AMD introduces laptop platform

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AMD introduces laptop platform

AMD has unveiled its answer to Intel's Centrino in the shape of the Turion Ultra platform, which it claims has better graphics and wireless support than its rival. However, the company expects smaller businesses and consumers to be the chief market for systems based on it.

The platform, previously codenamed Puma, combines an AMD Turion X2 Ultra processor with an RS780M chipset featuring integrated ATI Radeon graphics functions. Wireless capability is provided by Wi-Fi chips from Atheros, Broadcom, or Marvell.

AMD said Turion Ultra will give users the best experience in digital media, and has the security and manageability features needed by mobile workers.

However, Ian McNaughton, AMD’s senior manager for product platforms in EMEA, also said Turion Ultra was chiefly aimed at the mainstream laptop market.

"Consumer and SMB laptops in the desktop replacement and thin-and-light categories are 80 percent of the market. We're not focussing on enterprise or ultraportables," he said, adding that AMD will have a separate platform to address these in future.

Among the key features of Turion Ultra is that the dual cores of the processor can be handled independently by power management, improving efficiency.

"When you have an app that only needs one core, the other goes to sleep," said McNaughton.

Turion Ultra also enables a discrete graphics adapter to supplement the integrated functions of the chipset, but can automatically switch this off if the laptop is on batteries. With twin graphics, a Turion Ultra laptop can drive up to four monitors.

AMD said its platform is more open than Intel's Centrino platform and did not lock laptop vendors into using its components. McNaughton claimed that as a result, Turion Ultra offers up to three times the graphics performance and 40 per cent better Wi-Fi speed and range, as vendors could pick best-of-breed solutions for these functions.

"Centrino is really an Intel marketing programme, while we're keeping our ecosystem open," he said.

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