AMD Unveils 12 New Mobile Chips

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2003-03-12

AMD Unveils 12 New Mobile Chips

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Wednesday is adding to the noise this week in the mobile computing space by unveiling 12 new mobile chips, including five in the increasingly competitive thin-and-light notebook space.

During a week in which Intel Corp. is launching its much-talked-about Centrino mobile platform, AMD is adding to its mobile portfolio with processors it said will give it more ammunition against Intel.

When combined with the April launch of the companys 64-bit Opteron server chip, the mobile processors mean that "for the first time in history, someone can now go head-to-head with Intel on every front," said Mark Bode, senior brand manager and launch manager for desktop devices for AMD, in Sunnyvale, Calif.

AMDs announcement also comes two days after Transmeta Corp. released more information on its upcoming Astro mobile chip, which when released in the third quarter also will initially be targeted at thin-and-light notebooks.

Bode defined thin-and-light notebooks as devices with two spindles that are about an inch in height and weigh less than four pounds. Chips for these notebooks tend to offer lower power consumption, which means longer battery life.

"Its a multi-front push for us," Bode said.

The company is announcing five Low Voltage Mobile Athlon XP-M chips for the space—the 1400+, 1500+, 1600+, 1700+ and 1800+. The processor frequencies range from 1.2GHz to 1.5GHz, with a peak power of 25 watts. They also offer 384KB of combined Level 1 and Level 2 on-chip cache. The chips range in price from $71 to $147 per 1,000 units.

In the full notebook space, AMD is offering four new Athlon XP-M chips based on the companys Thoroughbred core—the 2000+, 2200+, 2400+ and 2600+—and three others—the 2200+, 2400+ and 2500+—based on its Barton core. Those chips range in frequency from 1.67GHz to 2.13GHz.

According to Bode, one of the key differentiators of the two cores is the amount of on-chip memory cache. Whereas chips with the Thoroughbred core offer 384KB, chips with the Barton core offer 640KB of L1/L2 cache.

Larger on-die caches enable the chip to access data more quickly and reduce the amount of time it takes to seek memory data off of the processor.

The new chips will complement the 15 or so mobile processors that AMD currently offers, Bode said.

Bode said he expects products from OEMs, including Hewlett-Packard Co. and Japan-based Epson Direct, over the next month or two.

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Also on Wednesday, Fujitsu PC Corp, of San Jose, Calif., will unveil a new LifeBook S2000 notebook powered by a Low-Voltage Athlon XP-M chip. The thin-and-light notebook will weigh in at less than four pounds and will be 1.36 inches in height. The notebook, which is available now, will be the first AMD-powered thin-and-light device available in the United States.

Fujitsu PC also will be at Intels Centrino launch in New York on Wednesday. In an interview with eWEEK earlier this month, Fujitsu PC President and CEO Toshio Morohoshi said, "I am a firm believer that being tied to one vendor is not good." The company will begin shipping Intel-based notebooks next month, Morohoshi said.

Intels Centrino platform includes the Pentium-M chip, formerly known as Banias, that is designed to conserve power and battery life in notebooks, including thin-and-light products. The chips frequency will range between 900MHz and 1.6GHz. The platform also comes with the accompanying 855 chip set and an 802.11b Wi-Fi wireless LAN module called the Intel PRO/Wireless network connection.

Transmetas Astro chip, the TM8000, will include three new bus interfaces designed to increase the performance of notebooks using the processor, officials said Monday. Transmeta, of Santa Clara, Calif., is hoping that the new chip will compete with the Pentium-M.

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