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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  • Zingam - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Now that's a picture I like a lot! It is so nerdy! :D
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    The picture of the test setup? Yeah, I like the Pro Networking! "Faceplates? We don't need no stinking faceplates!"
  • Markstar - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    ...is when I can see something like this for the Desktop. Obviously this would be awesome

    Also, it becomes pretty apparent that AMD is falling behind more and more when it comes to the manufacturing process. TSMC's troubled 40nm process just doesn't cut it anymore and AMD's own process is pretty far behind as well.

    Also, while I often tell people that they don't need to replace their 4 year old computer to check emails, 1/1.2GHz does sound a little low.
  • mino - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Q1, there are plenty of ITX designs in the pipe. I just hope someone is smart enough to do a bunch of mATX ones too.

    Nobody is proposing the 9W for desktops. Also, 1Ghz dual Bobcat shall be in the ballpark of "high-end" Atoms as far as GUI "snappiness" goes.
  • jabber - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    I've been using a dual core 1.3GHz CULV setup for the past year and its been perfect.

    I cant tell any day to day difference between it and my 3.4GHz quadcore box.

    The need for more CPU power for the day to day tasks mentioned in the article past a long time ago.

    The 1.3GHz CULV benches almost as fast as a 3GHz P4D from a few years back. Plenty fast enough.

    Remember this platform is aimed at mum and dad boxes. Also I've been farming out dual core Atom ION boxes for office use the past year. Had nothing but positive feedback. Customers love them. Big step up from all those 3GHz single core P4 or AthlonXP boxes they struggled with before.

    All hail efficent low power for the mainstream.
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    That's going to be a potential problem for AMD. If people like their Atom boxes, what would entice them to switch to AMD Ontario or Zacate boxes?
  • jabber - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Not sure thats an issue.

    Its about appealing to those that havent made any switch yet.

    If my customer base is anything to go by there are masses of folks out there struggling along with 3GHz P4 boxes with 512MB of ram and 80GB slow HDDs

    They think thats average PC performance. Give them anything under $500 new off the shelf and its a revelation to them.

    We really will see a clear divergance of PC use over the next two years.

    There will be the small group of hardcore gamers and benchmark junkies.

    There will be the small group of specialists/developers/number crunchers.

    Then there will be the rest whose CPU needs were met a long time ago and just need the ideal rounded package of CPU/GPU/Media to take care of them.
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    A lot of average people haven't even moved completely to HD videos yet. Current P4 boxes are actually enough for more people than you think.

    A Celeron or Atom box is enough for a lot of people. You're making an assumption that a large group of buyers *want* something more powerful than an Atom or Celeron, which are the price points Bobcat is aiming at. I think it's debatable how large such a group is.
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I think that it will do well. sub 500 sounds fine, and i think there will be a significant group of people who will by this for there kids as there first machine. My brother go an atom job for his son and he hasent even broken out of grade school yet.

    for the old and intrench.. might be a struggle but for the younger kids i think AMD will do well since they spend most of the time farming on facebook, which will help with gpgpu and the 6xxx vid card.
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    The Sim 5000.

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