AMD stresses 'visual' tech in laptop chip rollout

AMD is introducing a bevy of laptop processors, as it attempts to assert its graphics chip advantage over Intel.

Advanced Micro Devices is trying to assert its graphics technology advantage over Intel as part of a rollout of new mobile processors.

HP dv2 laptop uses AMD ultrathin processor
HP dv2 laptop uses AMD ultrathin processor Hewlett-Packard

The Intel rival on Thursday introduced new processors for the mainstream laptop segment while stressing the visual prowess that its ATI graphics unit offers.

Consumers won't be left in the dark about visual features this time, according to AMD. "When you look at two systems side by side in retail, you really can't tell what kind of visual experience you're getting," Bob Grim, director of client product marketing, said in a phone interview. "You're going to see us take a sharp turn and talk less about component specifications and talk more about the usage that those technologies enable."

The AMD graphics chip-based "Vision" technology complements Microsoft's DirectX, a multimedia programming interface built into Windows 7. As an example, transcoding, in which one video format is converted to another, is done on the graphics processor for faster conversion, AMD said.

On the processor front, new processors announced Thursday as part of AMD's "2009 mainstream notebook" lineup--which range up to 2.6GHz in speed--use a 45-nanometer manufacturing process, matching the mobile chip geometries that Intel has been offering for about a year and a half.

The mainstream notebook chips offer an "active battery life" of nearly two hours (1 hour, 55 minutes) and a "resting battery life" of nearly five hours (4 hours, 55 minutes), AMD said.

And AMD now officially lists four processors for the "ultrathin" laptop segment, though some of them are already used by PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard. Processors for thin laptops typically use less power than mainstream silicon. In AMD's case, those categorized as ultrathin draw between 15 and 18 watts compared to 35 watts for the mainstream.

Notebooks featuring the 2009 AMD mainstream notebook technology became available on September 2 in certain Asian countries. Broad global availability of more than 50 designs is scheduled to coincide with the forthcoming release of Windows 7, AMD said.

Notebook PCs with Vision Technology are expected to be widely available during the holiday buying season timed to the release of the Windows 7.

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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