Even though it's the Intel Developer Forum, that's not going to stop AMD from taking advantage of the gathering of techies. AMD has its own suite for people to stop by, and the company is showing off some of its Fusion technology. Also shown at IFA, AMD has a Zacate platform on demo, which is based on Bobcat.
There will be two variations of the platform based on this APU. Ontario is the 9-Watt version aimed at netbooks and similar devices. The other is Zacate, featuring an 18-Watt TDP, meant to compete in the same segment as Intel’s current CULV-CPUs (Pentium, Core 2, Core 2 Duo). In both cases, the APU will contain two x86 cores and a DX11 compatible graphics unit (rumored to be a derivative of the Redwood family). It’s possible we will also see single-core versions of these chips. The APU uses a BGA package and is soldered directly onto the motherboard. Thanks to its very compact dimensions, that makes it ideal for especially small computers such as HTPCs using the ITX form factor in AMD’s opinion.
The demo consisted of three main parts, namely a game demo, some GPU accelerated applications, and HD video playback. First, we were shown City of Heroes running quite smoothly at 1366 x 768. Then AMD moved on to some HTML5 demos. On the first run, these were launched in the current version of Internet Explorer 8, running as choppy as one would expect. Then, the same demos were repeated using the latest preview version of Internet Explorer 9 with GPU acceleration enabled, which resulted in silky-smooth frame rates. We were also shown a short H.264 movie at 1080p, with Zacate once again having no trouble producing smooth playback. As a side note, the APU’s heatsink barely got warm to the touch during any of these tests, which bodes well for its use in mobile devices.
As far as AMD is concerned, the hardware is ready for action and will ship to OEMs during the fourth quarter of 2010. We should see several systems based on the new APUs at next year’s CES in January.
With contributions from Uwe Scheffel and Benjamin Kraft from Tom's Hardware Germany.