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Recently, we analyzed the ASRock Q2900M motherboard, which brings an on-board “Bay Trail-D” Pentium J2900 CPU. In this article, we will compare the performance of this processor to other three low-cost, low-TDP CPUs that we reviewed recently: the Sempron 2650, the Celeron J1800, and the A4-5000 to see whether the Pentium J2900 is faster than its competitors or not.
It is hard to say whether the quad-core Pentium J2900 is a direct competitor to the Sempron 2650 and to the Celeron J1800 or not, since they are dual-core CPUs; the A4-5000, however, is also a quad-core CPU. The Pentium J2900 comes soldered on motherboard, like the Celeron J1800 and the A4-5000, while the Sempron 2650 uses a socket, being sold separately from the motherboard. However, all of them are low-cost, low-consumption processors, and they are SoC (System On a Chip) CPUs, which means they include the processing cores, the memory controller, the video controller, and also the chipset in the same chip.
Figure 1 unveil the Pentium J2900 CPU that comes on the ASRock Q2900M motherboard.
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|
|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**|
|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 40*|
* Motherboards can be found starting at USD 31
** 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|
|Pentium J2900||2 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1333||Two|
|Celeron J1800||1 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1333||Two|
|A4-5000||2 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1600||One|
|Sempron 2650||1 MiB||No||Up to DDR3-1333||One|
Below we have a quick comparison of the video engine of the CPUs.
|Pentium J2900||Intel HD||11||688/896 MHz||4|
|Celeron J1800||Intel HD||11||688/792 MHz||4|
|A4-5000||Radeon HD 8330||11.1||500 MHz||128|
|Sempron 2650||Radeon R3||11.2||400 MHz||128|
[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 (Pentium J2900): ASRock Q2900M
- Motherboard (A4-5000): ASRock QC5000-ITX
- Motherboard (Sempron 2650): ASUS AM1M-A
- 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
- 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: 126.96.36.19908
- Intel Inf chipset driver version: 188.8.131.526
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 Pentium J2900 achieved a score 16% higher than the Celeron J1800, 10% higher than the A4-5000, and 34% higher than the Sempron 2650 in the Home test.
On the Creative benchmark, the Pentium J2900 achieved a score 24% higher than the Celeron J1800, 14% higher than the A4-5000, and 50% higher than the Sempron 2650.
On the Work benchmark, the Pentium J2900 was 7% faster than the Celeron J1800, 17% faster than the A4-5000, and 33% faster than the Sempron 2650.
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 not only more than one CPU (i.e., more than one core) but also 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 Pentium J2900 was 34% faster than the Celeron J1800, 52% faster than the A4-5000, and 167% faster than the Sempron 2650.
[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 Pentium J2900 was 17% faster than the Celeron J1800, 62% faster than the A4-5000, and 70% faster than the Sempron 2650.
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 Pentium J2900 was 71% faster than the Celeron J1800, 34% faster than the A4-5000, and 131% faster than the Sempron 2650.
[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 Pentium J2900 was 16% higher than the Celeron J1800 and 63% higher than the Sempron 2650, but 31% lower than the A4-5000.
However, this test shows that none of the four processors are powerful enough for decently running a “heavy” game such as Far Cry 3.
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 Pentium J2900 was 18% faster than the Celeron J1800 and 10% faster than the Sempron 2650, but 18% slower than the A4-5000.
On the Cloud Gate benchmark, the Pentium J2900 was 29% faster than the Celeron J1800 and 16% faster then the Sempron 2650, but 16% slower than the A4-5000.
Our tests have shown some very interesting results. First, there are applications where a four-core processor has a clear advantage over dual-core ones, and other applications where a higher clock is desirable. Compared to the competitors we included in this test, the Pentium J2900 has both advantages, and it is faster than all of them in all tests based exclusively on CPU power.
The only tests were the A4-5000 was faster than the Pentium J2900 were the ones related to gaming, where GPU power is more important than CPU brute force. However, our results clearly show that none of the SoC CPUs we included in this review will run “heavy” games with a decent framerate. Therefore, higher gaming performance is probably not in the mind of someone looking for a CPU in this category. This may lead us to conclude the Pentium J2900 CPU is a better choice for its far superior general processing power.
But the point is that, in this market, cost is a more important variable than performance, and the motherboards with a Pentium J2900 CPU are significantly more expensive than similar boards with the Celeron J1800 processors, for example.
This means that, if you need to build an inexpensive computer for simple office tasks, the Celeron J1800 and the A4-5000 have a better cost/benefit ratio. And for performance demanding applications, none of those CPUs are recommended.