updated 12:25 pm EDT, Wed September 8, 2010
AMD Zacate chip debuts at IFA
AMD in the wrap-up of the IFA show detailed a new processor based on its Fusion hybrid CPU and graphics combos that would be targeted at a larger class of system than the netbook-oriented Ontario. Zacate will consume twice as much energy at 18W, likely due to a higher clock speed, but will be fast enough to drive ultraportable and budget notebooks as well as all-in-one and small desktops. It will have twin cores based on the Bobcat architecture and should be paired with graphics in the chip that can support DirectX 11 (OpenGL 4) 3D effects, hardware 1080p decoding and OpenCL.
The design is based on a 40 nanometer manufacturing process and is small enough to use similar space to the slower Intel Atom; the complete chip package is smaller than a euro coin. Both it and Ontario will run on a new mainboard platform, Brazos, built to support the entire platform for both desktop and notebook chips.
AMD didn't given Zacate an official timeframe, but it's unofficially slated for the second half of 2011.
The part may play an important role in pushing the performance of ultraportables and others in its class. Most of Intel's performance leaps have come in its CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, but their graphics performance has been considered a liability. AMD has recently taken a minor amount of share away, but most of its chips are either dropped directly into the netbook class, such as the Athlon II Neo, or else compete with full-size processors. Zacate would more directly challenge CULV and could be faster in graphics.