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09-04-2014


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AMD Athlon 5350 for platform AMD AM1 Review and testing

“Even the flutter of a butterfly's wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world”.

Butterfly effect. Chaos theory

In 2011 AMD Company has begun the transition to the active usage of APU design, which involves the integration of CPU and GPU processors in a single core, as well as memory controller. The first were AMD Zacate (AMD E) and AMD Ontario (AMD C) models, which were oriented to the usage for netbooks, nettops and entry-level laptops. This approach allowed to decline the design of printed circuit boards using the North and South bridge chipsets. The first of these was a part of the processor, and the second was called "chipset". This greatly simplified board layout and design of the cooling system, improved the performance of individual components and reduced total production cost.

AMD Athlon 5350

The next developmental step was the transition to the design of SoC (System-on-Chip). It involves the integration into chipset processor, i.e., along with calculating functions CPU performs coordination, ensuring the correct interaction of various internal interfaces. This factor increases the simplicity of design and distributions of motherboards, as well as many additional controllers were not required. All this leads to a further reduction production prime cost which positively affects the final price.

AMD Athlon 5350

First APU with SoC design support were 28nm solutions of AMD Temash series and AMD Kabini, which have replaced the 40-nm AMD Ontario and AMD Zacate model series. They are focused to the use for low-cost nettops, laptops and monoblocks. Nowadays you can find desktop motherboards with integrated APU AMD Kabini, which allow you to create entry-level system for everyday tasks or multimedia entertainments.

The only point of issue regarding the first SoC-processors of AMD Company is the usage of BGA- housing which provides the soldering of CPU to a socket on the motherboard only in shop manufacturing. On the one hand, this approach reduces production cost and on the other, it is significantly complicated to replace this processor. For laptops this is considered as standard condition, but the users of desktop PCs use the ability to update the configuration by replacing the processor.

Therefore AMD Company decided to create desktop versions of APU AMD Kabini placing them in a PGA-housing which makes it easy to change the processor if necessary. Also it is important to add that AMD Company decided to use the names of familiar brands AMD Athlon and AMD Sempron, thereby reviving the competition of these chips with Intel Pentium and Intel Celeron (Intel Bay Trail platform).

AMD Athlon 5350

And now let's check the key aspects of AMD AM1 platform and consider the key features of the new processors. To be going on with AMD Company has decided to give a reasonable answer to the question: “Why do we need to produce a new low-cost platform?”

AMD Athlon 5350

According to IDC Company data for the 4th quarter 2013, most of the desktop systems market (38%) takes exactly entry-level solutions. Percentage of mainstream PC is 30% and productive desktops - 32%. Thus, the market of low-cost systems is large enough, therefore AMD did not want to give it fully to Intel Bay Trail platform. It prepared an alternative that looks quite interesting. Particularly high hopes of AMD AM1 platform assigned to the emerging markets where the price issue is primary important.

AMD Athlon 5350 AMD Athlon 5350

That's why AMD decided to use quite successful 28nm AMD Jaguar micro-architecture to create a new generation of AMD Sempron and AMD Athlon processors. As mentioned above, on a single chip they combine four cores of CPU, graphics adapter with AMD GCN micro-architecture and single-channel of DDR3-1600 memory with total capacity up to 16 GB.

AMD Athlon 5350

Additionally, it combines controller that in traditional systems is a part of chipset. It deals with:

  • 2 TByte SD memory card;
  • 2x USB 3.0;
  • 8x USB 2.0;
  • PS/2 interface and various internal sensors (temperature, fan rate of rotation, etc);
  • eDP, DisplayPort / HDMI and VGA video ports;
  • 4 lines of PCI Express x16 interface to connection discrete graphics card;
  • 2x SATA 6 Gb/sec;
  • 4 lines of PCI Express x1 interface. One is used to connect gigabit network controller.

AMD Athlon 5350

Specialists of AMD Company did not forget to mention the improvements due to the usage of AMD Jaguar 28-nm micro-architecture. 40nm AMD Bobcat was considered as a basis, but the transition to a new technology process allowed increasing the number of structural elements and optimizing all key blocks. We will not blame AMD for the improvement of micro-architecture instead of a radically new implementation because there is an unwritten law: “During technology process changing, micro-architecture should not be changed with the aim to avoid many errors”. In this case, engineers have improved processing of entire (IEU) and fractional units (FPU), remade all load/store queue, provided 128-bit access to FPU block, provided more resources for prefect block operation, added support for new instructions (SSE4. 1/4.2, AES, CLMUL, MOVBE, AVX, F16C and BMI1) and included many other improvements.

AMD Athlon 5350 AMD Athlon 5350

Many similar features can be found in micro-architectures AMD Steamroller (APU AMD Kaveri) and AMD Jaguar: the same design OOO (Out-of-Order), usage of 28-nm technology process, support of new directive sets, etc. However, there are some significant differences. First of all, this is the size: four AMD Jaguar processor cores occupy an area equivalent to one dual-core module AMD Steamroller. Important energy-efficient differences of micro-architecture AMD Jaguar from AMD Steamroller are: support of 32 KB cache memory L1 data (instead of 16 KB), the usage of FPU for each core and common access to cache memory L2 cache for all cores. Let us to remind that AMD Steamroller involves the use of a single FP-block for the dual-core module.

AMD Athlon 5350 AMD Athlon 5350

As a result of all the improvements, the rate of IPC for AMD Jaguar micro-architecture has increased to 17% compared with the result of AMD Bobcat. The performance of single and multi-threaded tasks increased greatly.

AMD Athlon 5350

Integrated graphics adapter uses AMD GCN micro-architecture which is present in the APU AMD Kaveri. There is the same structure computing clusters CU (Compute Unit) which include four vector units and scalar coprocessor. In turn each vector unit incorporates 16 data flow processors, so total number in one CU equals 64. As the first APU Platform AMD AM1 there are maximum two CU clusters, the total number of data flow processors for them is 128.

Another interesting point in the graphics adapter, which is associated with its name deserve our attention. Originally unofficial sources indicate the use of names “AMD Radeon HD 8000”. The official presentation contains the name “AMD Radeon R3” which greatly simplifies the classification of graphics adapter performance level in the actual structure of AMD Company. We would like to remind that the first APU AMD Kaveri models equipped with graphics core AMD Radeon R7. As the result we got a free name AMD Radeon R5, which is will be used for the less productive APU in AMD Kaveri line. They should enter the market 2014 second half.

AMD Athlon 5350 AMD Athlon 5350 AMD Athlon 5350

The results of comparative testing in popular synthetic gaming benchmarks of model AMD Athlon 5350 look very impressive. It pretty out- markets its main competitor model Intel Pentium J2900. In undemanding games AMD Athlon 5350 takes leading positions in comparison with processor Intel Celeron G1610 and a discrete graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GT 210.

AMD Athlon 5350

Testing results become more impressive after comparing the value of these models. APU of AMD including the motherboard is cheaper than one Intel processor. In this case you can see how the cost for entry-level platforms plays a very important role.

AMD Athlon 5350 AMD Athlon 5350

AMD Athlon 5350 AMD Athlon 5350

The most important advantage of AMD AM1 is efficient graphics adapter which is enough for rapid and high-quality processing of the operating system interface, high video resolution (4K Ultra HD), wireless video transmission (Miracast), running of undemanding games, quick photo editing and other similar tasks. In addition there is cooperation with many popular software developers to optimize products for particular solutions AMD micro-architecture.

AMD Athlon 5350

At the end of the presentation AMD Company specified all its desktop platforms: AMD AM1 - entry-level systems, AMD FM2+ - mainstream class computers and AMD AM3+ - highly productive PC.

Summary table of AMD AM1 technical is given below:

Model

AMD Sempron 2650

AMD Sempron 3850

AMD Athlon 5150

AMD Athlon 5350

Market segment

Desktop system

Processor plug

Socket AM1

Processor core

AMD Kabini

Micro-architecture

AMD Jaguar

Technology process, nm

28

Design

SoC

Core number

2

4

4

4

Clock frequency, GHz

1,45

1,3

1,6

2,05

L1 cache memory, Kbyte

Directive

2 х 32

4 х 32

4 х 32

4 х 32

Data

2 х 32

4 х 32

4 х 32

4 х 32

L2 cache memory, MB

1

2

2

2

Graphics core

Type

AMD Radeon R3

Number of data flow processor

128

Clock frequency, MHz

400

450

600

600

Main memory controller

Number of supported channels

1

Quality of modules

2

Type

DDR3-1333

DDR3-1600 / DDR3L-1600

DDR3-1600 / DDR3L-1600

DDR3-1600 / DDR3L-1600

Max. capacity, GB

16

Additional controllers

PCI Express 2.0, HD Audio, SD, USB 3.0, SATA 6 GB/s, LPC etc

Supported ports

2 x USB 3.0
8 x USB 2.0
2 x SATA 6 Gb/sec
HDMI
DisplayPort
PS/2

TDP value, W

25

And now let's get to the review and testing of the model of APU Platform AMD AM1 - AMD Athlon 5350. Is performance level as good as specified in the presentation? Does it have any more hidden advantages or disadvantages? We will try to answer these questions.

AMD AM1 platform

AMD Athlon 5350

We have tested not only representative of the AMD Kabini family, but the whole system (CPU + motherboard + RAM). This will give us the opportunity to fully evaluate the facilities of the platform AMD AM1, and also allow to understand what tasks it is suited for.

AMD Athlon 5350

Let's start with the motherboard. This is the basis of the entire computer. In our case it is represented by a model ASRock AM1B-ITX, made in Mini-ITX format. This form factor will be the main for AMD AM1platform, although the market will have microATX format solutions. At least all the major motherboard manufacturers including ASRock, have already announced at least one this model.

But let’s back to our ASRock AM1B-ITX board. As we can see, it has quite standard layout: CPU socket is in the middle; interfaces are placed on the left side of textolite, on the opposite side there are slots for main memory; bottom contains PCI Express x16 connector. Let’s remind that there are only 4 PCIe 2.0 lines. 

But even this quantity will be enough, as the AMD AM1 platform primarily is considered as a base for office PCs, nettop or HTPC, but not for gaming configurations. Therefore PCI Express slot will have any some board that expands multimedia capability, for example external audio card or TV tuner.

Some restrictions are overlaid on the memory: its capacity is up to 16 GB, and speed is 1600 MHz. In addition dual-channel mode support is absent. But for above mentioned tasks these restrictions are not critical, and in practice they will not play a special role.

AMD Athlon 5350

Since processor of AMD Kabini family has various functions of the controller, the number of additional chips on motherboard is significantly reduced. The first striking thing is absence of chipset. Now support of SATA 6 Gb/s is performed directly by the CPU, but only in amounts of two pieces only. ASRock Company decided to use an additional controller ASMedia ASM1061, which implements support of two additional SATA 6 Gb/s ports.

The same situation is observed with connectors USB 3.0: 2 x USB 3.0 located on the interface board. They operate under processor control, and the operation of 2 which may be connected to the terminal on the motherboard is provided by ASMedia ASM1042A controller.

VGA, DVI and HDMI interfaces are on the back panel. The last one has a support for resolution 4096x2160 at refresh rate 24Hz. Also the following items are present: LAN connector, LPT port, three audio connectors, two USB 2.0 and one PS/2 Combo connector for keyboard or mouse connection. Audio section is based on Realtek ALC662 chip, and network interface operates under gigabit chip Realtek RTL 8111GR.

According functional capabilities AMD AM1 platform is not inferior to other popular solutions equipped by processor sockets Socket FM2 / FM2 + / LGA 1150.

AMD Athlon 5350

TDP of AMD Kabini processor is stated at level 25W. 2-phase module VRM is quite enough. It is placed on the board ASRock AM1B-ITX. Its operation is provided by PDM controller Richtek RT8179B that comprises two drivers of phases. Also it has a number of protective technologies (according to specification - OCP/OVP/UVP/SCP).

This simple configuration of CPU converter reduces the production costs for the motherboard and as a result, reduces the final cost of the entire computer.

The system is powered via the 24-contact ATX. Although, taking into account the low power consumption of AMD Kabini processors, it is possible to observe the models of motherboards powered via an external adapter (DC 19V).

AMD Athlon 5350

Memory subsystem obtained during testing consists of one module AMD AE34G1609U1S, which belongs to the original AMD Radeon Memory. According to the marking and the inscriptions on the label, its capacity is 4 GB and it can operate at a nominal frequency 1600 MHz with 9-9-9-28 latency and voltage 1.5V. Since the nettop and HTPC are in compact cases with low cooling efficiency, the presence of additional coolers on the memory chips will not be superfluous.

We did not test the boosting potential of AMD AE34G1609U1S module because built-in memory controller will not allow it to operate at a frequency over 1600 MHz. But you should not worry about this fact because speed enhancing of memory subsystem does not affect the performance of real applications. Slight growth was observed only in dedicated programs that are will not be run on AMD AM1 platform.

AMD Athlon 5350 processor.

Package, delivery set and standard cooling system

AMD Athlon 5350

And now let’s pass to the most interesting part, to AMD Kabini processor which is presented by AMD Athlon 5350. We got it in the system so we omit the description of the box, and going to consider the standard cooling system.

AMD Athlon 5350

It differs from usual coolers which are equipped with processor of AMD Trinity/Richland/Kaveri/Zambezi/Vishera family due to its compact dimensions. The length and width of the cooling system is 55 mm (excluding fasteners), and its height is 40 mm. These are the dimensions including already installed fan.

We would like to note that AMD Company has changed its fastener system: instead of the usual latches the cooler is fastened to the board by means of two spring plastic clips. As a result Socket AM3 / AM3+ / FM2 / FM2+ for cooling system are not suitable.

AMD Athlon 5350

The cooler has a usual design, i.e. aluminum core with four sections of thin aluminum edge. Low profile fan FOXCONN PVA050E12L 50 mm with capacity of 1.92W is used for blowing. Power is supplied via a 3-pin connector with support of rotational speed monitoring of fan blades.

AMD Athlon 5350

Despite its compact dimensions the standard cooling system copes well with own task. At idle mode the CPU temperature was 36°C and at maximum load (by AIDA64 stress test) - 43°C. Maximum fan rate of rotation during the experiment reached 2950 rpm. All measurements were carried out on the open bench.

Appearance and technical specification

AMD Athlon 5350

AMD Athlon 5350 model has micro-PGA housing and looks similar to other processors produced under AMD brand. Heat distribution cover has label and country of origin indication (in this case Taiwan). The final assembly of processor was done in Taiwan. The chip is producer in Germany, as reported by the inscription “Diffused in Germany”.

Technical specification:

Model

AMD Athlon 5350

Marking

AD5350JAH44HM

Processor socket

Socket AM1

CPU clock (rated frequency), MHz

2050

Multiplier

20,5

Basic frequency, MHz

100

L1 cache-memory capacity, KB

4 х 32 (instruction memory)

4 х 32 (data memory)

L2 cache-memory capacity, KB

2048

L3 cache-memory capacity, KB

No

Micro-architecture

AMD Jaguar + AMD GCN

Code name

AMD Kabini

Number of processor cores/ flows

4 / 4

Instruction set

MMX(+), SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4A, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, x86-64, AMD-V, AES, AVX

Supply voltage, V

-

Max calculated power (TDP), W

25

Critical temperature, °C

-

Technology process, nm

28

Technology set

AMD 64-bit

AMD Virtualization

AMD UVD (Universal Video Decoder)

AMD VCE (Video Codec Engine)

Built-in memory controller

Max memory capacity, GB

16

Memory types

DDR3 / DDR3L

Max frequency, MHz

1600

Number of memory channels

1

Built-in graphics core AMD Radeon R3 Graphics (AMD Radeon HD 8400)

Data flow processor

128

Textural blocks

8

Rasterization modules

4

GPU clock frequency, MHz

600

Instruction set

DirectX 11.2

OpenGL 4.3

OpenCL 1.2

Shader Model 5.0

AMD Athlon 5350

During standard operation AMD Athlon 5350 speed is 2050 MHz at reference frequency 100 MHz and multiplier “x20,5”. At the moment of reading of the core voltage was 1.288V

AMD Athlon 5350

In idle mode multiplier value is reduced to “x8”, thus the frequency reduced to 800MHz. The voltage is 1,024V.

AMD Athlon 5350

Cache memory of AMD Athlon 5350 is distributed as follows:

  • L1 cache memory - each of the 4 cores has 32 Kb for data including 8 associativity channels and 32 KB for directives with 2 associativity channels;
  • L2 cache memory - 2 MB for all cores including 16 associativity channels;
  • L3 cache memory – is absent.

AMD Athlon 5350

DDR3 memory controller operates in a single channel mode and supports modules with frequency up to 1600 MHz.

AMD Athlon 5350

AMD Athlon 5350 model includes graphics core AMD Radeon R3 Graphics based on advanced micro-architecture AMD GCN. Also GPU-Z utility has identified the codenamed of graphics processor - AMD Radeon HD 8400. But with other data it has some problems, particularly with the number of rasterization modules, texture units and GPU frequency. Correct parameters are given above in the specification. According its performance graphics core AMD Radeon R3 resembles a graphics card AMD Radeon R5 230 1GB GDDR3. The only difference is that the last one has 32 processor streams more. So we can conclude that the performance of both solutions will be approximately at the same level which is pretty good.


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