While AMD still does not offer wireless components (remember that Intel has offered the 2200bg, 2915bg, 3945abg and 4965abgn modules for its mobile platforms), the firm took the existing AMD 780G chipset and adjusted it for mobile use. While insiders don’t expect the platform to deliver less power consumption than Intel’s current GM965 chipset (Crestline) or even the upcoming Montevina platform (see next section), AMD’s solution could very well deliver better energy efficiency for computing-intensive HD video playback thanks to the relatively powerful integrated Radeon HD3200 unit. It’s still not fast enough for serious gaming, but it’s clearly one of the most powerful integrated graphics options with DirectX 10 support, which again is important for getting the Windows Vista Premium Ready certification. And it has the hybrid graphics feature called PowerXpress up its sleeve.
While AMD cannot compete with Intel in the processor performance arena, any efficient dual core at average clock speeds certainly is quick enough for mainstream notebooks. If you now add a powerful core logic with integrated graphics, such as the AMD780G, the chipset can in fact contribute an important part to the success of Puma. AMD has already documented that more than 100 product designs are ready to bring Puma to market.
The important element of success is the hybrid graphics capability of the 780G chipset, known as PowerXpress. While you’re working on battery, the notebook will use the power-efficient, but not overly fast integrated Radeon HD3200 graphics. Once you plug into a power port, the system will activate the (optional) Radeon HD3400 unit, which is a discrete graphics chip. Faster models are feasible, though we don’t have specific information on the possible graphics choices. However, both the integrated Radeon HD3200 and the discrete unit may run in Crossfire mode, thus combining their graphics performance in hybrid dual-graphics mode. Clearly, this can provide an almost perfect combination of energy efficient, integrated graphics for mobile use and gaming-suitable discrete graphics when you’re plugged in.
The AMD780G chipset also supports PCI Express 2.0, which can contribute to power savings by managing the link width and link speed. It connects via HyperTransport 3.0 and it supports AMD’s version of on-board NAND flash memory, which is called HyperFlash. AMD will deploy its SB700 Southbridge, which is not quite a mobile part, but it offers lots of interfaces such as 14x USB 2.0, one UltraATA channel, six SATA/300 ports (important for optional eSATA ports) and legacy PCI.