Zacate and Ontario officially launch, are ''now available''


— 11:31 AM on January 4, 2011

Radeon HD 6000M-series GPUs weren't the only new AMD products released today. Late last night, AMD officially introduced its Zacate and Ontario accelerated processing units, saying notebooks and netbooks based on them are "now available." I'm not finding anything at Newegg just yet, but the wording of the announcement suggests we should be finding listings before too long.

It sounds like Zacate and Ontario will have quite a following, too. AMD says it expects PC vendors including Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba to "announce plans to deliver AMD Fusion APU- based systems at very compelling value and mainstream price points." Even tablets based on the new silicon are on the way, although those aren't due out until later this quarter.

In case you missed our architectural overview, platform overview, and pre-release benchmarks, here's the Cliff's notes version: Zacate and Ontario combine AMD's brand-new Bobcat microarchitecture, DirectX 11-class integrated graphics, and the new UVD3 video decoding block in a single piece of silicon manufactured using TSMC's 40-nm fab process. Both Zacate and Ontario are available in dual- and single-core flavors, with the former having an 18W thermal envelope and the latter fitting into a 9W TDP. Our benchmarks showed that the quickest, dual-core Zacate model can keep up with Intel's entry-level CULV processors and deliver far better graphics performance.

As I said in our Zacate benchmark article, AMD's new APUs seem to have a lot of potential, but we're still missing one key piece of information: the battery life of laptops based on them. AMD talked of 8.5-hour or longer run times for Zacate systems.  However, "official" battery life numbers (be they from AMD or other sources) are usually a little... optimistic, shall we say. We'll have to get some Zacate- and Ontario-based systems in our hands to reach a final verdict.

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