A few weeks ago AMD announced that it’s new low power Ontario chips for netbooks should begin shipping to PC makers by the end of 2010. There’s always a little gap between the date when a chip maker starts shipping a processor and the time when you can walk into a store and buy a notebook with that chip inside. But it looks like that gap won’t be too long in this instance.
DigiTimes is reporting that big name PC makers including Acer, Asus, and HP plan to launch Ontario-powered machines in the first quarter of 2011. The Ontario chip features a CPU and an integrated graphics processor.
The chipset is designed specifically for netbooks, featuring a low price tag, low energy use, and low heat generation. The strong suit of the AMD Ontario is expected to be its graphics component, which should provide higher performance graphics than you get from most Intel Atom-based netbooks.
On the other hand, I’ve been pretty impressed with the balance of power and energy consumption already available from AMD’s Nile chipset. At $349, the Acer Aspire One 521 is already pretty inexpensive, and it’s the same size as a typical netbook. I’m not sure there’s a market for a similar machine with a less powerful CPU unless the price is significantly lower… which it just might be.