AMD Will Ship Dual-Core Athlon Neo for Ultraportable Laptops Later in 2009

Advanced Micro Devices is now planning to ship a dual-core Athlon Neo processor later in 2009. The AMD-dual core Athlon Neo is slated to be part of the chip maker's platform code-named Congo and designed for a line of ultraportable, affordable laptops. AMD and Hewlett-Packard at CES rolled out a notebook based on the platform code-named Yukon, which uses a single-core Athlon Neo processor. The announcement from AMD comes as reports surface that Intel is planning to refresh its Atom lineup with processors running at slightly better clock speeds.

Advanced Micro Devices, which just announced that it would eliminate 1,100 jobs to help trim costs, confirmed that it's planning to ship a dual-core version of its Athlon Neo processor later in 2009 as part of its "Congo" platform for new types of ultraportable laptops.

In a Jan. 16 e-mail, AMD spokesperson Phil Hughes wrote that AMD is planning to ship the dual-core Athlon Neo processor, code-named Conesus, by the second half of 2009. Hughes declined to give a specific date for the launch or a hint as to the chip's clock speed.

Congo is the second platform for a new type of ultraportable laptop that AMD and its OEM partners are hoping to bring to the PC market this year. At the CES expo earlier in January, AMD along with Hewlett-Packard rolled out the first laptop based on the "Yukon" platform that used a single-core Athlon Neo processor with a clock speed of 1.6GHz.

When AMD first unveiled the Yukon platform, company executives suggested that a dual-core processor was in the works, but this is the first time AMD confirmed that it does have a dual-core Athlon Neo planned for later in 2009.

Unlike the types of mininotebooks and "netbooks" that Intel helped create with the launch of the Atom processor and platform in 2008, AMD is targeting slightly larger laptops that have displays of between 12 and 14 inches. The idea is to create new notebooks that are lightweight, portable and affordable but run on low power and have enough graphics and processing power to support complex software applications.

In this case, AMD is competing more with the types of low- and ultralow-volt processor Intel makes for high-end laptops such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 and X301.

The fact that AMD is confirming a new Athlon Neo processor comes as reports surface that Intel is preparing to revamp its Atom lineup with new chips running at slightly faster clock speeds. According to several Web sites, Intel is planning to release a 1.66GHz Atom N280 processor that will use a new northbridge/southbridge known as the GN40.

With Congo, AMD plans to use the dual-core Athlon Neo processor along with its own RS780M chip set that includes a SB710 southbridge. The first Athlon Neo worked within a 15-watt thermal envelope and it is likely that AMD will keep the power envelope low when it releases the dual-core version.