AMD is hoping to nab a share of the lucrative tablet market with its new low-power Z-60 APUs.
Unveiled Tuesday by the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker, the new Z-60 is AMD's most energy-efficient APU to date, drawing 4.5 watts of power and able to fuel mobile devices as thin as 0.4 inches. According to AMD, the new processor is optimized specifically for tablets and other small-form-factor PCs running Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS.
The new Z-60 APU will go head to head with Intel's new Atom Clover Trail processor, which already has claimed its stake in a number of upcoming tablets and convertible PCs including Hewlett-Packard's ElitePad 900, Dell's Latitude 10 and Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet 2. AMD did not specify how many design wins are under its belt for the new Z-60, but said tablets running the new chip will launch this month alongside Windows 8.
AMD, along with x86-based rival Intel, will face steep competition from U.K.-based chip licensor ARM, whose ultra-low-power processor architectures already dominate the tablet market with 98 percent share, according to recent data from ABI Research. Samsung, Nvidia and Qualcomm all base their processors on ARM architectures.
AMD said it will be able to gain an edge over other chip makers in the tablet space because systems running its new Z-60 APU will be priced more competitively.
"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," said Steve Belt, corporate vice president of ultra-low-power products at AMD, in a statement. "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."
Much of AMD's future growth will rely on its success in the mobile market. The chip maker has taken a hit financially over the past several quarters, as sluggish demand for notebook and desktop PCs persists. Intel has also been dealt a blow as consumers flock more toward smartphones and tablets in lieu of traditional PCs.
AMD's previous APU for tablets, the Z-01, struggled to compete against ARM, making its way into only a small group of tablets, including MSI's WindPad 110W.
In addition to drawing 4.5 watts of power, AMD's new dual-core Z-60 APU reaches clock speeds up to 1GHz and includes AMD's HD Radeon 6250 graphics. AMD said the new chip also provides up to eight hours of device battery life, up to six hours of HD video playback, and support for full HD 1,080 resolution.
PUBLISHED OCT. 9, 2012