Wednesday, January 7, 2009

AMD Launches Yukon Platform For Ultra-Thin Laptops

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) on Tuesday launched a platform for lightweight, ultra-thin laptops that offer solid entertainment capabilities.

Formerly code-named Yukon, the platform will make its debut this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ)'s new Pavilion dv2 notebook, which measures less than an inch thick, weighs less than four pounds, and sports a 12-inch light-emitting diode display.

AMD's platform is comprised of an Athlon Neo processor, ATI Radeon X1250 integrated graphics, and an optional ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3410 discrete graphics card. AMD claims the technology supports "true high-definition entertainment," and makes it possible for computer manufacturers to offer ultra-thin laptops with solid graphics performance at a lower price than in the past. The price of the HP system, which is expected to be available in April, was not disclosed.

"In introducing the AMD ultrathin notebook platform, AMD enables balanced PC performance, including the option of advanced graphics and video for true HD entertainment, all in an affordable, ultra-thin notebook, bringing consumers uncompromised mobility," Chris Cloran, corporate VP of AMD's client division, said in a statement.

The ultra-portable laptop category, which includes such systems as Apple's MacBook Air, Dell (Dell)'s Latitude E4300, and the Fujitsu LifeBook P8020, sit between mini-notebooks, which are 10 inches or smaller and have undersized keyboards, and standard laptops, which typically have displays of 15 inches or more.

The ultra-portables are typically lighter than four pounds and offer standard-size keyboards. The extra-portability, however, usually adds to the price and the systems are generally more expensive than the other two categories.

The AMD platform supports 1080p HD playback and can handle casual gaming that makes use of 3-D graphics, according to the vendor. The technology also provides for HDMI and DVI digital outputs for connecting laptops to digital televisions.

AMD's Yukon has a total power consumption of less than 25 watts, which makes it too power hungry for mini-notebooks, a hot segment of the PC market where Intel (NSDQ: INTC) has been gaining traction with its Atom processor.

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