AMD revisits Puma mobile technology, again

Chipmaker first soft-launched Puma way back in April last year. The actual launch will come in the second quarter this year, says a spokesman.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
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.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

AMD is announcing its future Puma mobile technology yet again. This time at CeBit.

On Tuesday, the news headlines for AMD's Puma mobile technology demonstration at CeBit used words like "launches" and "formally announces." But this is neither a launch nor a formal announcement.

To be fair to AMD, spokesman Scott Carroll said this Tuesday: "No, it hasn't been launched and won't be launched until Q2." And he added: "Today at CeBit we unveiled our first working demo of a Puma platform and demonstrated its graphics capabilities vs. our existing mobile platform and vs. Intel's."

The problem is that AMD has been announcing Puma since the "launch" in April 2007. That's almost a year ago. At that time, DigiTimes--a nuts-and-bolts hardware technology news publication that rarely editorializes--reprimanded AMD, saying: "It is questionable whether...Puma will meet the hype AMD is currently trying to generate though these early announcements." And AMD has been trying to sell Puma ever since.

Things got a little more real--and more dicey--at the financial analyst day in December when AMD said Puma would be delayed until the second quarter of 2008. But AMD hit its Puma promotional stride again at CES in January.

So, what's new at CeBit? AMD's Carroll said that Puma has garnered over 100 design wins from original equipment manufacturers around the world and expects to have systems available for launch in Q2 2008. The price of Puma-based systems will range from $699 to $2,500.

Almost all other information about Puma is not new. It has been repeated in many forums that Puma uses the RS780M chipset and is based on AMD's dual-core Griffin processor--now called the Turion Ultra--and integrates 1MB of L2 cache. To reduce power consumption, each core can run at different frequencies and can dynamically shift frequency levels while executing a thread. The RS780M integrates a Direct X 10 graphics controller, which AMD claims is up to five times faster than Intel's X3100 integrated graphics.

Puma-based products will also come with Wi-Fi and an optional graphics card. In other words, a complete solution similar to Intel's Centrino.

Some Turion Ultra notebooks will also have the ability to turn on the more powerful discrete graphics chip and then turn it off when the extra oomph isn't needed in order to save power, as explained by AMD at CES, among other forums.

AMD roadmap dating back to 2006
AMD roadmap dating back to 2006 AMD