AMD AM1 platform now available -- can it compete with Intel's Bay Trail-D?

amd-a-series-processorAs a system builder, I always keep my eyes open for new trends in PC hardware. My latest build is powered by an Intel processor, which is a first for me. Historically, I've always used AMD. The reason being was, at the time, AMD processors delivered both great performance and value. In other words, if you needed to save money, AMD was what you bought.

Unfortunately, AMD fell behind Intel quite a bit in recent years, making the value in its processors questionable. Today however, the company announces availability of its new platform, called AM1, which focuses directly on value and low cost. Will consumers shopping on the low-end choose it over Intel's Bay Trail-D SoC?

"AMD Athlon and AMD Sempron APUs deliver a quad-core solution to consumers that includes two SATA 6 Gbps ports, two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, PCIe 2.0 lanes for graphic card upgrades, and a trio of video outputs (DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA) starting at under $40. The AMD AM1 platform provides up to 3x more compute performance than its competitors, as well as balanced computing with DirectX 11.2 and Windows 8.1 support to mainstream markets", says AMD. 

Patrick Choy, Director of CPU Product Management, Newegg says, "the new 'socketed' Sempron and Athlon products from AMD provide our customers outstanding value and performance at low power that was previously unavailable for buyers in emerging markets looking to build systems at home. We're thrilled to see the large number of motherboard manufacturers supporting the platform using the FS1b socket and the flexibility it provides with microATX and MiniITX motherboards for sleek and power-efficient small form factor PCs".

APU Model TDP CPU Cores CPU Frequency Radeon™ Cores GPU Frequency Memory Frequency Total Cache Price 3(USD)
AMD Athlon 5350 25W 4 2.05 GHz 128 600 MHz 1600 MHz 2 MB $59
AMD Athlon 5150 25W 4 1.6 GHz 128 600 MHz 1600 MHz 2 MB $49
AMD Sempron 3850 25W 4 1.3 GHz 128 450 MHz 1600 MHz 2 MB $39
AMD Sempron 2650 25W 2 1.45 GHz 128 400 MHz 1333 MHz 1 MB $34

As you can see, these are definitely not aimed at the high-end gaming crowd. No, these are aimed at emerging markets and builders looking for an inexpensive small form-factor project. Energy-conscious builders in particular may be interested in the low wattage. Quite frankly, at these prices, it may be worth buying just to play with.

Of course, the biggest selling point of these processors, is that they are socketable, which means changeable and potentially upgradeable. Intel's Bay Trail-D is not, as it is soldered to the motherboard.

If you are interested, the hardware will be available at the usual places -- Amazon, Newegg, NCIX and Tigerdirect. Will you be buying? Tell me in the comments. 

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