Computex 2012: AMD announces new E-Series processors, says it can do ultrathin laptops too

Computex 2012: AMD announces new E-Series processors, says it can do ultrathin laptops too

Summary: AMD has been a bit overshadowed at Computex this year by the onslaught of Intel-based Ultrabooks. But the company made some news of its own announcing its latest line of APUs, or Accelerated Processing Units.

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TOPICS: Processors
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AMD has been a bit overshadowed at Computex this year by the onslaught of Intel-based Ultrabooks. But the company made some news of its own announcing its latest line of APUs, or Accelerated Processing Units. In a press conference AMD executives pitched the company's second-generation APUs as a better solution for affordable ultra-thin laptops.

The new E-Series APUs, code-named Brazos 2.0, are designed for budget notebooks and desktops. There are two E-Series dual-core chips, the 1.4GHz E1-1200 and the 1.7GHz E2-1800. The E2-1800 also has faster Radeon graphics. Aside from higher operating frequencies, the E-Series seems largely unchanged--it uses the same TSMC 40nm manufacturing process and has the same basic design. AMD said it sold 30 million of the first-generation E-Series APUs last year making it one of the company's most successful product launches. Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba will be offering systems based on the second-generation E-Series, according to AMD.

Brazos 2.0 follows the launch last month of five second-generation A-Series Trinity APUs for higher performance ultra-thins and mainstream laptops (the desktop versions will be released later this year). These are built using the same 32nm process as the first-generation Llano APUs, but Trinity has an entirely new design including a different CPU core, dubbed Piledriver, and the newer Northern Islands graphics.

At the press event, AMD Senior Vice President Lisa Su said that in comparison to the previous generation of A-Series processors Trinity provides twice the performance per watt and up to 12 hours of battery life. AMD did not provide any performance numbers for the new E-Series chips, but Su compared the battery life to Intel's second-generation (Sandy Bridge) Celeron and Pentium processors. AMD says laptops with the new E-Series will have up to 11 hours of battery life.

The strength of AMD APUs is graphics and the company gave several demonstrations. Marketing director John Taylor showed the performance of desktops and laptops with Trinity APUs versus Intel-based systems Codemasters' DiRT Showdown, a Direct X 11 racing game; Adobe Photoshop CS6, which has hardware-accelerated photo filters; and MotionDSP's vReveal video editing package.

This year's show is dominated by Ultrabooks including both traditional clamshell designs and convertibles. To date, these have been slow to catch on in part because prices are still too steep (Intel's goal is to get starting prices for Ultrabooks down to $699 by the end of the year). That is why AMD is pushing its APUs--and in particular the 17-watt A-Series processors--for more affordable ultrathins. The company claims AMD-based ultrathins will start at $599 and offer more than 10 hours of battery life.

AMD Senior Vice President Lisu Su shows a Windows 8 convertible prototype.

AMD Senior Vice President Lisa Su shows a Windows 8 convertible prototype.

To illustrate the kinds of systems that can use its APUs, Su showed a Compal design for a Windows 8 convertible tablet with a detachable 11.6-inch display. Most of the AMD-based laptops on display at the press conference, however, looked more like standard mainstream laptops.

Topic: Processors

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3 comments
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  • Poor amd. it used to just have to be cheap to

    compete for the low end. Now they have to contend with arm down there. Their big graphics advantage nobody really cares about for tablets and ultrabooks.
    Johnny Vegas
    • APUs are good

      For someone like me who don't care about utrabooks and tablets and just want a small, cheap and battery efficient laptop, then E-Series APUs are great.

      I bought earlier this year an HP Pavilion dm1 11.6" laptop with an E-450 APU and it goes over 10h on battery. It's not a power beast but it's enough to do most tasks I need to do and the built-in ATI graphics make it play 1080p videos without any hickup unlike the low end Intel graphics...
      lepoete73
    • Uh the New Ipad has graphics capabilities that can't be done on a Ultrabook

      Without descrete graphics. Ipad 3 graphics capabilities are near desktop quality. right now there is not too many games designed for retina and the new GPU. But new Retina supporting games will blow most PCs awys unless they have a current discrete graphics.
      Bakabaka