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The Kabini whitebook
Our sample Kabini system was a 13-inch notebook PC powered by the fastest 15W variant of Kabini, the A4-5000. This notebook isn't a production system. Rather, it's a "whitebook" bereft of corporate branding and assembled solely for testing purposes.

The system's 13" display lacks touch-screen capabilities, but it has a 1080p resolution, a matte coating, and what looks to be an IPS panel. Inside the chassis, there's a single 4GB DDR3 DIMM, a 1TB Hitachi hard drive with a 5,400-RPM spindle speed, and a 45Wh battery. Connectivity includes USB 3.0, DisplayPort, VGA, and Ethernet.

At 3.83 lbs and 0.87" thick, this thing is a little heavier and thicker than your average ultrabook. It's still very thin and light, though, and AMD tells us that similar configurations could cost just $499 out in the wild. That would be a good $100-200 more affordable than the cheapest ultrabooks.

We asked AMD whether this whitebook was representative of a typical Kabini configuration. We were told that it's "in the middle of what you might see." The company expects the most inexpensive Kabini notebooks to be priced at just $399. Thanks to the processor's tight power envelope, PC makers will have a wide range of display sizes to choose from—and there will no doubt be some touch screens in the mix, as well.

Our testing methods
We compared the performance of the A4-5000 whitebook to that of four systems:

  • A premium ultrabook, the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A, which has a 17W Core i5 processor and is priced at $1,100 right now. Retail notebooks based on the A4-5000 shouldn't cost anywhere near that much, but the Zenbook Prime gives us a high-water mark for performance in the ultrathin category.
  • A low-end ultrathin laptop, the Asus VivoBook X202E. This system has a 17W Core i3 CPU backed by single-channel memory, and it costs $399. In terms of both pricing and performance, this should be one of the most direct competitors to upcoming laptops based on the A4-5000.
  • An Atom-powered Windows 8 tablet, the Asus VivoTab Smart ME400C, which is priced just south of $430. This is one of the lowest-power Windows 8 systems on the market today. Its Atom Z2760 processor manages to squeeze dual 1.8GHz, Hyper-Threaded cores into a Lilliputian 1.7W power envelope. The ME400C is obviously not in the same league as the A4 whitebook, but it provides us with a performance baseline for an ultra-low-power x86 config.
  • A Mini-ITX desktop build based on AMD's E-350 mobile APU. The E-350 is the A4-5000's predecessor. It has two Bobcat cores, integrated Radeon HD 6000-series graphics, and an 18W thermal envelope. We were hoping to procure a notebook based on the E-350 (or the slightly quicker E2-1800) to run battery life comparisons, but we weren't able to get one in time for our review. This desktop build is the next best thing; it will let us see how much Kabini has moved the ball forward.

You'll find the full specs of those machines in the table below.

One more thing to note: the Atom Z2760 processor doesn't run 64-bit software. That's not a deficiency of the silicon; rather, it's a product segmentation move by Intel. Either way, we had to test our tablet using 32-bit versions of our benchmark apps. In instances where those apps were available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, we tested 32-bit builds on the Atom, 64-bit builds on the Core processors, and, in order to provide a frame of reference, both 32-bit and 64-bit builds on the A4-5000. In such instances where multiple versions of the same benchmark were run, you'll see 32-bit runs labeled clearly in the graphs.

We ran every test at least three times and reported the median of the scores produced. The test systems were configured like so:

System Asus ME400C Asus UX31A Asus X202E AMD A4-5000 whitebook Gigabyte E350N-USB3 test system
Processor Intel Atom Z2760 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz Intel Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz AMD A4-5000 1.5GHz AMD E-350 1.6GHz
Platform hub Integrated Intel HM76 Express Intel HM76 Express Integrated AMD Hudson M1
Memory size 2GB 4GB (2 SO-DIMMs) 4GB (1 SO-DIMM) 4GB (1 SO-DIMM) 4GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type LPDDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz
Memory timings 6-8-8 11-11-11-28 9-9-9-24 11-11-11-28 6-6-6-19
Audio Intel SST codec with 6.2.9200.25166 drivers Realtek codec with drivers Via codec with drivers Conexant HD audio with drivers Realtek ALC892 with 6.2.9200.16497 drivers
Graphics Intel Graphics Media Accelerator
with drivers
Intel HD Graphics 4000
with drivers
Intel HD Graphics 4000
with drivers
Radeon HD 8330
with 13.101-130507a-156998E drivers
Radeon HD 6310
with Catalyst 13.5 beta drivers
Hard drive SEM64G 64GB SSD Adata XM11 128GB SSD HGST Z5K500 500GB 5,400-RPM Toshiba MQ01ABD100H 1TB 5,400-RPM Crucial m4 256GB SSD
Operating system Windows 8 x86 Windows 8 Enterprise x64 Windows 8 x64 Windows 8 Pro x64 Windows 8 Pro x64

Thanks to AMD and Asus for providing our test systems.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are usually publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.