AMD's Low Power Fusion APU: Zacate Unveiled

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Though we're generally of the opinion that one needs to be careful not to drink too deeply from the company Kool-Aid, AMD's positioning for Zacate and the Brazos platform is something that makes a bit of sense to us.  In the ultra-mobile space, we've all been craving better graphics performance for some time now. 



NVIDIA capitalized on Intel's shortcomings in this area with their Ion series of graphics cores for Intel Atom and CULV designs.  With both a strong CPU and GPU core architecture in house, it would certainly appear that AMD has all the tools in place to setup Zacate to deliver on their claim of a more balanced computing experience.





In the high level block diagram and spec list above, you'll note that Zacate and Ontario share a common chip and system-level architecture.  Highlights are a dual-core X86-64 processor with a 64-bit FPU and 1MB of on-chip L2 cache.  Zacate and Ontario will have a full out-of-order execution and load-store architecture with an advanced branch predictor and secure virtualization capability.  

On the graphics side of the chip, there is are a pair of SIMD engines that are DX11 capable and are comprised of 80 AMD Vision Engine nanocores each.  Finally, the Unified Video Decoder that is found on both Zacate and Ontario is that same UVD3 block found on AMD's latest generation of Radeon HD 6800 series GPUs.  Add a single channel DDR3-1066 memory controller to the mix and AMD's serial UMI interface to their Hudson Southbridge IO hub and you have Zacate or Ontario, both of which come in dual and single core variants. 

Here's a listing of the various AMD Zacate and Ontario processor models and configurations for easier digestion:

“Zacate” (18W max)

  • AMD E-350 with AMD Radeon™ HD 6310 Graphics
    (dual-core CPU @ 1.6GHz & dual DX-11 SIMDs @ 500MHz) (NOTE: SIMD = 80x total Vision Engine nanocores for parallel computer capability and graphics)
  • AMD E-240 with AMD Radeon™ HD 6310 Graphics
    (single-core CPU @ 1.5GHz & dual DX-11 SIMDs @ 500MHz)

“Ontario” (9W max)

  • AMD C-50 with AMD Radeon™ HD 6250 Graphics
    (dual-core CPU @ 1.0GHz & dual DX-11 SIMDs @ 280MHz)
  • AMD C-30 with AMD Radeon™ HD 6250 Graphics
    (single-core CPU @ 1.2GHz & dual DX-11 SIMDs @ 280MHz)





The build-outs with Zacate and Ontario will be pretty straight-forward. Certain Zacate builds will even have the option for additional discrete graphics connectivity.

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Like to know how these things will be priced. The chance that NetBooks can use them and sell for even less than they do now is compelling.

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Not just Netbooks neil. I want to see what effect Zacate will have on the TNL notebook and the nettop markets. I don't think any Atom powered nettop will be able to compete with a Zacate powered nettop. In fact, I think a Zacate powered nettop will provide all the performance that 99% of home and office workers need.

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Sure agree that a  Zacate powered netop is def going to fill the bill for most users.

.It is going to be interesting to see how  successful AMD's marketing is going to be. This really looks like like a great op for them to grab a noticeable mainstream market because these a features that many are going to notice on first sight at a price point [very-likely] as well.

 

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is there a major difference between a Pentium T4500 and the AMD E-350?

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i dont know about the difference but i bought a laptop with the E-350 and i use cpu id on it and it says its really a dual core 2 ghz. And with four gigs of ram running with the video card i can play mercs 2 on high and fallout 3 with anti aliasing on 4x i know thats not much but for a laptop that was only 350 plus shipping was a great deal. The laptop is an acer aspire 5253 bz602. I know you think cheap when i say acer, but my friend bought a 500 sony vaio and it cant even play those games. It streams hd netflix perfectly and i can multitask pretty good without lag. But if you get this laptop get another 2gig stick o ram because it only comes with two. Another point is it doesnt get hot! It stays cool.

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