AMD Shows Off Die Shot of "Ontario" Chip for Netbooks

AMD Discloses Details About Ontario, Zacate

by Anton Shilov
09/08/2010 | 01:10 PM

Advanced Micro Devices has disclosed a die shot of the accelerated processing units (APU) for low-power devices that will be available commercially starting early 2011. Apparently, there are two versions of AMD's low-power APUs: Ontario, which will power netbooks and ultra-mobile devices as well as Zacate, which is designed for inexpensive notebooks.


AMD's low-power APUs Ontario and Zacate will generally have similar designs and similar set of capabilities. Both low-power APU versions feature two “Bobcat” x86 cores and graphics processing engine derived from code-named ATI Cedar chip that fully support DirectX11, DirectCompute  and OpenCL. Both APUs also include a new UVD dedicated hardware acceleration for HD video including 1920x1080 (1080p, full-HD) resolutions.

The main difference between Ontario and Zacate processors will be power consumption: the former will have thermal design power of just 9W and will be aimed at netbooks and similar small devices, whereas the latter will have TDP of 18W and will compete on the notebook market. This means that Ontario has more aggressive technologies to trim power consumption as well as lowered clock-speeds. Still both chips will come in very small form-factors.

The die shot does not reveal a lot due to the fact that the chip's "hot spots" are heavily distributed and the image itself has been altered due to competitive reasons. Although it is likely that L2 cache cells are located on the upper side of the die shot, it is not completely clear what are the regular structures in the middle of the chip.

AMD plans to ramp up production of Ontario and Zacate microprocessors later this year and plans to launch the Brazos platform supporting both central processing units early next year. It is also expected that AMD partners will introduce the first devices powered by the new technology early in 2011.