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AMD Concedes to Intel's Atom

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 19 comments

Those of us who were hoping to see AMD enter the race against Intel’s Atom processor are disappointed to see no such thing unfold today. Instead of unveiling a processor that could stand up against Intel’s power miserly Atom, which is at the heart of every netbook worth mentioning, AMD turned its attention to the slightly more upscale ultraportable market.

AMD introduced two new ultraportable notebook platforms, Congo and Yukon. AMD materials describe Congo as based upon the dual-core “Conesus” CPU with the RS780M and SB710 chipset; and Yukon is based upon a single-core CPU with the RS690E and SB600 chipset. Both platforms aim to provide more capability and power to users “who are dissatisfied with the limited experience offered by mini-notebooks.”

Yukon will have a thermal design power value of 25 W (both processor and chipset), making it incomparable to the Intel Atom. Yukon is planned to be available in the first half of 2009, while Congo will appear in the latter half.

By 2010, AMD’s ultraportable platform will be “Nile,” a dual-core “Geneva” CPU utilizing DDR3. In 2011, AMD plans to introduce the dual-core “Ontario” APU (that’s Accelerated Processing Units) for ultraportable and mini-notebook platforms.

It should be clear by now that Intel has successfully cornered the netbook market with its impressive Atom processor – a claim that AMD will leave to its competitor uncontested.

“Atom is targeting markets we’re not even [going] after,” AMD said, in a comment recorded by Notebooks.com, adding that Yukon will offer a more ‘complete’ PC experience.

Bahr Mahoney, director of AMD’s mobile division, said that the company won’t be going after the netbook market as volume is dramatically in favor of more powerful machines. Mahoney also added that AMD will not offer specific solutions for the business user. “We don’t offer the ultimate in the battery life that some of the enterprise customers are looking for in enterprise ulramobiles,” said Mahoney.

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  • 6 Hide
    Pei-chen , November 14, 2008 4:37 PM
    Don't worry. AMD still has the OLPC market in Africa and South Asia.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 14, 2008 5:07 PM
    AMD : "Actually we suck at CPUs these days , we just don't want to fight another Intel CPU" , oh well , giving up without even a fight.
    And what about VIA , they seemed to have a good CPU , the Nano , and they seemed proud of it but I haven't seen it anywhere , it's full of those old and oh so poor performing C7. Then again VIA was never good at anything , too bad though , this would have been their chance to grab a bigger margin in the CPU market.
    Then again it seems ARM is going after Intel in the netbook market and they seem to be using Linux so things will certainly get interesting.
  • 2 Hide
    kelfen , November 14, 2008 5:19 PM
    Pei-chenDon't worry. AMD still has the OLPC market in Africa and South Asia.

    That made me laugh but odly it is so true!
  • Display all 19 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    stinkygood , November 14, 2008 5:32 PM
    I really don't understand AMD rationale. They want to try and compete with Intel who can far out spend, out fabricate, and out market them, and ignre the low hanging fruit of low power processors. How much resources would it take to build a low power CPU that offers just decent performance. I would think this is one area where AMD might have an advantage with a better chipset & integarted graphics solution.

  • 0 Hide
    fazers_on_stun , November 14, 2008 5:39 PM
    ^ I'd say AMD's problems is that they have to react not only to Intel's initiatives (when they should be proactive) but also the economy, a mountain of debt and lost credibility. So that is why their gameplan does a 180 degree turnaround every Analysts Day :) . If you recall, Bulldozer & Bobcat got hauled to the scrapheap last year and now Bulldozer is back on the schedule this year, only pushed out a year.

    Hopefully the Abu Dhabi spinoff will give them some breathing room the next couple of years.
  • 3 Hide
    malveaux , November 14, 2008 7:06 PM
    Hrm,

    I have no problem with AMD. I like spending $80 for an AMD6000+ compared to the double cost INtel has. Performance? Too close to care in REAL WORLD use and at half the cost, I'm sold.

    Kthx.

    Very best,
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , November 14, 2008 7:48 PM
    I'm confused, is AMD going after Centrino with these new platforms, and therefore their own Puma platform?

    Exactly what market are they going for here? Most UMPCs that don't run Atoms already run Core 2's, so they won't exactly offer a performance increase there either.
  • 1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , November 14, 2008 7:54 PM
    Quote:
    Yukon will offer a more ‘complete’ PC experience.

    True, Intel Atom is very limited in performance. If AMD could drop down the TDP to 15-20W then they would be able to compete with Atom on a performance per Watt basis.
  • 2 Hide
    Shadow703793 , November 14, 2008 7:58 PM
    Just found this: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10096494-64.html

    Quote:
    The tech specs that AMD is currently disclosing for Yukon/Congo are a sub 25-watt platform (processor and chipset) with single and dual-core options. Currently, its mainstream Turion processors operate at over 30 watts. (Correction: the "sub 25-watt" Yukon/Congo refers to both the processor and chipset.)

    So AMD dose have quite a good chance as Intel Atom's total power draw is quite high due to the chipset Intel pairs Atom with (see: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/Atom-Athlon-Efficient,review-31253-5.html )
  • -3 Hide
    jamesl , November 14, 2008 8:01 PM
    malveauxHrm,I have no problem with AMD. I like spending $80 for an AMD6000+ compared to the double cost INtel has. Performance? Too close to care in REAL WORLD use and at half the cost, I'm sold.Kthx.Very best,


    ha ! keep dreaming
    when are you amd people gonna stop with this "amd is cheaper nonsense?" especially the nonsense that equivalent intel chips cost 2x as much

    you can get a great intel chip for $83, and that's cheaper than the amd6000+
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010340343%2050001157%204027&bop=And&Order=PRICED

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2%2050001028%2040000343%204027&name=%2475%20-%20%24100

    and for less than 30% more the amd 6000+ you can get an intel e7300
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010340343%2050001157%204017&bop=And&Order=PRICE

    you're better off going with intel
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2duo-e7300-pdc-e5200_6.html#sect0

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 14, 2008 9:03 PM
    Couple of problems with AMD's strategy. They are targeting parity on power with today's Atom solution which uses an archaic 945 chipset (90nm?), which accounts for >75% of the overall power. Intel's next gen will be a system on a chip design which will massively reduce the power. What will AMD's solution be then? Reduce clocks further?

    The other problem is people who buy netbooks don't need high performance - people who want higher performance netbooks will buy a cheap LAPTOP!

    AMD needs to get out of the knee jerk reaction and start looking at carving out niches in the market. They seemingly were heading that way with things like Fusion (until of course they delayed it to 2011).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 14, 2008 10:18 PM
    What's the total system draw of the dual-core Atom + chipset? Is it not pretty close to 25w? The CPU is 8w, the chipset is atleast 10 or 15w. I'd imagine that AMDs dualcore solution has much better performance, for what is a nominal power increase. Single-core Atom processors are underpowered for most everything, at some point you may want to use your netbook for more than surfing the internet.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 15, 2008 12:59 AM
    jamesl

    How about gaming at a true resolution? Say 1680x1050

    Keep saying the same thing:

    X2 5600+ vs QX9770

    http://www.noticias3d.com/articulo.asp?idarticulo=937&pag=6


    That's the problems with tard-reviewers they always use resolution that anyone ni his right mind will use. Will you buy a 4850 to play at 1024x768?

  • 0 Hide
    jalek , November 15, 2008 3:20 AM
    They're just waiting for ATI to provide them more R&D money.
    At least one part of the company has the potential to be profitable.
  • 1 Hide
    da bahstid , November 15, 2008 8:42 AM
    Could go either way. In terms of capturing the attention of less-techy purchasers, AMD playing themselves off as an upgrade to Intel on low-power laptops could help improve their image to the mainstream market. Could also backfire, because it basically requires that people buying these netbooks eventually get dissatisfied with their performance enough to upgrade to real laptops. For all we know, netbooks could be the next ipod, and AMD won't be at the party.

    Also, I think we're all aware that Intel has a lead over AMD in all-out performance, but the statement that the practical difference isn't all that big a deal doesn't get enough attention. I have both an E8500 at 3.8GHz and a 6400+ at 3.45GHz. While it's perfectly visible that the E8500 is generally faster and smoother, it's not make-or-break and I'm perfectly happy with the AMD chip's performance. The videocard makes a significantly bigger difference. I can't play Crysis on High settings with either CPU powering a 3870 card without frequent crashing, however both CPUs play it with remarkable smoothness paired with a 4850, and add 4xAA and 8xAF to boot. The only real practical limitation of current Athlon X2s IMO is trying to drive enormous graphic card configs in specific games. I also have a 4870X2, and on that 6400+ chip there are some games (particularly UT3) which actually run quite a bit slower than a single 4850. Haven't tried this same experiment with the E8500 yet, courtesy of initial driver issues with Vista 64 and ensuing laziness on my part.
  • -1 Hide
    apache_lives , November 15, 2008 8:46 AM
    Lolimaster your comparing it in selected games, big deal, the performance gap is even wider in non-gaming apps etc, not to mention MULTITHREADED games etc - as expected with a DUAL VS QUAD comparison, as a part of a video card review.
  • 0 Hide
    changturkey , November 15, 2008 6:55 PM
    Wow, something codenamed Ontario!
  • 0 Hide
    sublifer , November 17, 2008 12:45 PM
    Quote:
    Yukon will have a thermal design power value of 25 W (both processor and chipset), making it incomparable to the Intel Atom.


    That is a very biased statement and is clearly not made based on facts. As someone else linked to the atom platform review, the atom platform runs on about 40-45 watts (and this was on a mini-ITX system) the charts compare an AMD desktop micro-ATX system which runs on less power, this new AMD platform is ~25 watts (not including RAM and a hard drive I imagine ~7watts at most) and is a mobile variant of that 780G platform.

    So 32 watts is not competitive with 45watt atom? Well, you're right, AMD blows it out of the water. It should have been worded: "Atom's power efficiency can not compare to AMD's new platform."
  • 0 Hide
    Baladen , November 22, 2008 2:41 AM
    AnonymousWhat's the total system draw of the dual-core Atom + chipset? Is it not pretty close to 25w? The CPU is 8w, the chipset is atleast 10 or 15w. I'd imagine that AMDs dualcore solution has much better performance, for what is a nominal power increase. Single-core Atom processors are underpowered for most everything, at some point you may want to use your netbook for more than surfing the internet.

    There are 3 different platforms for Atom: one for MIDS, one for Netbooks, and a third for desktops (nettops). The one that uses the crappy chipset (945GC) that brings TDP up into the 20 watt range is the desktop platform.

    The netbook version (Atom N270 + 945GSE) has a total TDP of 8-11 watts according to page 2 of this press release: Intel News Fact Sheet

    So the new AMD notebook CPU/chipset TDP will be ~25 watts and the old Atom netbook CPU/chipset TDP is 8-11 watts. That is a huge difference.