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AMD A4-5000 APU review

A Kabini laptop with AMD's Jaguar CPU cores, as found in the new Xbox One and PS4...

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Our Verdict

For

  • Revised cores are an improvement
  • Good battery life
  • AMD's latest graphics technology
  • Good 2H HD video performance
  • Your laptop is almost a PS4

Against

  • CPU performance firmly in ultramobile territory
  • Not enough graphics cores for proper gaming
  • Doesn't dramatically move the APU game on
  • Has us worrying about next-gen CPU performance

Whitebook battery

Let's get the specs of AMD's reference whitebook sorted and then we can concentrate on that fascinating AMD A4-5000 APU, eh?

It's a thin-an'-slim 13-inch laptop with a 1080p display. Storage-wise, we're talking 320GB of old school magnetic hard drive sadly, so we'll do our best to exclude that from our performance assessments. This chip really wants an SSD.

There's 4GB of RAM, 512MB of it reserved for the A4-5000's integrated graphics, more on which in a moment. As for the battery pack, it's a 3,000mAh unit.

And so to the A4-5000 itself. The fun starts with four AMD Jaguar cores running at 1.5GHz. Jaguar is the follow up to AMD's Bobcat low-power CPU architecture. It's in roughly the same ballpark as Intel's Atom CPU core, but isn't intended for smartphones. The limit in terms of mobile devices is tablets and super slim laptops.

Anywho, AMD has targetted a range of improvements with the transition from Bobcat to Jaguar. Highlights include increased IPC or instructions per clock, increased frequency at any given voltage and more finely grained power management.

As for the graphics part of the equation, AMD is calling the A4-5000's 3D core the AMD Radeon HD 8330. It runs at 496MHz and sports AMD's latest GCN graphics architecture. All told, it packs 128 of AMD's latest graphics shaders.

Kabini Whitebook

At this stage, two pressing comparisons hove into view. Firstly, we have the next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony, both of which sport precisely the same CPU core and graphics arhcitecture. Then there's Brazos, AMD's Bobcat-based APU and the A4-5000's progenitor.

Intriguingly, both the Xbox One and the PS4 have Jaguar cores running at 1.6GHz, so pretty much the same speed as the AMD A4-5000. Of course, they have twice as many cores, but there's a good chance some of those console cores may be reserved for non-gaming functionality. So in gaming terms, this chip might be almost level pegging with the latest consoles. Quite a thought.

Things aren't nearly as evenly matched on the graphics side where the PS4 has 1,152 graphics shaders, the Xbox One is thought to have 768 shaders and the A4-5000 has just 128 shaders.

As for the match up with Brazos, well, you get double the number of CPU cores and around a 50 per cent up tick in graphics cores plus an upgrade from AMD's older VLIW graphics architecture to the latest GCN graphics spec.