More Information on AMD Ontario and Zacate APUs, Availability

A few weeks ago, there was word that AMD would be demonstrating its AMD Fusion platform at IFA in Berlin, and they have now done so. The Fusion APUs that were demonstrated will be competing with Intel’s Pineview Atom platform. The graphics portion of the Fusion platform should be quite a bit better than the integrated graphics of Pineview, and it supports DirectX 11 as well as an on-die Unified Video Decoder (UVD). The UVD portion is basically dedicated hardware video acceleration (including HD 1080p).

The important news: Netbooks/Laptops based on AMD Fusion should be available in the first quarter of 2011. AMD’s official blog states that AMD will be ramping up production in 2010.

Just to get some terms out of the way, AMD refers to the basis for the AMD Fusion platform as an APU. APU stands for Accelerated Processing Unit. Think CPU (Central Processing Unit), only now it has the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) built into it. The codename for the overall platform, and not just netbooks/laptops but desktops as well, is called “Brazos”. The APUs that are a subset of “Brazos”, that I’m interested in are called “Ontario” and “Zacate”. Both have two CPU cores, and the CPU cores are known as “Bobcat”. Confused yet?

Ontario is the one I’m most interested in. It is the APU that is targeted towards the low-voltage/low-power netbook and small form factor (SFF) desktop market. The “Zacate” APU is clocked higher, both on the CPU and on the GPU cores, and is targeted towards higher-performance ultraportables, including ultrathin, and mainstream and “value” notebooks, as well as desktops/all-in-ones. There is an even higher-performance APU, the Llano, but not much information is known about it.

Ontario specifications:
– 2x Bobcat CPU cores + GPU
– 512 KB L2 per CPU core
– CPU cores each clocked between 1GHz and 1.2GHz
– GPU core clocked at around 500MHz, supports DirectX 11
– 9 Watts TDP (Thermal Design Power)

Zacate specifications:
– 2x Bobcat CPU cores + GPU
– CPU cores clocked at 1.6GH
– GPU core clocked at around 750MHz (or lower), supports DirectX 11
– 18 Watts TDP

Read:
Blogs.AMD.com about Ontario/Zacate
Blogs.AMD.com – Bobcat CPUs

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eLocity A7 Touchscreen Tablet Available for Pre-Order at Amazon

I just got a notice that the new eLocity A7 7-inch touchscreen tablet running Google’s Android 2.2 is available for pre-order. It’s an Amazon.com exclusive. It’s interesting because it’s going to be a direct competitor to Apple’s iPad, and it’s basically running the same hardware as the Asus Eee Pad that was mentioned back in April.

It’s being referred to as an “Internet Tablet”, but it falls somewhere between an iPhone or Android-based phone, and the iPad. It does run Android apps – the manufacturer refers to over 75,000 apps. I’m surprised it only has 4GB of storage, however it does have an internal Micro Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) slot which you can use to expand the on-board storage to 36GB. It also supports external USB flash drives up to 64GB in size. It supports quite a few video codecs, and with the 1080p HDMI port, you can connect to an HDTV and play them through there.

One selling point – the default browser for Android supports Flash. It mentions an unlocked card slot, which sounds like you can buy existing data service through various cell/mobile phone providers, for on-the-go internet access.

Specifications:
– Powered by Android 2.2 OS
– 7-inch 800×480 touchscreen
– NVIDIA Tegra II T-20, 1GHZ, 1MB L2
– 1080P support through HDMI output
– 512MB DDR2 RAM
– 802.11b/g with Bluetooth Wireless
– 4GB internal storage, SDHC slot, USB 2.0 connection for additional storage
– 1.3MP Web Camera
– 8.2 x 4.8 x 0.5 inches
– 1.02 pounds

eLocity A7 Touchscreen 7-Inch Android 2.2 Tablet (Black) – $369.99 ($429.99 regularly)

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No USB 3.0 or Bluetooth 3.0 on 1215N? No Problem!

This is something that’s come up in a couple of emails to me, as well as various forums I follow. Some people are talking about the Asus Eee PC 1215N not having Bluetooth 3.0 and USB 3.0 support in the US/North America.

In regards to Bluetooth 3.0 and USB 3.0, it says on the ASUSTek website: *Availability is dependent on selected model, country or operator support. Check with your local ASUS website for more details. .

On the Amazon.com page it doesn’t show either one, nor does it show either one listed elsewhere on other places in the US that are selling the 1215N. On the Amazon.co.uk page it mentions Bluetooth 3.0 + HS (High Speed), and while the Amazon UK link does not mention USB 3.0, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was available, since that listing is a bit sparse.

First of all, formal specifications for USB 3.0 were finalized less than two years ago, and USB 3.0 devices were really not announced until earlier this year. You can get USB 3.0 (and Bluetooth 3.0) devices to work in Windows 7, but right now many manufacturers and accessory makers are not exactly in a rush to get these devices out. With Windows 8 in 2012 offering built-in support for both standards, I think you’ll see a serious push, especially in devices that we haven’t even seen yet. I don’t think Bluetooth 3.0 or USB 3.0 devices will dominate before Windows 8.

Right now I think what we are seeing as far as USB 3.0 devices, are USB 2.0 devices that were adapted for USB 3.0, so it’s not as if there is something that you are missing out on as far as some new device that we haven’t seen yet, perhaps video related. I expect that to change as we get closer to Windows 8 and as USB 3.0 gains traction.
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Posted in Articles, ASUS, Bluetooth 3.0, Commentary, Intel Atom, Netbook, NVIDIA Ion, USB 3.0, Windows 8 | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on No USB 3.0 or Bluetooth 3.0 on 1215N? No Problem!

Asus Eee PC 1215N Briefly in Stock at Amazon, Available Elsewhere

If you are looking for the latest dual-core Atom netbook from Asus, the 1215N, Amazon had them in stock earlier today and is now showing 2-4 weeks for orders to be fulfilled. Excaliber PC is showing some currently in stock, but I have never purchased from them and am not familiar with them. They appear to be reputable. If you have any experience with them, please let me know.

These are the latest dual-core Atom netboo to come out of Asus, and the 1215N has generated a lot of interest. The 1215N actually uses the Intel D525 which is a desktop or “nettop” version of their Atom line, and it’s running at a slightly faster speed, 1.8GHz, than what you can get in normal Atoms manufactured for the netbook market. It features a 12.1-inch 1366×768 HD display, NVIDIA’s Ion 2 graphics which are a recently major update to the Ion line, and it allows HD video to be sent through the HDMI output that is present in the 1215N. It comes loaded with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium.

Eee PC 1215N (seashell) available at Amazon.com:
ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1215N-PU17-BK (black) $499
ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1215N-PU17-SL (silver) $499

Keep in mind that the 1215N series that is shipping to Amazon, etc., does not have Bluetooth 3.0 or USB 3.0. Those features are slated for other markets or regions.

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Netbook Sale at Amazon.com (Sep 5, 2010)

Amazon and some of their partners are having a decent netbook sale, either because of Labor Day weekend in the US, or because they are clearing out models ahead of the Dual Core Intel Atom N550-powered netbooks.

Probably the best deal is one of the two Asus Eee PC 1201PN Seashell netbooks. All of the netbooks listed below are using a single-core Atom CPU, but the 1201PN netbooks have, in addition to HD/high-resolution 12.1-inch 1366×768 displays, an NVIDIA ION 2 graphics chipset for HD video. This it the second-generation of NVIDIA ION graphics, and besides the high resolution display, there is an HDMI output for displaying content on HDTVs. The HP Mini 110-1050NR is also a good deal for $300.

ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1201PN-PU17-SL (Silver)
– $427.54 vs $499.99 originally
– 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 (single-core)
NVIDIA ION 2 graphics
– 12.1-inch LED-backlit display, 1366×768
– 2GB DDR2 RAM/Memory
– 250GB SATA Hard Drive 5400rpm
– Windows 7 Home Premium
HDMI & VGA Out
– Full-size chiclet-style keyboard

ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1201PN-PU17-RD (Red)
– $424.99 vs $499.99 originally
– 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 (single-core)
NVIDIA ION 2 graphics
– 12.1-inch LED-backlit display, 1366×768
– 2GB DDR2 RAM/Memory
– 250GB SATA Hard Drive 5400rpm
– Windows 7 Home Premium
HDMI & VGA Out
– Full-size chiclet-style keyboard

HP Mini 110-1050NR
– $300 (originally $575)
– 10.1-inch LED-backlit anti-glare display, 1024×576
– Intel Atom N270 (single-core)
– 1GB DDR2 RAM
– 160GB HDD 5400RPM
– Windows XP Home

Samsung N150
– $299.99 (originally $349)
– 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 (single-core)
– Up to 7 hours of battery life (Samsung Estimate)
– 1GB DDR2 RAM/Memory
– 160GB HDD
– 10.1″ Display 1024×600
– Intel GMA Graphics 3150
– Windows 7 Starter

Acer Aspire AO533-23923 (Glossy Red)
– $270.95 (versus $329.99)
– Intel Atom N475 1.83GHz (single-core)
– 1GB DDR3 RAM
– 10.1-inch LED-backlit, 1024×600
– Intel GMA 3150
– Wide multi-gesture/multi-touch touchpad
– 6-cell battery, up to 8-hours battery life (Acer estimate)
– 160GB Hard Drive 5400rpm
– Windows 7 Starter

Acer Aspire AO533-23571 (Glossy Black)
– $286.89 (versus $329.99)
– Intel Atom N475 1.83GHz (single-core)
– 1GB DDR3 RAM
– 10.1-inch LED-backlit, 1024×600
– Intel GMA 3150
– Wide multi-gesture/multi-touch touchpad
– 6-cell battery, up to 8-hours battery life (Acer estimate)
– 160GB Hard Drive 5400rpm
– Windows 7 Starter

Acer Aspire AO533-13531
– $286.89 (versus $329.99)
– 1.66GHz Intel Atm N455 (single-core)
– 10.1-inch LED-backlit display, 1024×600
– Intel GMA 3150 Graphics
– 1GB DDR3 Memory
– Up to 8 hours of battery life (Acer’s estimate)
– Multi-gesture touchpad
– Windows 7 Starter

Prices/availability subject to change.

Posted in Acer, ASUS, HDMI, HP, Intel Atom, Netbook, Sales and Deals, Samsung | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Netbook Sale at Amazon.com (Sep 5, 2010)