AMD eyes tablets with upcoming Fusion chips

AMD executives says AMD chips will appear in tablets as early as next year

Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday said it was developing a range of new mobile processors, including processors for tablets and quad-core chips for netbooks that will ship in 2012.

AMD chips will appear in tablets sooner rather than later, said Dirk Meyer, CEO at AMD, at a financial analyst conference on Tuesday. A tablet product could appear as early as next year, said Chekib Akrout, senior vice president of the technology group at AMD, in a follow-up to Meyer's comments.

The tablet market is growing and could be a good incremental revenue source, Meyer said. However, the company wants keep its focus on the laptop market, which represents the single largest growth opportunity for the company, Meyer said.

The company is also developing new chips with up to four cores for tablets and low-power laptops like netbooks, according to AMD's roadmap, which was released on Tuesday. The chips are slated for release in 2012.

The chips, code-named Wichita and Krishna, are based on the Fusion architecture, which integrate the GPU and CPU in one chip, said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager at AMD. The processors will be successors to the single- and dual-core netbook chips the company started shipping on Tuesday.

The Wichita and Krishna chips will be based on an enhanced version of the low-power Bobcat CPU core and integrate graphics processors capable of playing 1080p video. The chips will also be compatible with Microsoft's DirectX 11, which should provide more realistic graphics on Windows PCs.

The chips will be made using the 28-nanometer manufacturing process, which should help deliver power savings. The current chips, code-named Zacate and Ontario, are made using the 40-nm process.

The company also updated its server chip roadmap, taking a classic approach of adding more cores to boost performance. In 2012, the company plans to release a twenty-core chip code-named Terramar to succeed its 16-core server chip that is due to ship in servers next year. The Terramar chip will be targeted at two- to four-socket systems.

The company is also targeting single - and dual-socket servers with a new 10-core chip code-named Sepang. Sepang will succeed the eight-core server chip code-named Valencia that will ship next year.

The server chips will come with improved power management and virtualization capabilities, said Don Newell, chief technology officer for server products at AMD. Improved bandwidth will help the chips communicate faster with components inside servers, Newell said.

The 2012 server chips will be based on Bulldozer, a new architecture that will first be used in chips due to be released next year.

The Bulldozer architecture will also be used in a next-generation high-end desktop chip code-named Komodo, which will come with up to eight cores, and ship in 2012.

The company also announced a mainstream laptop chip code-named Trinity, which will come with up to four cores and be released in 2012.

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