Closer Look: AMD Athlon 5350 APU
When AMD says they are going after the entry-level market, they mean it. AMD announced the MSRP of the Athlon 5350 APU at $55, although in reality you can find it for about $65. With the components that AMD provided us for this review, you could conceivably build an entry level system for under $250. You’ll have to add $100 for Windows, of course. Here’s what I mean:
AMD Athlon 5350 AM1 APU – $65
GA-AM1M-S2H mATX motherboard – $35
AMD Radeon DDR3 1600 Memory 4GB – $47
500GB Hard Drive ~ $50
Case w/ PSU ~ $40
The AMD AM1 entry level platform joins the FM2+ mainstream platform and the AM3+ enthusiast platform to round out the AMD desktop offerings. The Kabini desktop platform, as an APU platform, doesn’t need a Southbridge chipset since everything is controlled by the APU. As such, Kabini offers compatibility with RAM up to DDR3 1600, but only in a single channel. The APU also provides for the availability of two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, and just two SATA 6Gb/s ports. Motherboard manufacturers could, of course, add to those by using other controllers, but in an entry level market, that probably won’t be very necessary.
The Kabini platform supports VGA, DVI/HDMI, and DisplayPort 1.2 display options with up to four video outputs from DisplayPort and HDMI. Kabini also allows for four PCIe 2.0 lanes for a GPU, just in case the built in Radeon R3 graphics aren’t enough for you. There is also a single PCIe 2.0 x1 lane set aside for an Ethernet controller and three PCIe 2.0 x1 lanes for other controllers.
Kabini APUs start off with the AMD Sempron 2650 with an MSRP of just $31. The 2650 has just 2 CPU cores and runs at 1.45GHz. The Sempron 2650 runs the same R3 graphics as the other Kabini APUs albeit at a slower 400MHz for those 128 GCN Radeon cores. While the other Kabini APUs are compatible with RAM up to 1600MHz, the Sempron 2650 only supports up to 1333MHz. The Sempron 2650 also cuts the cache in half to 1MB.
The other Kabini Sempron APU is the 3850. With an MSRP of just $36, the Sempron 3850 represents what could be the best deal of the bunch. That’s because the only thing separating the Sempron 3850 from the Kabini Athlon APUs is the slower CPU and GPU frequencies. The Sempron 3850 runs at 1.3GHz on the 4 CPU cores and 450MHz on the GPU. It supports up to 1600MHz DDR3 RAM and has a full 2MB of cache.
The Athlon APUs represent the higher end of the spectrum of Kabini APUs. The Athlon 5150 and the Athlon 5350 both run the 128 GCN Radeon Cores at 600MHz. They both support up to 1600MHz RAM and have 2MB of cache. In fact, the only difference between the Athlon 5150 and the Athlon 5350 is the CPU frequency. Both the Athlon 5150 and the Athlon 5350 are quad-core APUs, but the Athlon 5350 runs at a faster 2.05GHz while the Athlon 5150 runs at 1.6GHz. The Athlon 5150 APU has an MSRP of $45, while the Athlon 5350’s MSRP is $55. As of the time of this writing, the actual retail prices of those APUs are a little higher than the MSRP.