AMD talks 'Hemlock' graphics, next ultra-thin laptops

Advanced Micro Devices' discusses its "Hemlock" graphics card due next week and third-generation ultra-thin laptop technology.

Advanced Micro Devices discussed the Hemlock high-end graphics card due next week and third-generation ultra-thin laptop technology, among other topics, at the AMD Financial Analyst Day on Wednesday.

AMD Vice President Rick Bergman holds up the 'Hemlock' graphics card at AMD Financial Analyst Day on Wednesday. The product is due next week. AMD

"Hemlock will get launched next week," said AMD Senior Vice President Rick Bergman, speaking Wednesday morning at the conference which was streamed live. "It's in production. You'll be able to buy it at e-tailers around the world. You can see there are two GPUs. Five Teraflops out of this baby," he said. (GPU stands for graphics processing unit. A teraflop is a trillion floating point operations per second, a key indicator of graphics performance.)

Hemlock is expected to be appear as an HD 5900 series product--what some reports have called the HD 5970.

Bergman also addressed AMD's third-generation "Nile" ultra-thin laptop platform. "Bring the real PC experience into the ultra-thin. Battery life well north of seven hours," Bergman said. This is due in the first half of 2010. Ultra-thin is a new category of inexpensive laptops that is priced just above Netbooks.

AMD's Fusion technology combines the main CPU processor with a graphics processor (GPU) to form an APU
AMD's 'Fusion' technology combines the main CPU processor with a graphics processor (GPU) to form an APU AMD

Another technology dubbed "Danube" will also be rolled out next year. Danube will be AMD's first quad-core laptop platform and support both Windows 7 DirectCompute technology and Apple's OpenCL. Both of these technologies utilize the GPU as a processor to accelerate everyday or "general purpose" compute applications. Danube is also slated for the first half of 2010.

In 2011, AMD will introduce "Fusion," which combines the main processor with the graphics chip. "First Fusion processor in 2011. 32-nanometer quad-core. Leveraging (Windows 7) DX-11 graphics," Bergman said. AMD is currently moving to 45-nanometer technology. Generally, the smaller the chip geometry, the faster and more power efficient the processor is.

Probably the single most important codename dropped on Wednesday was Bulldozer. This will be a complete revamp of AMD's x86 architecture. "Brand new x86 ground-up development from AMD. It will bring that big uptick in performance. That rolls into our processor family in 2011," Bergman said. Samples for customers will be available in the first half of 2010, he said.

Bobcat will also be a "brand new x86 core. Geared for value and energy efficiency," Bergman said.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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