At the 2009 CES, Advanced Micro Devices is set to launch its "Yukon" platform for ultraportable, lower-cost laptops. The AMD Yukon platform includes a new processor called the Athlon Neo MV-40 chip along with AMD graphics and chip set. To help boost AMD, Hewlett-Packard is launching a new notebook -- the HP Pavilion dv2 -- which will use the AMD Yukon platform. The AMD Yukon platform is slated to compete against laptops that use Intel ultra-low-volt processors.
is preparing to launch its much anticipated "Yukon"
platform for lower-cost, ultraportable laptops at the 2009 CES, and the chip
maker has lined up Hewlett-Packard
as the first PC vendor to offer a consumer laptop based on the new platform.
The AMD Yukon platform, which the company
plans to officially announce Jan. 6, consists of a new processor-the AMD
Athlon Neo MV-40 running at 1.6GHz-along with an AMD
chip set and a discrete ATI Radeon HD3410
graphics card. The Yukon platform
also offers integrated graphics for even lower-priced notebooks.
To support the AMD launch, HP is offering
a 12.1-inch laptop-the HP Pavilion dv2 notebook-that includes the new Yukon
platform, up to 4GB of DDR2 (double data
rate 2) main memory and a hard disk drive that ranges from 160GB of data
storage to 500GB. The HP Pavilion dv2, which weighs about 3.8 pounds, also
supports Microsoft Windows Vista as well as 802.11a/b/g and draft-n wireless
The starting price for the HP Pavilion dv2 is $699.
At the end of 2008, AMD
announced that it would expand its laptop offerings
by carving out a space
between fully configured, mainstream notebooks and the types of "netbooks" that
have been entering the marking since Intel
announced its Atom processor and platform less than a year ago.
While AMD is targeting those laptops with
screen sizes between 12 and 14 inches, the company is hoping to offer a
platform that makes those notebooks lighter, thinner and less expensive. In
addition to weighing less than 4 pounds, the HP dv2 notebook is less than 1 inch
In this case, AMD is not competing
against the Intel Atom, but Intel's line of more expensive low-volt and
ultra-low-volt processors that are used in high-end PCs such as the
Lenovo ThinkPad X300 and X301.
"The space that we see is between the sort of mininotebooks that use the
Intel Atom processor and the high-end, ultraportable notebooks like the [Apple]
MacBook Air or the Lenovo X300 in the commercial space." said David McAfee, a
marketing manager for AMD. "There is a gap
of products that have come into the market, and we believe we have the right
technology and the right feature set to deliver a platform into the space and
allow OEMs to build systems for this market."
Although Intel helped create a new market for low-cost, very portable laptops,
the market is now seeing a number of other players rushing in. In addition to
Intel and AMD, Qualcomm,
Texas Instruments and Freescale Semiconductor have all announced netbook and
mininotebook platforms that use ARM processors
. At the same time, Nvidia
has developed a chip set that combines its own graphics
and the Intel Atom
John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said AMD's
Yukon platform is attempting to
expand the notebook market by allowing OEMs to build low-cost, lightweight PCs
that function similarly to the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 line.
"What AMD is trying to do is popularize
the lightweight consumer portable," said Spooner. "There are not too many
machines out there in the consumer space that offer this type of performance
and are lightweight. ... I think [AMD] will be
reasonably successful with it."