Which CPU? Intel Sandy Bridge vs. AMD Fusion

We explain the ins and outs of Intel's 2nd Generation Core CPUs and AMD’s new Fusion APUs

AMD Fusion: Products

The Fusion line-up includes the E-350 dual-core chip running at 1.6GHz, which draws 18 Watts of power and is targeted at PCs in the higher price bands. The C-50 is a dual-core chip running at 1GHz: it draws 9W of power and is targeted at PCs in the lower price bands. The chips include CPUs based on the Bobcat architecture.

AMD plans to start shipping the next Fusion chip, code-named Llano, for mainstream notebooks and desktops in the middle of this year. In 2012, the company will also release new Fusion chips with up to four cores for tablets and netbooks. The chips, code-named Wichita and Krishna, will be based on an updated version of the Bobcat CPU core.

Companies including Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo have already started shipping netbooks and desktops with Fusion chips onboard. More PCs based on Fusion were announced at CES 2011, which was held in Las Vegas between January 6 and 9.

HP is launching the Fusion Pavilion DM1 notebook this month. Priced starting at US$449, the lightweight laptop has an 11.6in screen and can play 1080p video. HP has measured DM1's battery life at around 10.5 hours, and high-definition video would shave just a few hours off that.

Lenovo has announced the ThinkPad X120e ultraportable laptop, which has an 11in display and runs on AMD's Fusion chips. The laptop is 65 per cent faster when it comes to graphics and offers 30 percent longer battery life compared to its predecessor, the X100e, which is available with AMD's Neo netbook processors.

"[Fusion] gives users an enhanced experience because the CPU and GPU are on the same chip", said Luis Hernandez, executive director of the Thinkpad transactional business at Lenovo.

The ThinkPad X120e will start shipping in February for under US$400.

Additional reporting by Agam Shah and Tony Bradley.

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