AMD is finally starting to show off its new chips based on the new low power Bobcat core. The folks at Hard OCP got a chance to check out a test system with a new Zacate chip which uses 18W or less of power. The platform also covers the upcoming Ontario chips which are destined for netbooks and other low thin and light laptops. Ontario chips will top out at just 9W of power.

Oh yeah, and that’s 9W for a dual core chip with integrated Radeon HD 6250 graphics. The new chips will be some of the first “Fusion” chips from AMD, which combine the graphics and processor onto a single piece chip. They’ll support DDR3 memory, 3D and HD graphics, and DirectX 11.

In other words, it looks like AMD is ready to stop playing catchup with Intel’s Atom platform, and start competing head to head in the power consumption department.

At the same time, it looks like AMD expects the new architecture to offer significantly better CPU and graphics performance than the current Nile chips that are showing up in laptops like the Acer Aspire One 521 and Dell Inspiron M101z. Those laptops are already noticeably faster than typical Intel Atom powered netbooks.

The test rig Hard OCP tried out was able to handle 720p HD video, and was actually able to play Crysis at 720p resolution with the graphics settings set to their lowest. But that was with a Zacate chip, not an Ontario chip.

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7 replies on “AMD starts showing off next-generation low power chips”

  1. These new developments give incentive to wait instead of buying
    the dribbles from Intel on its Atom chips. The Atom N450 was a
    nontrivial improvement from the N280 in battery life, but the
    next significant step was the N550 dual core Atom CPU.

    It doesn’t make sense to buy products with N455 or N475
    CPUs as they only offered marginal incremental benefits.

    This goes to show that if you don’t absolutely NEED a netbook,
    holding out for really improved products pays off.

  2. If you look at the all the slides on the Hard OCP site, the Bobcat CPU’s are actually slower than the nile chips. The dual 1.6 bobcats are slower than the k325 nile in the Dell m101z – that’s a 1.3 ghz nile dual core chip. What they gain, however, is greatly enchanced (roughly double) GPU power, at the trade off of some CPU power versus Nile. Importantly, they also gain some good battery life advantages over Nile. It is critical that we understand what AMD is selling here. They are saying that even less than k325 Nile performance is adequate on the CPU side but what people want and need is GPU and battery.

    1. If AMD had come out with this when it was suppose to, remember it was originally suppose to come out back in 2008 to early 2009, they could have wiped the floor with Intel but now it’s too close to the release of Intel’s new offerings. AMD’s Fusion platform isn’t aimed at just low end systems btw, they’re just starting there. So it will compete directly with Intel’s Sandy Bridge, which will cover the full range of ULV to high end mobile processors, and then there’s Intel’s Ivy Bridge, which will come out in the second half of 2011 and ramps up the competition even more…AMD has often had the price advantage, but it has rarely given them the advantage they need against Intel unless they had a clear advantage and unfortunately for them that has historically never lasted very long…

      1. Intel has nothing to compete with Zacate, it would cost a fortune to produce a cut-down sandy-bridge i3, whereas Zacate will cost peanuts.

        Llano will have a tougher fight.

        1. Yes, Sandy Bridge only goes down to a TDP of 35W and that’s for the Core i3-2100T. While AMD will be offer up to about half of that TDP.

          But Sandy Bridge will also bring down the price, while still boosting performance and reducing overall power usage. Bringing it closure to AMD’s offering. While Ivy Bridge is slated to start showing up in the second half of 2011 and further reduce cost and power usage. So it’s not like Intel won’t compete.

          It would have been different if AMD had managed to get their offerings out when they originally intended but as now Intel has had time to catch up and reduce AMD’s advantage. So these low end offering from AMD will mainly only be a serious threat to Intel’s nettop and netbook lines.

          Overall though, as I already stated, AMD has had the price advantage many times before, yet Intel still does well.

  3. The upcoming generation or architectures from AMD and Intel are both VERY exciting for consumers. Lower power consumption, higher performance, better efficiency. Too bad we’re not getting similar evolution in areas like batteries and displays.

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