Fusion netbooks lined up for early 2011

A number of renowned laptop makers have already lined up several Fusion-based netbooks and ultra-thin laptops for the beginning of 2011, according to the latest word on the tech grapevine.

The Taiwanese gossip dredgers over at DigiTimes claim to have had talks with various sources at laptop manufacturers, who say Acer, Asus and HP are all planning to introduce Fusion-based machines using AMD's forthcoming Ontario chips in the first quarter of next year.

According to the site, mass-production of the Ontario chips, which will feature a CPU and DirectX 11 GPU in one unit, is scheduled to kick off at TSMC's 40nm fabrication facilities in early December this year. This corresponds with a leaked roadmap that cropped up last month, which outlined a Fusion-based chip codenamed "Zacate" also lined up for December 2010.

AMD has coined the term "accelerated processing unit" (or APU for short) for its new Fusion chips, as they can also use the integrated GPU for parallel GPGPU processing. Slides from the company's financial analyst day in 2009 stated the Ontario APU would form a part of its "Brazos" platform, aimed at the netbook and ultra-thin laptop market.

According to the slides, the chips will come with two CPU cores based on AMD's "Bobcat" architecture, as well as DDR3 memory support. AMD claims its Bobcat core can operate while consuming less than a single Watt, and says it will also support the first three versions of SSE and even virtualisation technology.

AMD says the chips will be available in 2011, but it now looks very much as though we're talking about the very beginning of 2011, and with a full range of products to boot.

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