Gadgets

AMD launches series of chips that get it into low-power laptops and tablets

Advanced Micro Devices is launching two new families of mobile chips today for faster and more power efficient laptops.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD wants to become more competitive with its larger rival Intel, and it is doing it by creating all-in-one chips dubbed accelerated processing units (APUs) that combine graphics and processing in the same piece of silicon. Those kinds of chips have been built into the newest game consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

These new chips will go into a wide range of computers, from traditional PCs to new kinds of designs. One chip, formerly code-named Temash, will be called the 2013 AMD Elite Memory APU, a quad-core chip built with a 28-nanometer manufacturing process. The chip is aimed at smaller notebook computers, tablets and hybrids, which combine a tablet and a laptop in one device. It is aimed at machines with 13-inch screens and below.

A second chip is the 2013 AMD Mainstream APU, formerly code-named Kabini. That quad-core chip is a quad-core system-on-chip for entry-level and small laptops. The third chip is a low-power version of the 2013 AMD Elite Performance APU, formerly code-named Richland. It is aimed at thin laptops with high performance.

“The worlds of the tablet and PC are colliding,” said John Taylor, vice president of corporate communications at AMD, in an interview with VentureBeat. “These chips will have high-performance and operate on low wattage. We are targeting both PCs and Android devices. With Windows 8 and touchscreens, there is more flexibility in the market.”

“AMD is in its best position in a while with Temash, Kabini and Richland to field a differentiated offering, and doing it in time to hit the back to school selling season,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “We won’t know how they do until we can see how they are assorted with OEMs and at retail, which is as vital as having a good product.”

AMD has scored customer deals with big computer makers including Acer and HP.

“The client market has evolved – with greater diversity in the types of mobile form factors and higher performance demands from the software – and AMD is uniquely positioned to deliver the best processors to meet the needs of mobile device users today,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of global business units at AMD. “As computing becomes more visual and the graphics processor can be leveraged to do other types of processing, our dedication to the software community and the APU architecture sets us apart from the competition and enables us to deliver the best user experience whether on a tablet, a hybrid device or a notebook.”

The 2013 AMD Elite Mobility APU will be available as the AMD A-Series APUs. It will come with dual-core and quad-core configurations. The core, or main computing brain, will be based on the Jaguar microarchitecture, which combines an x86 central processing unit (CPU) with a Graphics Core Next AMD Radeon 8000 series graphics chip. It will have 172 percent faster CPU performance per watt of power consumed and 212 percent better graphics performance per watt than its predecessor. Computers using it will have up to 12 hours of resting battery life. AMD says it will have 45 percent longer battery life and five times the graphics performance than the closest competing chip from Intel.

The 2013 AMD Mainstream APU will have either two or four Jaguar cores with the AMD Radeon 8000 series graphics. That chip will be 132 percent better in visual performance per watt and 127 percent better on productivity apps per watt, compared with previous generations. It will be 88 percent better at graphics and 33 percent better at gaming than the rival Intel chips.

And the 2013 AMD Elite Performance APU will be used in top-of-the-line chips dubbed the A8 and A10. It will have 12 percent better productivity performance and 20 percent to 40 percent better visual performance than prior chips. It will have 39 percent to 72 percent better gaming performance than rival Intel chips, AMD says.

AMD is packaging gesture-control software with the chips so that developers can use it to do non-traditional computing tasks such as controlling the user interface with hand gestures.

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