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AMD Reveals Ultrathin Prototype, Roadmaps

By - Source: Engadget | B 39 comments

In addition to revealing its 2012 and 2013 roadmaps, AMD sported an ultrathin form factor packed with its Trinity APU.

Thursday during AMD's Financial Analysis Day, Engadget spotted an "ultrathin" ODM reference unit from Compal featuring AMD's upcoming Trinity APU. The chip was believed to be one of the lower variants -- either 17W or 25W -- housed within an 18-mm form factor. This particular model was reportedly one of many prototypes currently being shopped around to OEMs.

According to the site, the prototype featured plenty of connectivity onboard including two USB 3.0 ports, mini-DisplayPort and HDMI mounted on the left, and audio jacks, another USB port, Ethernet and power mounted along the right. AMD is looking to sell the final product at half the price of Intel's ultrabook form factor, ranging from $500 to $600 USD.

On Thursday AMD also revealed its desktop and mobile roadmaps for 2012 and 2013. Later this year AMD will replace the Bulldozer line with the 32-nm performance-driven Vishera series which will contain 4 to 8 "Piledriver" cores. Also slated for 2012 will be the mainstream 32-nm 2nd-generation A-Series APUs codenamed Trinity with 2 to 4 "Piledriver" cores and a 2nd-generation DirectX 11 GPU, and the low-power, 40-nm E-Series APUs codenamed Brazos 2.0 with 2 "Bobcat" cores and a DirectX 11-capable GPU.

On the 2012 mobile front, AMD is releasing the Trinity APUs with both standard (35W) and Low Voltage (17 to 25W) options. The E-Series APUs will be accompanied by the C-Series with power options ranging between 9 to 18W. For the tablet and fanless ultra low power sector, AMD will introduce the Z-Series APU codenamed Hondo sporting 1 to 2 x86 cores, ultra low voltage (4 to 5W) and a DirectX 11-capable GPU.

As for 2013, AMD will release the 2nd-generation 32-nm FX desktop CPUs codenamed "Vishera" on the performance front, sporting 4 to 8 "Piledriver" cores. AMD will also launch the 28-nm 3rd-generation "Kaveri" APU with 2 to 4 "Steamroller" x86 cores, a Graphics Core Next GPU and HSA application support for the mainstream sector, and the 28-nm Kabini APU with 2 to 4 "Jaguar" x86 cores and a Graphics Core Next GPU for the low-power "essential" end.

AMD's 2013 mobile assault will include the 28-nm Kaveri APU with 2 to 4 "Steamroller" x86 cores, a Graphics Core Next GPU and HSA Application support. For both the mainstream and essential markets, AMD will release the 28-nm Kabini APU with 2 to 4 "Jaguar" x86 cores and a Graphics Core Next GPU. The tablet and fanless ultra low power sector will receive the 28-nm Tamesh APU with 2 "Jaguar" x86 cores and a Graphics Core Next GPU.

In a separate slide, AMD revealed that in 2012 it will launch the discrete 28-nm Southern Islands GPU with Graphics Core Next and DirectX 11 support. Then in 2013 AMD will launch the discrete Sea Islands GPU sporting a new architecture and HSA features.

"AMD's strategy capitalizes on the convergence of technologies and devices that will define the next era of the industry," said Rory Read, president and CEO, AMD, on Thursday. "The trends around consumerization, the Cloud and convergence will only grow stronger in the coming years. AMD has a unique opportunity to take advantage of this key industry inflection point. We remain focused on continuing the work we began last year to re-position AMD. Our new strategy will help AMD embrace the shifts occurring in the industry, marrying market needs with innovative technologies and become a consistent growth engine."

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  • 23 Hide
    irish_adam , February 4, 2012 12:20 AM
    i think these next 18months are going to make or break AMD. If they really can sell those ultrathin laptops at half the price of intels (or just 30%) then i think they could sell alot of these.

    On the CPU side of things windows 8 will be with us soon and i think they are hoping that they will see some big improvements in benchmarks to make up for the abysmal showing bulldozer had. Also with piledriver on its way at the end of this year lets hope they've found out what happened to all that power they promised.

    As for the GPU side, they have always done well here since they acquired ATI
  • 11 Hide
    erunion , February 4, 2012 12:33 AM
    When AMD said they weren't going to compete with intel anymore they really meant they were going to focus on the laptop market?
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    irish_adam , February 4, 2012 12:20 AM
    i think these next 18months are going to make or break AMD. If they really can sell those ultrathin laptops at half the price of intels (or just 30%) then i think they could sell alot of these.

    On the CPU side of things windows 8 will be with us soon and i think they are hoping that they will see some big improvements in benchmarks to make up for the abysmal showing bulldozer had. Also with piledriver on its way at the end of this year lets hope they've found out what happened to all that power they promised.

    As for the GPU side, they have always done well here since they acquired ATI
  • 11 Hide
    erunion , February 4, 2012 12:33 AM
    When AMD said they weren't going to compete with intel anymore they really meant they were going to focus on the laptop market?
  • -5 Hide
    pharoahhalfdead , February 4, 2012 12:53 AM
    I don't understand the difference between Piledriver and Vishera. How can Vishera be 2nd gen when Piledriver is next in line? Is Vishera another completely different architecture then?
  • -9 Hide
    msgun98 , February 4, 2012 1:00 AM
    I wonder if this APU just ends up being a slightly souped up netbook or will it actually compete with today's SB ULV processors.
  • 2 Hide
    coder543 , February 4, 2012 1:08 AM
    ha.. they aren't going to compete anymore. They're going to win!

    ok.. kidding. They may very well do that, but they did say there weren't interested in the competition anymore.
  • -9 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , February 4, 2012 1:16 AM
    AMD should've joined the mobile market. I think they'll become a sitting duck in 2 years.
  • 7 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 4, 2012 1:20 AM
    Would be nice if AMD added some memory to their APU, like 256 or 512 MB. Rarely do you find mainstream laptops with RAM that have higher than 1066 or 1333 MHz, and such slow RAM is bound to kneecap any integrated GPU.

    erunionWhen AMD said they weren't going to compete with intel anymore they really meant they were going to focus on the laptop market?


    I think AMD meant they had no interest in headbutting Intel over who can market the most powerful CPU.
  • -6 Hide
    danwat1234 , February 4, 2012 1:20 AM
    I think when AMD shrinks down to 14nm/16nm, I'll buy an ultrabook based off of their hardware. I'm happy with my Core 2 duo gaming laptop for now and I can wait 5 years or so. I'm sure the Integrated graphics in the AMD chip will be much better than the Nvidia 9800gs chipset I have right now and like a 10th the power consumption.
  • -4 Hide
    Achoo22 , February 4, 2012 1:21 AM
    I honestly can't wait to see the full specifications for these new AMD ultrabooks. News sites were awash in vendor complaints about reaching the $1,000 target set by Intel for months, and the $30-$100 difference in chip price doesn't explain how AMD is hitting a $500 floor. I'm guessing that there are going to be major compromises in multiple areas (maybe display and storage). As long as the devices manage to keep a healthy price delta between similarly equipped ultrabooks, this could be a great scene for AMD. If, however, the price of the AMD-branded ultrabooks encroaches on the Intel models after choosing all the trim upgrades, I don't see any reason to go near it.
  • -6 Hide
    _Pez_ , February 4, 2012 1:39 AM
    On Graphics side they are already Impressive, But I do not know why I can breakout with Nvidia maybe is cuda ...
  • -3 Hide
    alidan , February 4, 2012 1:49 AM
    Achoo22I honestly can't wait to see the full specifications for these new AMD ultrabooks. News sites were awash in vendor complaints about reaching the $1,000 target set by Intel for months, and the $30-$100 difference in chip price doesn't explain how AMD is hitting a $500 floor. I'm guessing that there are going to be major compromises in multiple areas (maybe display and storage). As long as the devices manage to keep a healthy price delta between similarly equipped ultrabooks, this could be a great scene for AMD. If, however, the price of the AMD-branded ultrabooks encroaches on the Intel models after choosing all the trim upgrades, I don't see any reason to go near it.


    well im just assuming but do the intel ones have real gpus or do they also use integrated? because that's one area where going amd means cheaper and less space needed. we can also assume using hdds over ssd and also intel didnt thing they would compete with amd in the untra portable, and the only thing ultras had to contend with apple that already jacks their prices so much its not hard to compete, than along come amd who are going at a far lower more competitive price.
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , February 4, 2012 2:54 AM
    ... the GPU will be the key feature... and AMD haz that...
  • 1 Hide
    waethorn , February 4, 2012 3:12 AM
    I dunno about mobile specifics, but the next gen Brazos roadmap is to have 2-4 cores. Trinity looks good, but the real exciting stuff is how much power they can push into the cheapest chips possible (and how that compares to Intel at the same low price point - Atom, heh!)
  • 2 Hide
    waethorn , February 4, 2012 3:23 AM
    DjEaZy... the GPU will be the key feature... and AMD haz that...


    Energy efficient general purpose cores are still important and Windows 8 will make developers see that ARM is a capable alternative to x86, which is why AMD is working on DX11+ APU's with ARM cores in place of x86.
  • -2 Hide
    zodiacfml , February 4, 2012 3:53 AM
    +1 Even before Sandy Bridge, Nehalem is quite a foe already. I had recommended the HP DM1 with an E-350 to people I know and three had bought and satisfied with it.

    irish_adami think these next 18months are going to make or break AMD. If they really can sell those ultrathin laptops at half the price of intels (or just 30%) then i think they could sell alot of these.On the CPU side of things windows 8 will be with us soon and i think they are hoping that they will see some big improvements in benchmarks to make up for the abysmal showing bulldozer had. Also with piledriver on its way at the end of this year lets hope they've found out what happened to all that power they promised.As for the GPU side, they have always done well here since they acquired ATI

  • -1 Hide
    DjEaZy , February 4, 2012 4:18 AM
    waethornEnergy efficient general purpose cores are still important and Windows 8 will make developers see that ARM is a capable alternative to x86, which is why AMD is working on DX11+ APU's with ARM cores in place of x86.

    ... good point... but the software need's to get there jet... we have x64 and multi-core, but still we use 32bit single threaded applications... at least on windows platform... and i waz talking about GPU... not cpu... there can be combinations...
  • -1 Hide
    waethorn , February 4, 2012 4:35 AM
    DjEaZy... good point... but the software need's to get there jet... we have x64 and multi-core, but still we use 32bit single threaded applications... at least on windows platform... and i waz talking about GPU... not cpu... there can be combinations...


    WinRT will allow a lot of 32-bit applications to be very streamlined. 64-bit only make sense when you need access to more memory, but ARM is 32-bit only right now and mobile-style apps are where developers are focusing their efforts now, so anything written for mobile computing will be 32-bit anyway. As far as threading, I don't agree. Any application written now with anything to do with multimedia is going to be multi-threaded, but then, more and more of those will also use GPU acceleration. WinRT also makes these resources extremely easy to access too. HTML apps will take advantage of the GPU acceleration in the new Trident HTML5 engine in Windows 8 automatically. The new C# runtime is much simpler than the older API's and DirectX API's are moving towards native-code C++. All of this means more power to developers, but not every application requires GPU acceleration. That's the reason why NVIDIA hasn't just tried to introduce a processor that runs entirely off GPU cores.
  • 6 Hide
    spookie , February 4, 2012 5:06 AM
    I wouldn't mind having one, especially at that price
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , February 4, 2012 5:26 AM
    waethornWinRT will allow a lot of 32-bit applications to be very streamlined. 64-bit only make sense when you need access to more memory, but ARM is 32-bit only right now and mobile-style apps are where developers are focusing their efforts now, so anything written for mobile computing will be 32-bit anyway. As far as threading, I don't agree. Any application written now with anything to do with multimedia is going to be multi-threaded, but then, more and more of those will also use GPU acceleration. WinRT also makes these resources extremely easy to access too. HTML apps will take advantage of the GPU acceleration in the new Trident HTML5 engine in Windows 8 automatically. The new C# runtime is much simpler than the older API's and DirectX API's are moving towards native-code C++. All of this means more power to developers, but not every application requires GPU acceleration. That's the reason why NVIDIA hasn't just tried to introduce a processor that runs entirely off GPU cores.

    http://www.techpowerup.com/154357/ARM-Going-64-Bit-To-Compete-In-High-End-Desktop-Market.html
    ... there will be even ARM 64bit CPU's and we will need to address more than 3,5 Gb of ram...
  • 7 Hide
    digiex , February 4, 2012 6:55 AM
    Mobile is the name of the game. So battery life is of the essence.
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