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

Intel's low-cost Bay Trail product for PCs goes head-to-head with AMD's offerings in the space. Who ultimately wins the race?

Apr 28, 2014 at 3:15PM

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 (NASDAQ: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.

Like Intel in the '90s, this tech stock is set to pop on Apple's next big thing!
If you thought the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad were amazing, just wait until you see this. One hundred of Apple's top engineers are busy building one in a secret lab. And an ABI Research report predicts 485 million of them could be sold over the next decade. But you can invest in it right now... for just a fraction of the price of AAPL stock. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening new report.

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers