AMD's Turion to compete with Pentium M

Chicago (IL) - AMD today officially unveiled its next mobile processor brand Turion. The new chip, scheduled to launch in the first half of this year, will be AMD's first attempt to challenge Intel's dominance in the thin-and-light notebook market.

AMD has steadily been growing its presence in the notebook market against Intel in the past years. The company currently offers a solid product line with four different chips - the Mobile Athlon 64, the Athlon 64 for Notebooks, the Mobile Sempron and the Mobile Athlon XP-M - targeting mainly the desktop replacement segment (DTR). A chip clearly aimed at mobility and power saving features to compete against Intel's Pentium-M chip and Centrino platform however has been a no-show in the firm's processor family so far.

This will change when AMD introduces its 64-bit Turion processor sometime in the first half of this year. So far the company was revealed little more than that the chip will be comparable in terms of speed and battery performance with Intel's Centrino platform. The processor name itself already sparked controversy: Even if AMD claims the name refers to mobility by resembling "tour" and creating the image of an "open road", the actual meaning of turion is a young shoot such as an asparagus.

Analysts such as Dean McCarron from Mercury Research believe that it is "about time" that AMD expands its product line to compete with Intel. McCarron however does not expect that AMD will offer a complete platform as does Intel with its Pentium-M as part of the Centrino package. "AMD will probably launch just a processor and not a platform, but rather continue to work with partners to be able to offer a package," he said.

The analyst also expects AMD to follow its path to advertise the performance of the chips rather than pushing battery life, even if the Turion may show a more balanced approach to that concept. Currently, AMD's mobile chips achieve thermal design power levels between 25W and 62W, while Intel's Centrino hovers around 20W.

Intel in the meantime is expected its third generation Centrino platform, code-named "Sonoma", on January 19. The platform will introduce faster processors, a new wireless chipset as well as PCI Express.