celeron G440 CPU with an integrated graphics core will cost around $110. AMD E-350 based mainboards cost about the same. So, it looks like Intel’s plan for this strange single-core CPU was indeed to offer a worthy alternative to AMD Brazos platform that is convincingly faster than Intel’s Atom-based platforms, even those with Nvidia graphics inside.

In fact, Celeron G440 may be great in this role. It has a high-performance computational core with contemporary microarchitecture, has low power consumption (due to low clock speed) and has integrated HD Graphics core supporting DirectX 10 and hardware acceleration of video playback. Of course, having only one core is a small concern at this point, but on the other hand this CPU has a dual-channel memory controller, which should be very useful for instances when integrated graphics is involved.

In order to compare Celeron G440 and AMD E-350 side by side, we put together two similar Mini-ITX systems. They were an Intel system with Celeron G440 and Asus P8H61-I mainboard on H61 chipset, and an AMD Brazos system with Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 mainboard. Moreover, for comparison purposes we also included the results of the third platform based on Atom D525 and Gigabyte GA-D525TUD mainboard.

The table below compares the specifications of all three tested platforms side by side:

When we compared our Mini-ITX platforms, we used only integrated graphics adapters.

The specifications above show that Intel decided not to openly position their Celeron G440 processor in the same class with Atom and E-350. The TDP of the single-core Celeron processor is 2-3 times higher than the same parameter of classical nettop processors. However, calculated TDP is not always the same as the actual one, especially in Intel products. So, we decided to start our analysis with power consumption tests.

In idle mode Celeron G440 processor fits nicely into the same niche as Atom D525 and E-350. It is a pity that Intel disabled its EIST technology, because if they hadn’t done so, the new Celeron could have demonstrated even lower power consumption readings. But even in its current state, we have no complaints about excessive power consumption of the LGA1155 system.

During maximum CPU utilization, the single-core Celeron G440 also consumes the amount of power comparable with that by Atom and Zacate. And it is a very important result. Now we have absolutely no doubts that the new Celeron G440 can easily compete against energy-efficient Atom D525 and AMD E-350.

We can say the same after the tests of the graphics core power consumption. The E-350 and the LGA1155 based systems consume about the same amount of power during work with graphics and HD video playback. Atom is not on these diagrams because its graphics core doesn’t support contemporary API and doesn’t have sufficient resources for Full HD Video playback.

And what about performance? Can one Sandy Bridge core run as fast as dual-core processors, which Intel Atom or AMD Bobcat microarchitectures have been simplified for the sake of lowering their power consumption? Let’s take a closer look at SYSmark 2012 results.

I have to say that things look very good for Celeron G440. Not only it doesn’t get defeated by its “lightweight” rivals, but is even way faster despite having only one computational core. It obviously owes its advantage to the ability of Sandy Bridge core to process more operations per clock cycle than Bobcat or Atom. And this difference is so significant that one Sandy Bridge core turns out better than two Bobcat or two Atom cores with Hyper-Threading support.

The table below shows the results obtained in different SYSmark 2012 scenarios:

We can see that Celeron G440 is ahead in many usage models and the only scenario where it loses to special nettop and netbook processors is 3D Modeling. This scenario focuses on final rendering that is why processors with simpler microarchitecture but capable of processing well-paralleled threads work faster than single-core Celeron G440.

Tests in applications once again confirm that Celeron G440 almost always outperforms Atom D525 and E-350 except for the tasks that create simple multi-threaded computational load. Its only core can’t compete with dual-core nettop and netbook processors during tasks like final rendering or video transcoding. However, Celeron G440 does really well in all other more common nettop applications. Note that it is significantly faster in applications critical to the memory sub-system performance, because unlike Atom and Zacate it features a dual-channel memory controller supporting DDR3-1067 SDRAM.

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