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Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday announced its first accelerated processing unit (APU) designed for media tablets with Windows 8 operating system. The new chip is a pre-selected version of AMD's Ontario with lowered power consumption, reduced clock-speed as well as a special input/output controller and a number of new BIOS features.

“Tablet users seeking an uncompromised experience for both creating and consuming content on the Microsoft Windows 8 platform now have a performance-driven, affordable option with the AMD Z-60 APU. We see a large gap between the lower performance and high-price competitive offerings that allow AMD to be in tablet designs that will please our customers and end users alike,” said Steve Belt, corporate vice president of ultra-low power products at AMD.

AMD Z-60 "Hondo" APU features two x86 Bobcat cores clocked at 1.0GHz with 1MB of L2 cache (512KB per core), AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics adapter with 80 stream processors and video decoding engine as well as single-channel DDR3 memory controller. The most noticeable difference between Hondo and Ontario is power consumption: the Z-60 has maximum thermal design power of just 4.5W. To tailor capabilities of Hondo towards traditional media tablets, AMD developed Start Now technology, which resumes from sleep mode in two seconds, boots to Windows 8 in 25 seconds and syncs to a preferred local network in 1.5 seconds. In addition, Z-60 comes with a special Fusion controller hub (FCH), which has a number of capabilities switched off to reduce power consumption.

The AMD Z-60 is AMD’s lowest power APU, which promises 8-hours battery life and form-factors as thin as 10mm. In fact, eight hours of battery life and 1cm thickness are hardly impressive for media tablets, but considering the fact that Hondo is a hand-picked part, not a specially designed system-on-chip for tablets, this may not be a serious issue for AMD.

In a bid to better compete for tablets, AMD needs to develop an even lower-power SoC with support for specialized LPDDR2/3 memory, NAND flash storage sub-system, integrated support for cameras and numerous other features. With the current offering AMD might win a design or two for business-/education-oriented tablets or convertibles, but will generally be unable to compete against Intel Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail", not talking about ARM-based SoCs.

The AMD Z-60 APU is shipping today to customers that are expected to launch systems later this year.

Tags: AMD, Hondo, Fusion, Windows 8, Microsoft, Bobcat, Radeon

Discussion

Comments currently: 14
Discussion started: 10/09/12 10:27:24 AM
Latest comment: 10/11/12 02:19:01 AM
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1. 
The key benefits that I see and which makes the AMD Z-60 a better choice for a professional tablet than ARM and/or Intel is that the AMD Z-60 APU is a 64 bit processor, it has a powerful GPU, it has usb 3.0, 1900x1200 resolution, and it can run all Windows professional applications. Sure it consume a little more power, but having a larger GPU always consumes more power, but without a higher performance GPU, you can't run professional applications, high-end games, high-end 3d graphics applications.

Intel's Clober Trail is just a 32 bit CPU processor (same as ARM), small GPU, only 1300x768 rsolution, only 2 GB of processor memory max, and only usb 2.0.

AMD Z-60 nailed the most powerful tablet workstation in the market and the only one that can be used professionally.

Hopefully this will help AMD to continue to turn around it's business and continue to innovate with high end APU's and high-end GPU's.. Very nice AMD..!!!

7 3 [Posted by: scoob  | Date: 10/09/12 10:27:24 AM]
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The nicer windows 8 tablets are comming with core i3 processors, not just atoms. So this isnt the "king" of all options like you make it out to be. Core i3's perform considerable better, and still reach the same approximate power usage at these.

If you read AMD's own statement they said there was a gap between the cheap processors for tablets and the high performance ones, and theyre filling that gap. They are not the highest performance tablet proc...
1 1 [Posted by: cashkennedy  | Date: 10/09/12 02:11:09 PM]
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From what i can find online, a core i5 sandy bridge based tablet uses 7-10w of power total doing hd video playback, vs 5w or more for this amd z-60, and vs 2w for the atom soc. Ivy bridge should be a bit more power conservative then sandy bridge, so a realistic prediction is around 7w for video playback, vs the 5w for amd. Once again that puts AMD right in the middle of the 2 options, which could be the sweet spot, but is deffinetly not the highest performance possible.
3 0 [Posted by: cashkennedy  | Date: 10/09/12 02:31:25 PM]
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2. 
I agree. Intel Atom is not good for media - it has weak decoders, cannot play 720p h254 and above, which is the minimum today for media quality. I am not even considering the pro market.
5 0 [Posted by: Ananke  | Date: 10/09/12 10:38:22 AM]
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show the post
0 3 [Posted by: cashkennedy  | Date: 10/09/12 02:14:01 PM]
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Core i3/5 is just way too much for a tablet, both the power consumption and the performance is overboard. It's like shooting at a sparrow with a bigass canon.
The weak spot of this thing is that low-budget consumer will keep hunting for the cheapest ARM/Android tablets, while manufacturers are going to try to sell the overpriced Intel Core equiped crap to thick-wallet snobs. (which is a double fail since (globally) they are not too many and most of them think an iPad will make them cool) People who actually need a tablet for some reason and look for the golden middle (Z-60) do represent an extremely insignificant portion of the market.
2 1 [Posted by: Martian  | Date: 10/09/12 02:45:28 PM]
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I agree that the majority of the market is probably either looking for a super cheap tablet (comparable to nook), or just figured well if im already spending 450 i might as well get an ipad... Most people are dumb , but the world is what it is. The whole ultrabook kick from manufacturers will also end fairly soon, because while each oem should have 1-2 ultrabooks, theyre insanely making like 4-6 models per company, for a tiny sliver of a market.
3 0 [Posted by: cashkennedy  | Date: 10/09/12 04:21:57 PM]
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Intel may beat AMD in CPU's, but AMD beats the cr@p out of Intel in GPU's. Intel doesn't even have a high end GPU, it just have low end GPU's.

These are tablets, so you cannot add an NVIDIA or an AMD GPU to make the Intel system a high performance system. Now it can only use the Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge GPU which are mediocre and below NVIDIA's or AMD's offering.

Price, too, Intel likes to always make a big profit slice of each processor. Tablet people know that they don't need to pay high profit margins if they have an option for a quality system.
1 0 [Posted by: scoob  | Date: 10/10/12 07:03:19 AM]
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3. 
I will be getting this

Just A Few Advantages Over Competition.

USB 3.0 - mSATA, X86 - X64-Bit, 1080p, Full Win7/8 or Win-RT support and DX11 GPU etc etc, is a no brainer over intel and Tegra 3.


Qualcomm will put up a fight but we shall see to what effect.
1 0 [Posted by: keysplayer  | Date: 10/09/12 11:04:54 AM]
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4. 
AMD counter offensive .
2 1 [Posted by: Blackcode  | Date: 10/09/12 01:46:01 PM]
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5. 
show the post
1 6 [Posted by: alpha0ne  | Date: 10/10/12 12:50:38 AM]
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6. 
The market at which this is aimed is neither in Europe or North America. There are far greater populations and buyer numbers in the Asian/African market were to generate sales costs far less than in the mature declining western markets. Think what it cost to employ a sales person in America as to what the same sales person would be paid in South East Asia,( Not an expat from head office but a local) The number of potential customers is at least 10x more than is the western markets, even the Russian or Turkish market dwarf the rest of Europe. It takes some getting used to but the buying power of consumers has shifted and woe betide any co which ignores these markets.
1 1 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 10/10/12 03:03:34 AM]
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I agree tedstoy. Two different markets - first world and second world. First world sees higher profit margins and the second world sees higher volumes with lower profit margins. Intel is primarily a first world chip company. AMD has equal footing in both. The second world market is expanding at +15% per year. That's where AMD is growing. There's no coincidence that AMD employed Rory Read as CEO, who had a 5 year tenure at Lenovo, China.
3 1 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 10/10/12 03:50:51 AM]
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7. 
This might fight nicely into the jointly developed Tablet by Samsung and Google, it needs an APU to take advantage of the screen resolution.
0 0 [Posted by: caring1  | Date: 10/11/12 02:19:01 AM]
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