AMD Ups The Ante In Mobile Processors

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker last week said its Mobile AMD Athlon 64 3000+ will be priced at $241 in 1,000-unit quantities, at a time when custom-built or unbranded notebooks are making significant gains in channel market share.

New chip is aimed at thin and light notebooks and mobile PCs and provides extended battery life.

The new AMD chip is aimed at thin and light notebooks and mobile PCs, and provides extended battery life through its proprietary technology. The Athlon 64 3000+ is compatible with third-party 802.11a/b/g wireless cards and the processor itself is based on AMD's 90- nanometer manufacturing process technology, according to the company.

In contrast, Intel's competing Centrino platform combines a processor, chipset and 802.11a/b/g technology into a single platform and the company manufactures its own chipsets. While AMD has a growing number of supporters and system builders in the channel for its 64-bit processors, its inability to develop support technology, as Intel does, could continue to be a drawback, especially in the mobile space, solution providers say.

"I'm a big fan of AMD and their technology, their capability. They far exceed Intel in CPUs in raw power and in terms of functionality," said Scott Chithelli, owner of Advanced Design of Kentucky, an Alexandria, Ky.-based system builder.

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However, he said he does not offer an AMD-based custom notebook because of concerns over third-party supporting technology such as chipsets and motherboards. Unlike Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., AMD does not make its own branded chipsets or motherboards but relies on third-party manufacturers to provide them.

Chithelli said Advanced Design focuses on high- performance systems, including those for video and audio customers, as well as those using CAD applications.

"We're so niche-specific, I need to make sure there are not issues," Chithelli said. "The AMD 64 notebooks are so powerful ... but the external devices such as professional sound cards are very sensitive to certain chipsets."

The new AMD processor, with a clock speed of 2GHz, is priced as much as 60 percent lower than most comparable mobile processors from Intel.