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AMD’s Kabini Laptop Prototype

AMD shipped hardware sites special prototype laptops, similar to what we’ve seen in the past with Sandy Bridge, Llano, Ivy Bridge, and Trinity. These systems typically aren’t intended to hit retail outlets, though in some cases they may be very similar to production laptops; I’d guess that’s not the case with the Kabini prototype.

The laptop is actually very interesting in some areas, but it has major flaws in others—chiefly the build quality, keyboard, and touchpad. There’s more flex in this keyboard than in a steroid laced bodybuilding contest, and the feel of both the keys as well as the touchpad is poor at best. Those are areas that are easy to address, and given we’re not looking at hardware intended for retail sales it’s not too much of a problem; we only need the laptop for benchmarks right now.

If that’s the bad news, what’s the interesting aspect? The display. It’s the first high quality 1080p 14” LCD I’ve personally encountered. It’s an AU Optronics AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle) panel, model AUO B140HAN01.1. I’m hopeful that with AMD using such a panel in a prototype laptop, we may finally be nearing the end of the horrible 1366x768 panels…but don’t hold your breath.

Here’s the short rundown of the laptop’s hardware.

AMD Kabini Prototype Specifications
Processor AMD A4-5000M
(Quad-core 1.50GHz, 2MB L2, 28nm, 15W)
Chipset Yangtze
Memory 4GB (1x4GB) DDR3L-1600 (11-11-11-28?)
Graphics AMD HD 8330
(128 cores, 500MHz)
Display 14.0" Anti-Glare 16:9 1080p (1920x1080)
(AUO B140HAN01.1)
Storage 320GB Toshiba HDD (MQ01ABD032)
Optical Drive DVDRW (HL-DT-ST GU70N)
Networking 802.11n WiFi (Broadcom BCM43228)
(Dual-band 2x2:2 300Mbps capable)
Bluetooth 4.0 (Broadcom)
Gigabit Ethernet (Atheros AR8161)
Audio Conexant HD (R600)
Stereo Speakers
Headphone/Microphone combo jack
Battery/Power 6-cell, 15V, 3000mAh, 45Wh
65W Max AC Adapter
Front Side Flash Reader (MMC/SD)
Left Side 1 x USB 3.0 (Powered when Sleeping)
1 x Mini-HDMI
1 x VGA
Gigabit Ethernet
Exhaust Vent
AC Power Connection
Right Side Headphone and Microphone
2 x USB 2.0
Optical Drive
Kensington Lock
Back Side N/A
Operating System Windows 8 64-bit
Dimensions 13.34" x 9.47" x 0.88" (WxDxH)
(339mm x 241mm x 22.4mm)
Weight 3.81 lbs (1.73kg)
Extras Webcam
86-Key Keyboard

Just to call out a couple noteworthy items, first is the single-channel memory configuration. In theory that could be hampering performance somewhat, but we have no real way of knowing. While the laptop does support two SO-DIMMs, Kabini only supports a single-channel interface, so adding a second SO-DIMM wouldn't help.

The other configuration item I want to call out is the storage device, specifically the Toshiba HDD. Hard drives are slow, we all know this, but our experience over the past several years suggests that Toshiba’s 5400RPM hard drives are even slower than other offerings. Anand installed an SSD to run PCMark 7 for comparison, and that certainly helps with overall responsiveness. Realistically, though, we’re not at the stage where I expect laptops using Kabini to ship with SSDs—even an inexpensive 128GB SSD will increase the total BoM by 15% or more, which isn’t going to fly in the budget sector Kabini is destined to compete in.

Before we get to the actual benchmarks, let me go over the general impression of the system in day-to-day use. For much of what you might do (e.g. surfing the web, watching streaming videos, emailing, and office use), Kabini works well. Technically even Atom and Brazos can handle most of those tasks, but there’s a noticeable speed up in typical use. However, there are also occasions where the system really bogs down; some of that may be thanks to the slow HDD, or (less likely) the single-channel memory, but while Jaguar cores are a step up in performance from Brazos cores (never mind Intel’s Atom variants), they’re still nowhere near as fast as a Trinity or Ivy Bridge core.

What Kabini really brings to the table is ultra low power requirements with performance that’s a great match for ultraportable devices. We’ll see the Temash APUs (basically a lower power Kabini) in tablets, but Kabini may find its way into a few larger tablets as well as hybrid devices. At 9W and 15W TDPs, basically anywhere we’ve seen Intel’s ULV cores show up is a place that Kabini can go as well. There are compromises you’ll have to make one way or the other (faster CPU, faster GPU, battery life, drivers, features, etc.), and I don’t think there’s going to be a single “correct” solution for every device out there. Choice is the name of the game, and even if you decide Kabini may not be right for you at least it’s good to have an alternative.

Introducing AMD's 2013 Mainstream APU Platform, aka Kabini Kabini vs. Clover Trail & ARM
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  • Musafir_86 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    -Finally!

    -BTW, some pictures still missing/not loading...

    -Thanks for the article, but when Anand's architectural deep-dive will come out?

    Regards.
    Reply
  • Musafir_86 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    -Sorry, I missed the link on the main page, and all pictures load correctly now.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • codedivine - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Kabini looks interesting. Somewhat surprised that the max bandwidth (10.5 GB/s) supported is less than even Exynos 5 Dual (12.8GB/s).

    Wondering whether the GPU supports fp64 and at what rate?
    Reply
  • codedivine - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I guess Anand answered the fp64 question in the other article already :) Reply
  • axien86 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link


    Wow...the AMD Jaguar Temash and Kabinis cost about the same as Atoms (~$30-$50) and perform many times faster than Atoms.

    I wonder why Anandtech did not compare the Kabinis against Atoms/Celerons instead of i3 and i5 that cost around $200 to $225+ ?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Sadly (not really -- Atoms are trash), we don't have any recent Atom/Celeron/Pentium laptops around. No one has ever sent us a Celeron or Pentium laptop for review, and the last Atom netbook we tested was probably almost two years back. Anand does have Clover Trail covered, but there's no real point in running our heavy laptop suite on that. Reply
  • JDG1980 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    In the mini-ITX DIY segment, Kabini may compete against the Celeron 847 boards (which currently run about $75). I'd be interested to see how it stacks up there. The AMD solution would have a clock speed advantage (847 only runs at 1.1 GHz) but the Sandy Bridge-based 847 almost certainly has better IPC. Reply
  • MrMilli - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Here you go: http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/prozessoren/201... Reply
  • BushLin - Friday, June 21, 2013 - link

    Thanks for that, my German isn't great but from what I can tell this chip is a great choice compared to Intel's actual competing products. Such a shame Anand's review is with a Pentium consuming over twice the power and i5/i7 products costing many times more.

    My interest is in the low power desktop boards and hope to see a useful comparison on here at some point. I'm sure Zotac or some other manufacturer with such a leaning would be happy to supply comparable boards to cover Kabini and the lower power Pentium and Celerons.
    Reply
  • jagd - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Dual channel may not help to CPu but you are forgetting GPu , this is a shame for anandtech . Reply

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