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AMD has always been behind Intel when it comes to market share and performance. After their one-hit wonder Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2, they never seemed to manage to catch up with Intel ever since Core 2 Duo roamed the earth. Yes, they do manage to close the gap, but that's not going to help the company a lot if all they can do is follow up behind all the time.
Four years ago AMD and ATI completed their $5.4 billion merge, but that didn't fruit any sweet stuff for AMD at all. Yes, the Radeon has been selling great these days, giving a very healthy fight with green champ Nvidia, but the processor side never benefitted from the merge. But now, they have finally delivered the promised of Fusion hybrid CPU/GPU chips, though I think that might be slightly late, all thanks to the delay.
AMD has always been boasting their Fusion hybrid chip, but the delay had Intel catch up with their version of the Fusion hybrid chip in the form of the Clarksdale, and what's more the second generation Fusion chip Sandy Bridge is already here. Today AMD will not be tapping into mainstream Fusion hybrid first, but aiming purely at Intel's Atom platform, the processor that's used by nearly all the netbooks in this world.
AMD is offering what they say is better CPU performance, vastly better GPU performance with DirectX11 support, dedicated 1080p HD video processing and HDMI out, and “all day” battery life that can hit 10 or more hours. There are four total chips in two families built around the new “Bobcat” CPU core to start: the “Zacate” E-Series for mainstream laptops, AIOs and small desktops will have an 18W TDP and come in the 1.6GHz dual-core E-350 and the 1.5GHz single-core E-240, while the “Ontario” C-Series for HD netbooks and “other emerging form factors” will clock in at 9W TDP and come in the dual-core 1.0GHz C-50 and the single core 1.2GHz C-30. The “Llano” A-Series designed for mainstream laptops will offer up to four cores and arrive later this year.
AMD's making some serious claims — it says “Fusion processors are, quite simply, the greatest advancement in processing since the introduction of the x86 architecture more than forty years ago” — and if can deliver on its performance promises, it'll pretty much turn the entire netbook market upside down. What's more, the company says tablets and other embedded devices are coming in the first half of 2011, so things could get seriously interesting.