Intel's Bay Trail Fights AMD's Kabini: Which Has the Best Performance?

In the era of mobile computing, it is no longer enough to look at raw performance numbers. The name of the game is performance per watt, and it matters in just about every paradigm of computing, from the hungriest data centers to the most compact smartphones. A recent report from site Techspot did a head-to-head comparison of Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC  ) low-end Celeron J1900 (based on the same technology that Intel is selling into tablets) and AMD's (NYSE: AMD  ) low-end Sempron, which is based on AMD's own low-power Jaguar core. The performance-per-watt results are interesting.

CPU performance: an Intel blowout
Here is a table that puts together all of the results for the CPU-limited tests that Techspot ran on both the Celeron J1900 and the Sempron 3850:

 

Intel Celeron J1900

AMD Sempron 3850

Microsoft Excel 2013 (MonteCarlo -- lower is better)

29.0

37.0

Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 (lower is better)

13.0

10.8

7-zip Benchmark

4734

3837

Mozailla Kraken JavaScript (lower is better)

7345.1

10942.3

WinRAR (kilobytes per second; singlethread/multithread)

1055/2011

516/1678

Adobe Photoshop CS6 (lower is better)

69.4

104.7

Adobe After Effects CS6 (lower is better)

398.1

599.7

Adobe Illustrator CS6 (lower is better)

11.6

18.8

It's a no-brainer here, folks: Intel's Silvermont-based Celeron J1900 blows the doors off the AMD Jaguar-based in CPU-intensive tasks. However, the next question that people will surely be interested in is the power consumption at full load. Techspot, unfortunately, did not do power consumption tests for each of these individual workloads, but it did manage to run a well-known power virus known as Prime95 to get a sense of the full-throttle power consumption of each of these parts.

CPU performance-per-watt: now this is just embarrassing
Techspot measured the following:

  1. Idle power consumption (i.e., power consumed when the system is doing nothing);
  2. Power consumption at full CPU load pegging all four CPU cores in both chips; and
  3. Power consumption running both Prime95 (CPU power virus) and FurMark (graphics power virus).

The results are reproduced in the table below:

 

Intel Celeron J1900

AMD Sempron 3850

Idle

27W

27W

CPU load

32W

37W

CPU + GPU Load

36W

44W

From these results, we can isolate the power consumption of each of the subsystems:

 

Intel Celeron J1900

AMD Sempron 3850

CPU

5W

10W

GPU

4W

7W

To put this in perspective, Intel's chip offers significantly higher performance than the AMD chip, but consumes less than half of the power. From a CPU perspective, this is a complete and utter blowout in Intel's favor, and it's no wonder that AMD continues to lose PC share, particularly at the low end where Intel had been -- until now -- largely absent with competitive offerings.

What about graphics?
The GPU story, however, is interesting. Let's take a look at the graphics performance across the games that Techspot tested, keeping in mind that at full load the Celeron J1900 GPU consumes 4W and the Sempron 3850 consumes 7W:

1680x1050 Gaming

Intel Celeron J1900

AMD Sempron 3850

Company of Heroes 2

1.8

5.7

Metro Last Light

2.3

4.1

Hitman Absolution

6.5

7.3

Tomb Raider

6.7

11.1

BioShock Infinite

4.2

7.8

ARMA 3

8.2

13.1

Average FPS

4.95

8.18

If we look at the average frames per second (at 1680x1050, the more GPU intensive resolution), we see that AMD's solution is, on average, 66% faster. Interestingly enough, AMD's GPU solution consumes 3W more power than Intel's GPU, or 75% more power, implying that Intel's GPU is technically the more power efficient one here. That said, it's easier to be more efficient at lower performance levels, so this can hardly called a decisive win for Intel, but it is hardly a performance/watt blowout in AMD's favor in the way Intel's CPU is much more efficient.

Foolish bottom line
At the end of the day, it looks as though Intel has a massive CPU performance efficiency lead that extends beyond Intel's advantage with the 22-nanometer node over AMD's 28-nanometer part. Intel has what appears to be the superior CPU architecture, while AMD has a GPU performance edge at the expense of a higher power budget. Given that these GPUs are both incapable of playing modern PC games at high frame rates anyway, most people buying these platforms will notice CPU performance over GPU performance. Unfortunately for AMD and fortunately for Intel, it is likely that Intel will continue to gain meaningful share in the low end of the PC market with its Bay Trail product.

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Read/Post Comments (23) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 4:01 PM, romeras wrote:

    Intel: Invitation to the dance

    At Intel, it looks like the old thoroughly engineered game play for new products is being replaced by last-minute play-action calls at the line of scrimmage. But those tactics have won more than one gridiron contest. At the end of the day, it isn't how much hoopla greeted the players on the field, but how many points they put on the board.

    Full article below

    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1122135&piddl...

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 5:19 PM, Baddaboom wrote:

    Just did a quick google search on Ashraf. This guy is the equivalent of North Korea's propaganda minister. Can you please explain how Intel "wins", when you clearly stated AMD's chip puts out 66% more graphic processing power? This is the future of tablet computing; how fast you can open up notepad or extract rar files isn't as important as playing graphic intensive video games. 66% is an insane performance jump

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 5:24 PM, ecstubblebine wrote:

    After reading this I just had to comment. Do the editors at Motley Fool realize that Kabini is, literally, last years' technology having already been replaced by Mullins and Beema, both far more power efficient and powerful. What's the point of publishing this except to spread uncertainty and misinformation. Motley Fool is getting a reputation as biased because of this, as well as most other things written by this same Ashraf Eassa person. Why not compare it to an Am5x86 Ashraf? It would be just as pertinent unless of course, you're just trying to confuse the ignorant and uninitiated?

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 5:30 PM, ecstubblebine wrote:

    The J1900 is a desktop chip.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 7:06 PM, jkubinak1339 wrote:

    Ashraf is an intel fanboi who is upset that his money is sitting in a dead stock. Beema and Mullins AMD product released tomorrow I think. JMHO AMD is on the comeback trail with a strong management team and new business model with direction. Intel has quark and a half empty fab.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 4:27 AM, raghu78 wrote:

    Ashraf

    this article demonstrates how desperate you are to write negatively about AMD. Why didn't you pick the Athlon 5350 which is the correct comparison. AM1 Kabini on desktop is off to a good start.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-5350-am1-platform...

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7933/the-desktop-kabini-review...

    btw Baytrail-T Z3770 got a strong competitor in Mullins A10 6700T. Mullins A10-6700T is faster in CPU perf and destroys it in GPU perf. 4.5W TDP and 2.8W SDP.

    so much for the unbeatable process lead of Intel. Apple A7 and Mullins prove you can design good efficient SOCs even on a lagging 28nm planar node. Intel's Baytrail / Silvermont designs aren't so great because they are on a superior FINFET process node yet cannot decisively win across the board

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7974/amd-beema-mullins-archite...

    http://techreport.com/review/26377/a-first-look-at-amd-mulli...

    http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Beema-and-Mullins-Mainstr...

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-tablet-processor,381...

    give it up ashraf. Jaguar is a faster core than Silvermont no matter which way you try to spin it. Beema and Mullins address the weakness of Kabini/Temash - which was a nonexistent / weak turbo. Beema and Mullins come armed with impressive turbo and power efficiency gains. to top it off they have a ARM A5 based security processor in the SOC.

    now I can see you already gearing up to write another article comparing the slowest Mullins with the fastest Baytrail-T Z3770. that would be in keeping with your agenda - INTEL PUMPING

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 9:39 AM, keeperoftheq wrote:

    Why not compare Intel with the most up to date AMD mobile chips like Beema and Mullins.; They are far better than what Intel has to offer.

    Why does ashraft want to compare something older from AMD?

    Is he trying to mislead readers?

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 9:52 AM, Amdisgod wrote:

    What a terrible comparison. Is this guy for real?

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 10:47 AM, H2323 wrote:

    Any benchmarks coming from this guy are a complete joke, just look at his seeking alpha account. Ashraf is one of these kids that hates AMD because his "cool" laptop has an intel and nvidia sticker on it.

    If you want some decent opinions and information on this chip and others see the the tech sites, ashraf has a bias that is not good for investing.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 11:20 AM, TEBuddy wrote:

    Holding onto your bias as long as possible????

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 11:45 AM, jmbrooks4 wrote:

    All you AMD fanboy's crack me up:

    @Baddaboom,

    Did you not read the Bottom Line? "Given that these GPUs are both incapable of playing modern PC games at high frame rates anyway, most people buying these platforms will notice CPU performance over GPU performance."

    @ecstubblebine,

    Silvermont/Baytrail is also "last years" technology. If you want to compare AMD's latest you must also compare with Intel's latest; Airmont/Cherrytrail. (and don't give me any "those are not out yet" cause I don't see any Mullins or Beema either)

    First poster said it best "At the end of the day, it isn't how much hoopla greeted the players on the field, but how many points they put on the board."

    AE may be pro-Intel but he certainly has also written many articles criticizing them.

    Me, I'm glad AMD is still hanging on, keeps Intel's engineers and scientists on their toes.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 12:43 PM, masterwallstreet wrote:

    You like making a fool out of yourself.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 2:23 PM, raghu78 wrote:

    jmbrooks4

    AMD has been shipping Beema and Mullins to OEMs from late Q1 2014 in preparation for retail availability in June. Intel is not shipping Cherrytrail in any serious volume. For all serious intents Intel's Broadwell launches in Q4 2014 and Cherrytrail in Q1 2015.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 5:15 PM, rustianowski wrote:

    Yeah this guy got laughed off of SA, and doesn't post there any more because of his awful articles like this. It is merely a propaganda machine, guess he is trying to get a job in Intel's marketing department; because I have no other idea on why he would continue to put out this garbage.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 5:41 PM, Amdisgod wrote:

    If you want to see REAL benchmarks, not a select few Intel optimized junkmarks.

    http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/29/amd-mullins-tablet-benchm...

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 6:52 PM, Stuart511 wrote:

    Well, it's been 2 weeks since AMD reported and guided and silenced Ashraf for that time as well. Now he puts out FUD using yesterday's AMD tech against today's Intel tech.

    Very crafty but as you can see, tech savy readers do not let the writer get away with this.

    For years AMD was the "low end " provider and barely existed. Now Intel looks to grow their revenues in this domain as well. I hope they concentrate a lot of assets as ARM/AMD get ready for the high end server area where Intel has ruled since the beginning of time.

    Look at Intel's tactic of trying to break into the tablet market......contra chips. They will probably lose billions to try and establish themselves in this market. They may very well succeed however, I believe the ARM/AMD chips will overwhelm the server market and cause a major disruption to the sector.

    Exciting times ahead for sure!

    Disclosure: investments in both AMD and Intel

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 7:52 PM, jumpjoe wrote:

    Ok, this is a really shady article published the day AMD released Beema and Mullin clearly meant to deceive people.

    Given the timing of this article, the intention of the author is clearly to confuse the new AMD technology with the old technology.

    If this was released a week ago or even several months ago when it was appropriate, it would be fine. But given the timing of this, the author is clearly trying to pull a fast one over investors.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 8:08 PM, wownwow wrote:

    Why comment? Just let him enjoy himself with "0" comment :D

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 11:56 PM, masterwallstreet wrote:

    In my opinion only, I find this article to be very deceiving. you were hoping to confuse and deceive investors by posting old data and old products. the new AMD product blows Intel away. This is the fastest chip you could buy that could be used for mobile devices. linked with security and graphics and a lot more. It is a superior product at a superior price. Today you showed your true colors, you wannabe writer. Maybe you should stay out of the technical and might consider writing fiction. Everything you write is based on old data and old products to try to swindle investors? I find this article to be tasteless and your views and opinions are worthless. you lack any integrity. You are a very dishonest person. If you want to do a real comparison compare the Intel mobile chip to AMD and. AMD blows Intel away. This is the fastest mobile chip that you could buy today in the market. If you go on AMD website you will find all the data and benchmarks done by real technicians backing it. It looks like AMD will take a lot more customers away from Intel and its mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, laptops and customers. They have the fastest mobile chip in today's market and that is a fact unless you can prove it wrong and if you can not stop writing BS.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 7:23 AM, soid212 wrote:

    A desperate attempt from Intel fan boys in the wake of new Beema and mullins, Mullins is also 28nm and it blows away baytrail "22nm" how about that ashraf? AMD is gaining ground until the end of 2014 as 14nm expected roll out is delayed toward the end of 2014...

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 8:18 AM, kjurden wrote:

    ASSRAF Eassa is at it again....Most people by now know that you're not at all credible and especialy when it comes to Intel vs AMD. AMD is beating the snot out of Intel but you keep on trying to create FUD.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 11:29 AM, H2323 wrote:

    If you are actually and investor you might want to buy some AMD stock and stop talking, you've already missed out on gains that are non-existent in the company's you promote. Stop being a fan-boy and make some money.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 12:12 PM, rav55 wrote:

    @Ashraf

    Why are you comparing AMD Sempron 3850 which runs at 1.3 gig with J1900 which runs at 2.45 gig.

    I should hope that the Intel chip has better performance.

    However it also costs more 2x what the Sempron costs. It also 22nm while the AMD part is 28nm.

    AMD Sempron 3850:

    Type CPU / Microprocessor

    Market segment Desktop

    Family AMD Sempron

    Model number ? 3850

    CPU part numbers SD3850JAH44HM is an OEM/tray microprocessor

    SD3850JAHMBOX is a boxed microprocessor

    Frequency 1300 MHz

    Package micro-PGA

    Socket Socket AM1

    Introduction date April 9, 2014

    Price at introduction $36

    Intel Celeron J1900 specifications

    General information

    Type System-on-a-Chip

    Market segment Desktop

    Family Intel Celeron (Bay Trail-D)

    Model number J1900

    SoC part numbers FH8065301615009 is an OEM/tray SoC

    FH8065301615010 is an OEM/tray SoC

    Frequency 2000 MHz

    Turbo frequency 2420 MHz

    Low power frequency 1333 MHz

    Package 1170-ball micro-FCBGA

    Socket BGA1170

    Size 1.06" x 0.98" / 2.7cm x 2.5cm

    Introduction date November 2013

    Price at introduction $82

    Given that Bay Trail runs almost 2x faster I would expect better benchmarks. Intel also lost $950 million in trying to sell cheap chips in the mobile space. So Intel subsidizes cheap chips by overcharging for high end chips. Hmmm......

    Your argument Ashraf is virtually a non-sequitor.

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