Several Zacate motherboards coming in January

In the market for a motherboard based on AMD’s new Fusion APUs? According to The Inquirer, you should have plenty of choices come January. The site says Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and Sapphire will all have Zacate-based motherboards ready for the Consumer Electronics Show early next month.

A picture of Gigabyte’s take on Zacate surfaced about a week ago, and we already know a fair bit about the platform itself. Back in November, Cyril took an in-depth look at AMD’s Brazos platform, which encompasses Zacate and Ontario variants. We followed that with a series of Brazos benchmarks pitting Zacate against a collection of mobile alternatives. The verdict: Zacate has enough CPU horsepower to keep up with Intel’s CULV processors, and its integrated graphics component is nearly as quick as a low-end discrete GPU.

We have a weakness for small-form-factor systems here at TR, and Zacate looks like a perfect basis for low-power desktops, home-theater PCs, and closet file servers. For those first two applications, Intel’s Atom offerings are a little slow and really need to be paired with a graphics processor to handle HD and Flash video decoding. Zacate replaces the resulting three-chip combo with a more elegant two-chip approach that should be easier for motherboard makers to squeeze into Mini-ITX dimensions.

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    • Flatland_Spider
    • 9 years ago

    I I can’t wait for these to hit the shelves. I need to build a little network server — DNS, DHCP, Directory Services, SSH or VPN server, maybe some light web serving — and this would be nicer then an Atom based system.

    I would like to base the system on FreeBSD, so the extra processing power would help with compiling the code.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    It’s funny how the industry has shifted lately. Before, all we wanted was speed, speed, speed. Now, we kinda asked ourselves, “Hold on a minute, let’s go back a little and slow things up a bit, then we can start to get faster all over again.” Duh. I guess Intel and AMD are really sweating bullets cranking out more IPC and instead want us to forget all about speed and focus on portability and new form factors.

    • cegras
    • 9 years ago

    Edit: wrong reply.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    Motherboard manufacturers and OEM’s are gonna love these guys. Disposable computers. With the CPU soldered on, it is only a matter of time until the ram will be to as well as any expansion capability taken away. It’s a PC version of a Mac.

      • willmore
      • 9 years ago

      So, you’ve never seen embedded PCs before?

        • cegras
        • 9 years ago

        Embedded what?

        • Deanjo
        • 9 years ago

        Yup, also threw many of dead/obsolete ones out. The disposable computer age is already here. How many people are on their 2md or 3rd netbook? How many are still using the original ones made in 1997?

        Time for Bic to start making computers.

          • Ethyriel
          • 9 years ago

          Now with seven screens, each providing a closer look at your porn than the one before!

          Actually…

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s only a matter of time until the convergence of PC and smartphone design concepts because it’s the next logical step?

      If the RAM is built into the CPU/GPU and no longer requires a slow and inefficient interlink, is that really the end of the world? That’s exactly the sort of thing that computers have been improved by doing for the longest time. Nobody complains that you can’t upgrade your CPU’s cache anymore.

      It’s not like most “enthusiast” level desktops have needed more RAM than you could buy for under $100 for the last several years. Eventually, there’s an “enough” point for anything and it makes more sense to consolidate to improve things instead of piling on more of something that’s not going to be used.

      Even *gasp* graphics cards will get there soon enough.

        • Deanjo
        • 9 years ago

        Sounds alot like a console like a PS3 or Xbox doesn’t it? Less freedom and more DRM coming soon to a “PC” near you.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 9 years ago

          Sounds a lot like alien abductions, doesn’t it? Less coherence and more tin foil hats coming to a “Deanjo” near you.

            • Deanjo
            • 9 years ago

            No tin foil hats needed, you just have to remove the horse blinders.

        • esterhasz
        • 9 years ago

        Good point – I dimly remember upgrading the cache on my 286 12mhz (which I also overclocked to a massive 16mhz by changing the quartz, but that’s another story) and obviously the FPU went into the CPU as well with the 386DX. The reason why RAM will probably take a lot longer in the PC sector is – from what little I understand of the matter – that the CMOS process for CPUs is much more complex and costly than for DRAM and from an economic standpoint integration would not make a lot of sense, especially if you look at the reduced returns of increasing cache sizes. But hey, these parameters may change faster than one expects…

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 9 years ago

          I’m sure part of the issue with integrating RAM is that memory bandwidth and latency are more of a concern with servers that are potentially running several TB of RAM. Good luck putting that into a CPU chip!

          The issue of how economical it is would be moot if the motivation were there to do it, but the PC market on its own is never enough. How often does anyone do something first and foremost for PCs? They’ll keep selling whether they get any faster or better or not (just look at all the fudged “improvements” of the last few years). Even Atom isn’t actually intended for PCs.

          A lot of new things have come about with smartphones in mind, though, and those could reach a literal “system on a chip” pretty soon. Once that happens, it’s just a matter of time until they’re fast enough for typical PCs at higher power levels. There may always be “enthusiast” class desktop hardware, but it will be increasingly server-like, “graphics” cards (which are already becoming more motivated by HPC applications) and all.

    • abw
    • 9 years ago

    Pity its CPU part isn t a little more competitive…
    Curious to see how it performs in definitive platforms.

      • Goty
      • 9 years ago

      The only metric these CPUs could be considered non-competitive in is pure performance, but that’s not what they were targeting.

      • BlackStar
      • 9 years ago

      It’s better than an Atom, so…

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        So it’s AMD and it’s automatically “uncompetitive” because it’s not $1,000.

        • Ethyriel
        • 9 years ago

        The current Atom, anyway. Cedar Trail and Cedar View should at least be competitive with Zacate come early summer. As long as there aren’t any show stopping heat or performance issues, I’ll buy whichever I can build in a small, passively cooled package first.

          • BlackStar
          • 9 years ago

          6 months later and Zacate will still have vastly superior video drivers. There’s no competition.

          • mczak
          • 9 years ago

          I don’t know where you got the idea that Cedarview will be faster. It has been quiet, but early rumours all said the cpu will be roughly the same performance, possibly about 10% faster, as the current one. It will, however, instead feature lower power consumption.
          The graphics core is a different matter though. It should support DX 10.1 and support hardware accelerated video (h.264) playback, which would likely point to it being based on the gpu core of the (coming soon) sandy bridge cpus. It will probably be downscaled and clocked lower but I guess it will likely still be ways ahead of the current one. I don’t want to guess how it will compare to Zacate, though I don’t think it will reach its performance, this is a lower power platform after all.

            • Ethyriel
            • 9 years ago

            When I saw those rumors I assumed that’s per clock, and that we’ll see some pretty big clock speed bumps considering 32nm has been a pretty successful process for Intel. Factor in lower heat dissipation, increased graphics that are actually, you know, finally capable of actually processing graphics related stuff, that’s looking competitive.

            Notice that I never said it would be faster. AMD seems to be jamming Zacate between Atom and CULV, so Intel needs to beat them with value on one side, and outperform them on the other to limit the niche.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    sweet. I’d like to get one of these. I don’t know if i’d prefer a good notebook, or an Adam

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      Does your wife know about your homosexual tendencies? (Or is that why she was sleeping around?)

      Congratz on yet another #1. What’s the score so far this month?

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        I don’t know. it’s too many to keep track of!

        also, she might be on to me… she’s pretty clever….

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          …but are you onto her?

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            once in a while. if i can get a hold of some roofalin….

            • anotherengineer
            • 9 years ago

            wow I don’t need roofalin for her 😉 unless it’s cause she’s had some already?!?!?! 😀

      • willmore
      • 9 years ago

      Wait, a Coleco Adam?

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