by Anton Shilov
02/02/2012 | 11:46 PM
At its financial analyst day event on Thursday, Advanced Micro Devices disclosed peculiarities of its forthcoming platform for ultrathin laptops. The code-named Trinity accelerated processing unit in ball-grid array form-factor will let PC makers to create notebooks with premium quad-core CPU and high-quality graphics that are only 18mm thick and that cost just about $600.
At the FAD, AMD demonstrated a prototype of a laptop powered by a unique quad-core AMD quad-core A6 ULV "Trinity" accelerated processing unit (APU) with 17W thermal design power. The prototype was actually a reference design jointly developed by AMD and Compal and was a 13" wide-screen laptop just 18mm thick. Compal, a contract maker of electronics, may start producing notebooks using this design for interested parties, whereas other notebook makers may create their own ultra-thin mobile computers powered by AMD Trinity.
"The 18mm reference design from Compal is what many OEMs are looking at. We believe that this will bring the ultra-thin form-factor into $600 - $800 price-point. This is [an evidence of] the value of APUs because you really have performance that you need at the power envelope that you need at the right price-point," said Lisa Su, general manager of global business units at AMD.
The 18mm thickness for a reference design of an inexpensive laptop is a remarkable achievement. For comparison: Apple Macbook Air is up to 17mm thick, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is up to 21.5mm thick and the world's thinnest notebook - Samsung Series 9 900X3B - is 12.9mm thick. Unfortunately, AMD's reference design is made of plastic, whereas typical ultra-thin mobile PCs are made of metal. It is likely that AMD specifically recommends its partners to use inexpensive materials to ensure low price of its ultra-thin notebooks, but that will clearly affect quality.
AMD attempts to offer better pricing on Trinity-powered ultra-thin machines in order to successful compete against Intel Corp.'s ultrabook initiative. AMD-based ultrathin notebooks are projected to be at least $200 cheaper than machines powered by Intel Core i 3000-series “Ivy Bridge” microprocessors. Lower price is supposed to compensate lower x86 performance of AMD’s Trinity compared to Intel’s Ivy Bridge. At the same time, AMD-based ultrathin machines will offer faster and more capable graphics engine. Moreover, based on AMD promises, it will offer 17W quad-core microprocessors, which should provide decent responsibility.
At present it is unknown when the laptops with AMD A6 ULV "Trinity" processor with 17W TDP will become available.