AMD to show upcoming laptop processors

AMD to show new quad-core, dual chips for mainstream and ultrathin laptops

Advanced Micro Devices is expected to show off its latest laptop processors on Thursday, including quad-core chips for laptops that are due in a few months.

The chips will include two to four cores and achieve higher levels of integration that could offer longer battery life to laptops, AMD spokesperson Steve Howard said at an event during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The chips could be available in laptops in the next few months, Howard said. AMD has already said that the new laptop and ultrathin chips will be available in the first half of 2010.

AMD's chips will be launched as part of the Danube platform for laptops, and Nile platform for ultrathin laptops. The chips will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process, which helps the company achieve higher levels of integration. The company currently offers processors named Turion, Athlon and Sempron for laptops, some of which are manufactured using the older 65-nm process.

The next-generation laptop processors are designed to add more than an hour of battery life to laptops compared to AMD's available chips, Howard said. Chips in the Nile platform will add up to two hours of battery life to ultrathin laptops, which are lightweight laptops the size of netbooks, but with larger screens and better performance.

The quad-core chips that will be shown would be AMD's first for laptops. The chip designer already offers the popular Phenom quad-core chips for consumer and enthusiast desktops, and offers a six-core Istanbul chip for servers. AMD's rival Intel already offers quad-core chips, which mostly go into enthusiast laptops since they draw a lot of power.

AMD's latest chips will be shown on the same day that Intel officially launches its latest processors for laptops and desktops manufactured using the 32-nm process. Intel's new chips, codenamed Arrandale for laptops and Clarkdale for desktops, offer better performance than existing Core processors while drawing less power, the company has said. The chips also include integrated graphics processors into the CPU, something AMD was striving for when they bought ATI in 2007.

AMD has said the laptops will come with DirectX 10.1 integrated graphics accelerators. Separate graphics cards that support DirectX 11 will be available for the laptops. DirectX 11 could help improve laptop performance by offloading tasks typically done by graphics processors to CPUs. That could free up the CPU to focus on other tasks. AMD hopes to integrate graphics processors into CPUs by 2012.

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