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Advanced Micro Devices is known for its negative attitude towards netbooks, ultra low-cost personal computers in sub-notebook form-factor with low-performance microprocessor. The company’s chief executive officer said in a recent interview that netbook category will be forgotten in a year from now.

“I hate to say netbooks because a year from now people won’t say ‘netbooks’. […] You will see our chips show up in devices down to the $399 price point,” said Dirk Meyer, chief executive officer and president of Advanced Micro Devices, in an interview with Cnet web-site.

The vast majority of netbooks is powered by Intel Atom processor, which is very small and is cheap to manufacture using 45nm process technology. AMD does not have a direct rival to Intel Atom, but the company hopes that its slightly more expensive platforms for mobile computers will enable cost-effective notebooks with higher performance and feature-set compared to netbooks.

AMD’s Yukon platform consists of AMD Athlon Neo or AMD Sempron single-core central processing unit (CPU) with integrated single-channel DDR2 memory controller in ball-grid array (BGA) packaging, AMD M690E chipset with built-in DirectX 9-class ATI Radeon X1250 graphics core and AMD SB600 I/O controller. System designers may also install discrete DirectX 10-supporting ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3410 graphics processing unit to enable higher-performance and higher-quality graphics on inexpensive computers.

The first microprocessors to power cheap ultra-think notebooks from AMD are Athlon Neo MV-40 (1.60GHz, 512KB level-two cache) with 15W thermal design power (TDP), AMD Sempron 210U (1.50GHz, 256KB L2 cache) with 15W thermal envelope and AMD Sempron 200U (1.0GHz, 256KB L2 cache) with 8W TDP. All chips are made using 65nm process technology.

“So we’ve got a continuum of solutions going Yukon, Congo, Nile, Ontario, that will enable smaller, less expensive form factors,” Mr. Meyer said.

Tags: AMD, , Intel, , Yukon, Congo, Nile, Ontario


Comments currently: 4
Discussion started: 02/27/09 10:14:20 AM
Latest comment: 02/27/09 10:26:04 PM


It's good to know that AMD isn't just loosing because they can't keep up at the level of manufacturing and design, but also because they don't understand the market they are in very well.

Computer performance has reached the point where we no longer have to wonder whether our basic chip will do the basic things we need. We can now demand that computers fit the rest of our life style. What consumers want:
-meets computing needs
-good battery life
That's a netbook.

It doesn't bode well for a company when it thinks what you want is:
-what we have to sell you.

0 0 [Posted by: philosofool  | Date: 02/27/09 10:14:20 AM]

I think he's right and wrong. Netbooks already don't mean much except "a light, small screen notebook", having taken over "subnotebook". Price is already as high as $700. I agree that there's a chance this term will stop describing these notebooks, but I don't think it will simply disappear, but rather migrate to the new ARM based subnotebooks.
0 0 [Posted by: ET3D  | Date: 02/27/09 01:17:52 PM]

The heading is somewhat misleading, from his other comments on netbooks in the past, its not that he thinks NetBooks are a fad or anything, its that Netbooks and laptops will merge. Already Netbooks have grown from 7" to 9" to 10" screens. The cost has also gone up. Meanwhile mainstream processors (like the ULV core2 and AMD's Neo processors) are massively cutting down their power consumption, and as Dirk said, eventually they will intersect, and we'll end up with 10-11" notebooks with netbook battery life and cost.

I also agree with ET3D, the market will split into the x86 based more expensive sub-notebooks, and the ARM based cheaper netbooks, or whatever you want to call them.
0 0 [Posted by: genie  | Date: 02/27/09 05:31:21 PM]


AMD is missing the point. Netbook isn't about form factor nor price. It's about the usage model. Small form factor notebooks have been around years before netbook arrived. There are lots of low cost "normal" notebooks that are about the same price as netbooks. Low-price and small form factors are not the unique characteristics of netbooks.

The key strategy behind netbook is based on the realization that for a segment of the PC users, the current specifications of a regular PC have already over exceeded their requirements. For decades, PC users were brain washed to look for faster CPU, bigger HDD, higher resolution graphics etc... For the first time, Intel is saying, if you are primarily doing email and web-based applications with your PCs, you don't really need all that. Instead, look for better battery life, portability and lower cost.

I think Intel is spot on. For a pretty sizable segment of the PC users, the current PC components are over spec'ed. For many users, 120GB is more than enough storage, but today, a new laptop normally comes with 320GB HDD - truly an overkill for them.

In my view, netbook will challenge the mindset of all the PC component makers. Those whose heads are still stuck in the sand with obsolete strategy will likely be wiped out. It's not just about the CPU guys, it's also affecting HDD, O/S, graphics and other component vendors. HDD vendors in particular will stand to lose out if they don't change their strategy. Their strategy has always been - hold the price year after year but increase the capacity. In netbook, HDD cost is already one of the most expensive component. When alternatives can offer "good-enough" capacity at lower cost than what HDD can be sold for, mass migration will happen.

Like AMD, many affected vendors are hoping that the netbook is just a passing fad. My advice to the is .... hope is not a strategy.


0 0 [Posted by: kleemc  | Date: 02/27/09 10:26:04 PM]


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