More details emerge on just what makes an AMD Live! system different

Tomorrow AMD will announce its Live! platform, but we were able to look through some AMD documents that contain updates on what to expect from Live! compliant desktops and media PCs. DailyTech previously reported that an AMD Live! system would come standard with at least the following specifications:

AMD LIVE! Desktop PC
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor (65W energy efficient CPU
  • Discrete or UMA graphics (DX9, HDCP required if HDMI used)
  • 5.1 HD audio with SPDIF output
  • RAID 0. 1 with SATA (NCQ support recommended)
  • 2 to 4 DIMMs of DDR2 667/800MHz
  • Ports: 6 (minimum) USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 (FireWire 400)
  • GigE LAN and optional 802.11b/g (a is optional)
  • Slots: 16L & 1L PCIe and 1x PCI minimum
  • Low Acoustic Noise level (to be determined)
AMD LIVE! Entertainment PC
Same as LIVE! Desktop PC except:

  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor (35W and 65W energy CPU)
  • SATA HD support
  • Support for low profile form factors

Processor requirements have also been updated. Not only must desktop systems come with dual-core processors, they must also come with processors rated at 4800+ or higher. Athlon 64 FX-62 processors are also Live! compliant. Memory requirements state that systems must also ship with configurations of 1GB or more of system RAM. Strangely, no minimum hard drive capacity requirements are stated. Since Live! media systems are expected to do some PVR duties, large hard drives capacities will likely be required.

Besides the above specifications, AMD's platform design guides states that systems are recommended to focus on thermal dynamics as well as acoustic performance. Launch preparation documents stress that Live! compliant systems must keep noise to a minimum, and in some cases, produce almost no noise at all. Furthermore, AMD documents recommend that only fluid-bearing SATA hard drives be used to cut down on noise.

Microsoft's Away Mode is also a requirement for AMD Live! compliant systems. Away Mode will allow a system to shutdown all components that are unused by a user when they are "away" from the machine. Some of the components listed are: displays, keyboards, mice, remote controls, and other non essentials. The machine continues to operate normally, with the power LED on the system will indicate an off state -- although safety issues may arise from a user thinking that the machine is off when in fact, it's still operating. According to Away Mode specifications, the machine will continue to operate normally so that tasks such as file downloading and transferring can still take place without requiring much power. Away Mode is only supported in Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition with Rollup 2 update. Apparently, the Away Mode feature is part of the Live! specification and is not a feature available to Intel Viiv systems.

AMD says that Live! desktops will begin shipping with its new AM2 platform, and that the new AM2 processors will be equipped with on-die temperature sensors to allow accurate readings of CPU temperature. Using THERMDA and THERMDC pins on the new processors, a Live! system can operate more efficiently and better control the speed of system fans. AMD is also pushing its Cool'n'Quiet technology to help with energy efficiency. Live! systems are required to by fully ACPI compliant, allowing the system processor to enter specific power-states to reduce thermals even further.

AMD's Live! platform is shaping up to be a lot more demanding than Intel's Viiv platform. While both AMD and Intel are out looking for partners in the media industry to provide exclusive content for end users, AMD is putting a lot of effort forward to ensure that Live! compliant computers offer something tangible for customers. The online community previously questioned just what made a Viiv PC so special. AMD is ensuring that Live! systems don't fall into the same trap.

DailyTech previously reported that AMD's Live! compliancy logos were leaked several weeks ago. Information was also revealed that AMD's Live! logo program extended not only to desktop PCs and media PCs, but also portable devices.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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