Netbook Review – AMD Fusion C50/C30 & Intel Atom N550

People who like Intel Atom which provides us the maximum portability on netbook. Even I have those Intel Atom, but what’s make me cry is about its lack of power in decoding H.264.

Yup, although I’m a fan of AMD chips but on that time Intel amused me on their tech on the smallest processor that they build specific for netbook. So the first netbook released with Intel Atom that I can see is the Acer Aspire One (AAO).

Yup, its light, mobile, and battery last longer than normal notebooks does. But I repeat again, they lack more on performance. It can’t do playback 1080p either streaming on Youtube, or media file.

No whining around here, what been bought have been bought. I can’t change the fact. So, I use my AAO normally for browsing the net on the go.

That’s turn out great until I saw this video…


I actually can’t believe what I’ve seen with my eyes at the last part. Single core?? With no Hyperthreading-like technology that Intel use in their Atom chips. Able to play 1080p video?

This beats my AAO which using Intel Atom N270 Single-core [1 Physical Core (Each core have 2 thread beause of Hyperthreading) = 2 Threads = 2 Threads. My AAO can't even play a 1080p video. Jitters and the video out of sync with the audio.

Even the Intel Atom N550 Dual-Core did have problem to start up the 1080p video. Wait, Single-core beats up Dual-core processor? Sure this is wierd. We thought more cores delivers more power right? But today is unexplainable.

AMD newest chip called Brazos. They are direct competition to Intel Atom.

I'll provide the data for those 3 specs that they use...

[From Left]

Intel Atom N550 Dual-core 1.5 GHz
[2 Physical Core + 2 Logical Core (Hyperthreading) = 2 Core = 4 Threads]

AMD Fusion C50 Dual-core 1.0GHz
[2 Physical Core = 2 Core = 2 Threads]

AMD Fusion C30 Single-core 1.2GHz
[1 Physical Core = 1 Core = 1Thread]

As normal, more cores or thread delivers more power right? But how can we explain it when we saw this thing? Both AMD and Intel chips are using same technology that is CPU+GPU on a single chip.

This what makes me cry and think why Intel can’t deliver this to user?

21 thoughts on “Netbook Review – AMD Fusion C50/C30 & Intel Atom N550

  1. isn’t the same technology, intel is using his gpu 3150(the atom 270 uses the 950express-old and obsolet)and AMD uses a better CPU based in radeon graphics…in graphics the better way to win is a better GPU, the processor isn’t important…sorry if my english is bad…but i’m learning.

  2. Your English is well informed. No problem. Thanks on your comments!

    Ahem, both Intel and AMD that were compared in this post are using the same level of technology.

    They are both integrated with CPU + GPU on a single chip. Thus making the system less bottleneck issue to communicates CPU with GPU.

    If you are comparing the Intel Atom 270 to this latest AMD Fusion then yes it have inequality on the technology level. But this is the new Intel Atom N550 which is also the same as AMD Fusion. CPU + GPU on the single chip.

    Then in this kind of new technology, CPU and GPU working together to build data and others as well. So CPU and GPU will constantly communicate because they shared the same cache in the chip.

    Alas, the lower the CPU usage on high demand usage (let say decoding a Blu-ray), the lower the temps in the core and lowers the power usage and also power losses.

    That makes perfect for a us to retain battery life on our notebook/netbook.

    But what I want to express is about why does Intel can’t deliver this kind of performance before AMD does?

    Saying this will make me a bias to something. But were are consumers should take care what the technology were provided to us. Does it latest technology? It’s relevant to the price?

    Your point is right. AMD using better GPU than Intel does. But why can AMD do it first? Impressing people on “Hey, we can watch blurays in a netbook” so alike.

    But comparing on price? Why both are the same price but differ in performance? Now we wonders.

    Competitions between brands and labels will affects the consumers. The more we pay would gives me better performance yeah?

    You see, Intel is leading the world of computing engineering right? So why a leading can’t give such thing?

    This because of marketing plans. We are in the game. That’s why we need to watch what we buy and does it stable in ‘price vs performance’?


  3. Oh yeah, about your point in ‘cpu processing power’ does not related with video encoding and decoding.

    I make a self test and research on it.
    Right now I’m using a Quad Core running at 3.20GHz stock speed.

    Then I’ll try disable 2-cores and dropped the core speed to 1.0GHz. Then I’ll try to watch Blurays but fail to get a good watchable frame rate.

    By the way, I’m using AMD Radeon HD5870 which is an High End graphic card. I tried to overclock the graphic and retain the 1.0GHz but still the same.

  4. aXis, +1 rep. Many people today go blindly for intel and i agree with your point that amd plays better in term of price vs performance.

    Besides, can i know the limit of running games(starcraft 2, DoTa, call of duty, etc) since it have integrate graphicard? Interest to know..appreciate if do know.

  5. Thx for the ‘+1 rep’ anon, much appreciate.

    Yes. Intel really does give performance but mostly of it are in high price. In computer world, most of the users are students who also frequently play games.

    Students are students. They didn’t do jobs or work. So, in order to have them own a PC is to be wise on buying things. That’s what AMD trying to be one is to provide an affordable PC for budget wise users.

    For your question,
    I can’t really confirm that all games you listed will run smoothly with the AMD Fusion C50. Since I didn’t own them, I can’t even start a test also! So, my self-test and research are no go here.

    But I’ve been watching some cool videos about the AMD C50 that plugged into a netbook. It’s quite promising that most games based on DirectX 9 can play without having too much frame drops in game.

    You can watch and refer it on YouTube. Go to this YouTube channel link:

    In fact, I rather quite amazed that the netbook able to play intense game. With lowered graphic as you may guess.

    Credits go to the owner of the videos for providing such a good reference video to watch.

  6. to axis, you keep saying they are using the came tech. but you are not listening to what he said. yes they both have cpu and gpu on one, but the amd built in gpu is better than the intel, and the intel cpu is better than the amdcpu built in. that is the diff.

  7. If you say that the Intel have better in terms of CPU Performance then its Ok. I accept it. Yeah 1.5GHz vs 1.0GHz/1.2GHz is obviously we can know who is the winner.

    Then why they got problem playing or decoding the Blu-Ray movie? Can someone explain this?

    Are those 3 netbooks were using DXVA (use GPU to decode rather than CPU) to decode? If it does, than that will explain why the playback show us drop in frame rates because we relying on what you so called it Intel GMA that is a GPU performing lesser than AMD GPU counterparts.

    In this part, you can say that AMD C50/C30 comparing their GPU with Intel Atom Integrated GMA by using DXVA to run Blu-ray playback. Thats why AMD wins. OK settled here

    If they were not using DXVA, which just relying on the CPU to decode the Blu-ray codec… Then explain why its playback are laggy in that Atom platform? You said before that Intel Atom is better than the AMD C50.

  8. Sorry guys if this post bringing up the heat. What more important here is not to be biased to conclusion.

    I tried to explain the best I can do. If you can provide me some data to show that my statement there were… misinformation, then go for it.

    What I’m sharing here is my opinion. You guys can also contribute to it if my point here were wrong.


    Oh yeah, I tried my discrete GPU that is HD5870 to decode Blu-ray video by using DXVA. Playback are nice, but when comes to find/seek/forwarding to certain point, the video stuck for some moment and play its back normally.

    This doesn’t occurs too much if I’m using my CPU for decoding.

    I didn’t for underclocked CPU speed yet. I tried it later. Wait for another post relevant to this. I’ll try to make out some test.

  9. READ THIS! The 1080p playback uses hardware acceleration on youtube with Flash (if you right click, go to settings, you will see “Hardware acceleration” checked off). This means that encoding/decoding of the 1080p video is being offloaded by the GPU. NOT the CPU!!! Obviously the CPU has to work for it, but the GPU is used more-so. Intel GMA 3150 (which I believe is what the Atom Dual-Core is using) is a BASIC GPU. The graphics with the C50/C30 are Radeon HD 6250, which, although are basic GPUs, are FAR superior to Intel GMA’s.

    Therefore, the C50/C30 struggle less than the Atom Dual-Core for 1080p video since the video is a *GPU* intensive task, NOT CPU! So the Atom Dual Core will have better performance for CPU intensive tasks (theoretically) since it has a faster clock speed, and more threads (2 cores + 2 threads = 4 threads).

    This is what the other “Anonymous” was trying to tell you. THIS is the reason that the C50/C30 play 1080p!

  10. Haha, I didn’t know that this thing will bringing up so well. Let’s discuss rather than arguing.

    Ok2. Right now. We all know that AMD C50 is capable to play 1080p using its ‘powerful’ equipped GPU. While Intel Atom didn’t perform too well because its current GPU that is Intel GMA 3150 is not well suited to decode 1080p Blurays or H264 codecs.

    I said before that comparing 1.5GHz Atom vs 1.0GHz C50 and we obviously know who is the winner. So its the Intel Atom 1.5GHz will be super outperform on CPU intensive task.

    But what I didn’t know is, if using the GPU to decode video is a bad idea to start with Atom. Why not using CPU instead? We sure know that Intel Atom processors is fully equipped with SSE1, SSE2, SSE3 and SSS3 instructions. That particular instructions is used to enhance the decoding speed for CPU. Why not benefits all the instructions then?

    Easy to explain by flow.
    GPU decoding
    = Intel cant perform well with its GMA 3150
    = AMD outperforms by using its powerful Radeon 6250

    This will explain why AMD can play 1080p

    Then if Intel cant use GPU. Since they have their powerful CPUs right?
    What about using
    CPU decoding?
    = Intel ?
    = AMD cant compete well with it’s 1.0GHz CPU. So thats why ‘GPU assisted technology’ is raised and fully use

    If Intel are so call ‘Intelligent’ in micro-processor industries.

    [Check again]
    Try to re-check all of the image I provided.

    Both AMD C50 and C30 are in low activity when you look at the TaskManager CPU chart.

    (AMD C50)

    (AMD C30)

    But if you look on Intel Atom N550

    You can see that is ‘its processor’ / ‘CPU’ is doing the video decoding. Its because that the chart shows us the CPU is running actively decode the H264 codecs.

    The Intel Atom N550 uses all its threads in order to decode a single video.

    Why its GPU can’t decode well. We need solid reason here. Then they should use CPU instead beause they have more threads compared to AMDs.

    Why they didn’t use 100% of its CPU’s technology and instructions capability since they have that advantages there.

    Refering to [Check again] part, they are using CPU for decode the video, if we saying Intel CPU are powerful, far more better than AMD CPU, explain why they need ‘all’ the powerful Threads instead of one?

    Why they always expensive compared to AMD?

    I know that ‘How can C50 capable to play 1080 H264 video’. But why Intel powerful CPU can’t? Everyone said that Intel have powerful CPU compared to AMD. But the picture and video are showing that: They are using Intel CPU to decode rather than GPU. So? Where so call powerful here?

    Cheers man. Try to do some homework. Thanks to all “Anonymous” who contribute some thoughts here.

  11. did amd cpu abe to play 1080?
    may be it can’t…
    # because amd cpu is worse than the intel cpu.
    # and intel cpu is not capable
    # so the amd cpu will not capable either
    but,did the amd cpu more not capable (i mean, if i play 1080 using amd cpu, will it as bad as intel or worse than it)

    1# if the answer is “as bad as”, then amd platform is clearly better.(they have better gpu and the same as bad intel cpu)

    2# if the answer is “worse than it”,then the score might go balanced and we still can’t determine which platform is better.

    if the answer is number 2 (it mean,both of them have equal average performance) but the amd platform is cheaper, then amd will be better choice. But it doesn’t mean that amd technologies has advanced further than intel.

    Maybe they(AMD) are just cutting profit margin to get the market (and surely they will suffer from lower income)


    Intel might just enjoying their market share thus making them confidence to highen up the margin (surely they will enjoy higher income) and spend the money for their next research and invention

    If we really want to determine which is better, we might need to have in-depth analysis including sales report,promotion, CSR program and some other thing (in this case we are comparing intel and amd as economical entity, rather than just comparing their product) that by doing this might cost more than just buying the more expensive platform.

    After all,this is just my thought and full of assumption (tell me if you notice fatal bad english)

  12. Yeah. That’s what can bring to end this topic. Thanks to ‘a nuha r’.

    Yup. Intel raise up their product prices in order to to have bigger income. Yes this is quite true based on their employees numbers right? Intel do pay their employees from profits they gained.

    Aside to AMD. AMD are competitors. They have smaller number of employees than Intel have. So they didn’t have any problems to raise their product prices to support in their employees payday.

    If you said that Intel runs researches and inventions, same as AMD do. If not, they they didn’t have this so called GPU assisted on decoding videos all in one processor.

    Back to basics. What I really don’t like what Intel is doing is, they raised too much on prices but can’t give exact performance on what we pay off.

    So what’s going on here? We are consumers so we have rights to know why we need to pay that much of amount although there another alternative on AMD that’s works also the same or slightly better and much more cheaper than Intel?

    Right now, if you’re following Intel news. As I know right now. Intel is currently have partnership with the SNSD girls. Yeah the korean pop girls group singers. They make ads for Intel too.

    So what I want to ask again. What we paid for? Ads? Or processor performance? That’s what need to recheck. People. Start thinking. If you start to guilt on supporting bad side. There always have the chance to change right?

    Intel have bad processor this year. Go for AMD
    AMD got bad processor for the next year. Surely you can go back to Intel ones right?

    But wise choice what makes the difference. Think about this. You’re thirsty. Need to buy drinking water. Stumbled across 2 brands. One with the popular brand, one with not so well known but you’ve heard of it.

    Price for a bottle of popular brand = 3 bottle of unpopular brand.
    Which will you choose?

    Thinking about brands. Yeah surely popular ones will we buy. But thinking about what you’ll get actually by paying that much will give you much better and more out of it. Why not changing? No one will blame you right? Because you’ve choose the right thing for that particular time.

    Same goes for chip maker like Intel and AMD. Popular brands makes it see much better even they didn’t perform well.

    This is not because of AMD is right or Intel is right. IT’s our rights to have what we pay for.

    Intel and its fans are too spoiled because they felt that there’s no on par competitor or rivals that can challenge them on what they are doing right now. Which the part that I don’t care much at all.

    But again, I repeated again. What do you do with your money? Why waste on something that can’t do right? I’m not side of AMD. If there is another competitor which performs better than AMD or Intel will rise up but with much much cheaper than AMD do right now, I would change to it also.

    Sorry for the rant. We all humans have rights to begin with. Be wise. Don’t let yourself to be controlled and manipulated by company’s marketing plans.

    Intel is pricer than AMD does. This which all we know.

    I use Intel before. Then I go for AMD for the 1st time. Thanks to the changes, I felt that I paid exactly what I hope for.

    But its hard for me back then. Yeah, changing unfamiliar brands surely doubtful.

    Then I heard about Atom being made out. I just buy it because their ads look promising to me. It run really nice on netbook.

    But after then, AMD brings up thier Fusion which drastically better than Atom. I changed to AMD and never regretted on having it.

    Well, different people gives different opinions right? Try to be wise not just on PCs. But to all things around us.

  13. Conclusion …. AMD FUSION (c-50 +gpu 6250) is faster than Intel Atom + 3150 to see any videos because the Gpu is 10x powerfull than gpu intel.
    Another thing I saw in you tube comparison between both in normal things … the AMD Fusion is faster than Intel in 80%. For exemple open programs! AMD fusion is better than Intel Atom n550 + 3150 in netbooks .. is a fact! Sorry fans of intel.

  14. @Sunny

    Decoding 1080p using GPU is what we call them as DirectX Video Accelerator (DXVA) right now.

    All system either Intel or AMD based will have the same “unplayable” problem if the setting were not configured properly.

    XD Cheers

  15. i think which the best intel n550 or amd c50 is from user oriented.If it use for gaming and video play/record than amd is the answer.But if the user use that for daily use,example for office and standart entertaiment use than the choice is intel. Why?

    intel as theory have a better performance, u can see it in cpu benchmark. So why amd wins in this reviews? because the main variabel is just the image which amd great in this section. Just like compare camel and horse,in desert,camel will much struggle for sure,you will statisfied when you camel in desert than horse. They will deliver you where ever do you want. But the quenstion are you spend your life in desert forever? or you just rarely in desert?

    Same like that are you just spend your life in editing and wacthing video?

    As we can see intel now is take control in high and mid cpu( intel core i7 is unbeaten right),and look like amd is surrended in high and mid class,so they focus in low class( amd e350&e450). Looks like amd us win in this class( for now). i think it just a intel strategies,after they got much profit in high and mid class they will heavily attack low class and ended amd processor domination

    just a share(sorry for my bad english)

  16. ok lets just clear this up lil more. If i’m building a workstation for ripping video i want Intel (I7 or Xeon). If Im watching video or doing games or just basic day to day software go with AMD. If Im building a server Its AMD. New Intel has been so disappointing when i have to explain why I3 is more bottle necked then Sempron. Yes May be quicker to start but not when i’m running 8 or more programs. Atoms Single and dual core aren’t even good enough to use with webpage and flash. I spend my money for computers to wait on me not me wait on them. I was looking for tech specs here on new fusion so I wouldn’t waste my money on blowing smoke. there was good points and thanks I think from this article and other reviews the AMD seems like it be worth $300. I Appreciate this post good day all

  17. I think you should look at the company resources. Did not AMD merge with Radeon, now we see the results? PARALLEL PROCESSING of GPU’s is far superior to cpu processing so AMD has beat Intel on this by aquisition of graphics company in 2006

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