AMD Demonstrates Fusion APUs

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At Computex 2010, AMD has demonstrated the Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) that combine CPU, GPU, video processing and other capabilities in a single die.

The APUs support DirectX 11 gaming and HD video content.

In a Fusion whitepaper, AMD has disclosed that its first APUs, code-named “Llano” and “Ontario,” are designed for mainstream desktop and notebook platforms, “thin and light” laptops, netbooks, and tablets. Both of these APUs will combine multiple superscalar x86 processor cores with an array of programmable SIMD engines leveraged from AMD’s discrete graphics portfolio.

“The key aspect to note is that all the major system elements – x86 cores, vector (SIMD) engines, and a Unified Video Decoder (UVD) for HD decoding tasks – atach directly to the same high speed bus, and thus to the main system memory. This design concept eliminates one of the fundamental constraints that limits the performance of traditional integrated graphics controlers (IGPs),” AMD says.

The launch of the AMD Fusion Family of APUs is planned for the first half of 2011.

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Intel Updates Laptop CPU Lineup

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Intel has launched Core i7-940XM, i7-840QM and i7-740QM quad-core laptop processors priced at US$1,054, US$546 and US$364, respectively.

The company also plans to release more 2010 Core mainstream notebook CPUs – the Core i7-640M, i5-580M and i5-560M priced at US$332, US$257 and US$225, DigiTimes reports.

Regarding ultra-low voltage chips for thin-and-light laptops, Intel has launched the Core i7-660UM (US$305) and i5-540UM (US$241), and plans to release dual-core Core i7-680UM and i5-560UM models at the end of September. The company will also release several low-voltage CPUs including the Core i7-660LM in September, according to DigiTimes.

“For entry-level processors, Intel recently launched the dual-core Celeron U3400 (US$134) but has no plans to release any more upgrades before the end of 2010. In September, Intel will launch the 32nm Celeron P4600 (US$86) and 45nm Pentium T3500 (US$80), while the Celeron P4500 will be phased out of the market and the Pentium T3300 will see its price drop from US$86 to US$80,” the report says.

DigiTimes also writes that Intel’s next-generation notebook platform Huron River is scheduled to launch in January.

All the prices listed in this post are in 1,000-unit tray quantities.

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VIA Nano 3000 Series CPUs

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VIA Nano 3000 Series

VIA Technologies has announced the Nano 3000 Series processors for thin-and-light laptops and all-in-one desktop PCs.

The new generation of CPUs based on ‘Isaiah’ architecture are clocked from 1GHz to 2GHz, depending on model, and have an 800MHz front side bus. The Nano 3000 support “flawless playback of high bit-rate 1080p HD video”, 64-bit computing, and virtualization technology. The chips include SSE4 set of instructions for enhanced multimedia processing and VIA PadLock technology providing hardware security features.

Nano 3000

According to VIA, the Nano 3000 Series deliver up to 20% higher performance using up to 20% less power than current Nano processors. The chip maker has also posted PC Mark and 3D Mark benchmark results showing that the Nano 3000 at 1.6GHz is much faster than the 1.6GHz Intel Atom.

VIA Nano 3000 Series processor samples are currently available for OEMs and motherboard vendors, and will enter mass production in Q1 2010, the chip maker says.

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Intel Laptop Processors

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Intel Core 2

Intel has announced four new laptop processors – the high-performance Intel Core 2 Duo T9900, P9700, and P8800, and the ultra-low voltage Pentium SU2700.

The Core 2 Duo T9900, with a TDP of 35 Watts, runs at 3.06GHz and has 6MB of L2 cache, whereas the 25W P9700 and P8800 are clocked at 2.83GHz and 2.66GHz respectively. The P9700 has 6MB of L2 cache, while the P8800 has 3MB. All three CPUs have 1066MHz front side bus and are designed for use in standard-sized Centrino 2 notebooks.

On the other side, the new ULV Intel Pentium SU2700 single-core processor, with a 10W TDP, will be used in affordable ultra-thin laptops. The SU2700 features a core clock speed of 1.3GHz, 2MB of L2 cache, and a 800MHz FSB.

In addition, Intel announced the Mobile Intel GS40 Express Chipset for the new ULV-based notebooks. The new chipset features a hardware-based decoder of HD video, Windows Vista Premium support and native support for integrated HDMI.

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Consumer Ultra Low Voltage CPU

Intel released its Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) processors, desinged for use in ultraportable notebooks, according to announcements in April.

MSI has released the x340 ultra-slim laptop with the Intel CULV Core 2 Solo SU3500 CPU in April. The chip is clocked at 1.4GHz and has 3MB of L2 cache.

In May, MSI offered the X340 with two additional CULV processor options: the 1.3GHz Core 2 Solo SU2700 (2 MB L2 Cache) and the Core 2 Solo SU9600 (clock speed unknown).

DigiTimes earlier reported that the CULV platform, Intel’s response to the AMD Yukon, will be used in ultraportables priced between US$699-899.

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MacBook Pro Model Upgrades CPU

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The higher-end 15-inch MacBook Pro model now comes standard with an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz processor, which is an upgrade from 2.53GHz, Apple Insider reports.

The 2.66GHz MacBook Pro MC026LL/A, priced at $2,499, can be additionally upgraded to 2.93GHz for $300. The 2.93GHz option replaces the previous 2.8GHz upgrade.

The standard lower-end 2.4GHz MacBook Pro MB470LL/A remained unchanged. It’s priced at $1,999.

Apple Insider also revealed that the 15 MacBook Pro and 13-inch aluminum unibody MacBook can now be configured with a 256GB solid state drive. Previously, the 256GB SSD had been optionally available only in 17-inch MacBook Pro.

“The prices for the 256GB drive upgrades are as follows: 2.0GHz unibody MacBook ($900), 2.4GHz unibody MacBook ($825), 2.4GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro ($825), 2.66GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro ($750), and 17-inch MacBook Pro ($750),” the report says.

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