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AMD's PowerXpress technology at work.
AMD goes after Centrino with its "Puma" platform

AMD today paper launched its Puma platform in a press event streamed live over the web. Puma is AMD’s third-generation mobile platform based on AMD’s Griffin processor and RS780M chipset.

AMD first broke news of its Puma platform in April of last year. Information at that time was mainly about the platform’s CPU, Griffin, and the only details revealed about the CPU were rather conceptual in nature.  

Puma is AMD’s first attempt at a “complete” mobile platform. Whereas AMD’s previous mobile platforms had a diluted set of requirements, Puma’s specifications are stronger than previous mobile AMD platforms.

In order to be branded as part of the Puma platform, notebooks must come with a Griffin CPU, RS780M chipset and WiFi adapter -- a discrete graphics card is optional. Since AMD believes in offering its partners “diversity”, it chooses not to follow the route paved by Intel’s Centrino, which requires a Core 2 processor, GM965/PM965 chipset and an Intel wireless adapter to be branded as a Centrino notebook.

Currently, AMD’s Griffin processor, which is officially named Turion Ultra, is only dual core. Although there is a possibility of a quad core Griffin processor, as of right now it is not on AMD’s roadmap.

Griffin chips currently feature 1MB L2 cache per core along with support for DDR2-667 and DDR2-800 SO-DIMM memory (up to 8GB). The two cores communicate with each other via an internal crossbar switch. In addition, the CPU runs on AMD’s updated HyperTransport 3.0 specification.

In order to reduce power draw, AMD says that Griffin features three independent power planes. One power plane is given to each CPU while the third one is taken by the Northbridge. To further help promote power efficiency, AMD says each core can also run at independent frequencies. AMD claims that the cores can dynamically shift frequency levels while executing a thread.

The RS780M includes an integrated Direct X 10 graphics controller which AMD says is four to five times faster than Intel’s X3100 IGP, and brings support for HDMI and HDCP + Audio to Puma via AMD’s Universal Video Decoder. The chipset also features built-in support for two display controllers. Puma does support DisplayPort functionality; however, it is up to each individual board maker to implement in the feature.  

To help save power when running off of battery power, AMD says its PowerXpress technology dynamically switches, without any reboot, from external graphics to integrated graphics. According to the company, the change happens instantly and unnoticeably when changing power sources, however, the option is provided to disable this feature. Likewise, Hybrid Crossfire technology will allow you to use a discrete graphics controller with the integrated graphics controller for increased gaming performance.

As AMD’s answer to Intel’s Santa Rosa, analysts predict that the launch of Puma is crucial to the company’s success and financial well being.

AMD says that Puma plays a pivotal role in the period leading up to the release of its Fusion chips. According to AMD, the tighter integration of the CPU and chipset in Puma serves as a milestone to Fusion.    

AMD says that it has over 100 design wins with Puma and that systems will ship at the end of Q2. Puma-based notebooks will be included on notebooks ranging from $699 to $2,500 at launch.



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Battery life AND performance/$
By gochichi on 3/4/2008 2:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
To me performance is a huge issue. While I can see myself satisfied with a X-amount of battery life, I don't see myself as ever satiating my thirst for performance. Riding the amount of information that is constantly increasing takes performance that is constantly increasing.

With battery life, it's a different story. My day is 24 hours long, always has been. Going below 3 hours of battery life is not something I'd voluntarily opt for. 3 hours is my minimum, and past 5 hours I really don't care so much anymore. I am sure that once they reach 10 hour battery life nobody will care beyond that point. Performance on the other hand will always be a prominent desire for me, and the industry at large because so much more is possible with computers than we have seen. Battery of 3+ hours will be a must, but weight and performance (and price, definitely) will be focal.

I currently use a 12" Dell that lasts 4.5 hours per battery (I have 2) with full brightness. Maybe I feel the way I do because I can use the laptop 9 hours without plugging it in. Yet the single core performance, slow hard drive, screen size (and quality), and weight I'm not so satisfied with.

I always feared that AMD had poor performing battery life. So when Puma comes out hopefully I will get some more concrete data on this. I would consider anything with 3+ hours, and then the best performance/$.

I can't stress enough how much battery past a decent amount is not a big deal to many people. Heck, look at how many people buy laptops with 1 hour battery life... I would say most people get below 2 hours.




By AlphaVirus on 3/4/2008 3:09:02 PM , Rating: 2
Your first 2 paragraphs seem to be all opinions. Some people barely use their laptop, at most 30min, while others can use it in upwards 8 hours straight.

quote:
I currently use a 12" Dell that lasts 4.5 hours per battery (I have 2) with full brightness. Maybe I feel the way I do because I can use the laptop 9 hours without plugging it in. Yet the single core performance, slow hard drive, screen size (and quality), and weight I'm not so satisfied with.

Sounds like you are using quite an old laptop, I havent seen a single-core on sale since early last year.

quote:
I always feared that AMD had poor performing battery life. So when Puma comes out hopefully I will get some more concrete data on this. I would consider anything with 3+ hours, and then the best performance/$.

Sounds like you have never used an AMD laptop. If you would consider anything with more than 3 hours, just buy a higher capacity battery. I think most only come with 6 cells so just get anything that is compatibly higher.

quote:
Heck, look at how many people buy laptops with 1 hour battery life... I would say most people get below 2 hours.

Once again, these must be laptops from a few years ago. I spent $300 on an HP laptop (Sempron, 1Gig ram) and I could get 2.5 hours playing simple games or movies. I bought that laptop in 2002.


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