AMD's Low Power Fusion APU: Zacate Unveiled

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Zacate CPU and Platform Details

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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