The Brazos Performance Preview: AMD E-350 Benchmarkedby Anand Lal Shimpi on November 16, 2010 12:01 AM EST
Update: Be sure to read our full review of AMD's E-350 here.
Last week I mentioned that I had recently spent some time with AMD down in Austin, TX, benchmarking its upcoming Brazos platform. The Brazos platform is composed of an AMD Zacate or Ontario APU and the Fusion Controller Hub (a South Bridge based on the SB800 series). Brazos systems will run the gamut of mainstream notebook, netbook and nettop segments ranging from $299 to around $500. While AMD let us reveal the fact that we tested Brazos, we weren't allowed to publish numbers last week. Today, we can.
I didn’t have much time with Brazos. The AMD briefing started at 9AM, but AMD wanted to go through some marketing slides and answer questions before letting us at Brazos. Going into this whole thing I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to run everything I wanted to run. You see, the system I had access to wasn’t pre-configured. It had Windows 7 x64 loaded on it, drivers installed and PCMark Vantage - but everything else was up to me. Despite having a 128GB Crucial RealSSD C300, installing a dozen applications and games still took hours on the system. I asked AMD if I could at least begin copying/installing some applications before we started the briefing, they gladly entertained my request.
I brought an SSD full of applications, games and benchmarks that I wanted to run on the Brazos platform. I purposefully avoided any large test suites (PCMark Vantage, SYSMark) because they would eat up a lot of time and I had no idea how long the rest of the benchmarking would take.
The Brazos test platform
I also didn’t run any of our media streaming suite. The Zacate/Ontario APUs feature AMD’s UVD3 engine and should, in theory, have similar media playback features to the Radeon HD 6000 series. Of course once we have final systems it’ll be easier to put this to the test. I was mainly interested in characterizing the CPU and GPU performance of Brazos, the two major unknowns.
I didn’t get into the full swing of testing until just before 11AM, and we had a hard stop at 5PM. That didn’t leave a ton of time, but I believe it left enough to get a good idea for what Brazos will perform like in the real world.
As I mentioned in Part 1 of our coverage, the system felt snappy. I had the 11-inch MacBook Air on hand (it served as my Excel-runner while I benchmarked) and interacting with the OS felt no different between the Brazos system and the 1.6GHz MBA. That being said, the MBA is technically much quicker (and more expensive).
|AMD Brazos Lineup|
|APU Model||Number of Bobcat Cores||CPU Clock Speed||GPU||Number of GPU Cores||GPU Clock Speed||TDP|
|AMD E-350||2||1.6GHz||Radeon HD 6310||80||500MHz||18W|
|AMD E-240||1||1.5GHz||Radeon HD 6310||80||500MHz||18W|
|AMD C-50||2||1.0GHz||Radeon HD 6250||80||280MHz||9W|
|AMD C-30||1||1.2GHz||Radeon HD 6250||80||280MHz||9W|
The system I tested had AMD’s E-350 processor, the highest end APU you’ll find on a Brazos. This is the chip you’ll find in $400 nettops and notebooks in the $400 - $500 range. This puts its direct competition as really expensive Atom based netbooks, Pentium dual-core notebooks and low end Core i3 notebooks. While the latter two should easily outperform the E-350 in CPU intensive tasks, the GPU comparison is another story entirely. It’s also worth noting that the E-350 carries an 18W TDP (including graphics). During my testing I measured a maximum total system power consumption of around 30W (including the 1366 x 768 LCD panel) while playing games and around 25W while encoding H.264 on the two Bobcat cores. The system idled around 15W however AMD cautioned me that this number was unnaturally high. Final Brazos systems will be far more power optimized and AMD expects numbers to drop down to as low as 5.6W.
AMD is confident we will see Brazos based systems deliver well beyond 6 hours of battery life. AMD's goal is to deliver Atom like battery life and form factors, with a real GPU and hopefully better than Atom performance. We spent our time in Austin trying to find out if its goals were realistic.
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legoman666 - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - linkare missing.
Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - linkPower consumption was listed at the end of the first page. The systems used throughout the rest of the article were based on desktop hardware, so it didn't make sense to compare to those numbers (the Brazos numbers include the test platform's LCD display). We'll have to wait for final notebook hardware to do real comparisons to competing notebook platforms. But at 25 - 30W for the entire system (including display) under load, Brazos is definitely in the right league.
Sc4freak - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - linkStill seems to be missing something from page 3:
"When it comes to power consumption however, the E-350 can't be touched. I measured max system power consumption at "
And then it just cuts off.
Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - linker, oops...fixed :)
jensend - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - linkHm. From the third page:
"the rest of the desktop platforms here consume much more than that at idle (much less under load)."
Unless the desktop platforms really suck much more than 25W idling and much less than 25 under load, this isn't exactly fixed.
I find it odd that you're even troubling to compare this to systems which suck tons more juice and not even throwing up a power consumption chart. I mean, we could certainly find that Brazos performance is rather limited compared to a Gulftown with 3xSLI GF 580s, but that's not going to tell us a lot about what makes a better laptop. If you did a performance vs. power draw scatter chart or something that'd be a lot more interesting.
Sure, it's a little bit apples-to-oranges since you've chosen to compare it to desktop systems. But maybe that should make you reconsider what you're comparing it to (don't you have a good number of laptops around?) rather than leaving power consumption data out of the picture.
quiksilvr - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - linkSoprano'd
sinigami - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - linkuh, since there were so many missing parts to the article, maybe you are missing some charts on page 4 or something? because i only see three, and against the Clarkdale, the zacate wins only the first one, ties on the second one, and loses on the third. With only one win, that page's headline should NOT say it's faster than Clarkdale!
you could say that the Clarkdale IGP wins or ties the zacate on two out of three gaming benchmarks, and declare it faster.
sheesh, is that some biasedness, or just wishful thinking?
wiak - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - linkis it even suposed to be competive with E4400 anyway?, isnt the whole point of it to be power efficient, faster, use less power and totally own atom in graphics/video department?
Danube is amd's mainstream competition to E4400, Core 2, Core i3, i5 etc
Brazos is amd's low power competition to atom
wiak - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - linkcorrection: E2200 but E4400 aint that far away :P
Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link... Except it does not use less power than an Atom platform. It uses more power than an Atom platform. Also as the benchmarks show, performance-wise it's barely faster than an Atom D510 in some situations.