AMD Zacate - the next great HTPC chip? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
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http://www.anandtech.com/show/3920/a...e-than-core-i5

It would be perfect for HTPC :-

- very small and low heat means very little cooling and a quiet fan
- 18W TDP - very low power
- the gpu does 1080p, is an extremely fast DX11 part, and can play games (!), and accelerate flash/html5/other apps (using OpenCL). AMD IGP's are much better than Intel's anemic offerings
- since its AMD, will be a performance bargain
- likely work with older hardware (socket and memory details unknown)
- better than Sandy Bridge for a lower price
- aimed at notebook/netbook market
- shipping Q4 2010

If it ships on time, I'm really looking forward to some Christmas deals!
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post #2 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 02:22 AM
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At least this is much better than Atom+ION. Zacate-based systems slated to hit the market in Q1 2011.

The AMD counterpart of Sandy Bridge desktop processor is Llano, which is slated for summer 2011.
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post #3 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

At least this is much better than Atom+ION. Zacate-based systems slated to hit the market in Q1 2011.

The AMD counterpart of Sandy Bridge desktop processor is Llano, which is slated for summer 2011.

Sandy Bridge looks to be a high performance part with a system idle of about 60W for the quadcore. I'm thinking Zacate looks better for HTPC. I read that the initial focus will be fore mobile platforms and it might take a while for them to release a mini ITX platform. One bummer is that I read that it will only support single channel ram. Anyways I think I'm leaning towards Zacate, have to wait for the test results on it.
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post #4 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 08:00 AM
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I didn't see a mention of HD audio.

Per the review:

Quote:


Zacate seems to provide the same performance boost that we saw with Sandy Bridge in our preview.

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post #5 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

Sandy Bridge looks to be a high performance part with a system idle of about 60W for the quadcore.

Well, Sandy Bridge includes a broad range of processors, from ones for MP servers (Westmere-EX, 10 cores) to laptops (dual core). The desktop Sandy Bridge processors are:

  Clock Core Threading L3 cache TB 2.0 TDP
Core i7-2600 3.4GHz 4 8 8MB Yes 95W
Core i5-2500 3.3GHz 4 4 6MB Yes 95W
Core i5-2400 3.1GHz 4 4 6MB Yes 95W
Core i3-2120 3.3GHz 2 4 3MB No 65W
Core i3-2100 3.1GHz 2 4 3MB No 65W

The current Core i3-530/540 (one of the best processors for HTPC) will be replaced by Core i3-2100/2120, that are available in January 2011. The idle power of a Core i3-530 system is as low as 22W. I expect ever lower in Core i3-2100 as it's a single 32nm die.

- Core i7-860/870 -> Core i7-2600, ~$300
- Core i5-750 -> Core i5-2400/2500, $150-$230
- Core i3-530/540 -> Core i3-2100/2120, $100-$150
- Pentium -> Pentium, $60-$100
- Celeron -> Celeron, < $60

Yes, there are also Celeron and Pentium processors based on Sandy Bridge (Q2 2011).
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post #6 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I haven't seen any mention of HD bitstreaming but would be very surprised if it wasn't included, it seems standard these days.
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post #7 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 12:12 PM
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Asus has AMD Fusion mini-ITX in development (a 1 month-old news)

This one could be on my recommendations list.

AMD Ontario performance numbers leaked

I am not sure if "Ontario" is Ontario or Zacate (both use the same die).

Analysis of the Ontario die plot

GPU occupies a large portion of the die! 80 sp is equivalent to Radeon HD 5450. So it's very nice (but may not be perfect). CPU performance is obscure, however.

John Taylor's blog (Director, Fusion Marketing at AMD):

Quote:


Hi Ivo. It’s going to get harder and harder to do apples-to-apples comparisons using old benchmarks. With software devlopers using DirectCompute and OpenCL to access GPU computing, and web developers using Direct2D and WebGL to give a sharper graphics-rich Internet experience, how do you measure the “speed” of an APU using old CPU benchmarks like Sysmark or PCMark? The Internet is moving from a place rendered poorly by CPUs, to one rednered vivdly and fast by APUs and GPUs. A notebook or desktop based on the “Zacate” APU, for instance, will give an accelerated Internet experience, play 1080p video, accelerate productivity apps like PowerPoint 2010, play on-line games at HD resoluitions. The “Llano” APU will deliver an even higher experience level. Which Intel products will compete with “Zacate” and “Llano”? Which ones utilize a world-class DX11 GPU complex, again?


LL
LL
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post #8 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Well, Sandy Bridge includes a broad range of processors, from ones for MP servers (Westmere-EX, 10 cores) to laptops (dual core). The desktop Sandy Bridge processors are:

  Clock Core Threading L3 cache TB 2.0 TDP
Core i7-2600 3.4GHz 4 8 8MB Yes 95W
Core i5-2500 3.3GHz 4 4 6MB Yes 95W
Core i5-2400 3.1GHz 4 4 6MB Yes 95W
Core i3-2120 3.3GHz 2 4 3MB No 65W
Core i3-2100 3.1GHz 2 4 3MB No 65W

The current Core i3-530/540 (one of the best processors for HTPC) will be replaced by Core i3-2100/2120, that are available in January 2011. The idle power of a Core i3-530 system is as low as 22W. I expect ever lower in Core i3-2100 as it's a single 32nm die.

- Core i7-860/870 -> Core i7-2600, ~$300
- Core i5-750 -> Core i5-2400/2500, $150-$230
- Core i3-530/540 -> Core i3-2100/2120, $100-$150
- Pentium -> Pentium, $60-$100
- Celeron -> Celeron, < $60

Yes, there are also Celeron and Pentium processors based on Sandy Bridge (Q2 2011).


I would say that us HTPC guys are probably best off with the the dual core i3 if going for sandy bridge. Quad core is way overkill, even for moderate gamers. I'm still totally up in the air with which one I will eventually buy. Whoever gets the lowest power setup that will play all multimedia without the slightest hickup or pauses and supports full HDMI specs will get my purchase.
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post #9 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

I would say that us HTPC guys are probably best off with the the dual core i3 if going for sandy bridge. Quad core is way overkill, even for moderate gamers. I'm still totally up in the air with which one I will eventually buy. Whoever gets the lowest power setup that will play all multimedia without the slightest hickup or pauses and supports full HDMI specs will get my purchase.

On paper Zacate looks to be adequate for HTPC duties and the power/TDP
envelope looks good. I am looking to pick one up and ignore Sandy Bridge
totally assuming AMD can deliver.
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post #10 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon View Post

- very small and low heat means very little cooling and a quiet fan
- 18W TDP - very low power
- the gpu does 1080p, is an extremely fast DX11 part, and can play games (!), and accelerate flash/html5/other apps (using OpenCL). AMD IGP's are much better than Intel's anemic offerings

Uh now by "extremely" fast, you do mean relative to other on-board video types, right? Because at 18W TDP I don't think we're talking 5970 speed here LOL.

As an aside, I wonder if the "Ontario" codename pays homage to the city Ontario, California (AMD is based in California), or the province of Ontario, Canada (where ATi originated)? Or perhaps both?
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post #11 of 940 Old 09-14-2010, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post

Uh now by "extremely" fast, you do mean relative to other on-board video types, right? Because at 18W TDP I don't think we're talking 5970 speed here LOL

Quite right. This little fusion chip won't be winning any graphics benchmarks.
It would be slower than a 5450 as it has to share memory bandwidth
with the processor to the detriment of both. This is the curse of integrated
video.

In my book, this is what the D525 Atom should have been or what could
have been had Nvidia been allowed to build the true successor to the ION.
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post #12 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 01:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post

As an aside, I wonder if the "Ontario" codename pays homage to the city Ontario, California (AMD is based in California), or the province of Ontario, Canada (where ATi originated)? Or perhaps both?

Any idea where is Zacate?
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post #13 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 03:43 AM
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will any of these integrated chips do any kind of decent deinterlacing ie va or equivalent?
That the main reason I have a 5450 because none of integrated offerings do good deinterlacing which is important for someone like me who uses the htpc for sd tv and in the future hd which is 1080i
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post #14 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 03:52 AM
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Surely Zacate GPU is equivalent to or worse than HD 5450 in post-processing (but I don't know which is true).
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post #15 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Any idea where is Zacate?

LOL, well apparently Zacate is a term used to describe grass or hay in Mexico and California...

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/zacate

Also there's the Zacate Creek in Texas:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zacate_Creek

But given codenames often use two words (and so they would have used "Zacate Creek" if they were talking about the place in Texas), I'm guessing the former is the right reference. New AMD thing is named after grass
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post #16 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 09:56 AM
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http://www.anandtech.com/show/3933/a...ormance-update

AMD got caught lying about Zacate's performance and got busted for it by Anandtech. Notice the IE9 performance is much better on the i5 than AMD tried to portray? Both also run Batman really poorly, cherry picking 1 game isn't really the way to do it.
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post #17 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDGT View Post

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3933/a...ormance-update

AMD got caught lying about Zacate's performance and got busted for it by Anandtech.

LOL it's funny the way you worded that, because after I actually read the article that's not what I took away from it at all. They didn't lie they just used an older driver because that's what was current at the time from the manufacturer.

Also another good note is the point about Intel-provided graphics drivers not working on 3rd party products. I encountered the same thing when making an i3/H57 system with a Gigabyte board for someone not long ago--only the Gigabyte-provided version of the driver (which was older) would install normally. Going to Intel's site and using their driver updater ActiveX control thingy, it stated to dl Intel's newest driver. But trying to install it, it refused. I didn't actually think of doing what Anandtech did in using device manager to manually force the driver, I just installed the Gigabyte version and that was that. It seems this is a common/standard limitation with Intel IGP now--they are making it so the driver package from Intel's site won't install normally. Can't really blame AMD for that.

Furthermore Anandtech made some comments noting how cooperative AMD was with the whole informal testing process they did as well as being fine with them publishing the results on what is otherwise a totally unreleased/pre-production product.
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post #18 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 11:43 AM
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Not only would this make a great HTPC it would make a great nettop that can actually run Windows 7, play a few games, surf the web fast and all that. Now someone just needs to make some decent 80W PSUs that occupy an ATX PSU-sized area so I can keep building nettop PCs out of Lian-Li mini-Q cases.

 

 

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post #19 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I trust AMD on performance numbers. Now if this was Nvidia who are lying cheating scum it would be a whole different matter I have Intel in my pc, htpc and laptop because Core 2 was and is an amazing architecture, but I'd go back to AMD in a heartbeat because of the better price/performance.
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post #20 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Btw another great nettop/htpc would be the Intel CE4200 SOC which sadly willnever be a customer OEM part and is only for CE devices.
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post #21 of 940 Old 09-15-2010, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post

LOL it's funny the way you worded that, because after I actually read the article that's not what I took away from it at all. They didn't lie they just used an older driver because that's what was current at the time from the manufacturer.

Also another good note is the point about Intel-provided graphics drivers not working on 3rd party products. I encountered the same thing when making an i3/H57 system with a Gigabyte board for someone not long ago--only the Gigabyte-provided version of the driver (which was older) would install normally. Going to Intel's site and using their driver updater ActiveX control thingy, it stated to dl Intel's newest driver. But trying to install it, it refused. I didn't actually think of doing what Anandtech did in using device manager to manually force the driver, I just installed the Gigabyte version and that was that. It seems this is a common/standard limitation with Intel IGP now--they are making it so the driver package from Intel's site won't install normally. Can't really blame AMD for that.

Furthermore Anandtech made some comments noting how cooperative AMD was with the whole informal testing process they did as well as being fine with them publishing the results on what is otherwise a totally unreleased/pre-production product.

I tend to agree.. while they comment on the IE9 numbers, those to me are irrelevent because you're judging performance out of a beta and neither company has all of that sorted out.

If you read the anandtech article, and scroll down, you're talking about a 40-55% performance boost in gameplay over the 520M. In fact, Anandtech commended AMD for letting them run their own tests, have pre-release hardware, and try it as many ways as they could:

Quote:


The Zacate GPU performance we're seeing here today is completely unoptimized as well. The clocks aren't final, drivers aren't fine tuned and although we're close to release, there's still potentially more performance on the table.

It's very rare for any public company to make an on the spot decision to let us benchmark and publish test data of an unreleased part without having ever seen it before. The first time the AMDers in the suite saw Zacate running Batman was when we installed it. To be honest, it was probably the most open and flexible I've ever seen AMD be. I knew if the IE9 numbers changed that it would call the City of Heroes numbers into question. By allowing us to rerun everything as well as add an additional title (one that we've used more recently) AMD handled the situation perfectly.

So, I'm not sure what's with the accusatory tone. Anandtech points out AMD did everything they could to play by the books and let a completely independent reviewer try it and work whatever drivers they wanted.

And anandtech found the zacate about 40+% faster. I'm sure AMD feels terrible about trying to deceive the public by being open and providing full access to independent reviewers. The horror!
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post #22 of 940 Old 09-16-2010, 03:13 AM
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Zacate Fusion works at 1.6GHz

Zacate/Ontario supports a single channel DDR3 memory interface, supporting low-voltage (1.35V) memory.
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post #23 of 940 Old 09-16-2010, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Zacate Fusion works at 1.6GHz

Zacate/Ontario supports a single channel DDR3 memory interface, supporting low-voltage (1.35V) memory.

I think I'm convinced, I was originally leaning towards sandy bridge but Zacate is looking better and better for HTPC duty. Can't wait for the ITX versions to start hitting the market. I have noticed there has been no info on system idle wattage numbers, but I'm guessing they should be very good. I think I'm just going to get a single stick of 2G DDR3 ram(should also help cut wattage), so the single channel issue shouldn't be a worry either. Plus, I don't think multimedia is memory bandwidth limited at all, but I could be wrong.
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post #24 of 940 Old 09-16-2010, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon View Post

Btw another great nettop/htpc would be the Intel CE4200 SOC which sadly willnever be a customer OEM part and is only for CE devices.

I think it all comes down to audio-support at this point, who will support bitstreaming?
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post #25 of 940 Old 09-16-2010, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zicoz View Post

I think it all comes down to audio-support at this point, who will support bitstreaming?

CE4100/4200 supports HD audio bitstreaming (jakmal's article on Boxee). It's only OEM, of course. Zacate is unknown.
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post #26 of 940 Old 09-24-2010, 05:19 AM
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Xtreview

x-bit labs

Quote:


For low-power desktops, which are often called nettops, and thin clients AMD will offer dual-core Zacate E350 and single-core Zacate E240 microprocessors with integrated DirectX 11 graphics core with UVD 3.0 video engine, single-channel PC3-10600 (DDR 1333MHz) memory controller and 18W TDP, according to sources familiar with AMD's plans. The chips will come in BGA FT1 package and will be soldered to mainboards.

AMD Brazos platform for desktops will consist of AMD Fusion accelerated processing unit (APU) code-named Zacate as well as code-named Hudson D1 fusion controller hub, which will connect to processor using PCI Express 2.0 x4 bus and will support 4 PCIe x1 ports, PCI bus, 6 Serial ATA-300 ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports as well as integrated clock-generator. The part does not support RAID, Gigabit Ethernet and other capabilities, hence, Brazos platform will hardly be suitable for commercial desktops without additional chips.

- Zacate E350 = T56N?
- Zacate E240 = T52R?
LL
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post #28 of 940 Old 11-09-2010, 09:05 PM
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I am really excited by our news today on shipping the first production parts. The Ontario and Zacate APUs are going to be great parts for a lot of different applications and it should hit some very nice price points.

This is going to be pretty cool as we see some of the products these parts are going to enable.

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post #29 of 940 Old 11-09-2010, 09:30 PM
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Great news, can't wait to get one of these guys.
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post #30 of 940 Old 11-09-2010, 11:08 PM
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These sound totally amazing (per the preview articles). I look forward not only to Zacate's arrival, but to Intel's equivalent in the 20w range.

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working. (Oh, and plasma didn't die because of logistics problems, nor does OLED ship in big boxes because it comes from Korea.)
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