Laptops with AMD's Fusion chip to ship early next year

AMD's Ontario chip will be in netbooks and ultramobile laptops

Smaller and power-efficient laptops with Advanced Micro Devices' upcoming Fusion hybrid chips will reach shelves "early next year," company officials said on Tuesday.

PCs will ship with chips code-named Ontario, which have CPUs based on AMD's new Bobcat low-power architecture, said Gary Silcott, an AMD spokesman.

Chips based on Bobcat are being designed for use in netbooks and ultraportable laptops that consume less power, said Dina McKinney, vice president of design engineering at AMD.

Silcott declined to name the PC makers the company is working with.

The Ontario chips are part of a family of chips called Fusion, which combine a central processing unit and graphics processing unit into one piece of silicon. The company has said it will start shipping Ontario chips ahead of schedule starting in the fourth quarter this year.

The first Ontario chips will include two Bobcat processor cores and a DirectX-11 capable GPU. CPUs based on Bobcat will provide close to 90 percent of the performance of the company's processors used in mainstream PCs but occupy half the space, McKinney said.

The company did not reveal the power drawn by Ontario chips. However, Bobcat's CPU core will be able to draw less than 1 watt of power, McKinney said. The company did not reveal the power budget of the integrated GPU core.

The Ontario chip should make AMD competitive in the netbook market, which is dominated by Intel. Intel's Atom chips, used in most netbooks, include integrated graphics chips but still have been criticized for poor graphics performance. An integrated DirectX 11-capable processor should allow playback of full 1080p video on small screens.

Dell has publicly said it was evaluating Fusion chips because of the power and size benefits they bring to PCs. The company is looking to reduce the size of laptops and desktops while improving application and graphics performance.

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