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AMD unveils Zacate APU

AMD unveils Zacate APU

The Zacate APU chip will beat Intel's Core i5 processors at portable gaming, claims AMD.

While Intel is grabbing the headlines with its Sandy Bridge line at IDF, AMD is continuing its tradition of subverting the event with a little gathering of its own in a nearby hotel - and it's taken the opportunity to unveil Zacate, its first Accelerated Processor Unit.

Part of the company's Fusion range, Zacate combines ATI graphics with an AMD processor in a single chip - and at a claimed power draw of between 9 and 18 watts under load, it's a chip which AMD is going to be aiming at the ultra-slim and portable markets.

Interestingly, the company isn't looking to take on Intel's Atom directly: rather, Maximum PC claims that Zacate is designed to compete with Intel's Core i5 and provide a low-power solution for gamers on the go. While that might seem too good to be true, attendees at the launch were treated to MMORPG City of Heroes: Going Rogue running on a Zacate-based system at perfectly playable framerates.

PC Magazine claims that the Zacate chip was also put through its paces on the Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration demo, where it beat a Core i5 2.4GHz chip "by an order of magnitude."

As proof of its performance chops, AMD has posted a video of Zacate in action, showing it managing around ten frames per second higher than the comparison Core i5 chip.

Before you get too excited, there is a caveat with these particular examples: although several attendees attempted to get some firm figures regarding the actual specifications of the Zacate chip used in the demonstration, AMD remained tight-lipped and refused to discuss clockspeeds or features beyond confirming that the chip featured a pair of Bobcat cores.

AnandTech managed to confirm that Zacate will ship towards the end of this year, and that it will be joined by the Ontario part for netbooks which drops the power draw even further - despite AMD's assurance that it isn't gunning for the slate market.

While we'll have to wait for firm details as to actual specifications and expected volume pricing, it's clear that Intel's low-end chips could have a serious fight on their hands.

Are you excited about the possibilities promised by a low-power gaming-friendly processor, or will you need to see a proper review with firm specifications before you give up on i5? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

14 Comments

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confusis 14th September 2010, 10:27 Quote
in b4 crazyceo's pointless ramblings..

I do believe AMD is in for a good year, this seems to be a good product, will have to wait for a full review/etc before I make up my mind though.

Hmm wonder if it can play crysis?
SaNdCrAwLeR 14th September 2010, 10:28 Quote
hm... why does intel compare against their own products... and yet AMD tends to always compare against to the competition?
anyway, will only believe anything untill some proper figures from a neutral party are put out there for the world to see, cuz this seriously has manipulation all over it...
not to say that the core i5 isn't really that new
proxess 14th September 2010, 10:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by confusis
in b4 crazyceo's pointless ramblings..

Prepare for retaliations in 10... 9... 8...


Always good to know there's competition going on.
Kúsař 14th September 2010, 11:14 Quote
Does anyone know clock speed of those integrated radeon cores? If they're using same manufacturing tech for entire APU it should be able to run at higher speed, right?

Anyway, intel has some funny years to expect - ARM is taking on low end portable market while AMD aims at high end.
Cthippo 14th September 2010, 11:20 Quote
I wonder if perhaps AMD has decided to let Intel have the top end and instead to compete in the lower and mid-range markets, plus their historic mainstay of servers. There are a lot more people interested in low and mid range parts, and the capabilities, and price, of the super high end are so far beyond what 99% of people need.

The ongoing excitement over the ARM vs x86 debate shows where a lot of the interest is these days. Perhaps low power consumption is the new "ZOMG look at my 3DMark score!!"
javaman 14th September 2010, 11:55 Quote
lower to mid range is the bread and butter market. Also Look at ARM in the server market too. Lots of small low power cores seems to be the best solution for a lot of server tasks. Opteron is handling intels offering top end while not matching it clock for clock, the extra core solution over HT cores is useful in a handful of cases. Isn't bulldozer is aimed at HPC rather than bobcat anyway?
HyBry 14th September 2010, 12:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
I wonder if perhaps AMD has decided to let Intel have the top end and instead to compete in the lower and mid-range markets, plus their historic mainstay of servers. There are a lot more people interested in low and mid range parts, and the capabilities, and price, of the super high end are so far beyond what 99% of people need.

The ongoing excitement over the ARM vs x86 debate shows where a lot of the interest is these days. Perhaps low power consumption is the new "ZOMG look at my 3DMark score!!"

I think they gave up on trying to get the de facto best CPU on market long time ago. But I must say they are doeing good at delivering competitive product at low prices.

I really hope this makes its way in nettops as I am planning to get one to connect my TV
Timmy_the_tortoise 14th September 2010, 12:57 Quote
Why does the die look so weird?
StoneyMahoney 14th September 2010, 13:33 Quote
The demonstrations were gpu-heavy apps, so this doesn't tell us anything about the CPU. Considering the CPU and GPU product lines of Intel and AMD, it would seem to be business as usual - AMD has the better GPUs and... dunno about it's CPUs but I'd bet money they'll be disappointing.
Adnoctum 14th September 2010, 15:27 Quote
For several years now we've been whinging about how anaemic the Atom is for just about any task and the ancient, power hungry 945 chipset and the pathetic GMA950 graphics Intel bundles with it is inadequate.

These Bobcat-class CPUs GPUs APUs is exactly what we need for most tasks: a reasonable out-of-order CPU and capable graphics for HD video and games, all in a power efficient package.

I don't need the power of a full i5 in a laptop/netbook/nettop. So long as the CPU portion has the power of a 1.6-2.0GHz C2D or Turion X2 I'd be happy.
Lazy_Amp 14th September 2010, 16:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneyMahoney
The demonstrations were gpu-heavy apps, so this doesn't tell us anything about the CPU. Considering the CPU and GPU product lines of Intel and AMD, it would seem to be business as usual - AMD has the better GPUs and... dunno about it's CPUs but I'd bet money they'll be disappointing.

We already saw CPU specs on the CPU:
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2010/07/30/amd-ontario-performance-numbers-leaked/1

Not quite twice as fast as Atom, a bit under 90% of a full fat X2 at the same speed, much lower power consumption.
Sloth 14th September 2010, 16:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by confusis
in b4 crazyceo's pointless ramblings..

I do believe AMD is in for a good year, this seems to be a good product, will have to wait for a full review/etc before I make up my mind though.

Hmm wonder if it can play crysis?
That's actually a good question. It'd be a pretty nifty badge of honor for the chip!

Can't say I'd mind decent gaming performance on low power draw. Mobile graphics are just so lackluster, this could really help change that.
frontline 14th September 2010, 18:17 Quote
Interesting, it would only need to be able to compete with Core i3 as well as having half decent GPU performance to be worth a look for me.

If it really can compete with a Core i5 at 2.4Ghz then i'd be impressed.

Look forward to seeing some more info/reviews in due course.

*edit* damn that is small! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZE2SuJlJCw&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIvEtxYobJ4&feature=related
HourBeforeDawn 14th September 2010, 19:54 Quote
Awesome I will be all over a 12" netbook/laptop that comes offering this to replace my really hot and so/so battery life ION. Cant wait ^_^
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