AMD to assemble low-power CPU taskforce

Taking Athlon 64 into Centrino territory


AMD is assembling a team to develop Athlon 64 processors for sub-notebooks and thin'n'light laptops.

The team will comprise 15 to 20 engineers and will be based in AMD's Japan Engineering Lab. The Japanese market is particularly keen on small form-factor and thin notebooks, so AMD's choice of location is a sound one. That said, the team's efforts will be sold globally.

In addition to developing processor technology, the team will work on ways to implement the CPUs within the machines. The team's remit stretches beyond notebooks to other power-sensitive applications, including consumer electronics and communications kit. It will also work with AMD's Alchemy and Geode embedded CPUs.

Like Intel before it, AMD needs to look beyond the PC and server markets, and its presence in Japan will, it hopes, help convince CE manufacturers and the like to consider its processors when they are developing x86-based hardware. Fellow x86 CPU designer Transmeta is also taking this course.

A more solid Asia Pacific presence may also help AMD counter prevailing assumptions that are turning manufacturers away from its products in favour of Intel's.

AMD's move in Japan follows its recently announced deal with Chinese PC giant Lenovo to supply Athlon 64 and XP processors.

Ultra-low power processors remain the one category missing from AMD's Mobile Athlon 64 line-up. When the Athlon 64 was introduced in September 2003, AMD also rolled out re-branded versions of part aimed at desktop-replacement notebooks. In May this year, it began shipping low-power Mobile Athlon 64s aimed at mainstream notebooks. That leaves the thin'n'light/sub-notebook space as yet untargeted, at least with a processor specifically designed for that market.

Manufacturers building such machines have little option but to choose one of Intel's Low-Voltage or Ultra-low Voltage Pentium M processors, or Transmeta's Efficeon. ®

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