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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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A SantaRosa competition?
By vignyan on 3/5/2008 1:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
If i am not mis-informed, Cantiga based Montevinna w/ Penryn is launching in 5 weeks from now... And AMD is comparing Puma with a year old SantaRosa? Bummer!

Anyways, if you really think about it, the dynamic switching of gfx from external to internal makes little sense. Whats the BIG difference b/w say 8600M versus a X3100? (except for the fact that X3100 kicks 8600M's ass in video performance!) Both the gfx performance suck for BIG games. And Lappys are not for gaming anyways.. ok..Let me rephrase that... For the majority, its not for gaming... I use my good ol desktop for gaming and prefer that screen and control as compared to my laptop! :)...

Upcoming Cantiga has it all... 3 Display ports (2 normal and 1 eDP for connecting lvds pannels) w/ HDCP, 8ch audio enabled HDMI port w/ HDCP (2 ports)... approx 2x gfx published performance numbers (not iffy!) versus Santarosa... MPEG2 VLD, H.264 AVC, MPEG4 VC1 decoders for HD Video decode... PAVP... dual channel DDR3 1066 ... FSB 1333... Clear video... DPST4... 65nm... The hybrid gfx thingy was a bit interesting w/ Puma... But its like boasting a 2GB 9600GT card by MSI at CeBit... LOL!! :)

Penryn is another important factor in the whole Montevina platform. 45nm, low power, higher clock, higher performance... Need to compare the Turion ULTRA w/ penryn's Lowest end processor... C'mon.. its only fair! ok..ok.. Turion ULTRA w/ Core2 price equivalent is the correct comparision! :D ... not a penryn... Penryn has inherent power savings advantage over Turion coz of the 45nm.

With all this said, I do like the name Puma... Endangered and still chasing Centrino pro/duo Prey to live... :)
Good Job AMD.

RE: A SantaRosa competition?
By TheJian on 3/6/2008 11:07:34 PM , Rating: 2
LOL @ 2x performance of crappy IGP on santarosa is good? IT's still FAR slower than AMD's IGP. That's might catch the 690G but NOT the 780G. Sorry.

You found the upgradeable laptop graphics interesting? That's it? You can take your Intel IGP and keep it. I'll take graphics I can add performance too ANY DAY! Your's can't change. How's that good when your gpu sucks to begin with?

Laptops not good for gaming? I have a 6800ultra in mine it runs just about anything I throw at it in 1440x900 native. My card sucks compared to whats available now (it's 3yrs old). Intel's is still %20 behind AMD's OLD x1250:
How much is that now? Dynamic switching makes a TON of sense. When I'm in 2D turn off my power hungry gpu. When I game kick in the GPU. Get it? Jeez.

Can I buy Cantiga? Before AMD's 780? Is the penryn mobile out yet? Why would you expect anyone to compare their new product to something that they can't know the performance of? If I can't benchmark it how can I compare my new product to it?

Pull your head out of Intels a$$ for a minute and think about that.

RE: A SantaRosa competition?
By TheJian on 3/6/2008 11:36:57 PM , Rating: 2
Just checked. I guess you can buy penryn now. Last I checked it wasn't in a Dell.

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