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Monday, 21 February 2011 13:53

ASRock E350M1 Brazos Review - Power-Consumption

Written by Eliot Kucharik

E350M1_board_front_small fusion 

Review: Intel Atom is dead




Gaming

As you can imagine, this CPU + GPU combination is not meant for gamers. So we won't bother you with meaningless benchmakrs in 800x600 with lowest settings. We benched Farcry 2 in 1280x720 at high and the results are comparable with a very fast slideshow. The fastest results were 13.8 average fps with the APU alone and 22 average fps with a HD6870, so a external graphics-card will not help at all. As you can imagine the CPU is far too underpowered for any playable framerates. If you are a fan of really old games such as Freelancer and it's tons of mods or others, you can play that easily, but any modern game, is just a waste of time.


Power-Consumption

With the 18W TDP you may expect a good efficiency ratio, but here AMD disappoints. With all the hype and PR we have expected much better, but even a quad-core can be more efficient. We have compared the AMD results with the ASRock 330ION-HT box, which of course comes with a 60W external power-supply, while inside the testrig we used a much overpowered 500W PSU which also gives quite bad efficiency with low consumption. We also went shopping to find a combination at around the same price and ended up with an Athlon II X2 250 and a ASRock 880GM/USB3 board. Both are around €20 more expensive then the E350M1 board with APU itself, but a smaller CPU would have only saved €5, so not worth the effort. Even the 880G board with the X2 250 CPU is more efficent, regardsless of using more energy overall.

E350M1_power_cb



E350M1_power

 

Benchmarks

Before we can draw any conclusions let's see about the overall benchmarks. All the acutal results will be shown after this page. First we have the costs of each platform. Sadly we could not compare the newer Atom D510 and D525 with ION2, but don't expect too much differences with the older Atom 330 silbling. All prices includes a 4GB Kit which is nowadays about €40.

We tested the E350M1 board with the default memory clock of 1067MHz and with C6 deep sleep enabled and disabled. Last week we got a new BIOS which included the 1333MHz memory support which is offically not supported by AMD but did improve the results more than expected.

E350M1_costs

 

Conclusion

Brazos Platform:

The results are not stunning or even great, AMD just did ok. While it's not really that much faster compared to Intel's Atom, AMD has one huge advantage - its graphics drivers are not broken. Use it with Windows XP, Windows 7 or Linux it will just work. Do the same with Intel and you can only go for Windows 7 and then the drivers will work only for the most basic functions but even old games may get texture-bugs. Combine a Atom with an ION will work too but it's much more expensive for the manufactures to get. Intel and nVidia could buy the marketshare, but it's seems unlikely they will do that in the lowest margin market anyways. On the other hand AMD has its foot in the door and with it's upcoming quad- and octacores it may become a player in the notebook market again.

In terms of desktops it does all the basic stuff you ask of a computer, it will play your HD content with most of the content besides 3D and if you're thinking for a PC for mum, that's a good way to go. If you casually want to play new games it's much better to go with an Athlon II X2 250 with any 880G board. Combine that with and any 6800 series or the upcoming GeForce 550 Ti card and it will do hugly better. For fifty bucks more you will even get a quad-core Athlon or Phenom which will make gaming even better.

In the future even µATX boards will emerge which is a nice idea, espeically if you have some addin-cards which shouldn't go to waste. But there is a problem called power supplies. With a consumption of about 43W there is no power-supply which will fit. All companies are crazy and going for more Watts than less. The smalles ATX PSUs rate at 250W if you are lucky otherwise you have to go for 300W or even more. Even a 80plus Gold like ours, will suffer efficency on the low load. The crazy designers also got their hands on ITX cases where you also can find 200W and 250W PSUs which is quite ridiculous.


ASRock E350M1:

We are not satisfied with the build quality. We don't like normal capacitors, we don't like push-pins and we especially don't like tiny noisy fans. You can adjust the fan-speed in the BIOS. At level 5 the fan will be still audible but not insanely loud. A bigger cooler with a 6cm would have fitted nicely and would have brought down the noiselevel considerable. I would have invested two bucks more in the BOM but sadly my name is not "Fatality". Besides that, the board did work fine, the 1333MHz memory support does increase the performance and with a price of €87,50 or $99 the board is affordable but not cheap considering the performance. We hope for a ASRock E350M1 Pro board whiich will fix all our complaints and add USB 3.0 support and we would gladly pay €5 more and mum would get a nice new PC.

Due to high demand of E-350 APUs from the netbook and notebook manufactures the retail market will go through some shortages.

 

(Page 5 of 6)
Last modified on Monday, 21 February 2011 20:11
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