AMD Fusion E-350 APU Platform Review - Benchmarking

Submitted by skipclarke on 18 October, 2011 - 21:58

Article Type: 

"Regular" Benchmarks

Far Cry 2

DX Quality  AA  1280x720 1360x768 1600x900 1920x1080
DX9 Low 0x 25 23 20 17
2x 23 19 15 12
Med 0x 18 17 14 12
2x 15 14 11 9
High 0x 14 13 11 9
2x 11 10 8 6
DX10 High 0x 13 12 11 9
2x 12 11 9 7

Far Cry 2 has historically been seen as a demanding title, though almost every card in the last two generations will push the title past 60fps in a single widescreen. The title still provides a challenge for GPUs on the low end, and for many portable machines. Luckily the title offers a wealth of graphics options to balance the quality vs. performance equation.

Even at it's lowest settings, the title never hits 30fps. It does come close at the very lowest settings, on what would be the native res of an ultra-portable. The downside is that there is a fair amount of stuttering, giving the illusion that the performance is worse than it really is.

The E-350 APU isn't really up to snuff for Far Cry 2, but I didn't really expect it to be.

Dirt 2

DX Quality  AA  1280x720 1360x768 1600x900 1920x1080
 DX9  Ultra Low 0x 25 24 22 18
2x 23 22 20 15
Low 0x 19 18 16 14
2x 17 17 14 13
Med 0x 15 15 14 11
2x 14 14 13 9

Dirt 2 has long been one of AMD's showcase titles. It has long been touted for both its DX11 and Eyefinity support. It also didn't hurt that the title runs quite well on the Radeon HD 5000 and HD 6000 series.

Interestingly, the Dirt 2 table is almost identical to the Far Cry 2 table. At its lowest settings, the game approaches 30fps. Unlike Far Cry 2, the performance in Dirt 2 is quite smooth. The minimum framerate at each resolution was only 2-3fps lower than the average.

While 22-24fps at minimum settings isn't going to blow away any serious gamer, the E-350 does provide a playable experience for Dirt 2.


DX Quality  AA  1280x720 1360x768 1600x900 1920x1080
DX9 Low / Off 0x 38 36 31 26
2x 32 31 26 21
Low / On 0x 31 29 25 20
2x 28 26 21 16
Med 0x 27 25 21 18
2x 24 22 19 15
DX Quality  AA  1280x720 1360x768 1600x900 1920x1080
DX10 Low / Off 0x 32 29 25 20
2x 25 24 21 19
Low / On 0x 29 28 23 18
2x 23 20 18 14
Med 0x 23 22 19 12
2x 20 19 15 12

Like Dirt 2, HAWX has been a flagship title for AMD. It didn't showcase the DX11 capabilities of their GPU line, but it did provide an exceptional Eyefinity experience on even the low-end of their card stacks. HAWX does hit 30fps in many quality configurations, even hitting it at one 1600x900 resolution. It hits 30fps in many configurations at the native resolutions you would expect for this platform.

In the results chart, the "Off / On" under the Quality heading indicates whether these graphical features were enabled or disabled. For Medium quality, all of these settings were enabled.

  • HDR Lighting
  • Engine Heat
  • Depth of Field

The E-350 provides a good experience on its "native" platform, and what would be a passable experience when connected to an HDTV. While not the primary platform for playing HAWX (that would be a big Eyefinity rig), it would provide a playable experience for mobile gaming, or gaming away from your home rig.

Half Life 2: Lost Coast

DX Quality  AA/AF  1280x720 1360x768 1600x900 1920x1080
 DX9  Low 0x/Tri 44 43 41 37
0x/4x 43 42 40 36
2x/4x 40 39 35 30
Med 2x/4x 39 37 33 27
High 2x/4x 36 36 32 25
4x/16x 33 31 27 21

I don't know if I would call the HL2: Lost Coast results "surprising", because I wasn't sure what to expect. The title and the Source engine are both many years old, nor is this isn't the latest and greatest incarnation of the Source engine. However, HL2 is still a very popular title that still gets large amounts of playtime.

The HL2: Lost Coast demo breaks 30fps in the vast majority of quality and resolution combinations. It maintains 30fps at all resolutions at Low settings with 2xAA and 4xAF. It also maintains 30fps or better at all quality settings at "native" resolutions, even the highest quality settings with 4xAA and 16xAF. The title even hits the mid-40's at the lowest settings, but I would certainly trade a significant increase in quality for high-30's at the native resolution.

Additional Benchmarks

Title Quality 1280x720 1360x768 1600x900 1920x1080
DeathSpank   19 19 18 16
Guild Wars High 63 61 54 45
Orcs Must Die! Low 38 37 30 25
Orcs Must Die! High 21 19 13 10
Torchlight Max 37 35 31 27

In addition to looking at games from our normal stable of benchmarks, I wanted to look at some popular indie titles that are available. I thought these smaller games at lower price points would match up well to the smaller price point and form factor of something like an ultra-portable. I wouldn't expect to play Crysis on this platform, but I do expect it perform well on games like DeathSpank and Torchlight. Since the below titles do not have built-in benchmarks, I set up short tests and recorded the results with FRAPS.

To test Deathspank, I played from the opening cinematic, up until the meeting the witch. I killed every monster and opened every chest along this short trek. There are no real graphical settings beyond V-sync, which I disabled.

I have to say I'm shocked at how Deathspank performed, especially in comparison to other titles in the "indie" category. The title's minimum requirements are an Intel P4 running at 1.7GHz, 1GB of RAM, and a video card with 256GB of RAM w/ Shader 2.0 and 24-bit depth buffer.

I had the GPU configured for 1GB of RAM, and it certainly meets the other requirements. Considering almost no impact to the fps moving from 720p to 1080p, I'm left to believe the CPU power is the roadblock. I would have thought a dual-core 1.6GHz processor would have exceeded the requirements of a single core P4 1.7GHz, but I guess not. I'm doubly surprised considering how well Orcs Must Die! plays, and it requires a 2.0 GHz dual-core processor.

Maybe DeathSpank is simply more CPU dependent, and not multi-threaded. In the end, it's not something that plays well on the Brazos platform, but I find it to be more indicative of the game and not the hardware.

Guild Wars
I realize that Guild Wars is not an "indie" title, but it has always been known as a very attractive game that ran well on a wide variety of hardware. I tested Guild Wars at 0xAA with the quality settings one step off of "max".

To test, I tried to get as controlled an environment as I could. I set up in Lion's Arch and ran from the last ship on the dock down the beach to the encampment there, and then back again. This provided lots of geometry to render in the docks and ships, along with a lot of horizon and water. Winding through the docks and the narrow passage that connects the dock to the beach required a lot of quick turns in rapid succession. This taxed the system in it's ability to quickly render new objects.

I am pleasantly surprised to say that the title runs quite well on the E-350. It surpasses 60fps at the native resolutions and is still well beyond 30fps at 1600x900 and 1920x1080. The performance was not entirely smooth and consistent, particularly in the "twisty-turny" areas in the docks. This brought the system down to single digits in a couple of spots, though things smoothed out once it recovered. Additionally, upping the settings to max or turning on AA provided a sizable hit to performance.

While I wouldn't use the E-350 platform as my primary Guild Wars rig, it is certainly playable while on the road or sitting in a coffee shop using a public Wi-Fi.

Orcs Must Die!
To benchmark Orcs Must Die! I played the first level of the demo. I started FRAPS after I had gone through the initial setup of the spellbook and placing my first traps. I started FRAPS right as I released the horde of orcs, and stopped it as my character started his "winning" dance. Both settings tested were without MSAA enabled. The game offers Low and High settings with 0xMSAA, and then High with 2x, 4x and 8x MSAA.

Orcs Must Die! is a really fun title, that runs surprisingly well. The cartoony graphics and underground setting (no sky to render) surely help, but I was indeed surprised by how well this new title ran, especially considering the requirements of a 2.0GHz dual-core processor.

At low settings, the game well exceeds 30fps on the native platform resolutions, and is still quite playable at HDTV resolutions. The title took a performance hit on High settings, but was still playable at around 20fps. One thing to note is that the game still looked good at Low settings. This is also considering I was using 720p res on a 40" 1080p HDTV, from which I was only sitting 3 feet away. There were certainly jagged edges to be seen, but this would be greatly minimized when viewed on the native res 11"-12" panel of an ultra-portable.

To test Torchlight I created a new character and played the first dungeon until my character hit 2nd level. I started FRAPS upon actually starting the dungeon (not on the initial cutscene in the city), and stopped it when my character leveled. This took about 4.5 minutes of gameplay.

Torchlight isn't a graphical powerhouse, and even offers a "Netbook" mode. I tested at max settings, and the game looks and plays great on the E-350 platform. It exceeded 30fps on all but 1080p, where it got 27fps. Due to the nature of the title, the game was still playable at this resolution.