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.

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6 replies on “Netbooks sporting AMD Ontario chips due out early next year”

  1. I think the short-term benefit of Ontario is having the on-die GPU
    that (probably) beats any previous chipset IGP by maybe 3x
    (rumored to be 80 stream processors, and probably clocking higher
    than a chipset GPU because it’s in 40nm).

    If the various software/driver stuff is in place to use that for video
    as well as low-end gaming, then it has the potential to be much
    better than any previous netbook. And with a small die and not
    much else needed in the chipset, it should also be potentially
    cheaper than previous netbooks.

    Nothing radically new, but a neat bit of engineering that could
    grab a chunk of market share (and grow the market).

  2. It’s going to get very very interesting. Who knows how this shakes down. If Karma plays a role, Intel will be pwned by the new AMD processor. I certainly hope that their toying around comes back to bite them on the arse.

    AMD is likely to screw up the ecosystem and the painful structure and slotting of processors. The mold is about to be broken.

    Here is what the ultimate solution is. Long battery life, gaming and HD capable, lightweight and processing power in the lowest price point computer. That’s the netbook I’m counting on.

    It only takes one rebel to mess up the smooth uncontested processor marketplace. It’s going to be a bitter pill of the big dogs to swallow. What the consumer is ultimately going to say is, please give me a cheap price and long battery. I don’t need the extra power that you’re pushing at the ultra thin laptop price point.

    The fact is, Atom could support great HD graphics if they wanted it to. Problem is, who would buy the next step up? Nobody. Since AMD is about to do what Intel never did, you will see a large disturbance in the force Luke.

  3. Ontario is new architecture that should deliver everything better than nile both the CPU and GPU will offer all the performance you will need in a battery friendly fashion… it will make ATOM look really like a poor choice.

  4. So Ontario based processors will not be faster than current AMD CULVs?

  5. As time gets near, things seem to be betting impressive. The big differences between netbooks and notebooks are closing.

    AMD processors for netbooks will be a good thing actually. We could get netbooks at even cheaper pricetag than what we have on the market now.

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