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Wednesday, June 04, 2008
AMD Launches Puma Notebook Chip Platform

AMD is rolling out a much-awaited line-up of chips for laptops, as Intel's main rival seeks to regain a competitive footing against the world's biggest chip maker.

AMD said the launch of the processors and related parts, code-named Puma, is its largest-ever launch for notebook personal computers. The platform features new AMD Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core Mobile Processors with ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series Graphics.

The AMD Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core Mobile processor includes AMD Independent Dynamic Core Technology, a new mobile-optimized memory controller, and power-optimized HyperTransport 3.0. The new mobile AMD 7-series chipset, AMD M780G and AMD SB700, features integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics and delivers support for Microsoft DirectX 10. AMD claims that the integrated graphics deliver up to three times the 3D graphics performance of comparable competitor graphics and offer ATI Avivo HD Technology for smooth video playback in hi-def format.

The platform also offers the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series discrete graphics, including the previously announced ATI Mobility Radeon 3400 and 3600 Series, and the new 55nm ATI Mobility Radeon 3800 Series, also introduced today. The 3800 Series delivers the highest levels of graphics performance in the ATI Mobility Radeon HD family, with support for PCI Express 2.0, DirectX 10.1, integrated digital output support for HDMI, DVI and Display Port, and multi-monitor functionality with native support for up to 4 monitors for mainstream notebooks. When using notebooks with both integrated and discrete graphics, users can also benefit from ATI CrossFireX Technology, a feature of ATI Hybrid Graphics Technology designed to boost graphics performance up to 70 percent by running the integrated and discrete graphics together. The notebook platform also incorporates the latest in wireless connectivity technologies like 802.11 draft n and 3G.

AMD is offering three versions of the Puma platform -- a collection of the microprocessor, wireless chips to connect to WiFi, and related chips. Puma uses Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core processor as its brain.

At the cheaper end, AMD's new platform will use graphics technology integrated in the chipset, allowing video-gaming and also good enough to play back digital media seamlessly.

For those who want better graphics, AMD will sell another platform to PC makers for about $50 more. That will use both a graphics processing unit, from AMD's ATI graphics unit, as well as the integrated graphics functions of the chipset.

At the pricier end, AMD will include a high-end discrete ATI graphics chip for more intense gaming as well as working with high-definition home movies.

Puma's processing engine will not be the Barcelona core, which is in AMD's latest chip used to power servers, but had a small design flaw that delayed volume shipments. AMD has since fixed the problem and aims to ramp up production of Barcelona.

PC makers using Puma chips include Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers BV and Hewlett-Packard Co. Prices for the mobile PCs will be mid-range for laptops, from about $700 up to $2,000. Most will be available in time for the back-to-school shopping season, and some will be available this week.

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