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AMD Fusion(Zacate) VS main Intel competitors – Performance comparison

By Mitty , updated on November 8, 2013

Now that we saw the HP Pavilion dm1 reviewed and we finally have some benchmarks for notebooks equipped with AMD Fusion hardware, it’s time to take a quick look at its performances when compared with its main rival platforms.

We have to establish some ground rules though. We’re talking about the a Zacate powered device, with a dual-core APU and a starting price of 450 bucks. Thus, we’re only going to compare it with platforms and other devices in this class. Below you can find the competitors and benchmark results are gathered from, as they are the ones providing the numbers for the dm1 as well.

Here are the competitors:

  • HP Pavilion dm1 ($479) – AMD Zacate APU with dual-core 1.66 GHz E-350 processor and Radeon Mobility 6130 graphics, 3 GB of memory, 320 GB 7200 rpm HDD
  • Asus EEE PC 1215N ($499) – Intel Atom D525 dual-core 1.83 GHz processor + Nvidia ION graphics, 2 GB of memory, 250 GD 5400 rpm HDD
  • Acer Aspire One 1410 ($399) – Intel Celeron SU2300 1.3 GHz, Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics, 2 GB of memory, 160 GB 5400 rpm HDD
  • Toshiba Satellite T215D ($469) – AMD Athlon II Neo K125 1.7 GHz processor, ATI 4225 HD graphics, 2 GB of memory, 250 GB 5400 rpm HDD
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X100e ($549) – AMD Turion Neo X2 dual-core 1.6 GHz processor, ATI 3200 HD graphics, 2 GB of memory, 250 GB 5400 rpm HDD

And here are the results:

PCmark Vantage

PCmark Vantage results

3Dmark06 results

3Dmark06 results

So, in terms of CPU, the E-350 sits in between the dual-core D525 Atom and the single core AMD NEO on one side, and the dual-core AMD L625 and single core Intel SU2300 . Differences are not that big, still, on these low powered machines, everything matters. As a comparison, the 1825PT I use and can deal with most of my daily tasks comes with an SU7300 dual-core Intel processor and scores around 2500 points in PC Mark Vantage. Of course, all these are synthetic posts, and although I’ve yet so see hte Fusion in action, i can tell you that 25% difference between the Asus 1215N with Atom D525 CPU and my Acer is huge in everyday tasks.

In terms of graphics though, the situation is just the other way around. In fact, the only competitor for the Fusion based HP dm1 is the 1215N with its ION graphics, which managed to score 20% more points. And yes, the graphics on the Asus are perhaps more powerful, but you’ll only be able to see the differences in games, as they are both capable of running 1080p content with ease. And even in those, the extra power provided by the faster CPU on the HP will almost even the balance.

Last but not least, there’s battery life. See the picture below for details.

Battery life in the same test

battery life in the same test

Now, this is not really a fair comparison as the above laptops do not have similar capacity batteries. Still, you can see the AMD powered HP dm1 ain’t as hungry as the older generation used to be and manages to squeeze 6 and a half hours out of a 6 cell battery. More than decent in my eyes and above competition, even above the 1215N with Optimus. But once again, they do not use the same batteries, bear that in mind, although the 1215N has a 6 Cell one as well, so are pretty much comparable.

OK, so what are the conclusions? Till recently, the Asus EEE PC 1215N was perhaps the best pick in this class of medium powered compact notebooks. But not anymore. These new devices with AMD Fusion dual-core Zacate hardware are just simply overall better. Let’s be honest, most of you don’t really play games on these machines, you are just like me, in need of a laptop that can handle daily basic tasks with ease, while providing good battery life and being portable. And with the better CPU, the HP dm1 will just handle these tasks much easier then an Atom powered 1215N can. And yes, for mobile gaming the 1215N might still be the better option, but hey, if you truly want mobile gaming, then go for a Alienware M11X.

AMD powered devices are now the top pick in the compact=

AMD powered devices are now the top pick in the compact affordable notebooks’ class

As for the other devices, there’s pretty much no terms of comparison between this DM1 and the older generation AMD platforms, which are overall slower and have known issues with battery life and excessive heating. As for the single core SU2300, that device is still a viable option for its price, as long as you don’t need 1080p playing or gaming. It’s also a lot cheaper, but consider that it is a laptop designed many many months ago and it’s already at the end of its life cycle.

Now, I really am looking for Intel’s move here as I’m sure they’ll strike back hard. Perhaps some new generation Celeron processors + ION + Optimus? I’m sure such a combo will shake the ground beneath AMD’s devices, but I doubt they will go for less than 550 – 600 bucks. We’ll just have to wait and see.

For now though, AMD powered machines like this HP Pavilion dm1 and probably the soon to come Lenovo IdeaPad S205 and Sony Vaio YB are the recommended picks if looking for the best value for money in a compact laptop.

Once again, benchmark results come from and you can find some more on their site.

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  1. john k

    January 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Oh thank you for a straight answer of the capability of what the Fusion can handle with everyday task and not just on games. Now I feel comfortable that there’s more lags with everyday computing and longer battery life.

  2. john k

    January 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    no more lags I mean.

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