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AMD Zacate Unveiled

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A couple of weeks ago, AMD unveiled the Bobcat core that will sit at the heart of its future Fusion Accelerated Processing units (APUs). Now the company has confirmed the first product based on this design will be an 18W part called Zacate that will find its way onto mainstream laptops and small desktops and be arriving at the tail end of this year.

Further down the line we'll also see Ontario which is a 9W part aimed more at netbook type devices, providing battery life of 10+ hours while still having a modicum of gaming performance.

Zacate, combines two Bobcat cores and a graphics core onto a single piece of silicon, as opposed to two bits of silicon on the same package, making it the first of AMD's Fusion line. Despite several attempts we couldn't confirm specs of the graphics core but we were told it will be DirectX11 compatible so theoretically can play all the latest games. Behind closed doors we were also shown a demo of the 18W part playing some 3D games and it appeared to offer playable framerates, but we weren't able to check what the settings of the game were.

Also shown was acclerated rendering of HTML5 content in a beta version of IE9 and HD video video playback.

The Bobcat design is to a certain extent a competitor to Intel's Atom core but will offer higher performance due largely to its out of order design, as opposed to the in order design of Atom. However, it will still be someway behind conventional laptop CPU designs so isn't really a competitor to Intel's recently announced Sandy Bridge designs. As such it seems destined to carve out its own niche of laptop device. Time will tell if that segment turns out to be lucrative or not.

Pricing and clock speeds for the parts haven't yet been officially revealed but while chatting to Vice President of Marketing for AMD, Leslie Sobon, we were told that they will be in the ball park of current Intel Pentium dual core prices. So £50 or so.


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