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AMD aims new chip at quad-core laptops
Posted on Jun 13 2011 11:55 PM by xper in Hardware

Advanced Micro Devices will bring quad-core processing and powerful graphics silicon to mainstream laptops, as it seeks to strike the right balance between the two computing paradigms. On Tuesday, AMD is announcing the Fusion A-Series chips for mainstream consumer notebooks as well as desktops. AMD's Fusion technology puts all of a PC's computational power on one piece of silicon--what AMD calls an APU or accelerated processing unit. Chips will be offered with both two and four processor cores.

For quad-core systems, the trick is to reduce the power consumption of traditional desktop-class processing to levels that are usable for laptops. "What used to be accomplished in 85 watts or so [of power consumption]. That same class of performance--quad-core combined with discrete-level graphics--will now be accomplished in about half the power that it used to take in a traditional system," said Raymond Dumbeck, a marketing executive handling AMD's mobile computing, in an interview.

Discrete graphics refers to high-performance standalone chips that typically come on a separate card. AMD claims that it can achieve that kind of performance without a separate card.

AMD is putting equal emphasis on graphics and standard "x86" (Intel-compatible) processing, according to Dumbeck. Traditionally, PCs tended to emphasize x86 processing over graphics. "We've allocated about a third [of the chip] to x86 and a third to graphics," he said. AMD, which acquired graphics chip giant ATI in 2006, is doing this to take advantage of programming trends at Apple and Microsoft, who are increasingly writing software to take advantage of the graphics chip. Microsoft calls its tech Direct X, Apple uses OpenCL.

More @C|Net

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