AMD HAS FINALLY allowed the first benchmarks of its Brazos platform to be published and it’s without a doubt an Atom beater, well, at least the Zacate based E-350 is. As expected the graphics performance is quite good, albeit quite some ways away from AMD’s discrete offerings, however it seems like on the CPU side of things, VIA of all companies have managed to one-up AMD in terms of entry level processor performance.
So let’s start with the good news, graphics performance is at worst as good as AMD’s 890GX chipset and at its best a good bit faster. Depending on the game you’re trying to play, it’s even giving Intel’s HD graphics a good run for its money. However, it seems like Nvidia’s Ion 2 graphics still have an edge in some games, although this all depends on your quality settings and screen resolution. In all fairness, on a typical 1366×768 notebook screen you won’t be able to play any recent games at playable frame rate, which is highly disappointing considering the much improved graphics over AMD’s past IGP chipsets.
The bad news is that the CPU part isn’t quite what we’d hoped for. Looking at Anandtech’s results the E-350 is just about as fast as an Athlon X2 3250e which is clocked at 1.5GHz compared to 1.6GHz for the E-350. It’s ahead in some benchmarks and slightly behind in others. However, it’s a fair bit faster than any of Intel’s Atom processors. It doesn’t quite seem to be able to compete with Intel’s SU2300 CULV processor though, at least not judging by figures posted on PC Perspective. Considering this was AMD’s target market for the E-350 it’s disappointing to see that it’s behind Intel here, albeit with a fairly small margin.
What really surprised us though was the fact that VIA’s still very much held together with duct tape and bubble gum dual core Nano processor managed to kick Zacate’s backside with some pretty impressive margins. Considering that the VIA test boards that have been sent out to media so far are of a 65nm test chip that’s nowhere close to the final 40nm retail product, it goes to show how good the Centaur design is for this market space. In all fairness, the Nano is clocked 200MHz faster and the graphics performance can’t match that of the E-350. VIA could of course make a new chipset with better integrated graphics to combat that problem, or possibly improve the drivers for its current chipset.
AMD has indeed created an Atom killer, but the question is if this is good enough. As far as we’re aware, Intel isn’t planning any huge overhaul of its Atom processor architecture at the moment, but this might very well change quicker than expected. Intel is going to have a hard time coming up with a better graphics solution than AMD, but that has always been Intel’s weakness. In fact, a faster clocked Atom processor with no increase in power usage or thermals would pretty much put Intel back on par with AMD’s Zacate APU’s, notwithstanding the difference in graphics performance. AMD is hopefully already working on faster parts within the same thermal envelope or they’re not going to have much of a lead over the competition for long.S|A
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