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

/ 10 months ago

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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.

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  • Skidmarks

    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. ;)

    • Ryan Martin

      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 :P

      • Skidmarks

        I’m busy with it as we speak. :)

      • Medallish

        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.

  • George Hillier

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

    • Ryan Martin

      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.

      • George Hillier

        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!

        • Ryan Martin

          I would wait a little while anyway, launch pricing tends to be high. It will stabilise and drop over the next 1-2 months.

    • Fergus Clunies-ross

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

  • Derek Johnstone Macrae

    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.

  • That guy

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

    • Ryan Martin

      No, as far as I know dual graphics support is not present with AM1 Kabini. That’s a feature AMD wants to reserve for FM2 I think.

  • perfectlyreasonabletoo

    What a crock of shit.

    • Ryan Martin

      In what way?

    • UncleSamOnWork

      Why? its quite a nice cpu to be used in an htpc, it can even handle 4k video content! Just pay around 250€ and you get a nice little mini pc

  • sai kiran

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

    • Ryan Martin

      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.

      • sai kiran

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

  • comrade

    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

  • Icefrontier

    What does it take to cool it passively? :>

  • jq747

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