First AMD Fusion chips to land in 2010

AMD's first Fusion processors with integrated DirectX 11 graphics could start popping up before Christmas this year, according to a leaked roadmap that materialised over the weekend.

German tech site ATI-Forum (Google translation) claims to have landed its gloves on a leaked processor roadmap from AMD, which it says had to be redesigned by the site in order to protect its source. If the roadmap is legit, then it looks as though AMD is planning to release a pair of Fusion processors codenamed "Zacate" in the fourth quarter of this year.

According to the roadmap, two versions are planned; a single-core chip with a TDP of 18W, and a dual-core chip with a 25W TDP. The roadmap says both CPUs will also feature DirectX 11 graphics, although there are no more details about the GPU's specifications.

Little is known about Zacate, but if these specifications are genuine, it looks as though it's going to be targeted at the ultrathin laptop market. The power consumption is significantly higher than the 13W peak of Intel's top-end Atom chips, so it's unlikely to be a favourite for small netbooks and tablets.

However, the integrated DX11 GPU could possibly threaten Nvidia's Ion chip in the small desktop and more powerful netbook markets. By providing basic 3D features, video acceleration and a CPU in one package, a Zacate processor could be more appealing to manufacturers than a two-chip Atom and Ion setup.

AMD hasn't spoken publicly about Zacate yet, but the specifications on the roadmap are in-line with AMD's formerly announced Ontario CPU for its Brazos platform. According to slides from AMD's financial analyst day, Brazos is specifically targeted at the ultrathin laptop and netbook markets, and features two cores.

Interestingly, however, AMD has Brazos lined up for the beginning of next year, rather than the end of this year. It's unclear whether the leaked roadmap is referring to shipping dates or retail availability dates, but it certainly looks as though the first Fusion chips will start making their way over here by the end of 2010.