With notebook sales being strong, AMD is hoping that its third-generation "Puma" platform will position the company to take advantage of this growing market.
So what is at the core of a Puma system? Here's a quick run down of the technologies involved:
Turion X2 Ultra processor
Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series GPU
AMD M780 series chipset sporting Hybrid graphics
802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi
In the past I've been somewhat suspicious (and dismissive) of AMD's platform efforts, but Puma could be a step in the right direction for the company. Not only does Puma offer a decent mobile performance experience, but Intel's "Montevina" Centrino 2 stumble, which means that the product won't fully launch until August, gives AMD a few months to push the platform in the absence of any decent competition from its main rival.
Puma notebooks have already been spotted at Computex. An example is this Toshiba Dynabookwhich sports a 2.3GHz Turion X2 Ultra and scores an impressive 3.2 Windows Experience Index (impressive for such a small footprint). There's no doubt that Puma packs a punch.
The main appeal of Puma will be performance. Documents made available to me by AMD give the following performance comparisons:
An AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-80 system with Radeon HD 3200 achieves a 3DMark06 three times higher than an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 system with Intel GMA X3100.
An AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-86 system with Radeon HD 3200 achieves five times the HD image quality of an Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 system with Intel GMA X3100.
The Athros AR9280 WiFi chipset beats Intel's 4965AGN by 62%.
All this plus a much improved battery life.
It's taken more than 18 months, but finally the increased graphics power demanded by Windows Vista has encouraged hardware vendors to offer notebooks that can deliver not only a decent Vista Aero experience, but which can also offer the consumer a great gaming and high-definition platform. Another reason to say goodbye to XP.
I'll post more details on the Puma platform later.