Desktops and Notebooks: Intel 'Sandy Bridge', AMD 'Zacate' Chips Offer CPU, Graphics Technologies
Intel and AMD are both preparing for the release of new chips that will combine CPUs and graphics technologies onto the same piece of silicon. At its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco the week of Sept. 13, Intel executives showed off the 32-nanometer "Sandy Bridge" processor, the next generation of the Core architecture. The product, which will begin showing up in systems in early 2011, not only offers CPU-GPU capabilities on the same die, but also such features as enhanced Turbo Boost and improved security. The chip will contain about 1 billion transistors, and it will have five times the performance of current processors and 25 times faster graphics than Intel offered in 2007, according to Intel executives. In a hotel suite not far from the IDF show, AMD officials were demonstrating their upcoming "Zacate" Fusion APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), an 18-watt chip designed for desktops and notebooks. Like Sandy Bridge, Zacate and "Ontario," another APU that is aimed at netbooks and other small form factors, will start appearing in systems in early 2011. In demos, AMD officials said a system powered by Zacate outperformed one running on an Intel Core i5 chip. A key differentiator, AMD officials said, is that while Intel's Sandy Bridge will initially be put into high-end systems, then eventually cascade down, AMD is placing its APU processors right into the mainstream market, in systems in the $500 range.