The first Kabini desktop parts are about to hit the channel and we're already starting to see the first listings in Europe. AMD is launching the new AM1 platform with four different processors. We mentioned them last week, but in case you missed them they are the Sempron 2650, Sempron 3850, Athlon 5150 and Athlon 5350.
The Sempron 2650 (SD2650JAHMBOX ) is a dual-core clocked at 1.45GHz and prices in a couple of European shops start at €36 (DACH region). The Sempron 3850 is a quad-core clocked at 1.3GHz, with prices starting at €44. Athlons are a bit beefier as usual. The Athlon 5350 packs four cores clocked at 2.05GHz and it is priced at €47. The 5150 is clocked at a rather modest 1.6GHz, but it is a bit cheaper at €40.
Bear in mind that these are not official prices and we expect socketed Kabini parts to end up even cheaper once they become widely available. The chips should cost between $30 and $55. AMD's target for the AM1 platform is $60, so the cheapest mobo and APU should cost around $30 each. AMD is on track to hit that particular target, but we're not entirely sure it is very relevant and here is why - the price difference between the entry-level Sempron 2650 and the quad-core Athlons is tiny. Most consumers will happily pay a small premium to get two additional CPU cores and somewhat faster graphics.
On the GPU side of things, the performance gap shouldn't be too big. The Semprons feature HD 8280 and HD 8240 graphics, clocked at 400MHz and 450MHz respectively. The Athlons feature HD 8400 graphics, clocked at 600MHz. All three iGPUs feature 128 shaders. The HD 8240 can churn out 102GFLOPS, the HD 8280 comes in at 115GFLOPS, while the HD 8400 hits 154GFLOPS. Although this seems like a substantial difference, most users simply won't care, as this is not a gaming platform. Still, for some casual games and older titles, the GPUs should suffice.
We think AMD's new AM1 platform has a lot of potential for home and office use. The pricing is excellent and the small footprint and power consumption should allow vendors to design very small mITX boxes on a tight budget. Since the power draw is so low, passive brick PSUs can be employed. There are plenty of mITX chassis out there, too, which wasn't the case just a few years ago.
The only concern we have at this point is cooling. We have yet to see, or should we say, hear AMD's stock coolers. At just 25W it should be relatively easy to keep the Kabini SoCs cool, but there are still no aftermarket coolers out there. Hopefully AMD's stock coolers will be quiet enough, as early adopters will probably be stuck with them until cooler maker launch custom coolers.