AMD “Kabini” AM1 Athlon 5350 APU (FS1b) Review – Winning at sub-$60?

by - 7 years ago




Today we are looking at AMD’s new AM1 platform and given that I am writing with the realms of a traditional “tech enthusiast” website you’ll either think this is a great platform with potential, or just too slow to add anything new to the market. However, I am in the former, not the latter, camp – I can see the massive potential of AMD’s socketed Kabini APU. I have always been keen on budget and small form factor computing solutions; the Raspberry Pi is a great example of something that caught my eye. Of course at just $35 the Raspberry Pi is hardly comparable to AMD’s new Kabini socketed APUs that will cost a similar amount for just the APU. However, you can build a Kabini quad core system with a motherboard for just $64 – less than twice the cost of Raspberry Pi but no doubt with way more than twice the performance. The ethos with AMD’s AM1 platform is to bring the Athlon and Sempron product lines (that are orientated towards value for money and “upgradeability”) back with a bang.


While the AM1 system may seem like it is catering to a small market – it isn’t! The majority of PCs are bought in those entry level and mainstream price points – below $200-300 shall we say. Yet if we look at emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and so on, then we find that the sub $200 price point is even more popular. As a result the majority of Windows-orientated desktop systems that will be delivered in the future are likely to be in the entry level and mainstream categories. That logic is AMD’s justification for the AM1 platform – it will deliver Windows capable PCs for a fraction of the cost of traditional desktop systems.


AMD is also looking to innovate to correct some of the deficiencies in the PC landscape. A lack of upgradeability, limitations to 32 bit operating systems and poor integrated graphics are common place in small form PCs. Latest generation Intel “Bay Trail” Atom SoCs are not upgradeable, are mainly limited to 32 bit operating systems and with regards to graphics performance most are still largely incapable of anything but video playback and browser-based gaming. Of course AMD’s Kabini Athlon APUs aren’t going to be creating high-end “Gaming PCs” any time soon but they do offer more graphics performance than Intel’s equivalent Atom parts.


AMD is keen to point out the advantages it has over Intel’s Bay Trail equivalents because that is what AMD sees as its main rival in this price point.


AMD’s “AM1” moniker is effectively the “chipset” denotation – although there is no chipset as such. All the “chipset” components are placed on-die with the APU. The socket of the AM1 platform is the FS1b and it is currently upgradeable to a choice of four Kabini APUs.


The FS1b APUs will be available with up to four CPU cores, 128 GCN cores and up to 1600 MHz memory. On-die there are two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports and two SATA III 6 Gbps ports so storage connectivity is modest but for such a low cost platform you would expect that.


We have covered the basics of what the AM1 platform is, why it has been created and what it is designed to compete with so now let’s move on to cover the technical aspects of it in a little more detail.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. AM1 Feature Overview
  3. Test Systems and Procedures
  4. CPU Performance
  5. System Performance
  6. OpenCL Performance
  7. Memory Performance
  8. Productivity Performance
  9. USB 3.0 and SATA III Disk Performance
  10. Gaming Performance - 720p and 1080p
  11. Power Consumption and Thermals
  12. Final Thoughts
  13. View All

Author Bio

30 Comments on AMD “Kabini” AM1 Athlon 5350 APU (FS1b) Review – Winning at sub-$60?

  • Avatar Skidmarks says:

    Very informative, thank you. I’ll look into these platforms in a bit more depth because I wasn’t fully aware of them, Perhaps even build them and flog them off at decent prices, I know of a few small businesses that are looking for something like what these have to offer. I approve. 😉

    • Avatar Ryan Martin says:

      This is so true, just think you can market a quad core system with 8GB of RAM, USB 3.0, SATA 3.0, Wireless Display, 4K support, low power consumption, just about every feature and marketing buzzword and will cost you a hair under $200 to put together an entire system, APU, board, RAM, boot drive, case, PSU (can get away with a sub 200W PSU easily). These are definitely the systems to build for friends and family 😛

      • Avatar Skidmarks says:

        I’m busy with it as we speak. 🙂

      • Avatar Medallish says:

        I’ve actually built one for my aunt and her husband as they don’t want to shell out the usual price for a Desktop, and bought a used and very old Athlon XP 2400+ based system. I used this Chieftec mini-itx chassis and it’s amazing how tiny it is, I can’t wait to see their reaction to this lunchbox of a PC outperforming that old thing they got :P.

  • Avatar George Hillier says:

    What’s the socket type for these CPUs? May make a little system for steam home streaming.

    • Avatar Ryan Martin says:

      I thought that was clear to see in the review maybe I didn’t make it clear enough. It is socket FS1b while the platform is AM1. So it’s like FM2+ and A88X for example. You will only be able to use these newly released Kabini APUs with the FS1b socket, so the four APUs we detail on page 2 of this review.

      • Avatar George Hillier says:

        Thanks for the reply 🙂
        Can make a nice little system with a 2.05ghz athlon, 8gb of ram, 120gb SSD, 1tb HDD and a R7 260X GPU for £450, which isn’t too bad considering it’s got a dedicated GPU and an ssd.
        Also did another build without the GPU and HDD for £300 which could be used for steam in home streaming to my living room, so overall it’s very good value for money!
        If only I had the money to buy one now!

    • Avatar Fergus Clunies-ross says:

      I was worried I was the only person who was thinking in home streaming 😀 If you get it and it works well (or if it doesn’t) please reply 🙂

  • Avatar Derek Johnstone Macrae says:

    impressive bang for buck, I think the main attraction of these systems will be size and power draw, be aware that intel has just released an atom SOC based x86 chipset, thats priced at $129, with the board and cpu, it has intel hd4000 onboard too, so it would be usefull if you could get your hands on one to test Ryan, just to see how the performance and features compare, thanks.

  • Avatar That guy says:

    Just wondering, would it be possible to do dual-graphics with Kabini? That would makes things more interesting.

  • Avatar perfectlyreasonabletoo says:

    What a crock of shit.

  • Avatar sai kiran says:

    Memory is single channel, not dual channel as mentioned in this article

    • Avatar Ryan Martin says:

      No, it does not state that. I clearly state on the memory page it is single channel. I stated on page two that it has dual 1600 memory channels, dual means two, so the same thing can be written as two 1600 memory channels. That doesnt imply single or dual channel operation. I have clearly specified it operates in single channel mode to avoid further confusion.

      • Avatar sai kiran says:

        Cool..I commented when I was reading page bad.

      • Avatar Alex Anderson says:

        So it has “dual channels” but they can only operate in “single channel mode” not “dual channel mode.” The terminology may be correct, but it is surprisingly confusing.

  • Avatar comrade says:

    u could build a really cheap but nice mini pc for internet browsing and office document processing with linux live and persistent storage on the class 10 sdcard, u can build a nice xbmc box for htpc with it too

  • Avatar Icefrontier says:

    What does it take to cool it passively? :>

    • Avatar Alex Anderson says:

      The “Arctic Cooling Alpine M1 Passive” is the only product on the market that I know of. It is reasonably priced but difficult to find a place to buy it. It seems to be easier to find in Europe than in North America. I had to buy it directly from the manufacturer, paying more in shipping than the cost of the cooler itself, for a total of about 26 US dollars.

  • Avatar jq747 says:

    “AMD’s temperature readouts have always been a bit dubious”… Athlon idles at 5 degrees-C.. Really?? Where are you running it, Siberia?

  • Avatar Alex Anderson says:

    I’m putting together a basic, general purpose home/office computer for a friend, and I couldn’t resist using this platform because of the low power consumption relative to the features and cost. I’m using a passive CPU cooler, and a case with very good airflow, so the very quiet fan from the power supply unit should be enough to ventilate the entire system.

    It will have excellent long term cost savings because of the lower power consumption and also the very minimal maintenance required. Furthermore, because it will be using a standard ITX case and standard sized ATX power supply, this will make future upgrades much easier and cheaper than with ultra compact custom form factors, which might otherwise seem more appealing.

    If my friend ever wants to upgrade to a full powered desktop computer, they will only need to replace the motherboard and CPU. Modular, do it yourself computer building is something that more people should learn how to do. This platform makes it easier to encourage beginners to learn how to do it themselves.

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