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AMD's Fusion APU Pitted Against 21 Desktop CPUs

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the apples-and-slow-oranges dept.

AMD 93

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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BARMAID !! THERE'S A PIT IN MY OLIVE IN MY MARTINI (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317004)

Come, get the fusion over here and get me a new one !!

PITTED Putui !!

If the technology was so great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317012)

why wouldn't they just make desktop procs with it and leapfrog ahead again?

Re:If the technology was so great... (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317222)

why wouldn't they just make desktop procs with it and leapfrog ahead again?

When's the last time you saw a Ferrari F-40 pulling a tractor trailer?

Re:If the technology was so great... (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317228)

Because you make a very different chip if you're aiming at 9 or 18W vs 60 or 80W.

Put all those desktop chips in the same power envelope as Bobcat, and they'd suck ass. Give Bobcat the power headroom of the desktop chips' environment, and it wouldn't know what to do with it.

The results as far as I can see are pretty good, given realistic expectations. Of course the article points out AMD claimed 90% of desktop, which just might be where some unrealistic expectations came from. Knowing AMD, that probably wasn't completely bullshit. It was probably a statement about IPC at equivalent frequencies, not delivered performance at their respective TDPs, possibly confused by a PR person, with a bullshit multiplier in there somewhere. ;)

Re:If the technology was so great... (-1, Flamebait)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317272)

The Arrandale Core i5-5xxUM has a TDP of 18W and is massively more performant than the Bobcats at the same TDP. Try again, you butthurt loser.

Re:If the technology was so great... (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317974)

A fair point that TDP isn't the whole picture, and I didn't say anything about die area ergo cost as a distinguishing feature of the market Bobcat and Atom are going for. I'd believe it does do better with a bigger core and lots of die space spent on 3.5MB of cache. It would have been interesting to see it in this comparison.

Though the conclusion would have been the same, as clearly a $250 part is not competing in the same space.

BTW, you seriously need to stop projecting.

Re:If the technology was so great... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35322016)

Hi MR foaming at the mouth fanboy! you DO know that the part you are naming usually sells for something like 400% MORE than the part being discussed, yes? Your comparison is like saying "Well my Ferrari will beat your Camaro!" which is obviously true but doesn't take into account that one is MUCH more expensive than the other.

And considering the main stated goal for this chip is in ULV netbooks and nettops where Atom is currently being used I don't think it is a fair comparison, do you? I mean last I checked those selling Atom netbooks didn't have a "Drop in a Core i5" option at the checkout.

Now looking at this logically from the chips stated purpose and not from any "AMD yay, Intel boo!" position and its intended opposition (the Intel Atom) it seems to fit well into the category it was designed for. It uses a little more power but at the same time the addition of a Radeon GPU means that for multimedia, a task that pretty much everyone enjoys, the much higher performance should more than offset the slightly higher battery use.

Re:If the technology was so great... (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321420)

The results as far as I can see are pretty good, given realistic expectations.

It seems to me the real problem is that they stuffed a discrete GPU into the thing and then tried to compare it with desktop systems with discrete GPUs. That isn't the usage model for these at all. These only have 4 PCI-e lanes. Look at page 16 where they start to compare it with desktop systems where they're all using integrated graphics -- it comes out far closer.

And then you throw in the fact that these are dual-core processors being compared to desktop processors up to six cores. The ones with more cores get much higher scores on the benchmarks that are well-threaded. Who'da thunk it.

The idea that these are 90% as fast as modern desktop processors at all tasks is clearly false. But 90% as fast as desktop processors with integrated graphics, for a large subset of common tasks? It's not that implausible.

Re:If the technology was so great... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339396)

I don't know if it's really a problem. I mean, it's interesting to see how well they perform against a broader range of chips, and how close they can get to desktop performance. A lot of people were hoping pretty close and it turns out, no not really. Not exactly a surprise, but still good information. And they admit it's unfair, and basically give it a positive review in their conclusions where they say that for what it wanted to achieve -- beating Atom, particularly in media playback -- it worked.

That it does well against integrated solutions -- pretty much a given in the cost structure it's targeted at -- is also a good sign.

The funny thing is that someone further down the thread sourced the original claim from AMD, and it was pretty close to what I'd guessed -- 90% the performance of a K8 at the same frequency. Which is a much more reasonable statement.

Re:If the technology was so great... (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317244)

Isn't that what Llano should be. We'll see if it works when it comes.

Wow, Biased Summary Much? (5, Insightful)

Alphanos (596595) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (2)

fbjon (692006) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317146)

The "not encouraging" part seems to be regarding the "90% of desktop power" claim. Perhaps not much surprise there.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317316)

I guess it depends on what "90% of desktop power" means. If it means that this chip performs 90% as well as a mid-range cpu for normal user type tasks, then it is probably true, since as far as listening to Pandora and checking Facebook are concerned, these are not processor intensive tasks. Rather, they depend more on the system as a whole, so even with a slower CPU, the fact that this still uses DDR3 memory and SATA 6.0 drives makes up for the slow CPU.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317448)

...yes. Just don't do anything remotely interesting computationally like play a game or watch/edit a video.

"Yeah, we finally caught up with Atom" is hardly anything to pop open the champagne over.

Perhaps you will win over some of the HTPC crowd that like Atom boxes. The rest of the market, not so much.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317906)

...yes. Just don't do anything remotely interesting computationally like play a game or watch/edit a video.

The dual-core Atom is faster than the systems I used to use to edit feature-length movies a few years ago. It does suck at HD H.264 playback without GPU assist, but then so did those.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

bami (1376931) | more than 3 years ago | (#35322508)

My dualcore atom boots windows xp faster then my core2duo. The thing is brilliantly fast at doing simple parralel stuff like starting up a gazillion services or something. For HD playback, might I suggest CoreAVC, which gives me sort-of 1080p capabilities (it still chokes on high bitrate mkv's though).

I'm thinking of buying a new low cost, low power and low noise HTPC with HDMI and such, and this amd fusion thing is looking very attractive. It's either that or another Atom with an ION chipset, which is discontinued and will suck ass in the future. Atleast these boards have a pci-express slot.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35323372)

A good Pentium 4 will handily spank an Atom at most tasks. An Atom does have advantages over a P4 (especially power efficiency), but it's not a powerhouse.

I guess it would be better than a P3, but that's a long time ago.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319230)

It contains UVD3 video decoder, it can quite happily watch a video. It can play older games just fine - and if you're buying a cheap PC, you'll be buying the old, cheap, reduced games won't you! You're not editing video on a netbook, but you can do it - just not particularly quickly.

AMD had to drop to 1GHz Fusion chips to 'catch down' with Atom.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35330734)

The idea is to use the GPU part for heavy processing like video encoding/playback. Intel do playback on their graphics hardware but AMD want to start doing more general tasks with it.

Unfortunately there just isn't the software available yet. Other than video you can do some password cracking or run Folding@Home but that is about it. Give it another few years perhaps.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (2)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319202)

AMD had made it quite clear that it was a per-clock comparison, not an absolute comparison.

It's unfair to compare it to 3GHz desktop chips and then act all surprised and disappointed when it doesn't meet those incorrect expectations.

Fusion beats Atom, it comes close to the low-end desktop CPUs or even beats them in some areas. It seems nicely balanced. It's cheap to buy. It's cheap to integrate. It doesn't use much power. It's does desktop tasks and even some gaming.

However yes, wait for Llano if you want more from a Fusion chip.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (4, Insightful)

thermopile (571680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317174)

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.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

Alphanos (596595) | more than 3 years ago | (#35318438)

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 dominating the segment for so long.

The summary makes it sound like this is some kind of failed desktop chip - definitely not the case.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321808)

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.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (2)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317200)

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.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (2)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319244)

And at $50 a chip ... no, wait.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

raddude99 (710064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35322398)

No ULV chips, mobile, or even just plain low power chips were used in the review, that way the results were nice and skewed

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317212)

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.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317270)

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.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317232)

The OP has it right... you're not buying one of these for the performance. You're buying for the low price, low heat, low energy use, and small form factor. And, if like the summary says, it beats out Atom, then it sounds like an awesome SFF desktop board.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317422)

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?

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (2)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317472)

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 though performance is blah, for netbooks the Fusion will gain a fair bit of traction. Nettops will probably skip it and wait for Cedar View.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319252)

I am running Myth on an atom 330 system and it works great. This should have more oomph than a 330.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320392)

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%.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320598)

The Atom 330 paired with an ION chipset (mine is an Acer REVO) does in fact do hardware accelerated video decoding under linux based XBMC
In fact, it handles 1080p video without any problems at all.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35323998)

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.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319284)

"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.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35324112)

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 corner-cutting underdog.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317780)

Ford didn't say their car would be 90% as good a freighter for transatlantic shipping, and Apple didn't say their iPod was 90% as fast at 3D graphics as current mainstream desktop machines. AMD put their foot in their mouth, is all. They have a nice product, but then exaggerated what it can do. Now they're getting called on their bullshit. Doesn't mean I still won't buy some.

Re:Wow, Biased Summary Much? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35323016)

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 impressed. AMD could do better. It does the job of delivering a competitor to Atom, but as AMD knows that it s not enough. They have to _KILL_ performancewise to be able to compete with Intel.

Also, the benchmarks lack Via just for laughs. Last time I benched its AES it was faster than the best Core (that was before they introduced AES support).

I like the C-50 (2)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317182)

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.

Re:I like the C-50 (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35322242)

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 leaving sequential read/write to the HDD. I'd love to see what kind of gaming numbers you get with that unit before/after Readyboost.

Now the comment: Why the Starter hate? For years Linux guys have complained about how "bloated" MSFT OSes had become so you finally get a bloat free MSFT OS [tgdaily.com] with all the bling bling and apps you don't like/use gone bye bye and STILL you bitch? I mean WTF? If you're only real hatred is the wallpaper you DO know that can be changed in seconds [instructables.com] with the use of the free third party tool I just linked to, yes?

But considering by your own admission all you want the Windows partition for is gaming you should be damned happy to have Starter By having Starter over HP you probably saved a good chunk of time having to kill the features that would be useless for gaming, like WMP media sharing along with Aero and the other bling bling bells and whistles. 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. Why all the hatred for a bloat free MSFT OS I'll never know, but personally I'd be damned glad to have all the copies of it I could get my hands on.

As for TFA it beats the Atom and that's all that matters to me. Anybody who has had to work on Atom machines knows with normal desktop usage they can quickly and easily get bogged down, especially if they are the non ION variety, so hopefully there will be plenty of models based around these chips so I can steer my customers clear of the suckfest that is Atom. The Radeon GPU should make video and flash nice and unskippy, and paired with Win7 Starter should make for a nice light little netbook with decent battery life and decent performance without breaking the wallet. Sounds good to me and I'll have to look into one of these for my GF's BDay a couple of months from now, sounds perfect for a little purse sized netbook she can take with her on the family camping trips.

Re:I like the C-50 (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35329000)

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."

Re:I like the C-50 (1)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35356672)

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 hobbling, not for delivering an appropriate value for netbooks, but to induce netbook owners to purchase Home Premium with all the bloat you cited. The most computer-illiterate people in the world like to change their desktop background. Not a performance issue... instead a "buy more from us because we intentionally broke Starter" issue. The 3.5GB limit on 32-bit OSes was already in place due to a technical limit, so if you want a lean, mean machine running with maximum memory and a lack of the bloat that comes with other Windows editions, they spent engineering time, resources, and money to ensure that you can't have that. They deserve to have these things noted, and that's what I've done, along with plenty of other people. All the conceptual things, like "less bloat for lower-powered hardware" are absolutely great ideas, and I'm totally with you on those. The extra resources they spent on hobbling the OS had nothing to do with customer demand on anyone's part.

Re:I like the C-50 (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35336838)

I'm quite jealous.

Re:I like the C-50 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35372430)

I'll look forward to reading your post about running Linux on it, it'd be nice to have an upgrade to my current original 9" Aspire One. I would like to support AMD, but one of the nice things about my current netbook is how nicely and hassle-free linux runs on it (excepting the low performance of the hardware) and unfortunately I can't say the same about my AMD-based desktop which has buggy (both open-source and proprietary) graphics drivers. I do wonder why it is so much more expensive over here in the UK, the cheapest google can find it for is ~£300, but that tends to be the way with many things.

Oh cripes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317190)

Read the entire article, not terrible impressed.

Here's the TL;DNR, IGP's all suck, but more importantly the CPU parts of these IGP+CPU solutions are also terrible. Whodathunkit.

What's more alarming is that the IGP's in the i5 are as terrible. No 13" Macbook pro for me then.

Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of users. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317204)

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.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317510)

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 being NT Alpha all over again.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319520)

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.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321288)

I miss my Nomad Jukebox it was the best MP3 player I ever owned for the money.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321532)

I've still got mine, I just need to get new batteries.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319536)

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?

recompile? NT Alpha? (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321826)

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.)

Even Slashdot readers... (2)

WoTG (610710) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317560)

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 instead of Intel or AMD... oh, wait... that was the iPad and it came out last year.

LOL, and to think that we used to measure computer speed by how fast it could recalculate a "large" Excel spreadsheet.

Re:Even Slashdot readers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317668)

Heck, we're one hop-skip-and-a-jump away from perfectly adequate ARM based machines that people will use instead of Intel or AMD... oh, wait... that was the iPad and it came out last year.

I know many people who hate the ipad due to the fact that they have a hard time trying to type something on it. So have them use a bluetooth wireless keyboard problem solved. Now you want these people to carry around the ipad and a keyboard. Wasn't the idea to carry around one device?

Re:Even Slashdot readers... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320420)

For my gTablet, I got a leather case that has a keyboard built in. It folds up like a book, has a stand so that when open it can be used like a laptop, and when you want it to be a tablet, it pops right out and is a tablet. While this setup is slightly kludy, it is 90% of the way to making laptops pointless.

I know that the iPad has similar keyboard/covers.

Re:Even Slashdot readers... (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321812)

I think the point is that the low-power segment is owned by ARM.

One thing here, it sounds like I'll be finally able to get a netbook with a non-INTEL CPU that will run the primary Fedora distro. (And run flash, as well, for my kids.)

(When intel quits trying to take over our pipes, I'll be a lot less biased against them.)

On the other hand, the future is ARM, not x86.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317792)

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 effect on real world performance, they'll go for it.

Personally, I'm a gamer, so this is all a little irrelevant to me.

Grammar Nazis' --- I'm assuming that was deliberate.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320442)

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.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35333100)

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.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320426)

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.

Re:Yes it will only be good for about 70+% of user (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320844)

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.

Bottom line from review: "A new standard" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317220)

"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 those places where you might have considered an Atom- or Ion-based slim desktop system before, you'd now do better to consider a Brazos-based offering. In fact, we're left wondering how Intel could possibly continue its long-standing (and seemingly intentional) neglect of the graphics and video capabilities of this Atom platform for another generation. AMD has forced the issue. Without some help, the Atom will deserve to lose badly, both in "nettops" and netbooks, from here forward."

Re:Bottom line from review: "A new standard" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35319346)

Ooh look, the article's conclusions are positive, even to the point where some people might gag a little.

It's quite a contrast to the summary posted on Slashdot.

90 percent of desktop performance (1, Flamebait)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317238)

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 Atom, not reach the 90 percent goal the first iteration.

Re:90 percent of desktop performance (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319036)

Only a Intel fanboy would rate my post as flamebait.

Re:90 percent of desktop performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320130)

I loathe Intel, but I would have moderated your post as 'Flamebait'. It's possible to make a point without calling other people 'fanboys'.

Hope that helps.

Re:90 percent of desktop performance (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35322552)

This is slashdot baby, all you gotta do is breath and you might be flamebait. It's just a matter of statistics. Don't worry about being flamebait. Worry about being more insightful that baited. Or something.

Scratch that, don't worry, if you're flamebait just remember, Natalie Portman is sooooo hot!!!!!! She's sure to make you feel better about it all.

Re:90 percent of desktop performance (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35323640)

You are like a jive talking angel.

Re:90 percent of desktop performance (2)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319480)

Re:90 percent of desktop performance (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35319560)

Define "Mainstream performance". Sure, its too ambiguous to really tack down, but that's my point. Its a marketing thing, ambiguous enough to mean anything. They didn't say they would get 90 percent of the mean speed of all desktops.

How do they compare to Pentiums of yesteryear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317254)

EG, Pentinum 2ghz compared to atom D525 or amd E250

Re:How do they compare to Pentiums of yesteryear (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317996)

EG, Pentinum 2ghz compared to atom D525 or amd E250

Not sure about current Atoms, but the 330 dual-core benchmarked about the same as a 3GHz P4 when running multithreaded apps (and quite a bit slower when single-threaded).

Or, if you prefer big iron, if I remember correctly it gets about the same as a Cray Y-MP.

cheap bastard (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35317514)

Obviously, at $140, you're paying a premium for miniaturization, for low power draw, for Brazos' expanded graphics and video capabilities versus Atom, and perhaps for protection from rogue elements of society.

seriously, he cant handle a $140 price tag for all the latest tech and high performance all in a small package? yeah, he's a cheap bastard.

Re:cheap bastard (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320190)

high performance ?

Worst quality review I have ever seen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317550)

Nothing like comparing a ULV processor to a $1000, 130watt processor.

also, they took the 90% performance (mis)quote out of context and rode it for the whole review.

90% of K8 Performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35317654)

"AMD's performance target for Bobcat was 90% of the performance of K8 at the same clock speed"

Taken from this review at Anandtech:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4023/the-brazos-performance-preview-amd-e350-benchmarked/3

This makes sense to me for "mainstream desktop processors". Other than my gamer friends, I don't know anybody that is using anything more modern than an Athlon 64 X2, which is the K8 architecture.

Re:90% of K8 Performance (1)

shizzle (686334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35318814)

"AMD's performance target for Bobcat was 90% of the performance of K8 at the same clock speed"

Note the key clause *at the same clock speed*. To turn around and complain that a 1.6 GHz Bobcat isn't 90% of the performance of any of a set of desktop processors running anywhere from 2.7 to 3.6 GHz just shows that you didn't bother to understand the initial claim.

64 Bit RISC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35318050)

I don't understand why no group has yet developed a viable, energy efficient 64 bit RISC alternative to the x86 (ARM64, anyone?). The x86 and x86_64 carry around a lot of transistor baggage needed to be maintain 4 decades worth of backwards compatibility, and their CISC architecture has proven less energy efficient than RISC design. Why do giants like Intel and AMD continue throwing money into improving what will always suck?

Re:64 Bit RISC (1)

Zan Lynx (87672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35318138)

Transmeta did your idea. They went out of business.

Re:64 Bit RISC (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35318146)

The x86 and x86_64 carry around a lot of transistor baggage needed to be maintain 4 decades worth of backwards compatibility

Not really. More and more of the CPU is cache, so the size of the instruction decoders becomes less important all the time. Plus I believe I read that Intel can now turn off the instruction decoder when it's not required (e.g. running tight loops from the micro-ops cache) so that reduces the power usage too.

Why do giants like Intel and AMD continue throwing money into improving what will always suck?

Because they want to run Windows apps.

Re:64 Bit RISC (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320578)

Why do giants like Intel and AMD continue throwing money into improving what will always suck?

Because they want to run Windows apps.

Not so much. x86 may have a challenger for the desktop, but it looks completely unapproachable in the server space. X86-64 took off in the server space. Sun was selling Opterons with Linux. The top500 is packed with x86-64s. Etc.

The original 8088 instruction set is crap, but it has improved since. X64 is perfectly fine. And make no mistake, many x64 chips are running 32 bit code, because an in-house app that cost many millions to develop simply isn't worth rewriting, and the overhead of emulation is undesirable, and a negative selling point.

But more important than 8088 instructions, is RISC versus CISC. Time has shown that CISC chips like x86 just have so much room for expansion that they can easily maintain backwards compatibilty for decades, while adding every new feature under the sun, no problem. RISC chips weren't so lucky, and their former benefits, became a liability. And losing backwards compatibilty wouldn't affect Windows users that much, but corporate servers... it would be a blood-bath.

the clue stick of winsome orthogonality (1)

epine (68316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35324574)

The original 8088 instruction set is crap, but it has improved since.

I've ranted on the theme of 8086 evolution and adequacy several times in the past. You do know that the 8086 instruction set was designed in 1976-1978? I recall 1976. Year of the first cheap four-function calculator, the TI-30. It was also the year of the Summer Olympics in Montreal, where Canada as host country failed to win a single gold medal (courtesy I figured out later of East German steroids). The 1976 summer Olympics also featured the original decimal conversion bug, when Nadia was awarded a 1.0 gymnastics score due to a shortage of display digits. Intel engineers took notes and later conducted a replay attack.

35 years later, the planet's deployed x86 execution capacity is on the order of 10^18 instructions per second. Failures don't come any bigger than that.

Would the course of history differ much if someone teleported back to 1976 and beat the Intel engineers responsible with the clue stick of winsome orthogonality?

I would settle for one change only: an eight bit segment register offset instead of the four bit offset, giving the original PC a 16MB address space. 16MB has you covered until machines become powerful enough for a multitasking OS. It also has the PC encroaching on traditional IBM markets right out of the starting gate, and might have died a grim death of a thousand memos before IBM publicly announced the product.

And then, if it hadn't been so crippled, maybe fewer people would have rushed into the marketplace to fix it. Maybe Apple would have controlled the original PC marketplace instead, and locked the whole thing down with pentalobular vengeance.

This first fusion chip underwhelms me, but it's the tip of a program with bigger splashes to come. Since I'm older than dirt, I also recall that the original Pentium 60 was nearly booed out of the marketplace. Hotter and more expensive than a DX4, without any real benefit to show for it unless you had a fetish for fast (and wrong) floating point math. There were howls of outrage at the unfathomable 30W TDP (IIRC, the figure doesn't come up in a quick Google). You needed a heat sink the size of your hand and maybe *gasp* even a fan.

Superscalar, DOA. Fusion, DOA. Perhaps let's not jump to conclusions yet. The entire industry is built on the ashes of suckhood.

Re:the clue stick of winsome orthogonality (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35326606)

Since I'm older than dirt, I also recall that the original Pentium 60 was nearly booed out of the marketplace. Hotter and more expensive than a DX4, without any real benefit to show for it unless you had a fetish for fast (and wrong) floating point math. There were howls of outrage at the unfathomable 30W TDP (IIRC, the figure doesn't come up in a quick Google). You needed a heat sink the size of your hand and maybe *gasp* even a fan.

I think you're mostly confusing the PPro (i686) for the Pentium (i585).

The Pentium did have an uphill battle in the market against AMD's impressive 486 DX4s. But the history of AMD vs Intel with few exceptions has always been that AMD chips do better in integer performance (which is important for most apps) while Intel's chips tend to be notably superior for floating point math (important for most multimedia). This was true of the Pentium vs AMD's DX4s, and was true of the PPro, with the additional drawback that Microsoft lied to Intel and promised Win95 would be all 32-bit, when it was mostly 16-bit, leaving the PPro's 32-bit tuned performance largely unutilized in the desktop. Of course, in the end Intel has gotten a lot out of that PPro, with Xeon current chips being a direct descendant of it, and most desktop/laptop chips tracing their heritage back a few generations to it as well.

More to the point, PPro chips were HUGE and power hungry, needing the ginormous heatsink and fan. Pentiums were small, and needed only a tiny heatsink and junky 40mm fan. In fact I recall an incident where a 133MHz Pentium MMX was running for some time after the heatsink fell of, and other than a careless tech burning his hand, there weren't any problems.

Pentium 60 was 11.9W MAX (14.6W TDP)
PPro 150 was 29.2W MAX (23W TDP).

http://mysite.verizon.net/pchardwarelinks/elec_pentium.htm#intel [verizon.net]

Re:64 Bit RISC (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35318306)

Power7 is quite efficient, but also costs thousands of dollars. There are some embedded-market PPC chips that do okay though - you can get performance comparable with a low-end/midrange Nehalem, but the downside is that they cost far more than they should ($300+) and have hardly any software.

ARM sucks. Go look up its SPEC2000 results and see.

Re:64 Bit RISC (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320246)

http://pcper.com/images/reviews/608/02.jpg [pcper.com]

Apparently, the cores are about 1/2 of the die (the rest being cache and interfaces). I'm not sure how much of the cores would be trimmed down by getting rid of the x86 compatibility layer (both Intel and AMD have been using non-native x86 processing cores for a while, x86 machine code is actually converted to different micro-ops). Assuming you're just talking bout moving x86 compatibility out of the hardware and off to software, while keeping the same hardware unist (SSE-x...), my guess would be 1/3 of the cores tops, so 1/6th of the whole chip. Not much, probably not worth the effort.

Re:64 Bit RISC (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320858)

MIPS (the architecture) did this a long time ago. Nowadays everyone is focused on ARM, but ARM isn't the only instruction set that can be low power. The company behind MIPS is still pushing it, and there are even some Android phones out with MIPS after they ported Dalvik to MIPS instruction set. MIPS also has an advantage in that the 64-bit version is already defined.

Perfect for a Media Box (2)

TheRedDuke (1734262) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

30W PC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35318644)

I recently assembled a mini-ITX SFF PC with a Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3, 2x2GB KVR DDR3-1333, & a 640GB 5400rpm HDD in an Antec ISK-100 with its 90W power brick (W7 x64 Enterprise). It draws 20W at desktop idle, 27W playing 1080P YouTube videos, and 30W playing Left 4 Dead 2 at 1333x768 with medium settings (high 20s FPS). It does not lag out during moderate productivity multitasking (unlike the Atom D510 SFF PC I made for my parents last year). I can't hear it from two feet away.

As noted in a comment above, this platform is not designed to compete with processors that pull as much juice by themselves as this entire system does. It's aimed squarely at Atom/Ion and beats that combo handily. It's also sufficiently powerful that with the lower-cost ASRock board, it's possible to put together a computer that satisfies at least 75% of computer users with less than $300, is the size of a dictionary, and uses less electricity than an incandescent light bulb. Desktop users are NOT better off waiting for Llano if they use their computers to check email, play Facebook games, watch YouTube videos, and occasionally produce a document in Office.

I'm waiting for Llano too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35318792)

I'm looking to build a NAS in the not too distant future that I can realistically use for the next 5-10 years. It should have:
-support for ECC RAM. Something that is going to running up all the time with today's size of memory with data you care about will get errors, and for that you need ECC RAM.
-negligible idle power. Preferably something in the 10-20 Watt range before HDDs are added.
-Lots of SATA ports. Preferably 7+.
-low price
-USB 3 for easy, convenient backup. If you have a NAS it's going to take more than 1 HDD to back it all up, and you probably want that in some form of redundant RAID. USB 3 seems to be the most convenient way to connect that sort of thing.

AMD is the only player likely to grace us with ECC support with all of the above, as Intel require the purchase of a Xeon for that, and getting a low idle power Xeon bumps up the price too much. Unfortunately AFAICT there is no ECC support with Bobcat, so hopefully AMD have some sort of low cost, low idle power Llano processor waiting in the wings, and they have maintained their policy of ECC support as they have with Athlon/Phenom.

Bobcat is pretty cool though. Unfortunately it's competing with the computers I already have and the 30 Watts it would save has too long a payback period for me to consider selling/ditching the old gear.

Exactly what I what (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35318934)

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.

Nufront (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320436)

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.

With Linux, CPU speed quickly becoming irrelevant (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35375720)

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 video, performing very complex calculations or something else.
Since I migrated from Windows to Linux about 10 years ago, freeing myself from 99% of bloatware, I found out that CPU speed is becoming more and more irrelevant with each new CPU generation. Even with a 4 year old computer, I do simultaneously share a 10Mbps broadband connection, burn a DVD, play flight gear flight simulator, run e-mail server, MySQL, on the same 4GB RAM system with a dual core CPU, no damaged DVD medias, even with the game running at maximum CPU priority. Try that on Windows, any Windows !
People, save on your power bill, free yourself from wasteful computing, migrate to Linux. It will run exceptionally well on any new computer, it will also run very well on anything designed for Windows Vista. The minimum computer that Windows 7 requires just to boot and load Office is a huge computer for Linux.
Migrate to Linux. Make your computer work for you instead of to evil software corporations. The computer is *yours* after all.

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