AMD had a very exciting announcement this week. Their new All-in-One device they are calling an APU, or Accelerated Processing Unit. This codenamed “Zacate” chip is now officially dubbed “Fusion” and incorporates AMD 6130 DirectX 11 graphics on the same chip. Fusion is part of a new platform of the future AMD is calling “Vision”. What this means is a very low powered device with amazing graphic capabilities. Motherboards housing Fusion have started trickling out as well, with some very nice specs. Here is a board from Gigabyte. While these chips look to be a perfect match for the HTPC, I believe we will see the abundance of them in the next generation Netbooks with phenomenal battery life and stellar performance.
On the HTPC side of things, this should give us a lower cost alternative to the Core i3, while using nearly half the power. Hopefully the price point will come in lower than the current dual core Atom units that represent the low power/low cost market right now. A mini-itx version of this board combined with a cable card tuner, would make the perfect small form factor, power sipping media center machine. I am looking forward to building an Fusion HTPC in the near future.
Source: Press Release
Intel announced at CES 2011 their first releases of the “Sandy Bridge “ core processors. This is the next generation of processors from Intel that are supposed to be a drastic improvement to the already dominant core i3, i5, and i7 models. With this roll out, Intel also introduces a new 1155 socket and a P67/H67 chipset. In true Intel fashion, the new 1155 socket CPUs are not compatible with the last generation 1156 sockets. Reading various preview benchmarks around the web, the new line is fairing very well. The new i7s are achieving 4.1GHZ overclocks on air cooling, which is Phenomenal. There are a sleuth of new motherboards by all manufacturers in all form factors being announced this week to accommodate the new chips.
But, what does this mean to the HTPC crowd? Well, for starters it means that the last generation of core i3 processors should come down a little in price, along with their matching H55 motherboards. Which could make it a great time to build a new high performance, low power Media Center machine. The core i3 540 paired with an H55 mother board is arguably the best combination ever for an HTPC, and with the content we have today, this machine should last for years to come. But if you want to be on the cutting edge and save maybe a few more watts at the plug, then give the new Sandy Bridge processors a look. They should be available around the end of January.
For an in-depth preview, you can have a look here.
Source: Press Release