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AMD gave a minor update to the E-Series and C-Series of Fusion processors (left), with three new models filling out the product family and introducing superior idle battery life.  (Source: Engadget)

The new chips add support for faster DDR3-1333 memory, and two of them also add a new "Turbo" mode, which allows the graphics portion of the chip to clock up when under load.  (Source: AMD)
AMD is looking to make the most of its advantage

Fusion has been a sales hit for Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), and a much need one amid slumping server sales.  Fusion processors or "advanced processing units" (APUs), as AMD also bills them, combine AMD's discrete GPUs and one of several AMD CPU core designs on a single chip.  The platform launched in January with the C-Series and E-Series, equipped with the lightweight Bobcat core.  It was then expanded June 30, when the beefier Stars (Phenom II architecture) core-equipped A-series launched.

Today AMD announced new models in its C-series and E-series.  Its press release is a bit confusing as it refers to "updated APUs".  As far as we could determine the existing models are not updated at all -- rather AMD is launching new product here.

The C-Series gets one new processor, the C-60.  This dual-core 1.0 GHz chip is on par with C-50 in most regards, but bumps the GPU from an HD 6250 to an HD 6290, keeps the standard GPU speed at 276 MHz, but adds a "Turbo" mode, which clocks the GPU core up to 400 MHz.  Support for faster DDR3-1333 memory has also been added (previously, only DDR3-1066 was supported).  

Despite these nice additions, AMD promises superb power performance -- roughly 12 hours of active battery life when idle and roughly 4 and a half hours of active battery life when active (3DMark '06 used to simulate typical gaming activity).  That's roughly 4 more hours than AMD promised with the first generation C-Series models.

Two new dual-core E-series processors are also being pushed out the door -- the E-300 and the E-450.  Both add DDR3-1333 support.  Previously, the only dual-core E-Series design was the E-350.

By contrast, the new E-300 is slower than the E-350, with a 1.3 GHz CPU core clock.  It also packs a slower 488 MHz GPU core.  Clearly this is the more ultra-mobile-aimed core.  The other core, the new E-450, is the new high-end model.  It bumps the CPU clock up to 1.65 GHz and takes the GPU core clock up to 508 MHz in standard mode and 600 MHz in "Turbo" mode.  AMD promises these E-series models will get "up to" (probably meaning the E-300) "10.5 hours of resting battery life."

All of the new processors receive HDMI 1.4a support and DisplayPort++ to connect to a variety of kinds of displays.

Chris Cloran, AMD's Client Division VP and general manager states, "Today's PC users want stunning HD graphics and accelerated performance with all-day battery life and that’s what AMD Fusion APUs deliver. With these new APUs, we're bringing premium features to entry-level products that let users get a richer computing experience."

In related news, AMD earlier this month announced [press release] the availability of its AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) Software Development Kit (SDK) v2.5.  This OpenCL-driven SDK offers programmers tools to add general-purpose GPU (GPGPU) computing support to their applications.  AMD seems to be taking a wise tact here, as its CPU performance trails that of rival Intel Corp. (INTC), but its GPU performance is well ahead of its rival.  With GPU-enabled apps, Fusion APUs may finally start performing their Intel comparables in everyday applications like Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Office suite or Adobe Systems, Inc.'s (ADBE), assuming the app-makers add support.

AMD in June launched a new series called the Z-Series, which is part of its plan to actively target the tablet market with its APUs.  Neither the A-Series nor the Z-Series were updated with the latest refresh.

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By Operandi on 8/22/2011 1:45:42 PM , Rating: 2
What you are talking about is marketing, that’s not what this is about.

99% of the public doesn’t need any more compute power than they already have in PC and its been that way for a few years now.

High-end still drives the market. The hardware that runs best on pro level and enthusiasts programs eventually gets pushed down the lower cost commodity mainstream hardware. A Facebook sticker isn't going to do anything for Premier or Final Cut user but GPU/APU acceleration sure will.

By Mitch101 on 8/22/2011 4:18:15 PM , Rating: 3
I don't disagree with your points Its just that the average user wont have a clue what a GPU is, what it does and how it could benefit them. They will want the machine with the "Intel Inside" because of commercial branding.

How many people will look at the C-50 see 1ghz and think the Intel Inside Atom N550 at 1.5ghz cpu with Intel Graphics is superior? Hey its Intel Inside then wonder why 1080P video playback is choppy?

Anyone remember the commercials of Intel saying their new CPU's improved the internet experience?

Intel Inside is Intel's consumer gimmick. Unfortunately AMD doesn't have the money to educate or brand the GPU and convincing users when making a PC purchase. Especially when the majority of consumer PC's sold and the mid-low range especially in a down economy.

If there is anything I learned from Owning a Zune is the best doesnt always win.

By SPOOFE on 8/22/2011 5:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree with your points Its just that the average user wont have a clue what a GPU is, what it does and how it could benefit them. They will want the machine with the "Intel Inside" because of commercial branding.

All this probably just means that AMD needs better marketing, and has for years and years. Heck, even when they obviously and clearly had the better chips out, price notwithstanding, they were barely able to capitalize on it, and they certainly didn't maintain that momentum.

But things are changing now; one of the hottest tech markets right now is tablets, where Intel and AMD are nowhere to be seen. If AMD can get entrenched in a decently popular line of products, they might have some leverage that will give them mainstream accessibility. They need some product line that gives them better revenue than their current batch of processors, in my opinion.

By Operandi on 8/22/2011 10:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
Marketing can do so much for you, almost always having the superior product wins out.

AMD did good with original Athlon 64 but they were held back by Intel's dirty tactics with their hardware partners. They (AMD) also sold every chip they could make, perhaps if they had more capacity Intel's tactics wouldn't have been so effective.

As to tablets good luck.... I don't see either AMD or Intel making much of dent in ARMs market share.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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