AMD Accelerated Processing Units: How it works

Nandagopal Rajan        Last Updated: October 25, 2013  | 14:36 IST
AMD A4 offers a cheaper option that is works

These days you hardly hear about any notebook processor other than Intel. That is only natural as the company has an 80 per cent market share in this segment. The other big name in the space is AMD, which tries to offer a cheaper alternative to what Intel has. In a country like India, that is often a good market strategy.

AMD Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) come with the graphics processing unit is integrated and this promises to offer higher performance and lower power consumption. We tested an Acer Aspire E-1 522 with the new AMD A4 quad-core APU.

Here are the results:

Fast boot: The Acer laptop with a 15.3-inch LED took just under 20 seconds to boot up. It woke from sleep in less than 10 seconds, which is pretty much what the Intel processors do. A full restart took just over a minute. Very impressive.

We put the laptop through our regular PC Mark 7 benchmarking, but the processor was not recognised by the software and hence it won't be right to quote the scores. With the high-resolution picture test, we noticed a slight lag while opening the files in a USB. But then this is a 1.5 GHz processor with 2GB RAM. So, you will need more power to do some of the tasks, like editing high resolution pictures and videos. However, it rendered Full HD video with ease. Browsing on Internet Explorer was also smooth and multiple tabs did not slow down this device in any way. The device did not heat up during the benchmark test and this is a rarity.

This is any entry-level device with an entry-level processor. So while the quality of graphics is good by most standards, don't try and push things. We saw framerates drop to about 25 per cent in certain cases. However, these are scenarious you will encounter only in high-end gaming. For that you will definitely buy a better device with a more powerful processor. This one has mobility at his heart.

Battery: The AMD APU uses lower power and hence the battery life is quite good. We got just about eight hours with all the tests and browsing. This could be about six hours with video.

The big issue we had with the device was its connectivity. It failed to show the local Wi-Fi which we use for most of the tests though it listed many others. We finally had to do most of the tests using a mobile hotspot.

Price points:
The biggest advantage of the AMD APU is the price point. A device running this processor with be at least 20 per cent cheaper than one running an Intel. There are some sacrifices to be made, as Intel brings with it a whole lot of related features like anti-theft and Wi-Fi direct. But if these are features you don't need, then a device with an AMD processor is a good option.

Tested on a Acer Aspire E1-522 priced at Rs 25,749.

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