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IDG News Service - Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday announced new mobile processors as it tries to bridge the power and performance gap with Intel, while trying to lower laptop prices.
The company's new processors include its first triple-core and quad-core laptop processors as part of a new Phenom II line, which will boost application performance while reducing power consumption, AMD officials said. Mainstream laptops mostly come with dual-core chips, and adding cores brings more performance to users at lower prices.
"We're able to hit triple-and quad-core price points at $799," said Leslie Sobon, vice president of marketing at AMD. Between 130 to 150 products are being designed around the new chips, which is a record for AMD.
The three quad-core and two triple-core Phenom II processors run at speeds between 1.6GHz and 2.3GHz and draw between 25 watts and 45 watts of power. The chips will be available in laptops from vendors including Dell, HP and Lenovo starting later this month.
AMD also announced low-voltage Athlon II Neo and Turion II Neo processors for ultrathin laptops that run at speeds between 1.3GHz and 1.7GHz. The processors come in single-core and dual-core variants and draw between 12 watts and 15 watts of power.
The new laptop chips are an attempt by AMD to improve its weak market position and gain ground on Intel. AMD held a 12.1% market share in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 15% in the first quarter of 2009, according to IDC. Intel was the leader, holding an 87.8% laptop microprocessor market share in the first quarter of 2010, compared to the 84.3% market share from a year ago.
AMD's CEO Dirk Meyer last month acknowledged that the company was underrepresented in the laptop market, but added that the company was making architectural improvements to its chips that could improve battery life and performance of the machines.
Intel last year gained a competitive advantage by moving to a new manufacturing process to make chips faster and more power efficient. Intel in January launched new Core i3, i5 and i7 dual-core mobile processors for laptops. The company will soon release new laptop processors for ultrathin laptops.
AMD's triple- and quad-core offerings provide more options to buyers, AMD's Sobon said. Computing tasks like antivirus can be off-loaded to the third core, while leaving two cores to process other applications.
PC makers including HP and Dell said Intel's package of chips facilitate longer battery life and better performance, but AMD's new chips provide better graphics and bang-for-the-buck with performance relative to price. Meanwhile, AMD has taken big steps to close the gap with Intel, executives from the PC makers said.
HP last week launched seven new ProBook business laptops based on AMD's new processors. Some power improvements have stretched AMD-based laptops' battery life beyond five hours, a 72% improvement from laptops with AMD's older chips. Intel-based laptops still offer performance advantages and battery life in excess of six hours, said Joanne Bugos, business notebook marketing manager at HP.