With its Fusion platform, AMD is aiming to take a bite out of Intel's netbook and ultraportable market share by offering superior CPU and GPU performance, and lower power consumption, to the chip giant's comparable Atom and Core processors.
AMD's Fusion family of APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) combines the CPU and a DirectX 11 GPU on a single chip: for example, the E-350 has dual 1.6GHz cores, integrated Radeon HD 6310M graphics and a thermal design power (TDP) of 18 watts. Filling out the notebook-targeted E-Series is the single-core 1.5GHz E-240. The lower-power C-Series Fusion chips — dual-core C-50 and single-core C-30 — have a TDP of 9W and are aimed at netbooks.
Lenovo ThinkPad X120e: for US users only?
The first Fusion products were awaited with interest, and Lenovo duly announced the 11.6in. ThinkPad X120e on 3 January 2011, stating that it would be on sale in the US in February. The X120e is now available from $399 (for a single-core E-240 model with 2GB of RAM) on Lenovo's US website. Another early Fusion notebook is the more consumer-oriented HP Pavilion dm1, which is also currently only available in the US.
In the absence of a firm pronouncement from Lenovo, interested parties in the rest of the world began asking about the X120e's availability outside the US on the company's forums towards the end of January. Enquiries about the replacement for the existing ThinkPad X100e (which has now disappeared from Lenovo's UK web site) became more frequent as favourable US reviews began to appear — our colleagues at CNET, for example, described the X120e as "the best ThinkPad budget ultraportable we've seen".
On 10 February, a Lenovo marketing spokeswoman posted this response on the company's Facebook page: Unfortunately at this time there are no plans to launch X120e in Latin America, Japan, Australia or Western Europe (including Germany and Norway). However, we do still offer the ThinkPad Edge 11" in all of those countries for those customers looking for a well equipped 11" notebook.
Consternation ensued, both on Facebook and on the forums, with correspondents expressing dismay at being denied the choice enjoyed by US customers. Although we found the ThinkPad Edge 11" a perfectly decent ultraportable, many people prefer the more traditional ThinkPad styling and are particularly interested the new AMD Fusion platform. And, as several correspondents point out, it's not as though Latin America, Japan, Australia and Western Europe are insignificant markets for Lenovo.
Lenovo had not responded to our request for further clarification at the time of writing.