Jun 5 2010

AMD’s focus remains on Netbooks

According to Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AMD’s products group, AMD is in no rush to develop a smart phone or tablet but remains focused on netbooks. Their current projects include the release of graphic cards ATI Radeon HD 5450, 5570 and 5670 and the 2011 release of the Bobcat processor for netbooks.

This is positive news for netbook enthusiasts (such as ourselves), since while other companies seem to be switching gears, AMD’s priorities have not changed.

Via ZDNet, image via ZDNet.

Jun 4 2010

AMD Will Not Feature Tablet PC in Computex 2010

Many PC manufacturers will be touting tablet computers at Computex 2010, but the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Products Group at AMD, Rick Bergman, believes that the company is in no hurry to enter this market, “AMD currently is still evaluating the tablet PC market and will wait until market demand start to appear before joining.”  AMD is more optimistic towards future growth in the netbook market and currently has no plans into expanding into the smartphone nor consumer electronics markets.

Bergman also noted growing competition from Nvidia.  In order to keep up with the competition, AMD will continue expanding its graphics technologies and launch new products including the ATI Radeon HD 5450, 5570, and 5670 graphics cards, which will target entry-level and mainstream consumer groups.  In addition, AMD has already shipped 11 million units of DirectX 11-supporting GPUs since its launch.

Instead of entering the tablet PC, smartphone, or consumer electronics markets, AMD will also focus its efforts on its netbook-based Bobcat processor, which will be released in 2011.

Via Digitimes.

Apr 17 2010

Rumor: Apple May Adopt AMD Chips

Apple began to make the transition to Intel chips a little over four years ago, changing from the PowerPC processors to Intel x86 processors. This was one of the best moves Apple has ever made, as it greatly improved Apple computers. Though there were inconveniences at first with certain software only running on the old PowerPC processors and not on the new Intel processors (or vice versa), by and large these problems have been solved.

According to the latest Apple rumor, Apple may be considering switching over to processors made by an Intel competitor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Apple does use AMD chips right now as graphics processors, but the rumor refers to chips that would replace the Intel microprocessors.

Apple has allegedly been dissatisfied with Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors because these processors require the use of Intel chipsets instead of Nvidia chipsets that previous models of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro contained.

Via CNET, image via AMD.

Mar 13 2010

AMD’s Fusion Chip Will Compete Against Intel’s Atom Processors

Intel Corporation is widely considered to be the technological giant regarding computer processors. However, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) plans on challenging Intel’s consistent dominance in the market.

With the recently announced development of the new “Fusion” chip designed for netbooks, we are led to believe AMD plans on making its mark by targeting the “portable computer” community.

The new chip offers a relatively normal TDP of 10- 15 watts as well as decent graphics performance without requiring a separate GPU. Most importantly, this chip will fit in a netbook with a screen less than 12 inches long.

Nigel Dessau, AMD’s senior vice president, said “It will have a good processor integrated with graphics, so you won’t need the Ion graphics to give it half-decent performance… If we’d had a part, we’d have been in this space. We didn’t have a part so we went and worked on a part for the thin and light space. The plan is to come to market next year with a Fusion part that fits it nicely in a netbook type thing.”
The Fusion chip will be available sometime next year, so unfortunately, we can only speculate on its performance now.

Via Nexus404.

Mar 3 2010

AMD and NVIDIA Begin HTPC/Netbook Platform War of 2010

March 2, 2010 – This day marks the dawn of the coming generation of hardware platforms.  Both AMD and NVIDIA unveiled their new platforms today, meaning some exciting GPU integration for future products.

First off is AMD’s 890GX chipset.  This platform is for general motherboard usage across a variety of products.  However, it is poised towards the HTPC market, providing high-quality HD viewing with a not so expensive price.  The 890GX delivers this using the HD 4920 GPU for integrated graphic, which is DirectX 10.1 compliant and rendering 1080p video through MPEG2, VC-1, and H.264. Also look for USB 3.0 on certain motherboards.

On NVIDIA’s side comes the long awaited Next-Generation ION with Optimus technology, formerly known as the ION 2.  The next-gen ION is boasting major gains over the original ION, and NVIDIA claims it will be 10x as powerful as the integrated GPUs supplied by Intel.  It will be able to provide 1080p and 3D gaming to your tiny 10.1” screen.

The ION architecture will vary between 10.1” netbooks and larger 12-inch models, with each respectively getting 8 and 16 CUDA cores.  There are already 30 products lined up for release with the next-gen ION, with the first being the Acer Aspire One 532G.  Look forward to summer where these products should enter the market.

Via DailyTech

Feb 9 2010

AMD’s Llano Platform Announced

AMD Llano

After a long wait, it seems that the marriage of AMD and ATI has finally conceived a child worthy of their merger.  The Llano platform is AMD’s answer to Intel’s integrated graphics, and it has successfully turned heads. AMD doesn’t call the Llano a CPU or GPU, but rather some peculiar marketing term dubbed the “Applications Processing Unit” or APU.  It may not be the catchiest phrase, but we all know what it really is and it actually could give the Intel IGP a legitimate challenge.

On the CPU side, the Llano will have a quad core on a 32 nm die. Each core will have 1 MB of L2 cache, and AMD is most likely targeting under 3 GHz for clock speed.  Tag that along with with a fully DirectX 11 capable GPU (details not yet revealed) cast on the same die as the CPU with parallel vector hardware, and you get a potential Intel laptop killer.

Sampling will occur in the second half of the year and OEMs will get access in 2011.

Via Ars Technica

Jan 26 2010

AMD Expands Processor Share, Bright Future in General for Chips

AMD Turion
AMD has begun to make comeback in the CPU market, according to a study today by market research firm IDC.  AMD recorded major gains beginning in the first quarter of ’09 and has aggressively made inroads into the notebook market.

It expanded from a 10.2% share to 12.7% from Q4 ’08 to Q4 ’09, gnawing down Intel from 89.1% to 87.3%.  This is likely the result of the Turion II X2 and Athlon line, but Intel still seems to sit on top of the mobile market.  Only time will tell as both companies scramble for dominance over CPU and integrated GPU chips in laptops and netbooks.

Overall, 2009 has been a largely successful year for chipmakers, who shipped 31.3% more processors in Q4 ’09 compared to Q4 ’08.  Processing lightweight VIA was the exception, shrinking from 0.4% to 0.1% over the past year.  A major area of growth was mobile PCs (including of course netbooks), rising  by 11.7% over the same period.  The IDC remains optimistic for the coming year, forecasting a 15.1% growth in CPUs sold.

Via PC World.

Jan 9 2010

CES 2010: AMD to Offer Triple-Core Processors

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has announced that it will offer triple-core processors in laptops. Though laptops now can have either dual-core or quad-core processors, triple-core processors have been unavailable until now.

Though it may appear that triple-core processors would be not be an advance, considering the existence of quad-core processors, they will fill the gap in a useful way. They offer better performance than dual-core processors and better power efficiency than quad-core processors. AMD currently offers only dual-core chips in their laptops, while Intel offers both dual-core and quad-core.

Dual-core processors do offer great performance for laptops, but triple-core will boost application performance, according to an AMD employee. The third-core will be able to take on processor-intensive tasks while leaving the other two cores free.

The chips will be offered as a part of Danube, AMD’s next-generation laptop code. Danube is supposed to increase laptop battery life by more than an hour. It is also supposed to offer better speed and graphics compared to the current platform.

The chips should ship in the first half of this year.

Via PC World, image via PC world.

Dec 7 2009

More On MSI’s Upcoming AMD Netbooks

MSI will soon be launching a new line of larger netbooks in the near future, both of which will run AMD processors. The new machiens are the MSI MS-1243 and MSI MS-1241, which recently showed up on the FCC.

These netbooks should be making an appearance by 2010 with 1366×768 pixel screens in 12.1-inch and 11.6-inch varieties. They are rumored to include 3G mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, HDMI, and a TV tuner for an enhanced multimedia experience. Both will run the AMD Athlon Neo CPU.

The MS-1243 and -1241 are also expected to run Windows 7 and a momentous 4 GB of RAM. 250 GB hard drives could be on the way as well, which is great. Both machines will start with 3-cell batteries with the possibility of an upgrade.

Pricing and availability info are unknown for now, but if I had to guess I’d put the MSI MS-1243 and MS-1241 netbooks in the $500-$600 range, due to their huge RAM and other options.

Via TheLink.

Dec 5 2009

2 New MSI Wind Netbooks Spotted on FCC’s Website

Two more versions of the MSI Wind netbook were recently spotted on the FCC’s website. The model numbers for these netbooks are MS-1241 and MS-1243. One model has an 11.6″ screen display while the other has a 12.1″ screen display and both are equipped with AMD processors. The MS-1243 netbook may actually be the MSI Wind U230 that is going through its final checkup before being confirmed for release.

Some other tech specs for the MSI Wind netbooks include b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G WAN, a multicard reader, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, HDMI out, and VGA out. A TV tuner will be optional. The OS is assumed to be Windows 7, as Windows XP is quickly being phased out. The overall weight for these netbooks will fall around 3 pounds.

Via NewNetbookReviews.

Nov 30 2009

MSI Introduces AMD Congo-Based Wind12 U230 Netbook, Calls It “Showpiece” of the Year

Claiming that it’s this year’s “showpiece” of the netbook world, MSI has recently introduced the Wind12 U230 netbook. Not unjustly named the “showpiece” of the year, this masterpiece of a netbook features a dual-core CPU, an integrated ATI Radeon HD3200 GPU, and the capacity for 4 GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard drive. The Wind12 netbook also has an HDMI output port, Ethernet, and three USB ports, and ships with Windows 7 Home Premium. Might as well call it a laptop, no?

MSI has also expanded the surface of the keyboard to cater to users’ needs of comfort. Overall, the Wind12 netbook weighs roughly 1.3 kg, including a 3-cell battery that holds about four hours of juice. Overall, not bad specs compared to other netbooks, considering its performance capabilities.

Via TechSpot.

Nov 12 2009

AMD Gives Us a Taste of its Future Netbook and Laptop Platforms

Recently, AMD outlined its roadmap through 2011, which included the introduction of two new processor cores, codenamed Bulldozer and Bobcat, which are to be released in 2011.

The Bulldozer platform is designed mainly for desktops and servers while the Bobcat platform is mainly for netbooks and ultra-thin notebooks. AMD claims that Bobcat will provide 90% of today’s computing performance in less than half of the current silicon real estate, which means that it’ll consume less than one watt of power.

Nov 5 2009

MSI Preparing Netbook-Challenging Ultraportable Notebook

AMD has been keeping Congo in the works for the release of Windows 7 as a competitor to Intel’s Atom, but it will soon be rearing its ultraportable head in the soon-to-be-released MSI Wind 12 U230.  With a 12.1” monitor, it’s no netbook, but it packs a solid punch while staying under three pounds, though you may be able to clear three pounds if you order the six-cell-battery instead of the three.

It’s that exciting.

Specifically, the punch will contain up to 4 GB of RAM, up to 320 GB of hard drive space, and a 1366×768 screen resolution, along with the Congo platform, designed for multimedia usage and longer batter life, all in a package only 0.9-1.2” thick.

Via TechReport and Engadget.

Oct 27 2009

Increased Netbook Sales Result in Increased Graphics Chip Shipments

Recent netbook sales have resulted in an increased shipment of Intel’s and Advanced Micro Devices’ (AMD’s) graphics chips. According to market research firm Jon Peddie Research, Q3 shipments of graphics chips increased 21.2% from Q2 of 2009. Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research is optimistic for the future, as a reported 119.45 million units of graphics chips were shipped in Q3, which is an increase of over 8 million units more than Q3 of 2008.

It’s possible that Q4 shipments for 2009 may not be as strong as Q3 though, as Peddie mentions that “The channel is full…That suggests that while Q4 is typically a good quarter for PCs, the quarter-to-quarter growth in Q4 may not be as robust as Q3. Graphics are a great leading indicator. The graphics go in before the PC is built or shipped.”

Via CNet.

Aug 1 2009

Netbooks Larger Than 12 Inches May Adopt AMD and VIA Processors

One downside of netbooks is that their screens and keyboards are relatively small, so you experience that somewhat cramped feeling when you’re trying to surf the web, put together a PowerPoint presentation, or do whatever else it is that you do.

Maybe in the future, the trend will be for consumers to desire larger netbooks, perhaps those whose displays are in the 12″ to 13″ range.

Some players/companies in the market are already anticipating this. White-box netbook manufacturers in China have already begun to manufacture netbooks that have displays larger than 12 inches. Within these netbooks, the white-box companies are rumored to potentially use AMD and VIA processors.

According to the Chinese Commercial Times report, netbooks that are powered by the Intel Atom processor “face limits on the size of the display. In addition, VIA’s solution can offer up to half the price of Intel’s comparable platform.”

Via Digitimes.

Images via VentureBeat and CGDC.

Jun 23 2009

The Return of AMD & Gateway’s First Awesome Netbook

Gateway L3103u

AMD has strongly expressed doubts about the netbook world before. When its Athlon Neo processor was used in the HP Pavilion DV2, AMD decided that there was little to be found in the budget laptop category and that it had no intentions of developing a netbook CPU.

Apparently that’s now all going to change. Gateway announced the LT3103u netbook at $400 using – you guessed it – an AMD Athlon 64 processor.

PC Mag explained how crucial this is:

The Athlon 64 L110 is rated at 1.2 GHz, with 512 MB of L2 cache and support for an 800-MHz front-side bus. The Intel Atom N280, meanwhile, is rated at 1.6 GHz, with a 512 MB L2 cache and support for a 667-MHz FSB. The upshot? These two netbook processors will be going head to head.

And that’s not all. The LT3103u ships with 2 GB of memory, making it a powerful contender against the 1 GB standard in the industry. Even the graphics module, an ATI Radeon X1270, is better at tasks like HD video decoding than Intel’s chipset.

The new Gateway netbook comes in glossy red or black with metallic accents. It’s a tad heavy at 3.1 lbs, which can be credited to the 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel screen. The display can support up to 720p HD video.

The LT3103u has a full sized keyboard and 3 USB ports. Other features include a hefty 250 GB HDD, 3 USB ports, an integrated webcam and multi-card reader.

Gateway has never before delivered a machine capable of competing with the major netbook models, but the LT3103u may just be it. When benchmarks and battery tests are released we’ll know how seriously to take Gateway’s netbook, so check back soon for more info.

Jan 23 2009

AMD Thinks Netbooks Are Done; Intel Similarly Doubtful

Chief execs at AMD think netbooks are on the way out, and are taking steps accordingly.

They think the problem will be a lack of differentiation. CEO Dirk Meyer says “The distinction between what is a netbook and what is a notebook is going to go away… There will be a continuum of price points and form factors.”

In his eyes, the cheapness of netbooks results in a shoddy experience with the machines. “Given the way netbooks are configured today, consumers who want a notebook at those kind of (low) price points have to compromise and as a result don’t enjoy a full PC experience, particularly around the graphics and media capability of the machine,” Meyer said. “And likewise people who wanted a thin and light machine had to pay a lot of money, typically well over a thousand dollars.”

What Meyers doesn’t get is that people looking for a notebook at netbook price levels simply aren’t going to find them – they misunderstand the market, and dissatisfaction they have with netbooks often comes from misguided expectations. You can’t buy a luxury car at the price of a motorcycle, and if you do, you’re going to be unhappy.

However, if things go as Meyer predicts, he may have a point. He thinks the market is going to start delivering lightweight laptops at the price range of netbooks which will completely overpower them. This may sound like a stretch, but weirder things have happened before.

AMD has made some solid offerings to the netbook world in the past, including their Athlon Neo. They’ve also made some serious job cuts recently, prompting us to wonder if losses in the netbook sector have made AMD lukewarm.

The lightweight HP Pavilion dv2, which uses the AMD Neo processor, is marketed as a notebook

Advanced Micro Devices has already made some steps to distance itself from netbooks, including marketing the Neo-using HP Pavillion DV2 as a notebook.

Interestingly enough, AMD’s move mimics some recent activity by Intel. Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO, used some strange tenses to describe the machines. As emphasized by CNet, Intel says the netbook buzz at CES 2009 “validates our view that (the market) had a high potential for growth and it was an exciting segment, in particular in this kind of economic environment.”

That’s enough to make a lot of people nervous. What happens to netbooks if the Atom is left behind? Intel has already mentioned that its plans for the future of the Atom are limited. While Otellini said that Intel “would do very well in the netbook market in the course of the next couple of years,” I still have some suspicions.

With major chip manufacturers AMD and Intel getting doubtful about netbooks, we can only wonder at the future of the machines. If nothing else, dissapearing competition is going to make Qualcomm some serious cash with the Snapdragon.

Come back soon for more on the future of netbooks.

Via CNet.

Jan 18 2009

AMD Makes Huge Job Cuts

AMD is a big-time chip maker for netbooks and other technologies. It recently got burned by economic slowdown and announced that it was cutting 1100 employees – a full 9% of its global staff – in an effort to get through the year.

The computer sales market has been brutal to manufacturers like AMD so far. 900 workers will lose their positions, and the rest of the reductions will come from sales of a business unit.

As expected, AMD recently entered the netbook market, making a big entry with the Athlon Neo processor. While these may outwardly seem to be signs of success, the numbers tell a different stories.

AMD only has 15,000 workers right now, but its cutoff won’t include 3,000 of those in the manufacturing department. Nine percent of the remaining 12,000 will be cut.

This is AMD’s third time laying off workers this year, the previous two being a cut of 600 last month and 1600 in 2008.

In addition to the firings, remaining workers will see reduced pay. CEO Dirk Meyer and executive chairman Hector Ruiz will see a salary cut of 20%, and the VP and other management will go down between 10 and 15%.

Via Fox Business.

Jan 15 2009

AMD Says New Athlon Neo Will Stifle Netbooks

Chip maker ARM is set to release a new processor: the new Athlon Neo, a dual-core reimagining of the older single-core Athlon Neo processor. John Taylor, a spokesman of AMD, announced the release at a CES press conference last week.

The semiconductor firm says it expects to launch the new Athlon Neo and Sepron editions with the codename Congo, both of which will be significantly faster than the single-core version.  As an added bonus, they won’t cost more or generate more heat, according to AMD.

Congo includes a new “mainboard chipset” and will be able to run newer DirectX and OpenGl graphical effects. We don’t know if this means it will include the Mobility Radeon HD 4330 or a different graphics set altogether.

Interestingly enough, Randy Allen thinks Congo might stifle the growth of the netbook center because of the relative performance it offers for the cost. In his mind, a $600 or $700 ultraportable is better than a netbook of $500 or less. We’ll see how right he is in the coming months, as the new Athlon Neo is set for release mid-year.

Via Electronista.

Dec 9 2008

Dell Inspiron Mini-9 Now Available For $299

Dell has decided to stick with the price drop it tested on Black Friday. The Mini-9 netbook retailed for $299, and is still available for that price.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

The Mini 9 is available in Obsidian Black or Alpine White, or a few other colors for an additional cost. The Mini 9 runs Ubuntu Linux and has 512 MB RAM, a 4 GB SSD, and an 8.9″ LED. For an extra $35 you can upgrade the solid state drive to 8 GB – a choice we recommend.

Though the Mini-12 is already on the market, the Mini-9 is still making news. We’ve covered it before but the netbook just keeps on popping up – something to be expected from such a successful machine. Reviewers have loaded praise on the netbook, particularly noting its excellent battery life which distinguishes it from such competitors as the Acer Aspire One or MSI Wind.


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