Desktop Kabini chips, motherboards are out

— 1:28 PM on April 9, 2014

We've known since CES that a socketed version of AMD's Kabini APU was coming to the desktop. The company confirmed it last month, and some retailers jumped the gun last week. Now, at last, AMD has officially announced the retail availability of socketed Kabini gear.

There are four chips in all, bearing Athlon and Sempron branding, and AMD says ASRock, Asus, Biostar, ECS, Gigabyte, and MSI all have matching motherboards. Both Mini-ITX and microATX form factors are covered, but it doesn't look like full-sized ATX offerings are on the menu.

Here's what the Socket AM1 APU family looks like. Note that the prices are suggested e-tail figures, not bulk-quantity prices for large orders:

Processor TDP CPU
Athlon 5350 25W 4 2.05GHz 2MB 128 600MHz 1600 MT/s $59
Athlon 5150 25W 4 1.6GHz 2MB 128 600MHz 1600 MT/s $49
Sempron 3850 25W 4 1.3GHz 2MB 128 450MHz 1600 MT/s $39
Sempron 2650 25W 2 1.45GHz 1MB 128 400MHz 1333 MT/s $34

All four of the Socket AM1 chips have 25W thermal envelopes, and all but one have four cores. The quickest of the bunch, the Athlon 5350, is clocked slightly faster than the speediest mobile offering, the A6-5200, which runs at 2GHz. The two chips seem identical in other respects, though. (Head here for a list of the mobile Kabini variants.)

Like their mobile siblings, desktop Kabini processors are SoCs with a nice assortment of built-in connectivity: four PCI Express 2.0 lanes, two 6Gbps SATA ports, two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, and a trifecta of display outputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA.

On the desktop, Socket AM1 Kabini processors will be competing with Intel's Bay Trail-D chips. As far as I know, Bay Trail-D isn't available in socketed form, but it does come soldered onto certain motherboards—and built into desktop barebone configs. AMD claims the Athlon 5350 outperforms the fastest Bay Trail-D CPU, Intel's Pentium J2900, in a number of CPU and graphics benchmarks. And at $59, the Athlon 5350 is also a fair bit cheaper. Intel quotes a bulk order price of $94 for that chip in its price list. Then again, the slower Celeron J1900 has an $82 tray price, but you can get it soldered onto a Gigabyte motherboard for only $91.99.

Socket AM1 processors are already available at Newegg at a premium of about $5 over AMD's suggested figures. Socket AM1 motherboards are also on offer. ASRock's AM1B-ITX, one of the mobos in stock, is a Mini-ITX solution priced at just $39.99 (and, inexplicably, outfitted with a parallel port). If you're into combo bundles, Newegg sells that board plus a Sempron 3850 and a Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX enclosure for just $99. Throw in a little RAM and some storage, and you could build yourself a surprisingly capable small-form-factor PC for less than 200 bucks.

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