AMD Demos Trinity-Based Hybrid Device, Launches Brazos 2.0 at Computex

The prototype device, built by Compal, can be used as a traditional laptop or tablet, thanks to the detachable touch-screen.

Advanced Micro Devices officials at the Computex 2012 show unveiled the latest generation of its €œBrazos€ PC processors while also reportedly showing off a tablet-laptop hybrid device powered by its newest A-Series €œTrinity€ chips and running Microsoft€™s upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

The new chips and the prototype hybrid device demonstration are part of AMD€™s push to offer alternatives to Intel-based systems that offer similar performance and energy efficiency at lower price points. AMD officials made that point last month when they rolled out the Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs).

The very thin and light devices based on the AMD chips€”which the vendor dubbed €œultrathins€€”are made be a little larger than the Ultrabooks due to come out running on Intel€™s 22-nanometer Ivy Bridge Core processors, but they also will cost several hundred dollars less, bringing them within reach of mainstream users, according to AMD officials.

€œWe€™re taking a different tack from Intel,€ Leslie Sobon, corporate vice president for desktop product line management at AMD, told eWEEK at the time of the Trinity launch. €œYou should not necessarily have to pay a premium for thinness.€

Intel is expecting some of the new Ultrabooks based on the Ivy Bridge chips to come in at about $750, but AMD officials have said that ultrathin devices powered by the Trinity APUs should hit the $500 range. The Trinity chips replaced the €œLlano€ line of APUs, and offer up to four cores, 25 percent better CPU performance and a power envelope of 17 watts. Graphics performance also is 50 percent better, according to AMD.

According to reports, the prototype hybrid device shown off at Computex was manufactured by systems maker Compal, and could be used as a traditional laptop or€”with the detachable touch-screen€”as a tablet.

At the time of the Trinity launch, Sobon said that AMD officials expected to €œhave all the usual suspects bringing ultrathins€ to market soon, with some of those systems makers expected to include Asus, Samsung, Lenovo, Toshiba and Sony. According to reports, at AMD€™s press conference at Computex, Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of the chip maker€™s global business units, told reporters that the company was working with systems makers to develop new Trinity-based devices.

That comes as Intel is aggressively pushing ahead with its Ultrabook efforts, with officials at Computex saying they expect more than 100 new designs to hit the market over the next year, with a third of them offering touch-screen capabilities. Much of that will be fueled by the release of Windows 8, which will be optimized to run on touch-screen devices, including tablets.

Intel also is pushing touch capabilities in Ultrabooks through agreements with touch vendors Cando, HannsTouch, TPK and Wintek. Intel announced the partnerships at Computex.

Also at the show, AMD launched the latest E-Series APUs aimed at entry-level PCs and desktops. The chips€”dubbed Brazos 2.0€”offer basic performance capabilities for everyday computing needs, such as entertainment and Web browsing. The new chips will offer 36 percent longer battery life€”up to 11 hours of resting battery life€”an improved video experience via AMD€™s Steady Video technology, and 10 times the data transfer speeds of rival chips through two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports.

The chips also include AMD€™s Quick Stream technology, which prioritizes bandwidth for video stream buffering or online gaming to ensure an uninterrupted browsing experience.

The chips are aimed at systems priced below $499, which Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD€™s Client Business Unit, said will soon constitute more than 30 percent of the PCs sold.

€œThese will be significant, growing markets,€ Cloran said during a telephone press conference with journalists before the launch.