AMD chip bundle targets 'ultra-thin' notebooks

The chipset bundle, which includes the Athlon Neo processor, is aimed at laptops that are larger and have better components than netbooks, but are cheaper than ultraportables
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

AMD has launched a chip bundle for 'ultra-thin' notebooks, by which it means laptops that are pricier and more powerful than netbooks, but cheaper than ultraportable models.

The platform, announced on Tuesday, combines AMD's new Athlon Neo processor with ATI Radeon X1250 integrated graphics. Computer makers also have the option of including ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3410 discrete graphics. The bundle was previously code-named 'Yukon', and AMD did not give it a new name in the announcement.

The Athlon Neo is the highest-specified CPU in AMD's range for ultra-thin notebooks. The company also has Sempron processors for that category of laptop. However, those CPUs are lower-powered and slower, at 1GHz and 1.5Ghz, with a smaller L2 cache size of 256KB as opposed to the Neo's 512KB. All AMD's ultra-thin-centric processors are manufactured using 65nm technology.

HP has already unveiled a notebook using the bundle, its Pavilion dv2. The dv2 comes with a 12.1-inch display and the 1.6GHz Neo MV-40 CPU, and has a base specification price of $699 (£480). Both Yukon and the dv2 made their debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

AMD is aiming its new platform at laptops that fall between 'netbook' and 'ultraportable'. Machines termed 'netbooks' by manufacturers tend to have screen sizes between seven and 10 inches. Ultraportables tend to have bigger displays and be pricier than netbooks. The dv2 has a 12.1-inch display, yet is cheaper than a typical ultraportable.

"Before today, there was a compromise associated with selecting a highly portable notebook, forcing consumers to choose either the full PC experience of an ultraportable at a high price or the limited PC experience of a mini-notebook at a low price," Chris Cloran, AMD's corporate vice president for its client division, said in a statement.

"In introducing the AMD ultra-thin notebook platform, AMD enables balanced PC performance, including the option of advanced graphics and video for true HD entertainment, all in an affordable, ultra-thin notebook."

According to AMD, the new platform allows true HD entertainment with 1,080-pixel high-definition playback, and its digital outputs include HDMI and DVI. It said the platform is also suitable for a "robust casual gaming experience".

HP Pavilion dv2

HP's 'ultra-thin' Pavilion dv2 notebook is the first to use AMD's Athlon Neo silicon
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