Recently, we reviewed the Sempron 2650, which is a low-TDP CPU (or APU), comparing it to the “Bay Trail-D” Celeron J1800 CPU, since both are the most inexpensive dual-core desktop processors from AMD and Intel, respectively. We also tested the A4-5000, and the Pentium J2900, which are quad-core CPUs for the same market segment. Today, we bring you the review of the Athlon 5150, a quad-core processor that also competes in the same market share. Let’s check if is it faster than the other low-cost processors we tested so far.
The Athlon 5150 is part of the “Kabini” family that uses the socket FS1b (a.k.a. socket AM1).
The AMD “Kabini” and Intel “Bay Trail-D” processors are SoC (System On a Chip) CPUs, which means they include in the chip the processing cores, the memory controller, the video controller, and also the chipset. This helps both platforms to keep their low cost and low TDP.
Figure 1 unveil the Athlon 5150 CPU.
Figure 1: the Athlon 5150 processor
Let’s compare the main specs of the reviewed CPUs in the next page.
[nextpage title=”The Reviewed CPUs”]
In the tables below, we compare the main features of the CPUs included in our review.
|CPU||Cores||HT||IGP||Internal Clock||Turbo Clock||Base Clock||Core||Tech.||TDP||Socket||Price|
|Athlon 5150||4||No||Yes||1.6 GHz||No||100 MHz||Kabini||28 nm||25 W||AM1||USD 50*|
|A4-5000||4||No||Yes||1.5 GHz||No||100 MHz||Kabini||28 nm||15 W||FCBGA769||USD 73**|
|Sempron 2650||2||No||Yes||1.45 GHz||No||100 MHz||Kabini||28 nm||25 W||AM1||USD 35*|
|No||Yes||2.41 GHz||2.67 GHz||100 MHz||Bay Trail-D||22 nm||10 W||FCBGA1170||USD 104**|
|Celeron J1800||2||No||Yes||2.41 GHz||2.58 GHz||100 MHz||Bay Trail-D||22 nm||10 W||FCBGA1170||USD 60**|
* Motherboards can be found starting at USD 30
** The price includes the motherboard, since this CPU is soldered to the motherboard
Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review. TDP stands for Thermal Design Power and states the maximum amount of heat the CPU can dissipate.
Below you can see the memory configuration for each CPU.
|CPU||L2 Cache||L3 Cache||Memory Support||Memory Channels|
|Athlon 5150||2 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1600||One|
|A4-5000||2 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1600||One|
|Sempron 2650||1 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1333||One|
|Pentium J2900||2 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1333||Two|
|Celeron J1800||1 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1333||Two|
Below we have a quick comparison of the video engine of the CPUs.
|Athlon 5150||Radeon R3||11.2||600 MHz||128|
|A4-5000||Radeon HD 8330||11.1||500 MHz||128|
|Sempron 2650||Radeon R3||11.2||400 MHz||128|
|Pentium J2900||Intel HD||11||688/896 MHz||4|
|Celeron J1800||Intel HD||11||688/792 MHz||4|
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions, the only variable device was the CPU being tested and the motherboard, which had to be replaced to match the different CPU sockets.
- Motherboard (Athlon 5150 and Sempron 2650): ASUS AM1M-A
- Motherboard (A4-5000): ASRock QC5000-ITX
- Motherboard (Pentium J2900): ASRock Q2900M
- Motherboard (Celeron J1800): ASRock D1800M
- CPU Cooler: Intel/AMD stock
- Memory: 8 GiB DDR3-2133, two G.Skill Ripjaws F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH 4 GiB memory modules configured at 1333 MHz or 1600 MHz depending on the CPU
- Boot drive: Kingston HyperX Fury 240 GB
- Video Card: integrated
- Video Monitor: LG Flatron W1942S
- Power Supply: Seventeam ST-550P-AM
Operating System Configuration
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Video resolution: 1440×900 60 Hz
- AMD driver version: 14.9
- Intel video driver version: 18.104.22.16808
- Intel Inf chipset driver version: 22.214.171.1246
We adopted a 4% error margin. Thus, differences below 4% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 4% should be considered as having similar performance.
[nextpage title=”PCMark 8″]
PCMark 8 is a benchmarking software that uses real-world applications to measure the computer performance. We ran three tests: Home, which includes web browsing, writing, light gaming, photo editing, and video chat tests; Creative, which includes web browsing, photo editing, video editing, group video chat, media transcoding, and gaming; and Work, which runs tasks such as writing documents, web browsing, spreadsheets, editing, and video chatting. Let’s analyze the results.
The Athlon 5150 achieved a score 5.7% higher than the A4-5000, 28% higher than the Sempron 2650, 12% higher than the Celeron J1800, and similar to the Pentium J2900 in the Home test.
On the Creative benchmark, the Athlon 5150 achieved a score 7% higher than the A4-5000, 40% higher than the Sempron 2650, 16% higher than the Celeron J1800, but 7% lower than the Pentium J2900.
On the Work benchmark, the Athlon 5150 achieved the same performance level of the A4-5000 and was 15% faster than the Sempron 2650, but 13% slower than the Pentium J2900 and 7% slower than the Celeron J1800.
We used the DivX converter, a tool included in the DivX package, in order to measure the encoding performance using this codec. The DivX codec is capable of recognizing and using all available cores and the SSE4 instruction set.
We converted a Full HD, six-minute long .mov video file into a .avi file, using the “HD 1080p” output profile.
The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
On DivX encoding, the Athlon 5150 achieved the same performance level of the Celeron J1800, and was 12% faster than the A4-5000 and 98% faster than the Sempron 2650, but 35% slower than the Pentium J2900.
[nextpage title=”Media Espresso 6.7″]
Media Espresso is a video conversion program that uses the graphics processing unit of the video engine to speed up the conversion process. We converted a 1 GiB, 1920x1080i, 23,738 kbps, .mov video file to a smaller 320×200, H.264, .MP4 file for viewing on a smartphone. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
Here the Athlon 5150 was 9% faster than the A4-5000 and 14% faster than the Sempron 2650, but 33% slower than the Pentium J2900 and 21% slower than the Celeron J1800.
DVDShrink is an old but still very useful program to “shrink” video DVDs that have more than 4.7 GiB of data to fit single-layer DVD media. We used it to compress the DVD of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” DVD to 4.7 GiB. The results below are given in seconds, so the lower the better.
In this test, the Athln 5150 was 8% faster than the A4-5000, 85% faster than the Sempron 2650, 37% faster than the Celeron J1800, but 25% slower than the Pentium J2900.
[nextpage title=”Far Cry 3″]
Far Cry 3 is based on the Dunia 2 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure performance using this game, we played the same mission three times, measuring the number of frames per second using FRAPS. We ran this game at the lowest possible settings, using 800 x 600 resolution, and overall image quality at “low.”
The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.
The performance of the Athlon 5150 was 15% higher than the A4-5000, 172% higher than the Sempron 2650, 67% higher than the Pentium J2900, and 100% higher than the Celeron J1800.
This test shows that the Athlon 5150 is barely powerful enough for decently running a “heavy” game such as Far Cry 3 in its minimum quality settings.
3DMark is a program with a set of three benchmarks: Ice Storm, Cloud Gate, and Fire Strike.
The 3DMark Ice Storm benchmark measures DirectX 9 performance and it is aimed at low-end computers. The 3DMark Cloud Gate benchmark measures DirectX 10 performance, running at 1280×720 resolution. The 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark measures DirectX 11 performance, and is aimed at high-end gamer PCs, barely running in both tested systems, so we did not include it in this review.
On the Ice Storm Extreme benchmark, the Athlon 5150 was 11% faster than the A4-5000, 50% faster than the Sempron 2650, 36% faster than the Pentium J2900, and 60% faster than the Celeron J1800.
On the Cloud Gate benchmark, the Athlon 5150 was 16% faster than the A4-5000, 60% faster than the Sempron 2650, 37% faster than the Pentium J2900, and 78% faster than the Celeron J1800.
Some interesting results emerged from our tests. First, it shows that the Athlon 5150 is consistently a little faster than the A4-5000, which was expected, since they use the same technology, but the Athon 5150 has slightly higher clock rates.
Secondly, it is clear that the Athlon 5150 has less CPU processing power than the Pentium J2900, but it is superior in GPU graphics processing power. It seems like the Athon 5150, differently from other CPUs in the same category we reviewed so far, can actually be used for casual gaming, if you wish to run only older games at their minimum quality settings.
Keeping in mind that the Athlon 5150 is only USD 15 more expensive than tha Sempron 2650, and a combo with an Athlon 5150 and a compatible motherboard is cheaper than a motherboard with a Pentium J2900 processor embedded, we can conclude that the Athlon 5150 presents a good cost/benefit ratio, being a good option for the costumer who wants to build a cheap computer with reasonable power, specially for multimedia applications.