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AMD attacks ‘sweet spot’ between Intel and ARM with new chip for Windows 8 tablets

by Doug Drinkwater

October 9 2012

AMD's Z-60 APU will feature in Windows 8 tablets coming to market later this year
AMD's Z-60 APU will feature in Windows 8 tablets coming to market later this year

AMD today announced its intentions to fight Intel for tablet OEM orders with a new battery-friendly chip designed specifically for Windows 8 slates.

The AMD Z-60 accelerated processor comes promising to cater to both consumer and commercial tablet users, and has an impressive array of specifications.

The dual-core 1GHz processor, which is part of the Fusion Z-series, offers 80 Radeon graphics cores for video and gaming, has a thermal design power of just 4.5W (the maximum power required to cool the tablet) and helps tablets to run for up to eight hours while web browsing, or six hours when watching 720p video.

AMD says that the chip, codenamed 'Hondo', is ideal for tablets with at least 10mm of thickness and also heavily plugs the chip's gaming capability -- saying that it can play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at 30 frames per seconds (fps) on a 1024 x 768 display.

The chipmaker even claims that the Z-60’s integrated Radeon HD 6250 graphics offers five to six times the performance of Intel’s last generation Atom chips.

AMD product marketing manager Christopher Sutphen says the chipset also supports tablets with USB 3.0, offering 1080p output (up to 1920 x 1200 resolution). Sutphen though remained cagey when asked if there are any hi-res tablets about to come into play.

Furthermore, the chip will work with legacy and Windows 8 applications, and will be able to do a full boot to Windows in 25 seconds. Resuming from sleep is also a respectable two seconds.

AMD made no bones about why this latest chip will be better from competitors from Intel and ARM.

“AMD really thinks we’re providing a nice sweet spot into the tablet market,” said Sutphen. “A gap is being created between the high-end Intel Surface tablets and the Windows RT and even Clover Trail tablets.

“Intel and ARM provide low power and great battery life but at the expense of performance, while the Surface Pro products are very high performance but also very high cost, from what we’re hearing. So we’ve got a nice sweet spot in terms of value, performance and battery life.”

The first tablets with the AMD Z-60 APU are expected to launch globally this year.

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