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Advanced Micro Devices plans to release its next-generation mobile platform code-named Danube in May, 2010, a source familiar with the company’s plans said. The new platform will at last feature processors based on AMD’s latest micro-architecture, which may make the new chips more competitive.

Even though AMD offers fairly decent microprocessors for desktops, the company’s mobile lineup is rather pale to say at least compared to the family of mobile chips by Intel Corp. However, with the next-generation mobile platform code-named Danube AMD plans to offer a rather broad line of chips powered by K10 micro-architecture, including AMD Phenom II Black Edition chips for mobile performance enthusiasts, that will feature 128-bit floating point unit (FPU) and other improvements.

AMD Danube platform will be based on the same core-logic as current Tigris platform, namely M880G (RS880M) with built-in ATI Radeon 4200-series DirectX 10.1 graphics adapter. However, Danube will have new I/O controller – the SB820M – that will support fourteen USB 2.0 ports, two USB 1.1 ports, six Serial ATA-600 ports with RAID support, Gigabit Ethernet, advanced clock generator and so on.

It is noteworthy that at present AMD does not plan to release a chipset without integrated graphics for Danube: the AMD M870 (RX881) is only supported by current-generation Tigris platform. Obviously, notebook makers will still be able install discrete graphics processor into Danube notebooks. However, it is rather strange that AMD insists on integrated graphics on a platform that is intended to bring higher performance to the market. Perhaps, integrated graphics is needed in order to claim total support for general purpose GPU computing (GPGPU) by ATI Radeon graphics core via ATI Stream technology.

Even though AMD’s processors for Danube platform are mostly based on K10 micro-architecture, for inexpensive next-generation notebooks AMD will offer K9-based chips with 64-bit FPU. It is interesting to note that despite expectations, the code-named Champlain processors for Danube will come in S1g4 form-factor and will be incompatible with Tigris.

Since the chips will be made using 45nm silicon-on-insulator process technology, thermal design power of the new processors will be 25W, 35W or 45W. In addition to DDR3, the new processors will also support DDR3L memory with reduced power consumption to further prolong overall battery life. It should also be noted that next-generation mobile processors by AMD lack third-level (L3) cache. With relatively low clock-speeds (1.60GHz – 2.30GHz for quad-core and triple-core chips and 2.30GHz – 3.10GHz for dual-core processors), the new processors will hardly be able to offer truly extreme performance, however, will rise performance bar for AMD-powered laptops.

With its next-generation Danube platform AMD seems to allow Overclocking of mobile microprocessors since Black Edition usually means unlocked multiplier to simplify altering of CPU frequency. The move is rather interesting, but predictable: the company’s arch-rival Intel Corp. has been offering overclocking-capable mobile processors for a while now.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: AMD, Danube, Champlain, Phenom, Turion, Athlon, 45nm


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