Advanced Micro Devices reportedly plans to initially release two central processing units (CPUs) that belong to Ontario family of chips and feature a Bobcat micro-architecture x86 cores as well as DirectX 11-class graphics engine. The code-named Zacate microprocessors will sport different performance and power points.
Apparently, starting late this year AMD will ship two Zacate processors for revenue: a dual-core chip with DirectX 11 graphics controller with 25W thermal design power as well as single-core processor with DX11 graphics engine with 18W thermal envelope, according to a slide published by ATI-Forum.de web-site. TDPs of both chips raise more questions than answers since the chips are supposed to be very low power. It is rumoured that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will start volume production of Zacate CPUs already this quarter. Both products are likely to be formally unleashed at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2011.
The chip designer expects actual systems based on the code-named Ontario accelerated processing units (APUs) to become available early next year. Unfortunately, those devices will not be revolutionary technological masterpieces, but rather prosaic low-cost netbooks with improved performance of microprocessor as well as DirectX 11 graphics support. While at present there are no netbooks with such feature-set, it is not generally clear whether there is demand for advanced graphics on netbooks with small screens.
AMD code-named Ontario features two x86 cores based on Bobcat micro-architecture, integrated DirectX 11-class graphics core and DDR3 memory controller on a single-chip system-on-chip (SoC) device. As reported previously, the Bobcat micro-architecture features x86-64, virtualization, SSE, SSE2, SSE3 technologies and will be single-threaded with out-of-order execution. The actual Ontario microprocessor, which is a dual-core chip, will be able to offer 90% of today’s “mainstream performance” in less than half of die area. AMD claims that Bobcat-based products are sub-1W capable. The SoC will be made using a 40nm fabrication process at TSMC. AMD Ontario is the key part of AMD Brazos platform for low-power devices.
AMD did not comment on the news-story.