AMD to show off Windows 8 tablet PCs using its Hondo chip at CES 2013

AMD to show off Windows 8 tablet PCs using its Hondo chip at CES 2013

Summary: After a slow start to its latest tablet initiative, the chip company claims up to 10 design wins for its Z-60 processor.

TOPICS: Tablets, Windows

As long as it's taken Intel to properly enter the tablet game, it's taking AMD even longer to join the fray. While Intel's "Clover Trail" Atom is starting to show up in new Windows 8 tablets, AMD's Z-60 "Hondo" only has one official design win to date -- the forthcoming Fujitsu Stylistic Q572.  

But the chip company isn't giving up, and it now claims that it has earned anywhere from 6 to 10 design wins that it will formally introduce in January at the annual CES trade show. In comparison, Intel already has more than 20 design wins for Clover Trail.

Both companies were given an easier entree into the tablet market thanks to the version of Windows 8 that runs on x86 chips (whereas Windows RT makes use of ARM chips). The Z-60 is actually a laptop chip that's been tweaked for the tablet world -- as such, it has more impressive graphics capabilities, though battery life might be an issue. (See my colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes' breakdown of the Hondo here.)

AMD is already working on follow-up chips, Kabini and Tamesh, that are built using the new Jaguar core architecture and will purportedly bring performance and battery life improvements. 

The world will have to wait until the new year to find out exactly how many design wins AMD has earned for the Z-60 -- and if they will be powering cheaper Windows 8 tablets -- but it sure looks like processors are as important as ever, even in this "post-spec" age of devices.

Are you waiting to buy a Windows 8 tablet until you get one with an AMD Hondo chip, or does the processor manufacturer not matter? Let us know your what you think in the Talkback section below.

Topics: Tablets, Windows

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  • It's a matter of price

    Now a days, I think that consumers are not so much concerned about what processor is inside their tablets (Arm, Intel, Amd), but rather how much money they will save. I know I for one don't care. I could go Jellybean or IOS6 and I'd still be happy with it. IMO, both OS's are at par with each other. It's only a matter of which product you'd like to invest in.

    The bottomline is that, if it delivers that same or almost the same battery life and power as Intel or Arm does, it will suffice.
  • Looking forwards for AMD higher end graphics and 64x86 software/performance

    Looking forwards for AMD higher end graphics and 64 bit x86 software/performance. While all ARM can only run 32 bit applications and can't run x86 software, AMD will provide it's great higher end GPU performance and it's 64 bit processing environment.

    I am looking forward to buy Fujitsu's AMD tablet, I am sure AMD's gpu performance will provide a very nice and smooth experience and will be able to run some key x86 productivity applications that can't be ran on the ARM tablets.
  • Battery Life An Issue?

    This APU has a 4.5W TDP for both the CPU and GPU combined. I don't see where the battery could be an issue here.

    The old Acer W500 tablet uses an AMD C-50 that has a 9W TDP and could pull close to 6 hours with its battery.

    The Z-60 is better in all aspects, including lower power consumption. It sould deliver more than acceptable battery runtime.
  • Microsoft should buy AMD

    And develop highly tuned energy efficient chips for their new hardware division.
    • I've often said the same

      If Microsoft really wanted to get into building premium PC's, buying AMD would be a good way to get rid of the Intel lock-in with OEM's. However, given Microsoft's current moves, if they ever got into mass-producing PC's, I would say it's far more likely that they would just build ARM chips like Apple.

      I'm kind of thinking that Microsoft could pull a rabbit out of their hat and make a Surface for Windows 8 (not Pro) that includes an AMD chip.

      I get the feeling that, because Microsoft is calling PC's "devices", that there really isn't much performance difference between the ARM chips that Windows RT supports (I noticed that TI wasn't mentioned at the launch keynote, even though their OMAP chips were previously announced to support Windows 8 - maybe they never got any OEM design contracts...). I also have a feeling that Intel's Cedar Trail runs about the same performance level as the ARM chips, and the GPU is no different. What this means is that Microsoft would RATHER have a single performance level for a given age of "PC" (including RT devices). Windows Store apps definitely aren't resource heavy, and Microsoft is pushing more and more gaming stuff to Xbox, almost completely segregating it from the PC world (except for Live Arcade-class games).

      In the world of all similarly-performing SoC's though, AMD stands to be the sh*t-disturber.
  • Play Modern Warfare or Call of Duty on a tablet?

    At 30 FPS? Can any other tablet on the market do this? NOPE... Not to mention, they will do well in the medical industry that may require advanced 3d capabilities for imaging the human body. This is a device that can take the health industry into a new era. Ipads are cool, but really. Open CL and heterogeneous computing, with ATI will make AMD a winner. I'll buy one, but it has to be priced on par with the ipad. perhaps slightly below just to get the ball rolling,
    Dave Wu
  • No actually I'm waiting for an Intel airmont based tablet

    Have had amd machines in the past. Never again. Intel is just light years ahead, plain and simple.
    Johnny Vegas
  • hope Windows 8 with an AMD Hondo chip

    Windows 8 tablet until you get one with an AMD Hondo chip.
  • Hondo Will Help Windows 8 Take Off

    Hondo-powered tablets could be the single biggest factor that will enable Windows 8 to gain traction. In this chip category, AMD has very nearly the right mix of speed, power-longevity and processing muscle for professional-level computing on the go.

    We need a healthier AMD to bring excitement and competitiveness back to the high-performance CPU category. Hopefully, AMD's anticipated success with tablets will enable it to get back on track and not slip any further on its now-adjusted 2014 timetable for Steamroller and later on, Excavator.