AMD has previously announced that its first Fusion chips for netbooks, based on the 40nm 'Ontario' architecture, are slated for release before the end of the year. But it looks like the first actual products to use them won't arrive until early next year. According to the latest update from DigiTimes, several major netbook manufacturers including the likes of Acer, Asus and HP are planning to introduce Fusion-based systems in the first quarter of 2011.

Intel has been pretty much the only real viable alternative for netbook makers since the category's inception. But if AMD can deliver on its low power consumption, affordable price, and strong performance claims they might finally bring some serious competition and rekindled excitement for the weakening netbook market.

German site reportedly managed to get their hands on some leaked performance numbers, and from the stats alone AMD's Ontario APU is starting to look promising. At 3,047 GIPS integer and 1,351 GLOPS floating point it performed almost twice as fast as Intel's Atom D510 and fell just 15% short of a low power Athlon II X2. It should be noted that Ontario based chips will offer a full DirectX 11 graphics core built in. We still don't know how Ontario will compare in the power consumption front against competing chips, but AMD says it will use up much less than the rumored 18W.