AMD cooks up 5W Ontario APU for slates

Well, that explains how AMD’s new family of APUs is going to sneak its way into slates despite relatively high 9W and 18W power envelopes. According to PC Watch, the 9W and 18W parts are just the tip of the iceberg. At a press conference in Singapore, AMD reportedly showed an Acer tablet powered by a 5W Ontario accelerated processing unit.

Maybe it’s because it’s early on a Monday morning, but beyond revealing the existence of the chip, the automated translation of the PC Watch piece doesn’t seem very clear to me. Luckily, the folks at Softpedia seem to have figured it out. They say AMD managed to get its dual-core C-50 APU into a 5W power envelope by limiting the "number of frequencies and terminations" supported by the memory controller and by limiting I/O.

The result, apparently, is a 5W version of the AMD C-50 that still has two cores and, judging by this screenshot PC Watch grabbed, a 1GHz clock speed. That sounds awfully fast compared to other slate-bound processors. Of course, the Acer slate in question does look a little plump—and being Windows-based, it probably won’t be competing against the iPad and Android 3.0 devices.

Comments closed
    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    “Dirk, trim that fat Ontario down and make it into a slate-capable CPU.”

    “No. That will degrade its performance too much. I shall not do it. I cannot dishonor the awesome of AMD by doing such a thing. Never. NEVER EVER! I don’t care how much sense it makes to try and win the tablet market, I shan’t do it because I don’t think tablets are the future. They’re just netbooks with touchscreens and netbooks are a fad.”

    “Are you sure that’s your final answer?”

    “Yes. That is my final answer.”

    “Perhaps you’d like to phone home and ask your wife about it?”

    “No. Final. Answer.”

    “Awwww, too bad. The answer was really, ‘Yes, masters, I’ll do anything you ask, up to and including gut the company in a selloff to Oracle!’ What do we have for him, Bob?”

    Announcer: “For today’s unlucky loser, we have a public boot to the butt and an unceremonious end to a stellar run for a company that looked poised to go bankrupt not two years ago!”

    “Thanks, Bob. Okay, Bubba. You can escort the Dirkster from the premises. Don’t worry, my man. We’ll mail you your personal crap from your office in a few weeks after we’ve whizzed all over it all. Also, Bubba?”

    “Yes, sir?”

    “When you return, I want you to go down to R&D and tell them we require a 5W version of Ontario immediately. We cannot lose the tablet market. Tablets running Windows will be powered by an AMD fusion product even if it drives us out of business to do it!”

    “Absolutely, Mr. Luthor.”

    “Excellent!”

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Holy crap – they engineered this chip in 13 days??!?

        • mutarasector
        • 9 years ago

        While I find HisDivineShadow’s ‘play’ rather humorous, I doubt it accurately portays the reality behind the scene at AMD. As you (accurately) observed, 13 days is an awfully fast (re)engineering of Ontario to simply fit it into a 5W envelope. This particular APU would have had to been in development for a while now. If anything, the arrival of this Ontario APU this soon raises even more questions as to Dirk’s sudden ‘departure’ from AMD. There’s a bigger picture than what we’re being told is essentially a disagreement between Dirk and the AMD board over market direction. Obviously Dirk wasn’t big on netbooks and tablets, but the whole thrust of Bobcat has been in the direction this APU has headed, and it stands to reason that since Fusion is all we heard about, and AMD’s roadmap (and Intel’s for that matter) specified a divergence/speciation of processor TDPs for what seems like an eon now, one has to wonder just what _all_ played into the recent split between Dirk and AMD.

    • JMccovery
    • 9 years ago

    So, does this mean that this version only supports DDR3-800/1066 embedded DRAM chips?

    • burntham77
    • 9 years ago

    A tablet that runs Windows on an AMD chip would be the perfect tablet.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      fanboi. don’t you know windows is the worst thing ever?

        • Sargent Duck
        • 9 years ago

        Worse than smallpox? losing a limb?

        Darn it! I just fed the troll. I fail.

          • CB5000
          • 9 years ago

          uh oh! No cookie for u!

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          I should say, i’m almost a fanboi. I love windows. especially 7. I think it’s far better than other os’s, and i’m just giving him a hard time. Peeps are always whining that 7 is no good for tablets. I think i’d prefer to see phone 7 on a tablet, as it’s sexy as F, but I think windows is fine.

            • esterhasz
            • 9 years ago

            Windows 7 on a tablet is like making a chair out of cake. Hilarious but ultimately useless if you try sitting on it.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            nope. it sure isn’t. but keep telling yourself that. apple fanboi line is over there: —->

    • odizzido
    • 9 years ago

    *hopes for this to show up in a tiny+light netbook*

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      If you’re hoping for better battery life, hold your horses. It was likely just a measure taken to reduce the maximum potential heat output for something thinner. Intel did pretty much the same thing with the Atom models used for tablets.

      Netbooks running the C-50 chip should get you the same end result. What we need is for more of them to actually show up!

        • odizzido
        • 9 years ago

        Weight is a big thing as well.

    • sweatshopking
    • 9 years ago

    Well, there goes ANY reason at all to buy atom. Seriously. Intel has been working on atom for YEARS, and amd just smashes it out of the park.

    Poor neely.

      • Deanjo
      • 9 years ago

      Ya there is especially for the HTPC crowd who want to not waste money on a windows OS to get video decode acceleration.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 9 years ago

      Intel stopped working on Atom.

      If they really wanted to keep it up to date, it would’ve moved to 32nm when Clarkdale came out on it.

      Intel is cooking up something else…

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        what’s that? chicken? no. they’re working on atom. it is going to be shrunk.

        • axeman
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah, new chipsets that work properly. Hah!

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      You’re mistaking me for an Intel fanboi.

      I think this is pure brilliance. I had no idea the memory controller was sucking up some 50% of the power. I’m not sure even 32nm Atoms can compete with this one..

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        No. You are an Intel fanboi. you’ve said so yourself. but you’re right. this is. Intel might have to look at their Memory controller.

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          When did I say I was an Intel fanboi?
          Link, or no dice.

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            right. cause i’ve got nothing better to do than reread all your posts. well. actually…

            • NeelyCam
            • 9 years ago

            Either that, or go clean the living room and do the dishes.
            (which, incidentally, was what I did this evening… plus laundry)

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            Ha. you’re totally whipped.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Last week, an AMD spokesperson commented that 3W was ‘the sweet spot’ for tablets – looks like they’re almost there.

    It’d be very interesting to see a head-to-head comparison between this and a 1 GHz dual-A9 slate (both running the same OS, of course)

      • Prion
      • 9 years ago

      Exactly, it would be a trip to see how a 1GHz dual-core ARMv7 compares apples-to-apples against a 1GHz dual-core AMD Bobcat APU.

      • Hattig
      • 9 years ago

      The iPad 2 is meant to have a dual-core A9 at 1.2GHz and a PowerVR SGX543MP2 – I wonder how it compares – I would expect them to be quite similar. However well done to AMD for making a dual-core 1GHz x86 that’s fairly decent, with graphics, in under 5W.

        • Game_boy
        • 9 years ago

        I believe the 5W includes the southbridge, which itself is >1W?

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      What would be cool is to see RIM’s Blackberry Tablet OS running on one of these APUs. Being that BBTOS is QNX Neutrino based, and Neutrino is already running on x86, imagine what BBTOS could do on a Fusion APU.

      Picture this: A Blackberry dockable notebook (a ‘DockBook’?) ‘netvertable’ notebook/tablet that also has two docking bays or palm-rest located ‘cavities’ just below the keyboard. Imagine being able to dock your touch UI based Blackberry phone in _either_ cavity (simulating a left or right handed touchpad), while it’s apps windows transfer to your main DockBook display. At the same time, your phone is recharging it’s battery off of the DockStation via a Light Peak interface which also serves to be a direct bus link between the phone’s CPU and a Zacate or Ontario processor in the DockBook in some asynch’d mode. The second cavity can also house either a battery or a phone which are reversable/swappable between either cavity bay, much like Dell’s dual optical drive/battery bays of their older laptops.

      Now imagine a reversable or swivel display allowing the DockBook to work in tablet mode or a conventional notebook mode. While in tablet mode, a dock phone can be charging, and still handle voice calls by either undocking it, or leaving it docked and simply using a bluetooth headset and an a touch UI phone app on the tablet display to interact with the phone services of the docked phone.

      A QNX based OS would be *ideal* for this….

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    Looks thinner than the Motion Computing tablets I use from the mid-2000s.

    • Incubus
    • 9 years ago

    Very nicely done by AMD.
    Can’t wait for the benchies,hoping at least 3 times the performance of the Ipad wif smooth flash playback.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This