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Intel, AMD Begin Showing Next-Generation Processors
Intel, AMD Begin Showing Next-Generation Processors

By Barry Levine
September 13, 2010 2:24PM

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Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are showing their next-generation processors. Intel CEO Paul Otellini described a new architecture called Sandy Bridge, and AMD will show new accelerated processing units. The Intel chips will be used in laptops and data centers. AMD's Ontario and Zacate products are part its Fusion effort, with Llano delayed.

Archrivals Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are revealing more details about their next-generation processors this week. On Monday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini described new CPU products based on a processor architecture called Sandy Bridge, and AMD is expected to show two new accelerated processing units (APUs) within the next few days.

Sandy Bridge is the successor to Nehalem, the architecture used in Intel's current line of Core processors, and the new chips are expected to be available in four- and eight-core versions by early next year. Intel's announcements were made at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Calif.

'Biggest Advance'

Intel said the chips are based on its first new, "visibly smart" architecture, manufactured with its 32-nanometer process technology, and using second-generation high-k metal gate transistors.

Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, said this "second-generation Intel Core processor family" is the "biggest advance in computing performance and capabilities over any previous generation." He added that the company intends to offer the chips in laptops, as well as in server data centers and embedded computing products.

The chips include a new "ring" architecture in which the built-in graphics engine shares memory and other resources with the core to increase performance and efficiency. There's also an enhanced version of the Intel Turbo Boost technology, which automatically reallocates processing resources, both for core processing and for graphics, so that performance can be increased when required.

The "enhanced visual features" made possible by the graphics in this new generation, the company said, include the ability to handle HD video, 3-D, gaming, multitasking, social networking, and multimedia.

'Ideal' for Cloud Computing

The new products from AMD, called Ontario and Zacate, merge CPU and graphics processing, part of AMD's big Fusion effort. Ontario, which draws nine watts, is designed for very low-power devices, while Zacate is intended for mid-range notebooks and low-end desktops. The release of another Fusion processor, Llano, is currently delayed because of manufacturing issues.

Ontario will have two Bobcat CPU cores, as well as an integrated graphics processing unit. Zacate is expected to be a higher-powered, higher-performing version, and both are expected to start appearing in products in the first quarter of 2011.

The Fusion chips were shown earlier this month at the IFA consumer-electronics show in Berlin. In a posting on the company blog, John Taylor, director of Fusion marketing for AMD, wrote that, "simply put, the AMD Fusion APU is an integral part of an ideal platform for no-compromise cloud computing."

He noted that, although cloud computing implies the processing is done elsewhere, "quite a bit of processing power" is increasingly needed on the client side as well, especially for collaboration and social-interaction applications as they become more visually engaging. Taylor wrote that Zacate, in particular, is intended to provide a power-efficient design for graphics-intense workloads.

Tell Us What You Think



Posted: 2010-09-14 @ 2:25pm PT
Can't wait to see a Zacate all-in-one PC or Netbook or even 13-14" notebooks and tablets from Zotac/Acer/HP etc. Small form factor with HDMI and 7.1 sound and decent power to do whatever you need ... hopefully they are overclockable a little bit.

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