AMD Finally Decides To Enter The Netbook Space With Fusion Chips

03-11-10ontario [Courtesy of OCW]

AMD has a list of things that it thinks it should do. It has released news of it bringing about really great chips with fusion characteristics for a long time now. None of that has made it to the market yet but we now have another announcement to deal with. AMD has finally realized that they should probably make a netbook chip that rivals what Intel is offering at the moment.

According AMD’s Jason Taylor, the chip-maker is working towards releasing a netbook-class fusion core CPU that combines CPU with GPU to attain a better performance at a low battery life cost. The new chip will be code named ‘Ontario’. It will be released with integrated DX11 graphics sometime next year.

Ontario was part of what was leaked earlier as AMD’s roadmap quite some time back in last year. Ontario will be part of the ‘Brazos’ platform and will have Bobcat low power cores. This will be sitting right underneath the ultaportable segment that AMD terms as the ‘thin and light’ segment.

Whether AMD really makes it on time wit their 2011 target, is a question worth asking. But more than that, I am quite skeptical about AMD’s ability to really catch up and then surpass all the competition in the market.

Intel has already left AMD behind after releasing the Core 2010 and the Pine Trail Atom chips. The CPU/GPU train has left the station quite some time back, leaving AMD behind. And with that there is the added advantage of the NVIDIA ION2 that uses the Optimus Technology to deliver fantastic graphics performance to those Atom chips. Together, they are the most potent combination for netbooks and nettops.

Ontario is looking to barge into this niche thinking that the party has just begun, when in reality it’s been on for quite some time now. Forgive me for not reserving much hope for AMD at the moment, the planets are aligned to favor Intel at the moment!

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AMD Talks About Next Generation

amdAMD had an analyst investor day recently and there they revealed their roadmap for the year 2011. They are planning to introduce two new processor cores, which are codenamed Bulldozer and Bobcat.

The plan is to make Bulldozer the powerhouse that will power mainstream devices like servers and desktops and to make Bobcat the mainstay for the ultra-thin segment. Bobcat will also be aimed squarely at the netbook market, making it the Atom-competitor of the future.

Bobcat is being touted as being able to achieve amazing feats of power efficiency. They are saying that this new core will be able to achieve 90% of today’s power at just half the entire silicone area. That means they will be able to run the chips at less than one watt of power, which is extremely impressive. If they can actually make this happen, we will be seeing futuristic netbooks in 2011 that have incredibly long battery lives or have really slim profiles.

Prior to launching into the Bobcat initiative, AMD plans to introduce the Nile platform for the ultrathin segment. The Nile platform will support the dual-core Geneva CPU and it will have a DirectX 10.1 IGP or discreet graphics. AMD makes another attractive claim for this platform, saying that it will have a battery life of seven hours. It will also support DDR3 memory, which will definitely become a standard by the time Nile goes mainstream.

AMD then goes on to talk about the Brazos platform that will coincide with the Bulldozer/Bobcat time frame. It will be part of the Bobcat family of processors and will support the Ontario APU, DirectX 11 and DDR3 memory.

Over all, AMD’s promises are all very attractive and they certainly are headed in the right directions. But these are promises that might be hard to keep, so we will have to wait and watch how this unfolds.