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

Low-Power Gaming: AMD's E-350 Vs. Intel Atom D525 And Ion 2
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Low-power PC platforms are obviously not built for gaming, but we punish two AMD and Intel systems with popular 3D titles anyway. The results don't shock and awe, but sometimes pleasantly surprise.

Yes, we know that low-power nettops and notebooks with integrated graphics aren’t made for gaming.

We’re certainly not suggesting you go out and buy a nettop for LAN parties or hardcore first-person shooters. That's simply not the right tool for the job. If you’re a mad-crazy gaming fanatic, you want a powerful desktop system or a dedicated laptop with a "high-end" mobile graphics processor.

Now that you know where we're coming from, let’s get our minds back on nettops and notebooks. They are getting cheaper, and they’re proliferating. Intel’s Atom has become a popular low-power platform for folks who simply need a machine that can surf the Internet and watch video, especially when paired to Nvidia’s Ion 2 chipset. AMD recently entered this realm with the Brazos platform, and the Zacate E-350 APU with integrated Radeon HD 6310 can be found in notebooks and nettops alike. In fact, we recently took a look at three Brazos-based configurations in Three Sub-$500 AMD Brazos-Based Notebooks Rounded Up.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say you purchased a nettop for home-theater PC use, and it’s attached to your HDTV. You might not be a hardcore gamer, but could still be interested in electronic entertainment. Maybe you’re curious about experiencing World of Warcraft: Cataclysm on the big screen. Or perhaps you bought a budget notebook for university, and you can’t help but wonder if it could handle some other MMORPG during your downtime.

One of the primary strengths of the PC is its adaptability. Even low-budget platforms like the Intel Atom/Nvidia Ion 2 combo and AMD E-350 APU have some graphics potential. The question is, can this potential be exploited in games, or are these platforms too weak to apply to the entertainment space? Which games work well, and which ones don't? We put together this article to answer some of those questions. We test the Intel Atom D525 and Ion 2 chipset against AMD’s new E-350 APU and integrated Radeon HD 6310 in newer titles (and some older ones, too).

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  • 2 Hide
    tacoslave , April 14, 2011 6:17 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.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 14, 2011 6:34 AM
    Can they make a video game that features a Monopolistic Chip Company who threatens and bribes computer manufacturers to be zombies?
  • -3 Hide
    ujaansona , April 14, 2011 6:53 AM
    Aamusing... ;) 
  • 4 Hide
    warjunkieltu , April 14, 2011 7:13 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...
  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , April 14, 2011 7:17 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. :) 
  • 5 Hide
    nevertell , April 14, 2011 7:53 AM
    You could've tried overclocking them :D 
    But seriously, the ION seems to be bottlenecked by the cpu.
  • 1 Hide
    rolli59 , April 14, 2011 7:54 AM
    Low end graphics! How about testing them with popular MMOG for addicts that travel, but like the portability of netbooks!
  • 3 Hide
    vaughn2k , April 14, 2011 7:58 AM
    Diablo 2? and Warcraft 3?
  • 1 Hide
    gondor , April 14, 2011 8:22 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 :) 
  • -4 Hide
    kartu , April 14, 2011 8:23 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/
  • -1 Hide
    gracefully , April 14, 2011 8:44 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.
  • 2 Hide
    ukee1593 , April 14, 2011 8:53 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
  • 1 Hide
    yyrkoon , April 14, 2011 9:19 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.
  • -9 Hide
    yyrkoon , April 14, 2011 9:42 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.
  • 0 Hide
    pelov , April 14, 2011 10:07 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
  • 1 Hide
    Onus , April 14, 2011 10:18 AM
    Hmmm, it looks like the E350 could handle Guild Wars...

    (and battery life would beat the snot out of 880G/HD4250)
  • 0 Hide
    feeddagoat , April 14, 2011 11:16 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.
  • 3 Hide
    juliom , April 14, 2011 11:23 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.
  • 3 Hide
    masteren , April 14, 2011 11:27 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?
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