HP, Toshiba give boost to AMD 'Fusion' chips

Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba are the latest in a growing list of first-tier PC makers signing up for AMD's power-efficient Fusion chips. Watch your back, Intel.

Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba are the latest PC makers to endorse Advanced Micro Devices' new "Fusion" laptop processors that are expected to make inroads into small, Netbook-class designs.

HP's 3.5-pound dm1 uses an AMD 1.6GHz dual-core E350 chip that integrates Radeon HD 6310M graphics.
HP's 3.5-pound dm1 uses an AMD 1.6GHz dual-core E350 chip that integrates Radeon HD 6310M graphics. Hewlett-Packard

AMD's new chips appear to be a certifiable hit. They are not only populating slick, featherweight 11.6-inch ultraportable laptops from Lenovo and HP but are also debuting in a larger 15-inch class laptop from Toshiba--the Satellite C655D starting at about $400.

The "Brazos" series of Fusion processors are targeted at small, power-efficient laptop designs and include the dual-core 1.6GHz E-350 and the more power-efficient dual-core 1GHz C-50.

At CES in Las Vegas this week, HP and Toshiba will be showing new laptops powered by Fusion processors.

AMD's secret sauce is the integration of Radeon 6800 series-class graphics silicon directly on the main processor. Radeon 6800 graphics tech packs more performance than anything Intel is offering in its Atom series of processors, which is targeted at the same category of small laptops and Netbooks.

And AMD's chips don't skimp on battery life. HP's dm1 promises up to 10 hours of battery life, not unlike what the most recent crop of Intel Atom-based Netbooks offer. Starting at $449.99, a standard dm1 configuration includes 3GB of memory and a 7200RPM 320GB hard disk drive.

Lenovo has also adopted AMD's E series of Fusion processors in an 11.6-inch design and Sony is expected to follow suit at CES this week.

The upshot: Intel's Netbook-centric Atom processor has met its match and the small laptop market will likely see a lot of changes in 2011.

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