Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday introduced its new-generation platform for low-cost personal computers, such as netbooks, nettops and inexpensive laptops. The new Brazos 2.0 has higher performance than the predecessor and promises better battery life for 18W accelerated processing units (APUs) in additional to enhanced functionality for affordable PCs in general.
“In 2011, we showed the industry you could get discrete-level GPU power in a notebook without added power consumption or cost, resulting in the most successful notebook platform in AMD’s history. Today we raise the bar even higher with our latest APU offering. Our 2012 AMD E-series APU gives consumers a visually superior choice for everyday performance with the latest graphics technology and nearly three hours more battery life than the competition,” said Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD client business unit.
The Brazos 2.0 platform builds upon improved Zacate accelerated processing unit (that is still made using 40nm process technology) with up to two Bobcat-class x86 cores, slightly better Radeon HD 7000-class graphics adapter and a single-channel DDR3 memory controller. The new A68 Fusion controller hub (FCH) input/output controller (Hudson D3L) brings support for USB 3.0, Serial ATA-600, Secure Digital controller and some other improvements to AMD's ultra low voltage platform.
The main performance improvements of AMD E-series APUs are conditioned by increased clock-speeds of the x86 and Radeon cores. There are also important addition functionality, such as AMD Steady Video technology that removes shakes and jitters from online or other video files, AMD Quick Stream technology which prioritizes Internet bandwidth towards video stream buffering or online gaming for a smoother, virtually uninterrupted browsing experience, improved power efficiency and other advantages over predecessors as well as competitors.
Unfortunately, the new AMD Fusion E-series APUs will initially be available only as models with 18W thermal design power and therefore will not be able to power truly portable and energy-efficient netbooks. Still, provided that 18W models will offer decent performance thanks to growing number of applications that use AMD Radeon graphics cores for general purpose processing, AMD will be able to further boost its positions on the market of ultra low-cost personal computers. What remains to be seen is whether that market will continue to exist and actually grow, as many manufacturers start to cease selling netbooks in well-developed countries.
AMD expects global OEMs such as Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba to offer AMD E-series APU-based systems.