I hate to keep things from you all, but last week I was diligently working in a room at AMD’s new campus in Austin, Texas. You see, AMD wanted to give us more time with the Brazos/Zacate platform we tested at IDF ahead of its official launch. It’s too early for production worthy OEM systems and AMD wasn’t too keen on these reference platforms leaving its offices so it did the next best thing: fly us out to test the systems on AMD’s campus.

The rules were simple. We couldn’t run anything that would harm the system, but other than that we were free to bring whatever we wanted and test however we wanted. AMD dropped by our private room to check to see if we needed anything but other than that, it was all hands off.

The Brazos test platform

While I’d love to share performance data with you today, I can’t. You’ll have to wait another week or so for that. What AMD is allowing us to talk about are the specific configurations AMD’s first Fusion APUs will ship in and general impressions from the testing. Specific benchmarks are off limits unfortunately.

The platform felt final as far as stability goes. I didn’t encounter any crashes during my several hours of non-stop testing. Performance is also indicative of what will ship early next year. The system felt quick (very 11-inch MacBook Air like if you catch my drift) but you have to keep in mind that Zacate and its lower powered sibling Ontario will be used in systems priced between $299 - $549.

Meet the Brazos
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  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    and to match atoms Visual performance you will have to add in a nvidia card, which means on its own the atom missess out since smart users will want to use the power of there video cards to accelerate there daily tasks. Im already using it in microsoft office, the beta of IE8 and BETA firefox.

    Truth is intel does not have an image for fast video cards, and thats probably going to hurt the more in the long run then AMD's rep for making a good alternative.
  • Dark_Archonis - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Can you show me concrete proof that is is cheaper for AMD specifically to make a 75mm2 chip than it is for Intel to make an 87mm2 chip? We can assume its cheaper, but we have no concrete facts to back this up. The die size difference between 75 and 87 is negligible.
  • nafhan - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    The i3 is a bigger more complicated chip and package (MCM). The ULV i3's are in the same power envelope (18W), but by moving to an i3 you'd be trading GPU power and (at least to Intel) a higher price for additional CPU power. So, depending on the application, it might not be an upgrade.
    Also, with the Ontario vs. Atom, it's again going to be about the GPU. Probably very similar CPU power with much improved GPU capabilities.
    Even if it's not a "home run", it's AMD leveraging their expertise and hitting Intel where they have a hole in their lineup.
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Yes, until Intel covers that hole, and we are back to the usual state of things, AMD being behind Intel.
  • Prosthetic Head - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Sorry, but you seem to be totally missing the point. The architectural differences mean that even at 1GHz bobcat is very likely to beat the 1.6GHz atom, even in most CPU bound workloads. Atom is an incredibly poorly performing 'in order' architecture.

    What you are saying is not much better than kids back in 2003 saying that "a 2.8GHz P4 Celeron MUST beat a 1.8GHz Athlon64 because its got over 1/3rd more GHz!!!"

    The graphics system is also very important for the target market, a mediocre system can still feel very snappy in most likely usage scenarios provided it has a capable graphics subsystem. Now that many of the highly CPU bound media tasks (HD playback, transcoding, compression) are starting to make use of gpGPUs that will become even more important. Intel may POSSIBLY be able to get adequate 2d/3d acceleration working and integrated soon, but they are very far behind AMD here and have never marketed a CUDA/Stream/OpenCL capable chip and driver - thats a lot of catch-up work to do.
  • MFK - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Wish I could up-vote you like Reddit/Engadget.
    But yeah, basically what I was gonna say.
  • nitrousoxide - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    P4 is running at almost 3 times the frequency of Athlon64...don't forget that its ALU runs at double frequency of the core (5.6GHz for a 2.8GHz P4)
  • jollyjugg - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Except what you are forgetting is that Bobcat is an out of order core and Atom is an inorder core. There is a lot of difference between these styles of architectures. What matters is not entirely the clock speed but also IPC. Only running a CPU at a higher frequency would be a brute force approach. Out of order processor has a much higher IPC than in order processor. Hence dont under estimate the CPU yet until you have seen Anand's promised performance numbers next week. Also however the CPU turns out, it is a real boon for people in the netbook segment to get a good graphics. People are frustrated with Intel's sucked up graphics and their over priced Atom based systems which hardly measure up to anything. It may not be something that turns the world upside down. But nevertheless it will be something that will be very welcome. We should also not forget that fusion is in their initial stages. It will get better with time.

    This is one thing Intel will take a long time catching up Graphics!!!!!! We may never know. Visual experience is something which is very powerful. It captures people's imagination. At an outset iphone and another phone may look the same. But its the performance that is the clincher. If this performs this is clinch for sure.
  • SteelCity1981 - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    If it's based on the Evergreen architecture then why not just call it Radeon 5310 and 5250 series? Just confusing to call a Radeon GPU a 6310 and a 6250 when it's based on the Radeon 5 series. Especially considering there will be no new Radeon 6 series that will come out lower then the 6800 series.
  • mino - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Well, 6800 series itself is heavily based on the 5000 series so ...

    It is all just branding. And, there WILL be more 6000 series parts. Llano being a confirmed one with at least Turks on the table as well.

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