AMD Launches Much-Awaited Notebook Chips
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AMD is rolling out a much-awaited line-up of chips for laptops, as Intel's main rival seeks to regain a competitive footing against the world's biggest chip maker.
AMD, which in April posted its sixth consecutive quarterly loss amid missteps and market-share losses to Intel, said the launch of the processors and related parts, code-named Puma, is its largest-ever launch for notebook personal computers.
AMD counts more than 100 different notebook PCs designed to use versions of the Puma platform. "This is double the design wins over any previous mobile launches," Leslie Sobon, director of product marketing at AMD, said in a phone interview.
PC makers using Puma chips include Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Hewlett-Packard, she said. Prices for the mobile PCs will be mid-range for laptops, from about $700 up to $2,000. Most will be available in time for the back-to-school shopping season, and some will be available this week.
Growth in desktop PCs has been slowing for years, and the mobile segment is where the fastest growth is in the PC industry. Market research firm IDC predicts that consumers will buy more mobile PCs than desktop PCs by the end of this year.
"It is a good platform and I think the design wins are a testament to that fact," IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell said. "Everybody wants a serious competitor to Intel, you can't ignore that. But people aren't going to randomly take an alternative if it's not any good."
Sunnyvale, California-based AMD is offering three versions of the Puma platform--a collection of the microprocessor, wireless chips to connect to WiFi, and related chips. Puma uses AMD's Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core processor as its brain.
At the cheaper end, AMD's new platform will use graphics technology integrated in the chipset, allowing video-gaming and also good enough to play back digital media seamlessly.
A chipset is a collection of semiconductors and components surrounding the microprocessor, a computer's electronic brain.
For those who want better graphics, AMD will sell another platform to PC makers for about $50 more. That will use both a graphics processing unit, from AMD's ATI graphics unit, as well as the integrated graphics functions of the chipset.