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The 5350's Radeon R3 graphics also deliver a sizable improvement from what preceded it, but the gaming performance remains purely within the realm of low-end integrated solutions. Barely playable frame rates at low resolutions were produced in Crysis and Lost Planet 2, while Aliens vs. Predator proved to be a little too demanding.
Note: all the systems compared used a small external power supply which are typically very efficient at low loads compared to ATX units.
Our Athlon 5350 configuration pulled 18W from the wall during idle and 25W during 1080p H.264 and Flash playback. Video playback was perfectly smooth and effortless, making it suitable for a home theater PC. We suspect that there's also enough CPU horsepower to do software decoding of any video formats that don't support hardware acceleration. Energy efficiency was poor compared to most of the SFF systems in the chart but it's a substantial improvement over the A8-7600, the most frugal AMD desktop chip we've tested in the last few years. 55W Pentium G2120 beat it soundly but keep in mind it was tested with a thin mini-ITX motherboard (practically mobile hardware) rather than a standard desktop model.
On heavy load, our 5350 combination used almost half as much power as the
A8-7600. Full CPU+GPU load pulled less than 45W AC, so a 60W power supply is
all that's needed for a basic configuration. The maximum power draw also wasn't
enough to noticeably heat up the stock cooler. The fan spun at a modest speed
throughout testing, producing very little noise.
Editor's Note (April 23): Reader
reaction in the forum to the minimal comments made here by Lawrence Lee
regarding the noise of the fan on the ASUS heatsink prompted me to revisit
the anechoic chamber with the test system. I can confirm the original comment
that the fan produces very little noise. It is low enough that at 1m distance
in the chamber, the fan is inaudible; ie, below the ambient level, which is
10~11 dBA extremely, unnaturally quiet. This is at the default/idle
speed of ~1,200 RPM. When left under 100% load with Prime95 for about 45 minutes,
the CPU temperature rose to around 46°C (26°C above ambient), and
the fan sped up to nearly 1,400 RPM. The noise level barely increased, however.
At one meter distance it was still more or less inaudible and very beinign,
with a soft muted quality; the measured SPL was <13 dBA.
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