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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  • iwodo - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Relatively powerful GPU sounds not very good. If i consider 1 being first gen, 6 would be 6th gen already. Even though some of these are half gen, I would be very sad if a 5 years later Low end GPU cant outplaform my Mid Range from Gfx computer..
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    X1600M looks like a slightly faster nvidia ION. Zacate is definately faster than that. According to the numbers from the preview from 6 weeks ago, it will be about 30% faster.

    The question is, how close will Ontario be to beating the performance of your X1600M laptop? I bet they will be so close you wont be able to tell the difference.
  • plonk420 - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    i can't wait to put this in my HTPC!

    i just hope it can keep up with AnyDVD HD and realtime BD+ decryption...
  • Setsunayaki - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    True freedom isn't about the actual processor. Its about the performance.

    If you run windows even under a low performance setting, the system is hurt by the fact one needs to run antiviruses, firewalls, spyware and adware removal tools. It means running Windows with a pair of bobcats + the GPUs are going to have their power spent on keeping those "Security" programs up.

    AMD itself can not code a decent Linux Driver to the point performance is going to be shot to hell on Linux.

    I'd much rather have a laptop with an nvidia solution running a linux system as it means I get performance since decent nvidia drivers exist on linux, and one doesn't have to run any of the security programs one has to run on Linux and the performance efficiency is a lot higher on Linux.

    All what fusion is going to do is increase the level of dependency people have to windows.
  • jabber - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    All you need is MS Security Essentials and maybe Malwarebytes sitting there dormant as a backup.

    Dont need anything more.

    Shouldnt make any PC sweat.
  • blowfish - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    That's got to be a joke! Have you ever noticed how MSSE can put a system into a pregnant pause every now and then? Watch the service in Task Manager, for example. On a low powered system, those pauses could be very long, and quite disruptive.
  • MFK - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    I have what I would consider a low powered PC.

    An AMD 3200+ Athlon 64 Single Core.
    1 GB of ram and a Nvidia 7200SE.

    I have only MSSE and Zone Alarm installed on Windows 7 for almost a year now.
    I have yet to have a problem with virus/spam/pop ups.

    Point being: I have not noticed these pregnant pauses you speak of.
  • jabber - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    I havent seen them. Running it on around 8 of my own PCs (singles to quads). I think I would have seen that by now.

    Maybe you have something wrong with your PC?
  • Prosthetic Head - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    AMD/ATI Linux support has actually got a whole lot better in the last year or 2.

    I've got a 4870 (closed catalyst driver) in my desktop which only ever runs Ubuntu, and an x300 (open 'radeon' driver) in my laptop. They are running well w.r.t both speed and stability.

    AMD are also providing specs and some dev time to the open drivers so there is now varying levels of 2D and 3D acceleration working well in the open drivers - which is more than you can say for nVidia.

    I have also found that AMD vs Intel performance results are different under linux vs windows (much windows software is compiled using intels ICC and with more optimisation effort for intel processors). AMD generally perform relativity better under Linux (GCC compiler).
  • Marburg U - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

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