by Anton Shilov
01/31/2011 | 02:44 PM
Advanced Micro Devices claims that power consumption of its code-named Ontario accelerated processing unit (APU) can be reduced to 5W. Such APU can power devices like tablets, but it is clearly a temporary solution and going forward AMD will have to introduce a special chip designed specifically for tablets.
The limited edition AMD C-50 (1GHz) dual-core accelerated processing unit with 5W thermal design power (TDP) is a typical Ontario chip with some tweaks, e.g., different operation of input/output functionality, reduced amount of supported memory modules and some other, according to claims made by AMD in an interview with PC Watch web-site. At present the chip is used inside Acer 5745G hybrid tablet/netbook, which is projected to become available later this quarter.
Even 5W is pretty lot for tablets since the devices may simply overheat in warm countries or during usage of demanding applications. At present only Acer decided to adopt the limited edition flavour of AMD C-50 “Ontario” APU with 5W TDP to power its tablet and it remains to be seen whether other manufacturers will follow.
Sometimes in 2012 AMD plans to release a special APU for slate PCs code-named Wichita. The chip will be made using 28nm process technology and will naturally feature more aggressive capabilities to trim power consumption than current-generation Fusion products, such as Ontario and Zacate.
Both AMD and Intel are competing various ARM-architecture-based system-on-chip devices that have very low power consumption, but reduced performance compared to x86. It is crucial for both x86 chip designers to quickly enter the market with ultra low-power x86 SoCs to capture the tablet PC market and end-users’ mind share.