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AMD launches second-generation APU processor series

These new combo CPU/GPU chips claim to double the performance over AMD's previous generation.


Now that rival Intel has launched the first wave of its third-generation Core i-series processors (also known as Ivy Bridge), AMD is launching its own processor update. These new parts are the second generation of A-Seriesaccelerated processing units, previously known by the code name Trinity.

Rather than CPU, or central processing unit, AMD these days uses the term APU, or accelerated processing unit, meaning that a CPU and discrete-level GPU are combined.

Named the A4, A6, A8, and A10, these new laptop processors claim to double the performance over the previous generation of AMD APU chips, and to offer up to 12 hours of battery life in laptops. They will be available in dual-core 17-watt and quad-core 25-watt and 35-watt versions.

The GPU part is based on AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series graphics cards, and supports DirectX 11. A dual graphics mode, when combined with a physically discrete graphics card, can boost power or save battery life as needed, similar to how Nvidia's Optimus technology combines discrete and integrated graphics.

AMD also works with software makers to create video and performance optimization plug-ins for Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 9, VLC Media Player, Photoshop CS6, and other apps, and the company is pushing its APU platform as great for video playback, editing, and encoding.

The new laptop APUs are as follows (base clock speed/chip name/GPU):

Mainstream (35W)

  • 2.3GHz A10-4600M, HD 7660G
  • 1.9GHz A8-4500M, HD 7640G
  • 2.7GHz A6-4400M, HD 7520G

Low-voltage (25W)
  • 2.0GHz A10-4655M, HD 7620G

Ultralow voltage (17W)
  • 2.1GHz A6-4455M, HD 7500G

AMD says companies including Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba will have laptops based on these new parts, starting now. HP has previously announced ultrabook-like Sleekbooksthat will have next-gen AMD parts.