AMD has unveiled its Z-60 accelerated processing unit (APU) chip aimed at Windows 8 tablets, claiming it offers a better combination of performance and energy efficiency than rival Intel chips and those based on the ARM architecture.
Available now and set to ship in systems when Windows 8 officially launches later this month, the Z-60 APU is the latest of AMD's Fusion processors, combining both CPU and GPU functions onto a single chip.
Codenamed Hondo, the Z-60 combines two CPU cores alongside an AMD Radeon GPU, comparable to the standalone Radeon HD6250 with its 80 shader cores.
This enables the chip to provide much better performance, especially in terms of graphics, while keeping power consumption to a minimum on battery-powered tablet devices, according to AMD.
With this combination, the firm is targeting what it sees as the "sweet spot" in the tablet market - affordable, thin and light tablets that offer better graphics than media tablets at the lower end of the market, but better battery life than high-end Intel-based devices.
"AMD's going to be able to provide much better performance than the entry-level tablets. We know that our graphics capabilities are going to be well beyond the competition," said AMD product marketing manager, Christopher Sutphen.
He claimed that the Z-60 offers five to six times better performance than Intel's current Cedar Trail Atom chips for tablets, and should easily outdo even the new Clover Trail version that Intel has developed especially for Windows 8.
"Even if they are able to do things that double their graphics performance, they're still going to be well behind where AMD is today," Sutphen said.
Meanwhile, ARM-based chips power a great many media tablets, but these "deliver great battery life at the expense of performance," he added.
However, when asked about upcoming AMD-based tablets devices, the company declined to identify any specific vendors planning to ship products, saying that it could not jump the gun on its partners' announcements.
In contrast, Dell, HP, Fujitsu, Acer and Asus have already disclosed Windows 8 tablets based on Intel's rival chip.
The Z-60 APU is based on AMD's older Bobcat core technology rather than the newer Piledriver cores in the latest Trinity A-Series APUs.
However, this has been tweaked somewhat to further reduce power consumption, and the entire chip runs at a maximum frequency of 1GHz.
AMD claimed the Z-60 will offer "all day" power, equating to 10 hours of battery life when in idle or presentation modes, or up to eight hours when web browsing.
The chip is also being targeted at both consumer and business-focused tablets, AMD said.
Not only is it capable of supporting 1,920x1,200 video via an HDMI output, but also has support for a trusted platform module (TPM) security chip and has the performance required for productivity applications.
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