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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  • Guspaz - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    These are still not really hybrid processors. They've taken a GPU and a CPU (well, two of 'em) and stuck them on the same die. There's no sharing of resources between the two.

    A true hybrid chip would, in my opinion, share most of the hardware between the CPU and GPU. They'd share execution resources. For example, in these AMD chips, the CPU's SIMD instructions can't take advantage of the GPU's SIMD blocks, from what I'm seeing (forgive me if I'm misreading this all).
  • Fleeb - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Have you seen AMD's roadmap for this? It can answer your question.
  • TemplarGR - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    This hardware is amazing, and has many possible uses. The most obvious is in netbooks and ultraportables: It will simply destroy the competition. AMD is right, what this market segment needs right now is more gpu power, not cpu. If their use case involved higher cpu usage, they wouldn't get a netbook or ultraportable anyway.

    This will also enable great tablets-ipad clones. Ideally a zacate tablet running Linux (for me).

    I bought an Acer Aspire One more than 2 years ago, and i am frustrated by Intel policies. The GMA they paired original Atom netbooks with was garbage, consuming 5 times the power Atom consumed... And its performance sucks. Current Atoms still suck, although with more battery power, because Intel hates Atom since it has lower margins. They didn't really expect this kind of success, they didn't want to believe for most people cpu power is enough... They stopped advancing Atom so it is no wonder Netbook sales growth has reached negative numbers... But this tactic will become a boomerang for them...

    It is nice seeing AMD making the hardware market exciting again!
  • Gigantopithecus - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Can't wait to see whatever numbers AMD lets you give us next week. Hopefully they'll be enough so I can decide whether to wait past the holiday season for Zacate or go with an N550 system now.
  • rayson - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    the total power draw for a netbook based on the brazos platform amd e-series will be 22-24 watts. the cpu performance for a amd e series will be equal to a core i5 520m.
    i got proof look at the other amd slideshows and videos they have done they have even shown avp running on 720p medium setting bit choppy though
  • Dark_Archonis - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    CPU performance equal to an i5 520m? Thanks for the laugh. No way that is the case.
  • rayson - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    i am a intel fanboy but amd really will have me buying a netbook now
  • fic2 - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    In the AMD Brazos Lineup table it lists:
    AMD E-350 2 1.6GHz
    AMD E-240 1 1.5GHz

    Seems like the clock speed of the E-350 and the E-240 are reversed unless the dual core does actually have a faster clock than the single.

    I don't know why your spam program thinks my comment is spam.
  • kjanadtech - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Good article. I currently own a Intel SU4100 system (Gateway ec1430u). I am very interested in zacate platform vs. the intel SU processor platform. There are very few SU4100 + GPU platforms (read MAC Book Air and Zotac IONITX-O-E), so I hope your tests will include these systems as competitors.

    What is more interesting (to me) is AMD’s Universal Media Interface (UMI) and the Hudson FCH. A necessary upgrade for every ultra portable is a SSD. I hope we will see the SB800 chipset SATA6 performance. Also why isn't there any concern about the memory (CPU, GPU) bottleneck.

    Staying tuned for the article next week and I hope to see benchmarks of the sata controller, especially SSD benchmarks, TRIM support, and overall SB800 throughput performance (USB, ethernet, etc).
  • miahshodan - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Yeah, I have a gateway 1803 with a su3500 (core 2 solo 1.4) and even with only one core, it is fairly fast, much faster than an Atom with only a 5.5 watt TDP. I am not sure what the TDP of the graphics on the 945 is. The 945 graphics are certainly nothing real impressive, but they will do 720p youtube and accelerated ie9 beta is pretty fast. I see the Su line as the best competitor for the bobcat, and would like to see them compared.

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