Roughly one month after its announcement, AMD's AM1 chipset launched internationally today, promising an all-in-one desktop computing solution that combines CPU and GPU with low wattage, low cost, and (relatively) high performance. Today's launch comes in four flavors, ranging from the $34, dual-core Sempron 2650 to the $59, quad-core Athlon 5350.
AMD's announcement included performance charts that compared its highest-end AM1 offering to the Pentium J2900, a chipset whose clock rate actually runs roughly 400 MHz higher. Even so, the 5350 won handily in a number of categories, particularly 1080p gaming framerates that more than doubled the tested Pentium. (How the 2650, advertised as a $59 total cost with a motherboard, fared compared to similar offerings was left unannounced, however.).
Tom's Hardware opted for a more equitable head-to-head, pitting the 5350 against the similarly clocked Pentium J1900, and the test results bore out as AMD advertised. The major exception was that the 5350 ticked up to 13W higher in energy draw in extreme situations, but otherwise, benchmarks went almost unanimously in AMD's favor. Short version: efficient Photoshop and playable, 1080p Dota 2, yes; Battlefield 4 in any flavor, not so much.
More importantly for AMD's sales staff, AM1 motherboards are socketable, whereas Intel's Bay Trail-D offerings are non-upgradable. Individual users looking for that sweet spot between low power, low price and high performance may still opt to cough up $30-50 more for other socketable solutions, like AMD's F2+ chipset. But based on these test results, developing nations' small businesses and computer labs may be the perfect target for AMD's latest all-in-one offering, both in initial costs and down-the-road expandability.