When we first heard AMD was doing a low power Atom killer with an out-of-order CPU core architecture, we were seriously excited. The power of Atom's processor cores has always been disappointing and much of the finger pointing has involved its relatively simple in-order architecture.
Turns out, the in-order versus out-of-order distinction may not be so crucial after all.
Despite sporting a pair of out-of-order cores, for instance, AMD's new E-350 Fusion APU can only just crack three frames per second in the x264 HD video encoding test. That's a fairly feeble result that makes it only slightly quicker than an Intel Atom chip and much, much slower than even AMD's cheapest dual-core chip based on a full-power processor like the Athlon II X2.
A cheap multi-core processor like an AMD Athlon II X4 absolutely blows the E-350 away.
In really heavy duty tests of CPU performance such as Cinebench R10, things hardly look any better. The AMD E-350 takes over seven minutes to complete the task.
Even the cheapest dual-core Athlon processor will be three or four times faster.
Despite 80 stream processors, the E-350 isn't much of a gaming chip, either. That's as much to do with the weakness of the CPU cores as it is with the Radeon HD 6310 graphics core. But this little Fusion chip does have something to offer.
Where it really delivers and Intel's Atom fails is the internet experience and particularly Flash video.
Admittedly, the E-350 requires software support – you'll need to make sure you have the right version of Flash installed to enable hardware accleration. Even then, you'll probably find acceleration support isn't always absolutely flawless.
But it's infinitely better than no acceleration, which is what you get with a standard Atom platform.