Mobile

AMD launches its combo graphics-microprocessor chips for tablets

It’s taken a while, but Advanced Micro Devices is finally taking the wraps off Hondo, the code name for its processor chip for tablet computers. The new chips could give Intel a run for its money and offer choice to consumers in the coming Windows 8 launch.

The new Z-60 tablet accelerated processing unit (APU) is timely because it will serve as the low-power, high-performance brains of upcoming Windows 8 tablets, according to AMD, which is the largest PC chip maker next to Intel. AMD’s APUs compete with Intel’s new code-named Clover Trail chips, and they combine both graphics and microprocessor components in a single silicon chip. For consumers, AMD says it will deliver great experiences for Windows 8 tablets when it comes to photos, music, streaming video, productivity apps, and games.

The AMD APUs will also compete with Windows RT tablets that use ARM-based microprocessors from companies such as Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, and Nvidia. But AMD, like Intel, argues that an x86-based chip design — such as those made by Intel and AMD — offers the best compatibility for running full-scale Windows PC applications on a tablet. AMD also offers good graphics performance and 10 hours of battery life on a Windows 8 tablet.

AMD says the Z-60 offers vivid high-definition media performance, enhanced gaming, and accelerated app performance on the consumer side. For commercial machines, it also offers enhanced productivity, security and manageability, and mobility. Windows 8 tablets will run PC apps and connect to virtually any peripheral. The tablets will have options for keyboard or touchscreen input.

The Z-60 consumes just 4.5 watts and it has two central processing unit cores. It has 80 Radeon graphics cores and runs at 1.0 gigahertz. It can support universal serial bus (USB) 3.0 ports and 1080p graphics. In Windows presentation mode, the battery life hits 10 hours. For web browsing, the battery life is eight hours. For video playback, the battery life is six hours. The Z-60 can wake up from sleep in as few as two seconds, and it boots to Windows in as few as 25 seconds. It also syncs to a local network in 1.5 seconds.


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