by Anton Shilov
10/25/2012 | 01:13 PM
UPDATE: AMD said that the maximum number of potential design wins of Z-60 "Hondo" is ten.
So far Advanced Micro Devices has not been exactly successful with its tablet design wins. Acer’s tablet with a custom Ontario chip has failed to reach the mass market, whereas Fujitsu’s recently announced Stylistic Q572/F is too expensive. Nonetheless, the company’s Z-60 accelerated processing unit still has chances as it can be potentially used by as much as ten tablet designs.
The world’s second largest supplier of x86 microprocessors plans to announce between six and nineteen tablets with AMD Z-60 “Hondo” inside, revealed John Taylor, director of marketing at AMD, reports IDG News Service. The slates will be introduced by January, 2013, with some of them set to be launched at the consumer electronics show (CES 2013), where top makers of electronics usually debut perspective products.
The exact number of design wins is unclear as the device manufacturers are evaluating the chip and/or tweak their designs to achieve the right balance between performance, batter life and form-factor. Given the x86 origins of AMD Z-60 “Hondo”, it is logical to expect it to power both tablets as well as convertibles based on Microsoft Windows 8 operating system. Many of such tablets will be performance, not power consumption, optimized as AMD’s tablet solution is slower version of a chip that powers low-power laptops/netbooks.
“AMD has to face off with both ARM and Intel as it tries to get in the tablet market. Microsoft is unveiling Windows 8 for x86 chips, which provides an avenue for AMD to compete,” said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.
In case AMD manages to squeeze its Z-60 APU into ten designs, it will be nothing but a massive success for the company, which so far has not released a single successful x86 chip for ultra-portable devices. Still, even six design wins will be good, considering the fact that the Hondo chip has notebook origins and features a number of downsides, such as generally high power consumption (since it is made using 40nm process technology), necessity for an additional I/O chip and some other components that are usually integrated into system-on-chips for mobile devices.
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.