AMD previews Brazos platform, first Fusion APUs

By Jos · 23 replies
Nov 9, 2010
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  1. AMD recently disclosed some fresh details about the Brazos platform that will put the first Fusion chips into low power systems early next year. In case you need a refresher, the Brazos architecture incorporates the "Bobcat" core design, which itself will be integrated into two processors known as Zacate and Ontario. Both of these chips are very low power units (18 and 9W TDP, respectively) and are targeted for sub-$500 ultraportable, netbook and nettop systems.

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  2. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,377   +168

    "Low-end APUs like the C-30 probably won’t put the Atom N450 to shame in terms of raw CPU performance"

    Are you saying that the C-30 could have lower performance than the N450? Or will it just not be significantly faster? Either way that sounds quite bad. I was hoping that AMD will have something that soundly beats a dual core Atom that's coupled with Ion 2. The current specs make it seem like that won't be the case.

    I'll be waiting for next week's benchmark results, but so far I must say the wind has left my sails. I was very much waiting to buy a Bobcat based netbook and now not so much.
  3. kevin1212

    kevin1212 TS Rookie Posts: 45

    I think fusion will be the better option for netbook/notebook users, and even the mainstream desktop users. But one can argue that its too big a sacrifice on cpu power for gpu, perhaps the mild gamers will appreciate it, but AMD may find themselves trying to convince people that a stronger gpu is necessary. I think the efficiency will be a big leap, probably better than intel's for now. Time will tell, they're certainly making more interesting strides than intel.

    Intel's first batch of integrated gpu's were geared towards who i don't know... powerful cpu's with super weak gpu's... gamers cant use the gpu, and casual users dont need the cpu. These Sandy Bridge processors seem no different, until the new i7's without gpu's come out late next year. I think intel has such a great lead that they aren't thinking anymore. Nvidia made that mistake and ATI lit a fire under their asses.
  4. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    I'd say comparable CPU performance with enhanced graphics would be a win over the Atom + Ion 2 package. Plus, in theory at least, it should be cheaper to develop for and more efficient (since it's an integrated APU, not 2 separate products kludged together). Only time (and actual benchmarks) will tell.

    Oh, and once Intel's APU entry hits the market, don't be surprised if Ions begin to go the way of the Dodo bird, since Intel now does not have to integrate PCIe connectivity in them.
  5. Demons

    Demons TS Enthusiast Posts: 54

    I think this will be an awesome solution for an HTPC. I love my media center and I'm always looking for ways of saving on energy without the sacrifice of performance since it is running all of the time. If performance is as good as they say it will be, I just/ may have to get one of these systems. Low wattage and still high performance for video playback... sounds like a winner to me!
  6. jankovicgood

    jankovicgood TS Rookie

    It is nice to see AMD competing with Intel in the HTPC sector, those ATOM processors are not enough for my needs.
  7. TeamworkGuy2

    TeamworkGuy2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 191

    I agree with ET3D, I though the Fusion APUs was going to give some more important CPUs a run for their money, not the Atom... Well, hopefully the E-350 model will be something, interested to see what they cost.
  8. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 646   +89

    About damn time. The whole reason AMD but ATI, from my understanding was to merge CPU and GPU together and reap all of the benefits and it's just now starting to happen. I dream of a day where you can have a great CPU and a great INTEGRATED GPU together to work like Crocket and Tubs or Bonnie and Clyde or Batman and Robin get the point.
  9. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    It will take many years to get there (depending upon how much effort is put into this) because you don't just need to improve the CPU/GPU architecture but also data paths, but I think that is the future, as this integration of a reasonably fast CPU + reasonably priced GPU (midstream) makes lots of sense, and it can be cost effective in several ways.
  10. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 646   +89

    I'm sure business also has a lot to do with it. Afterall, Nvidia and AMD are in the business of selling dedicated graphics cards as well. :)
  11. customcarvin

    customcarvin TS Enthusiast Posts: 103   +8

    I agree with Demons, I think these procs will be great for HTPC type applications where a good CPU/GPU is needed to decode say, high rez h.264, but in the netbook market, very little GPU is required for what netbooks are intended for, surfing, docs, light media (no high def). Let's face it, if you want do portable gaming get a laptop with a decent dedicated GPU. If these are only marginally better than the Atom variations, IMO i don't see them doing too well in the netbook arena.
  12. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Exactly Jibberish. IGPs are sold in far greater numbers than the discrete solutions, and I don't see this changing any time soon.
  13. sMILEY4ever

    sMILEY4ever TS Booster Posts: 158

    Fusion+SB=win for customers.
  14. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,662   +1,096

    Cheaper, faster and more efficient. Exactly what netbooks need in a market that is saturated with poor performance netbooks and expensive tablets although i'm still not sure it will be enough.
    BTW i'm super exited for the notebook versions that AMD will make. those should give intel a big headache if they don't make a good enough APU.
  15. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Ah, but you are confusing the 2 different Fusion lines. This is the low end side, built to take on the Atom and fit into the ultra-mobile niche. Considering how popular mobile video and tightly integrated HTPC products are becoming, I think it'll blow the doors off the Atom in that market.

    But don't worry, the higher end APUs to compete with the big Intel processors are coming soon.
  16. nickblame

    nickblame TS Enthusiast Posts: 43

    At last an alternative to atom? Better late then ever right?
  17. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Well...if we're speculating...
    Intel ditches nvidia chipsets....Via acquire nvidia in a very friendly takeover...Jen Hsung gets an executive office + bags of filthy lucre for his stock options...and voilà ! Via, a bona fide member of the x86 license club can add GPU, and GPGPU/HPC (plus assorted apps, CUDA, Tegra, PhysX on CPU+GPU, design and driver teams etc.) to complement an already successful audio chipset business.
  18. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Hey! It's only been five years.
    Hopelessly dated ?
    Stupid and dead ?
    One part success, one part superfluous ?

    It's just a matter of time before CPU's with on-die graphics start tearing up the low end market. Only a small percentage of users are ever going to require mainstream (or better) discrete cards- and of that number, only a small subset are going to upgrade even on an occasional basis.
    How much of the market left to desktop/mobile discrete cards is going to depend almost entirely upon the image quality of future games. The rest of the consumer base will be happy with HD/BD playback and light graphics apps.

    Sorry for the consecutive posts...thought I was cutting-and-pasting into an edit
  19. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,377   +168

    That's the thing, I see that it'd provide an alternative to the Atom, but "blow the doors off the Atom"? Doesn't sound like it from the comments made in the news article. You can easily bundle an Atom with a chip to do video acceleration. If all you need is video, then a DX11 core is a total waste. It looks like the 3D core will be too weak to handle any gaming and AMD has yet to show a convincing use for it.

    Not soon enough. :) And I still doubt they'll be able to compete with the high end Intel processors. They'll probably fit into the current AMD market, i.e., value solutions.
  20. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I think probably more serious competition in this arena will start with the launch of Ivy Bridge later in 2011, which should have the performance on par-or-above the entry level discrete graphics.
  21. spyx

    spyx TS Rookie Posts: 57

    Im guessng this ill be in the new lenova thing thats supposed be better than the macbook air....
  22. Lokalaskurar

    Lokalaskurar TS Enthusiast Posts: 544

    A perfectly reasonable argument. Fusion and APU's as a whole will become serious business in the notebook-market for sure - lower power requirements leads to longer battery-life, or lighter batteries in total. Imagine what APU's will do for the celluar industry. Smartphones could very potentially perform even better in graphics, something worth considering when for instance developing digital pads.

    Gamers will be gamers, and extended graphics will most definently be required for future games to come. Perhaps GPU's could be replaced with something like and AGPU, with some graphics already calculated within the GPU's "core" (not litterary, of course). Just dreaming a little.

    As for companies, APU's could save them loads of expensive power, making their ordinary workstations less power-hungry when eliminating the need for a seperate GPU-chip on the motherboard. Not many Watts per workstation, but they come in quantity. Obviously, AMD is making much more interesting strides than Intel right now.
  23. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    If you are strictly talking about 'fusion' there may be some substance to this, otherwise, cpu architecture offered by Intel has been far superior for last 4 years or so, with the imminent release of Sandy Bridge, this gap will grow for now.

    Intel has been been making improvements to their IGP, but at much slower rate; I think Sandry Bridge will improve performance from the current lot, but more reasonable improvements will come with Ivy Bridge later in 2011.

    From an consumer's point of view, I'd rather like to be in a position where I no longer have the need to buy an mid-range discrete graphic card (being a casual gamer); something which is not going to happen in near future anyway.
  24. xcelofjkl

    xcelofjkl TS Rookie Posts: 86

    Fusion in my laptop, coffeemate in my coffee. Makes sense to me.

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