AMD is staking quite a bit on its new Fusion architecture -- which combines CPU and GPU in an Accelerated Processing Unit, or APU -- and the first independent benchmarks for a Toshiba NB550D netbook using the C-50 "Ontario" APU should encourage the chipmaker.
Dutch site Hardware.info compared the C-50 to Intel's Atom N550 netbook processor, the primary competition to one of AMD's low-power entries. In two of the four benchmarks the testers used, the Fusion chip smoked the Atom: It nearly doubled the N550's PCMark Vantage - Gaming score (1,380 to 697) and destroyed it by more than tenfold in 3DMark06 (1,769 to 153). The site didn't (or couldn't) run the PCMark Vantage - TV and Movies test for the dual-core Atom, whereas the dual-core Fusion processor scored 1,046. The only test that the Intel chip won was Cinebench 10 (1,466 to 1,271).
The results suggest that the C-50's integrated Radeon HD 6250 GPU is far superior to the N550's GMA 3150, especially considering that it supports DirectX 11 graphics while Intel is still stuck at DirectX 9. At 8 watts, the AMD processor also sips slightly less power than the 8.5-watt Atom. One question still unanswered is how the battery life of the Ontario chip fares in the wild. But overall, this is good news for a company that could use some after its CEO resigned yesterday.