Published in PC Hardware

AMD sheds more light on Brazos

by on10 November 2010

Already shipping to partners
AMD showcased its Brazos platform to select press members on Monday and the chipaker announced that it has already started shipping the first Brazos parts to partners.

The Brazos platform is based on Ontario and Zacate APUs, both of which are 40nm parts produced by TSMC. Brazos is the first Fusion platform to make it to the market and after talking up Fusion for years, AMD will finally be able to show what it's all about.

The Zacate series will initially comprise of two parts, as we already reported back in August. The E-240 is a single-core 1.5GHz processor, while the E-350 is a dual-core 1.6GHz part. Both share the same HD 6310 GPU, a DirectX 11 affair clocked at 500MHz. The Zacate parts have an 18W TDP and they will be suitable for ultraportable notebooks or affordable thin-and-light models. Intel currently dominates this market segment with its CULV series in several flavours.

Ontario parts feature a 9W TDP and they are aimed at smaller devices, mainly netbooks. It will also be available in dual-core and single-core flavours, designated C-50 and C-30 respectively. The C-50 is clocked at 1GHz, while the C-30 runs at 1.2GHz. Both feature HD 6250 graphics clocked at 280MHz.

AMD is still mum on performance figures, but the specs clearly indicate that the new processors will be more than a match for Intel's Atom platform, as well as some other low-voltage parts. The main advantage over Intel designs is AMD's graphics core, with proper shaders and HD video decoding. While few people will choose to run games on such a platform, superior graphics performance will make a difference in certain usage scenarios and GPU intensive applications.

In the past AMD had a hard time securing major design wins for its mobile platforms, but times are slowly changing, with an increasing number of vendors willing to embrace affordable AMD parts despite Intel's objections. This probably has something to do with a massive fine imposed on Intel over its uncompetitive practices in the EU.

Now it is up to AMD to prove that all those years of waiting weren't in vain and that the Fusion concept will take off. The tiny Ontario an Zacate will bear a huge weight on their shoulders as they will have to pave the way for additional Fusion parts scheduled to appear in 2011.

More here.
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