AMD: Low-power Mobile Athlon 64 in the works

Chicago (IL) - A document published on AMD's website suggests that the chip company will soon extend its Mobile Athlon 64 series. The new low-power model will allow AMD to integrate its highest performing processor to jump into much smaller notebooks.

AMD was able to gain a comfortable spot in the mobile market in recent years. According Mercury Research, the company currently holds a 12 percent market share in the segment, which is pretty much the same as the company did, before Intel launched its Centrino platform.

However, AMD's products currently appeal only to the upper segments, such as the desktop replacement and thin-and-light market. The company has little to offer when it comes to the emerging segment of small notebooks which are dominated by Intel processors.

This scenario could change soon. A PDF document which apparently was accidentally published on AMD's website reveals plans for a "Mobile Athlon 64 2700+". Dated "April 2004", this chip is placed on the lower end of the performance range of the product family. According to the specifications, it nearly cuts the power consumption of other Mobile Athlon 64 chips in half.

The 2800+, 3000+, and 3200+ models are rated at a maximum thermal design power (TDP) of 62W, while the 2700+ posts just 35W. The minimum TDP decreases from 13W to 12W. The core voltage shrinks from a range of 0.95V to 1.40V down to 0.90V to 1.20V.

For comparison, Intel's lists for its Mobile Pentium 4 a TDP of 66.1W (2.66 GHz) and 68.4W (2.8 GHz). The Centrinos with 1.5 GHz, 1.6 GHz , and 1.7 GHz post 24.5W, according to Intel's spec sheets.

As the regular Mobile Athlon 64 2800+, the 2700+ also is clocked at 1.6 GHz. A notable change however is that the new chip receive a L2 cache of only 512 kByte while the other processors offer 1024 kByte.

Analysts believe that AMD's move into the low-power scene might bolster the firm's market position: "Set the 64 bit feature aside, and you still have AMD's highest performing processor. It makes perfect sense for AMD to come out with a low power version," said Dean McCarron, principal analyst with Mercury Research. "Customers in the higher segment are willing to pay a premium on lower power consumption."

Scott Carroll, spokesman for AMD, declined to comment on the document and the availability of the Mobile Athlon 64 2700+.