AMD Zacate E-350 Processor Performance Preview - HotHardware

AMD Zacate E-350 Processor Performance Preview

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Last week we brought you a detailed overview of AMD's first ever, fully integrated CPU-GPU combination born out of the company's "Fusion" technology initiative.  Dubbed the first ever APU or Accelerated Processing Unit, AMD's claimed goal is to offer a more balance and efficient low power platform for thin and light notebooks and netbooks.  The CPU codename is "Zacate" and the new mobile platform AMD has been developing, is internally referred to as "Brazos".  But we're sure you're not here to read buzz words and code names. The data we shared with you last week was pretty much everything we knew, short of performance metrics.  We know, no fun at all. AMD wanted that information held until today.

However, before we let you run wild with the performance characteristics of AMD's upcoming E-350 Fusion processor, we should torture you a bit longer and delay things just slightly again with a bit of backdrop on the current status of the chip and our test conditions.  We spent time on site at AMD's Austin, Texas campus running tests on first generation AMD Zacate silicon.  Our test machine was far from a production build, but instead consisted of an engineering reference design motherboard.  The performance data you'll see on the following pages is preliminary and based on a version of the chip that has in fact already gone through yet another optimization spin.  Of course, ecosystem hardware and software partners are also bringing the chip up as well, so there should likely be more performance that can be wrung out of the chip prior to its launch. 

That said, AMD obviously felt comfortable enough to give us direct hands-on time with a Brazos system based on their new chip, so what you'll be seeing here we'll estimate to be within perhaps 90 to 95% of the final system's performance and power profile.   


It's not much to look at but we called it home for a day...

AMD Brazo Platform, Ontario and Zacate Processors
Specifications & Features


AMD E-350 Processor - Zacate @ 1.6GHz and it's tiny.

The version of the chip we looked at specifically was the higher-end 18 Watt chip that will be branded as the E-350 Fusion processor. This incarnation of Fusion goodness runs at 1.6GHz.  The 9 Watt version, codenamed Ontario, will be coming to market in Q1 2011.  The E-350 has dual "out of order" X86 cores built on a 40nm process technology, with a total of 1MB of L2 cache (512KB per core).  The chip also supports full X86-64 extensions and sports a 64-bit FPU as well.  On die is also a single channel DDR3 memory controller that is rated up to a 1066MHz interface speed and supports up to two DIMM slots.  Finally of course, is AMD's DX11-capable graphics core; specifically a Radeon HD 6310, which also incorporates AMD's new generation UVD3 video decode block that can be found on the recently launched Radeon HD 6800 family of graphics processors.

Paired with the Hudson IO controller chip, or Southbridge, and a few miscellaneous interface chips for things like Gigabit Ethernet and USB3 and you have essentially our full test platform for this performance preview.  Speaking of which, let's detail all of our test systems for you, next.

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So it works well and costs less than the Intel parts. It's business as usual, it seems.

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Not quite Neil.  Not only does it work well and cost less, it actually equals or excedes the performance at lower peak power and much lower idle power draw.  This thing is going to be a monster if AMD can get system builders on board.

What I would really like to see is a low end market chip made by fusing two Zacate's together and turning up the clocks a bit.  This would be =<38mm.  Heck, they could squeeze some more IO into the chip, maybe move the PCIe controller on chip if not on die.

I'm sure they should be able to squeeze 4@ 2Ghz core and 320@ 500Mhz video with dual channel memory into a 45 watt power envelope with PCIe on die/chip.  Pulling that off, 4@ 2.8Ghz core and 320@ 750Mhz video with dual channel memory into a 65 watt power envelope with PCIe on die/chip is not out of the question.  I think this would be an interesting chip to slot between Zacate and Llano.

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I meant business as usual pertaining to AMD's usual bang for the buck offerings.

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Ah, true that.  More bang for the buck without any of the drawbacks (more power draw, less overclocking headroom, etc) normally found in AMD CPUs the last couple of years.

I want to see AMD succed well with this.  They have been hurting the last few years and we really need them to push Intel and keep prices low.  If AMD dies, VIA sure won't be challenging Intel.

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agreed

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I agree with everything said so far on this product for sure. i find it interesting as AMD seems to be focusing on a more general usage area which I find ti be very smart. Across the board except for productivity platforms they beat themselves as well as Intel. The intelligent thing here is where we seem to be at in computers right now. The computer is becoming more and more of a do everything tool. This is especially true in the smaller lower power device's and of course the system in a box (IE: monitor/computer/touch screen in one). When they become more of a general device which can be used in multiple platforms like this the lowest price wins. AMD seems to have that in spades with this specific implementation.

As we all know us hardware junkies are one of the lowest in number in the market as users. This makes general consumers the highest along with general business usage. One thing I see here specifically is INTEL has almost no choice except for on total enthusiast part to lower there price point. That is on everything besides enthusiast parts. The great thing here is as a number of units sold the enthusiast products are pretty much also items with low impact on a whole business picture, except of course the performance crown.

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amd has challenge intel and do a better job performance wise!!!! they are trying to improve but it always seems that they want to be in second spot!!!

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AMD wins with 1.5 - 2.8 ghz E350 processors with 15 - 35 watts, with 80 radeon cores (230 - 450mhz) ; which beats the INTEL's Atom, Celeron, and the pentium (released until 2006 editions)...

 AMD is popular to provide the majority of people with a technology gadget. In my opinion that is a successful enterpreneurship - to market and sell processors, and survive even through they are pitted against an INTEL conglomerate. AMD wins.

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Nice "pre" review. Congrats.

However you should have included in the review performance results from a regular 1.6GHz atom. Without Nvidia graphics. Like the ones most people have? :-)

Regards,

 

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I love amd chips. Great performance and at a low price for those who dont need some 1000$ cpu. Going to need a new laptop soon and it would be cool to get one of those chips with it.

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