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

Yeah, We Know These Aren’t Gaming Platforms

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).

  • tacoslave
    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.
  • Can they make a video game that features a Monopolistic Chip Company who threatens and bribes computer manufacturers to be zombies?
  • ujaansona
    Aamusing... ;)
  • ujaansona
    OOPS It's not "Aamusing"
    It's Pointless To Compare Them...
  • warjunkieltu
    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...
  • silverblue
    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. :)
  • nevertell
    You could've tried overclocking them :D
    But seriously, the ION seems to be bottlenecked by the cpu.
  • rolli59
    Low end graphics! How about testing them with popular MMOG for addicts that travel, but like the portability of netbooks!
  • vaughn2k
    Diablo 2? and Warcraft 3?
  • gondor
    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 :)