Lenovo Rolls Out Notebooks, Desktop With Latest AMD Chips

The new ThinkPad and ThinkCentre PCs are powered by AMD's 7th Generation Pro APUs, which are faster and more efficient than their predecessors.

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Lenovo is arming new desktop and notebook PCs with Advanced Micro Devices' latest chips aimed at business systems.

At the Canalys Channels Forum in China, AMD officials showed off two new Lenovo commercial notebooks and a desktop PC powered by the chip maker's 7th Generation Pro accelerated processing units (APUs), formerly code-named "Bristol Ridge Pro" and launched in September. The company earlier this month announced that Lenovo and HP Inc., the world's top two PC vendors, would be the first to introduce new systems powered by the chips.

HP offers several systems in its Elite 700 Series portfolio, including notebooks, desktops and an all-in-one PC. Now Lenovo is showing off its own AMD-powered systems—the ThinkPad E475 and E575 notebooks and ThinkCentre M715 Tiny desktop.

"Businesses today are constantly evolving, demanding better performance, security, manageability, and usability from their computers," Bai Peng, vice president of the notebook business for Lenovo's PC and Smart Device Business Group, said in a statement. "The ThinkPad E475 and E575 notebooks and ThinkCentre M715 Tiny, based on the AMD Pro processor portfolio, enables businesses to deliver real-world performance and dependability optimized for business' needs."

The new ThinkPad notebooks, which will be available Nov. 7, are thin and light designs that weigh as little as 4.1 pounds and are less than an inch thin, according to officials. They also come with improved battery life and include AMD's Radeon R5 M430 GPU, enhanced voice-over-IP (VoIP) capabilities and upgraded microphones, which will improve the video conferencing experience.

The ThinkCentre M715 Tiny is 94 percent smaller than a traditional desktop tower, enabling IT administrators to put the system in space-constrained places or mounted on a wall. Officials said the 35-watt AMD Pro APUs are designed for ultra-small form factor PCs, delivering high compute and graphics performance and power efficiency. The desktop will be available Oct. 31.

The latest AMD Pro APUs are a key part of the company's larger strategy to gain share in a commercial PC market that is dominated by Intel. AMD officials acknowledge the chip maker at one point turned its attention away from the space, but they now see an opportunity to gain traction in what they said is a $20 billion client chip market, despite Intel's dominance and a global PC space that continues to slow. They have noted that, since launching in mid-2014, shipments of AMD's Pro processors into the commercial segment have grown more than 45 percent.

The newest chips offer significant upgrades in performance and power efficiency over the previous generation that was based on the "Kaveri" microarchitecture. According to AMD officials, the new chips offer up to 14 percent better compute and 22 percent better graphics performance, while also delivering 32 percent better power efficiency than the 6th Generation chips.

There also are other new features in the APUs, including AMD's Secure Processor technology integrated onto the chips. The technology provides a systemwide secure environment in which security functions can be offloaded and isolated. System management also is made easier with support for the open and CPU-agnostic Desktop and Mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) standard. In addition, the 7th Generation APUs run 4K video and support Microsoft's Windows operating system and Linux operating systems.

AMD's new AM4 platform—which includes DDR4 memory, next-generation interconnect technologies and peripheral support—also come with the chips. The AM4 socket will be compatible with the upcoming "Summit Ridge" desktop chips that will be based on AMD's high-profile "Zen" microarchitecture.