Mobile Athlon XP Swaps Battery for Braun

Advanced Micro Devices attempts to steal the limelight from Centrino by announcing low-voltage Athon XPs at estimated equivalent speeds of 1.8 GHz, but high-volume OEMs seem to be supporting Intel's direction for now.

Advanced Micro Devices attempted to steal a march from Intel Corp.s Banias launch Wednesday by announcing the mobile Athlon XP.

In all, AMD launched twelve new processors under the "Athlon XP-M" brand name. The new chips will extend AMDs reach into both the thin-and-light and full-size notebooks segment, which the company has served with the aged mobile Athlon and Duron.

AMD introduced the low-voltage mobile AMD Athlon XP-M processors in 1800+, 1700+, 1600+, 1500+ and 1400+ speed grades, using micro PGA packaging for the thin-and-light notebook market. AMD introduced the Athlon XP-M processors in 2600+, 2500+, 2400+, 2200+ and 2000+ flavors to meet the high-performance needs of business and home users.

Although AMD said in its most recent quarterly conference call that it had reached new heights in mobile market share, Intels Centrino launch will attempt to focus the eyes of the OEM audience onto battery life, and wireless mobility.

The low-voltage XP-Ms will be based upon AMDs "Thoroughbred" core, and will contain 128 Kbytes of level-1 cache and 256-Kbytes of level-2 cache, according to Frank Varela, AMDs mobile brand manager. The low-voltage chips, packaged in a microPGA package, will consume roughly 25 watts while running at operating voltages of between 1.05 to 1.25 volts.

The XP-M chips for full-size notebooks are based on the "Barton" core, use a Socket A connector and consume about 45 watts while running at 1.05 to 1.45 volts, Varela said. The XP-Ms based on the "Barton" core use 512 Kbytes of level-2 cache.

"AMD continues to bring competition to the PC marketplace while helping OEMs differentiate their mobile solutions and provide their customers with a choice of outstanding notebooks," said Rob Herb, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for AMD, in a statement. "Todays announcement means that notebook PC manufacturers can select from a wide array of mobile AMD Athlon XP-M processors, combining them with a variety of best-in-class wireless and chipset solutions to meet the needs of both business and home consumers."

AMDs launch barely escaped being a paper one, however. AMD announced support from a number of European OEMs, including Epson, Fujitsu-Siemens, HP, and Sharp Corp.

Fujitsu-Siemens will offer its AMILO A notebooks for the consumer market beginning March 12 throughout Europe, but other manufacturers plan to launch their products next quarter. HP committed to using the new processors in mainstream notebooks during the first half of 2003. Epson will ship full-size notebooks based on the new chip in April. Averatec, Twinhead, and Tsing Hua, one of Chinas top three notebook makers, also plan Athlon XP-M notebooks in the second quarter.

AMDs new mobile processors for thin-and-light notebook PCs are priced from $71 to $147. New mobile processors for full-size notebook PCs are priced from $87 to $246, all in 1,000-unit lots.