Advanced Micro Devices rolled out technology Tuesday that can make notebook computers lighter, faster, and more versatile.
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker’s Yukon platform is a collection of chips aimed at the ultraportable notebook computer market. Such laptops will likely blur the line between full-fledged laptop computers and lesser machines known as netbooks.
The first major customer for the Yukon platform is Hewlett-Packard, which will use Yukon in its new high-end notebook, the HP Pavilion dv2, which has a 12.1-inch screen and weighs 3.8 pounds. Bahr Mahony, director of notebook product marketing at AMD, said the heart of the Yukon platform is a new single-core microprocessor, the Athlon Neo processor. It also has an ATI Radeon X1250 integrated graphics chip (or an optional ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3410 standalone graphics chip).
The ultraportable computers are aimed at business users who need full Internet capability. While netbooks (stripped down computers aimed at cruising bare-bones Internet sites) often don’t perform well in loading sites with rich media, the ultraportables are intended to be full-fledged web cruising machines, like Apple’s Macbook Air model. With high definition multimedia interface (HDMI) and DVI connectors, Yukon-based laptops can display their images on big screens. AMD is thus shooting above the netbook market and is targeting ultraportables with price tags ranging from $500 to $1,500.
“We felt that many of the netbooks make too many compromises,” Mahony said.
In particular, the Yukon platform will use AMD’s latest Mobility Radeon graphics chips so that the machines can play games and run full high-definition video. Of course, good luck to AMD figuring out what to call this category: ultrathin, ultraportable, ultra whatever.