Chip-maker AMD promises that its new Z-60 microprocessor -- otherwise known as an APU -- is good enough to compete with rivals including Intel, Broadcom, Nvidia and Chipzilla in the Windows 8 tablet market.
The Austin, Texas-based firm's offering is officially called "Hondo". The processing chip is designed to offer more choice to consumers in time for Microsoft's Windows 8 launch, and will serve as a low-power, high-performance option.
Next to Intel, Advanced Micro Devices is one of the largest PC chip makers in the world. Not to be left behind, the Z-60 chip combines both graphics and microprocessor components, which AMD says will provide a fast, quality experience for Windows 8 customers when they stream video, use apps, or play games.
Hondo consumes just 4.5 watts of power and includes two processing cores. Running at 1.0Ghz, the chip boasts integrated Radeon HD 6250 graphics which can support a 1080p performance -- potentially good news for light gamers. In addition, the new chip is compatible with USB 3.0 ports, includes 6Gb/sec SATA support, and can cope with DirectX 11.
According to the firm, the Z-60 is able to boot Windows in roughly 25 seconds, and can synchronize to a local network in 1.5. Battery life lasts approximately eight hours when web browsing, six hours when watching video, and ten if a user is in Windows presentation mode.
The Z-60 will be competing with Windows RT tablets that use ARM-based microprocessors -- including Qualcomm and Broadcom -- but the firm argues that for running full-scale apps on a tablet, the low-power chip offers better compatibility. In addition, alternative processors such as Intel's i3-3217U consume far more power -- weighing in at 17 watts, far higher than AMD's offering.
However, the Z-60 isn't the only power-conscious chip on the market. Intel's "Clovertrail" 1.8GHz Atom Z2760 apparently consumes between 2.3 and 3 watts when used on a Windows 8 tablet, and is a more powerful version of its Medfield smartphone silicon product -- able to cope with 10 hours of HD video.
AMD is aiming for a conservative 10mm tablet thinness, whereas some competitors, such as Intel, are gearing towards 8 - 9mm.
The company says the lean processing chip will be available later this year.
In depth analysis: AMD Z-60 "Hondo" APU: The hits and misses