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Low-Power Gaming: AMD's E-350 Vs. Intel Atom D525 And Ion 2

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April 14, 2011 6:17:06 AM

so the gpu's in modern consoles are around the same as the e-350? since these gpus are mainly cpu bound? Also should have put counterstrike fun and not demanding.
Anonymous
a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 6:34:54 AM

Can they make a video game that features a Monopolistic Chip Company who threatens and bribes computer manufacturers to be zombies?
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April 14, 2011 6:53:17 AM

Aamusing... ;) 
April 14, 2011 7:00:12 AM

OOPS It's not "Aamusing"
It's Pointless To Compare Them...
April 14, 2011 7:13:30 AM

Why are you guys not testing some good quality freeware first person shooters, that could run smoothly on those low end PCs? For example:
Urban Terror (my favorite one), Open Arena, Alien Arena? Or at least Quake live?
Cause it's ridiculous to test all those latest shooters on such low end machines...
April 14, 2011 7:17:30 AM

I was just thinking about reinstalling either of the Star Trek: Armada titles now I've moved to Windows 7, just to see if it removes the stuttering I experienced in XP. Good to see one of those titles here.

Good review; was kinda wishing for the HL2:LC or some previous-gen UT titles though. :) 
April 14, 2011 7:53:26 AM

You could've tried overclocking them :D 
But seriously, the ION seems to be bottlenecked by the cpu.
a c 258 4 Gaming
a c 133 å Intel
a c 302 À AMD
April 14, 2011 7:54:15 AM

Low end graphics! How about testing them with popular MMOG for addicts that travel, but like the portability of netbooks!
April 14, 2011 7:58:52 AM

Diablo 2? and Warcraft 3?
April 14, 2011 8:22:49 AM

Thank you for including older titles in your comparison ! I hope you'll be able to include even more of them in any future tests to give each major game engine of the era a fair chance :) 
April 14, 2011 8:23:48 AM

tacoslaveso the gpu's in modern consoles are around the same as the e-350? since these gpus are mainly cpu bound? Also should have put counterstrike fun and not demanding.

PS3 has a kind of nVidia 5700, not sure how it compares/
April 14, 2011 8:44:41 AM

Pretty soon I'll be running these on my phone outputting to the HDTV at 720p. The iPhone and Android game markets are gaining ground, and look good too.
April 14, 2011 8:53:11 AM

PS3 actually has a NVidia 7900GT which has been adapted to communicate better with the CELL BE. This should be considerably better than the Ion and the E-350. The XBOX 360's GPU is faster than the PS3's also. Now both the Ion and the E-350 beat the crap out of the Wii however
April 14, 2011 9:19:10 AM

"PS3 actually has a NVidia 7900GT which has been adapted to communicate better with the CELL BE. This should be considerably better than the Ion and the E-350. The XBOX 360's GPU is faster than the PS3's also. Now both the Ion and the E-350 beat the crap out of the Wii however"

The PS3 also uses 10-15x more power from the wall, in comparison. That is, the original PS3's I believe used around 300W, where one that a friend of mine purchased used 190(ish)W. Not to mention, thats just the system, not including "monitor" power.
April 14, 2011 9:42:49 AM

Looks like my original post got hosed somehow, and if not, sorry in advance.

But to sum it up. Reviewer. You blew it. Where are the power consumption results ? Then, 3 readings wont cut it. 3 reading PER test, minimum. Since all games use different amounts of power. Depending on how hard they tax the hardware.

Also, these tests are not necessarily a waste of effort. The waste of effort, comes when purchasing such systems. Laptops, can be had cheaper, that use comparable power, while far outperforming, anything atom like in nature. Need something computer wise thats tiny, and lightweight ? Get a cell phone, or maybe a tablet. Something based on ARM technology.

What do you expect. Atom was designed with set top devices / cell phones in mind. Even in that capacity it fails as ARM is far superior to x86 where power efficiency is concerned.

The only good point, is that since Atom, and similar technology is x86 based, developers who are not familiar with various (non Microsoft ) software technologies, have something to use with windows embedded. Do not get me wrong, personally I would love to write software for windows embedded using the .NET framework. It is certainly awesome for R.A.D.( rapid application development ). But at what cost to me, and my consumers ? In the end, it is just not worth it, when the costs can be 10x as much to me, and my customers. So once again, atom (namely x86) falls short again.

Now, when will Intel, and AMD finally figure all this out I wonder.
April 14, 2011 10:07:00 AM

Looooooove the new fusion tech. So much potential. screw bulldozer and ivy bridge.

Nvidia isn't making anymore chipsets for Intel; but we knew that. Are they getting love from nvidia for the GPU component for future atoms? I haven't heard anything in that regard.

The power consumption is on par with the atom/ion combo. Iirc it actually consumes a bit less power in general and significantly less power while in idle.

This is the perfect netbook solution for me and many others. can't wait to see the new llano's
a b 4 Gaming
a b å Intel
a b À AMD
April 14, 2011 10:18:27 AM

Hmmm, it looks like the E350 could handle Guild Wars...

(and battery life would beat the snot out of 880G/HD4250)
April 14, 2011 11:16:53 AM

AMD looked to be CPU limited in fallout 3 and the speed in which it fell away after 720p would suggest possibly a memory limit or GPU being maxed out. Im surprised the ion didn't display the same characteristics.
April 14, 2011 11:23:17 AM

yyrkoonLooks like my original post got hosed somehow, and if not, sorry in advance.But to sum it up. Reviewer. You blew it. Where are the power consumption results ? Then, 3 readings wont cut it. 3 reading PER test, minimum. Since all games use different amounts of power. Depending on how hard they tax the hardware.Also, these tests are not necessarily a waste of effort. The waste of effort, comes when purchasing such systems. Laptops, can be had cheaper, that use comparable power, while far outperforming, anything atom like in nature. Need something computer wise thats tiny, and lightweight ? Get a cell phone, or maybe a tablet. Something based on ARM technology.What do you expect. Atom was designed with set top devices / cell phones in mind. Even in that capacity it fails as ARM is far superior to x86 where power efficiency is concerned. The only good point, is that since Atom, and similar technology is x86 based, developers who are not familiar with various (non Microsoft ) software technologies, have something to use with windows embedded. Do not get me wrong, personally I would love to write software for windows embedded using the .NET framework. It is certainly awesome for R.A.D.( rapid application development ). But at what cost to me, and my consumers ? In the end, it is just not worth it, when the costs can be 10x as much to me, and my customers. So once again, atom (namely x86) falls short again. Now, when will Intel, and AMD finally figure all this out I wonder.


If you're SUCH a visonary, why aren't you working for a huge company like Intel or AMD already? Atom and Brazon and fantastic for some needs, you cannot say that everyone's needs will be satisfied with the devices you suggest. Grow up a bit before starting to talk like that.
April 14, 2011 11:27:22 AM

ukee1593The XBOX 360's GPU is faster than the PS3's also. Now both the Ion and the E-350 beat the crap out of the Wii however


Source?
April 14, 2011 11:39:10 AM

The Wii operates at 480i/p or 576i. In terms of resolution, that's something it can't win at, at the very least. It uses 18W in total, however, which is competitive.
Anonymous
a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 11:51:12 AM

How about testing games like CS, COD4, MMO's and stuff like, instead of heavy next games?.. It doesnt make's any sense.. Who buys this kind of hardware or pc.. It's not an enthusiast...

But whatever.. Bad review.
April 14, 2011 11:56:17 AM

In terms of amount of floating point operations per second the E-350 and ion would beat the Wii's GPU. Lets not get into system wars here though. Playing Crysis on an E-350 or porting it to a Wii is just stupid, but that is no reason to say that the GTX590 is better than a E-350, they are just different chips for different needs.

As for the other sources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSX_'Reality_SynthesizerDetails the PS3 GPU

and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenos_(graphics_chip)

Which means I stand corrected as the PS3 makes more dots than the 360 but then I don't know because there are a million other factors I apologize for making the comment either way.
April 14, 2011 12:17:01 PM

The original Wii gpu portion of the Hollywood mcm module was only 72 mm^2 on a 90nm process. It has 24MB of SRAM in the other part of the mcm, so I would expect it to be a lot faster than a 72 mm^2 gpu that has to access external memory. But who can say how much difference that really makes. What I can say is that a Nvidia G72 is the same size die on the same 90nm process. The RV530 is 150mm^2 but keep in mind it contains more miscellaneous transistors (like video decode logic and a more complex memory controller), so I would use that as the best case upper limit of the Wii GPU's power. Better yet, since there are so many variables to consider, you can refer to this page and decide for yourself where you want to place it http://techreport.com/articles.x/8864/3 My best guess would be slightly higher than a "X1300 HyperMemory".
Anonymous
a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 12:54:44 PM

but can it play CITYILLE?
April 14, 2011 1:01:51 PM

I think some of you are missing the point: the entire point of this article was to see what WAS possible with these machines, not which games are going to run best. If it can play H.A.W.X. at 720p (or any of the games tested), its a no-brainer that it can handle Counterstrike or Diablo II.

This article was actually pretty interesting, especially for those of us looking to add some extended functionality to our home entertainment system without going all out on a HTPC. You can expand the memory to increase your performance and OC a little if you like. With this little AMD rig, you can browse the web from your TV, watch Blu-Ray movies, utilize some basic PC functionality, and be able to do a little gaming.
April 14, 2011 1:37:56 PM

just something outta the topic.... I like the new layout, Tom!!!
a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 1:43:26 PM

They definitely are technological advancements from a power consumption standpoint. It will be nice to look back on this article one day and say "only 7 fps?" or "only 20 fps".

Other than that, as it stands with these things today, they seem capable enough to get your "Angry Birds" on (at most). When we talk low-power gaming, this is the only type of game these processors can effectively run. We need to take the Angry Birds fps running on these chips and compare these with an iPad (A5). Seriously, I can't stand apple, but if we're going to talk about using processors like these for gaming, we need to start including the A5 in the comparison.
Anonymous
a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 1:54:10 PM

Interesting. I wish you had benchmarked games like Half-Life 2 and WoW just to see how they stacked up. I'm not convinced just because you can run L4D2 that HL2 and WoW would be completely playable at medium settings.
Anonymous
April 14, 2011 2:18:38 PM

Nice Inclusion of Lotro there, Mind you, Ive got that working on a 1.8Ghz sempron with 8400gs before, so very scalable, Does need Quad Core 3Ghz and Minimun HD5850 to run DX11 full details 1920x1080, Scales really well!
April 14, 2011 2:23:44 PM

yyrkoonBut to sum it up. Reviewer. You blew it. Where are the power consumption results?


I think a better sum-up is to say you totally missed the point.

If you actually read the first couple paragraphs you'd understand the purpose of the review. Hint: it's not to measure power consumption. ;) 
April 14, 2011 2:44:07 PM

You did miss a game. Yes, "THAT" game. :-p

I have a Asus EeePC 1005-HAB - 1.6ghz Atom, 1GB RAM, 160GB HD

I can play "most" of wow on it - yeah the little 10" screen stinks, but if you hook it up to a monitor - you can do almost everything but Raid. I haven't tried it on anything bigger than a 17" monitor though - since it does only have a 15-pin external connector.

But, it's perfect for dailies or questing while at the Cafe eating breakfast and drinking coffee.
April 14, 2011 2:47:13 PM

ubercakeThey definitely are technological advancements from a power consumption standpoint. It will be nice to look back on this article one day and say "only 7 fps?" or "only 20 fps". Other than that, as it stands with these things today, they seem capable enough to get your "Angry Birds" on (at most). When we talk low-power gaming, this is the only type of game these processors can effectively run. We need to take the Angry Birds fps running on these chips and compare these with an iPad (A5). Seriously, I can't stand apple, but if we're going to talk about using processors like these for gaming, we need to start including the A5 in the comparison.


It's on a different OS, and the games won't play nicely with that OS. DX is still a microsoft monopoly. The games/benchmarks used would have to be OpenGL based. The e-350 would still run circles around anything apple has in their tablets.

The chip with a very small thermal output can manage to play some relatively modern games at decent FPS and still gives you 4-6 hours battery life. The e-350 can bitstream without hiccups while the atom still can't manage that.

This isn't here to replace your desktop. It's meant to be a netbook/HTPC that can casually game and handle all netbooky/HTPC apps that the user runs on a daily basis.

Think about it... 18W in netbook fashion compared to your desktop which is 300-500w. That's 20 to 30 times less power draw. The performance is quite remarkable when you take those figures into account, imo.
April 14, 2011 3:01:47 PM

Pont of this article? To show these lowly platforms their place in the world of gaming? :p 
April 14, 2011 4:56:50 PM

It's already been done in previous articles. I'm not sure of the point.
April 14, 2011 5:15:17 PM

Just a note, anyone playing these games have to pay $50 for the game and thats 1/4 the cost of this entire PC. I would bet anyone who buys these will just surf the net and play solitaire, kind of a waste for companies to put that much effort into graphics for these small PC's.

Anyone who has a netbook knows they are so slow it's frustrating to even surf the net much less play a game.

Good review but an addition of power consumption may have made it complete.
April 14, 2011 5:27:41 PM

yyrkoonThe waste of effort, comes when purchasing such systems. Laptops, can be had cheaper, that use comparable power, while far outperforming, anything atom like in nature.


Examples please, and when including them, I want 10 inch and 11.6 inch only, under 1.5 kg, and under 350 dollars. Thanks.




April 14, 2011 5:42:36 PM

__-_-_-__you should also compare battery life............. it's so stupid not to.


Is it ironic that one of the most insulting comments in this story is also from a guy suggesting measuring battery life of desktop-based systems? That's gotta hurt ;-)
April 14, 2011 6:30:56 PM

Well, it's a nice review, but like stated in the title: we already knew the result.

To answer some folks in the comments: I played (on battery) WoW (not raiding though, lol), for 45mins on an Acer 4552 (Athlon X2 version @2.2Ghz, Radeon 4250) while traveling over a 3G network adapter (Sony Ericsson-something). It was from full to critical, so I had like 5 mins to get out of WoW and have 15 more minutes to do some surfing, haha. True story, but no pictures (lol), sorry. That was my lil' sisters notebook that I asked before getting my own :p 

A friend of mine has the HP DM1Z and it can prolly be a little better than 60mins of gameplay; that's thinking about it will use the 2 cores at 100% for the game to run properly when on the Athlon it only used like 60% on each core (I was curious so I looked it up with Process Explorer).

Now, I'm using an Asus N53JF with the Core i3 @2.4Ghz + GT425M and it doesn't last more than 20 minutes in WoW, but it plays it with better graphic settings, off course. Haven't measured with low settings, but shouldn't be so far away. At least it lasts a 1.5H movie (90mins). Also, let me remind you that it's "RL use", not "benchmarking mode", so there are other processes running behind and all; so you could fine tune those times for extra battery.

My 2 cents.

Cheers!
April 14, 2011 6:53:48 PM

Really interesting. My HTPC has a Zotac ITX board with a 775 socket and ION (not ION2) chipset graphics. It would be really interesting to see how the ION does with a better CPU, like the 2.8ghz dual core Pentium CPU that I have. It isn't as low power as the CPUs in this review, but I'm stil running the system off of a 90watt external power brick and it is stable as a rock. The other alternative for these systems for gaming is to use Onlive and/or load up some emulators for lots of old-school fun. 720P and 1080P are the only resolutions that matter for most HTPCs, since that is the limitation of the TV/Projector that they are connected to.
April 14, 2011 7:14:57 PM

cangeliniIs it ironic that one of the most insulting comments in this story is also from a guy suggesting measuring battery life of desktop-based systems? That's gotta hurt ;-)


Who is the cangelini fellow?? =D

Yes I would agree testing the battery life on your UPS would be important for these desktop systems, I can't believe they would have forgotten...

This was a spectacular article, I'm glad to see the low power market offering something for gamers. This makes me drool even more for the arrival of the Acer w700.
April 14, 2011 7:15:42 PM

*w500 sorry for the typo
April 14, 2011 7:48:57 PM

Quote:
ukee1593 :
The XBOX 360's GPU is faster than the PS3's also. Now both the Ion and the E-350 beat the crap out of the Wii however


I don't know the source, but this sounds about right. PS3's nvidia chip has 24 fixed shaders (8 pixel, 16 vertex i think), Xbox 360 Xenos has 48 unified and the Wii (so far as I know) has a grand total of ZERO. Even the Xbox 1 had 4 (Gamecube and Ps2 were zero also).

Anyway, aside from that meaningless console talk, I think the new ati/amd chip performs well here. I still don't know why TH would even put 1080p performance numbers in the mix here though. I mean, has any ever seen a 1080p netbook or even notebook running either of these two chipsets... no, no they haven't. Also, if you're telling me someone is going to buy one of these two chipset/systems and attempt to play "newish" games via video out on a 1080p tv/monitor, I'll tell you right now, that person is an idiot.
a b 4 Gaming
April 14, 2011 9:16:32 PM

I think Llano will be a better alternative for light gaming. We'll see.
April 14, 2011 9:22:36 PM

I know that Sandybridge and Arrandale laptops hit a bit higher on the price, but it would be interesting to see how they compare with the two options presented here.
April 14, 2011 9:36:16 PM

Nice review and interesting read. Gives me some perspective on what I can do with a netbook or nettop when I get one sometime soon.
April 14, 2011 9:50:31 PM

feeddagoatAMD looked to be CPU limited in fallout 3 and the speed in which it fell away after 720p would suggest possibly a memory limit or GPU being maxed out. Im surprised the ion didn't display the same characteristics.


I would be the difference here is that the Ion has dedicated memory while the E350 is sharing system memory. At higher resolutions where more memory is used its going to bottleneck more on the E350. However, this really doesn't matter as there is no way those types of resolutions are anywhere close to playable anyway.
April 14, 2011 10:15:04 PM

So there are more FPS with Fallout 3 than with Unreal Tournament? WHAT?
April 14, 2011 10:15:04 PM

"If you're SUCH a visonary, why aren't you working for a huge company like Intel or AMD already? Atom and Brazon and fantastic for some needs, you cannot say that everyone's needs will be satisfied with the devices you suggest. Grow up a bit before starting to talk like that."

Who is to say I do not work for a huge company like ARM ? As many times as I mentioned ARM in my previous post, I started feeling like a commercial spokes person. But . . . To be exact. With our current project we use neither an x86, nor ARM platform. Instead we're currently using a customized z180 platform, contemplating a move to ARM.

I am not a visionary. It just so happens that I work in the embedded field with a friend of mine as a business partner. We also both live off grid completely. Which means we have limited power to use after the sun goes down. Granted, our battery bank will last 3-4 days without a recharge, if needed. That is a 2100 AH battery bank @ 20hrs discharge rate, being charged by a ~1200w (on average with non obscured sun ) solar array.

To put things into perspective. This system runs a freezer, 2 laptops, lights 24/7. It also runs several other things, such as a water pressurization system, shop tools (circular saw, wood, and metal lathes, shop vac, etc).

The point anyhow, is that I did a lot of reading, and research into using these types of systems here. Noting power consumption, performance, cost, etc. None of it made sense. In the case of size . . . well netbooks are fairly tiny. However, as I stated in my previous post. A netbook has about as much performance as a decent cell phone. Costs a lot less, and is even smaller. The only problem might be storage space, which in turn save power on the cell phone anyways.

However, I can not think of everything, and I do not claim to know everything either. At the same time, I am not adverse to *any* technology that makes sense.

So, instead of telling me to grow up. How about you give me an example of how these types of systems actually make sense. Then I will try my best not to shoot holes in your suggestions. Just be aware, that I, and many others have been there before. Wanting these system to work for us personally. Once again however, it just does not make sense.
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