AMD eyeing netbooks with low-power chip?

A presentation slide for a new AMD processor has turned up, perhaps signaling the company's future intention to spruce up products for small notebooks and handheld devices.

AMD took a big step toward improving its mobile offerings earlier this month, but it reportedly has other plans to match Intel's moves into this market.

Electronista spotted a post from a German site called Eee PC News on an AMD processor apparently known as the "BGA CPU," according to what appears to be a presentation slide authored by AMD. As The Register notes, the BGA CPU sounds an awful lot like a processor core called Bobcat that AMD first unveiled in 2007 but has said very little about since.

Bobcat was supposed to be a sub-10 watt processor core for things like thin notebooks and UMPCs, which have since evolved into the mobile Internet device concept . The BGA processor consumes 8 watts of power running at 1GHz, according to the slide, and uses an integrated memory controller. Eight watts is a little too much for handheld devices , but could work well inside a "netbook" such as the Eee PC.

Intel has been putting lots of time and money behind its Atom processor for similar types of systems, and AMD will have to follow suit at some point if it wants to cash in on the growing mobile trend. Its revamped Puma notebook technology is starting to reach customers, but AMD hasn't really addressed the mobile processor market, despite selling graphics chips into cell phones and handheld devices.

While AMD does have experience making processors for low-cost systems such as the ill-fated Personal Internet Communicator and the more successful XO laptop sold by the OLPC project , those systems use its Geode processor, which is getting a bit outdated. The BGA processor would likely bring a significant increase in performance to AMD's products for this category, although it consumes far more power than the 0.8 watts used by the Geode chip inside the XO laptop.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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