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  (Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC)
Chips have been shipping to OEMs since last quarter

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is playing the timing game very well.  While NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) ultimately outdid it in performance, AMD arrived first to market and capitalized by months of unchallenged domination.  Likewise in the ultra-mobile ("ultrabooks", "ultrathins", or whatever silly moniker you choose to throw at them) category, AMD is getting the jump on rival Intel Corp. (INTC) timing wise.

Intel's ultrabook charge will be led by Ivy Bridge, but OEMs aren't expected to ship those ultrabooks until June.  By contrast, AMD reported today that it has been shipping OEMs Brazos 2.0 and Trinity accelerated processing units.  Phil Hughes, AMD's senior PR manager writes:

Stay tuned: “Trinity” and “Brazos 2.0” systems will be available globally soon!

Prices on OEM partners' sweet Trinity-packing ultrathins are expected to be under $500 USD, versus the $800 to $1,000 USD most Ivy Bridge ultrabooks will cost.

This means that AMD will likely enjoy two months of unchallenged system-on-a-chip dominance.  If the new chips are anything like the last generation, they will fall well below the price of Intel's current offerings Sandy Bridge, while offering superior integrated graphics.

Trinity in the wild
Picture top to bottom: BrazosTrinity (middle),
Tahiti (whom Trinity's on-die GPU is partially derived from)

The new chips will pack a graphics core that blends elements of the Radeon 6000 and 7000 series, for much improved DirectX 11 performance.  At the same time Brazos 2.0 packs more powerful enhanced Bobcat cores, while the Llano replacementTrinity, packs Piledriver cores -- an improved version of the Bulldozer core.

It would not be surprising to see Ivy Bridge best Trinity on a graphics front and the power efficiency front as well, but AMD may yet stay competitive on a pricing basis.  In the meantime, it can enjoy a couple months of dominance.

Intel's approach still feels like something is missing.  There's a high-end chip (Sandy BridgeIvy Bridge) and a low-end chip (Atom), but no mid-range chip.  By contrast AMD delivers a low-to-mid end chip (Brazos 2.0) and a solid mid-range chip (Trinity).  Pricing wise and performance wise, AMD is targeting the middle -- a sweet spot Intel has thus far been neglecting.

The millions of APUs sold in 2011 speak to the wisdom of this approach and have been the salvation of AMD amid slumping server/desktop CPU sales.

Source: AMD

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Sub $500...
By Operandi on 4/20/2012 7:59:38 PM , Rating: 0
Dear AMD; I'm not in the market for a 15.4" heavy, low quality plastic commodity sub $500 notebook. I would much rather spend $300 more on something that is lighter, built much better and wont actually fall apart in 12 - 24 months. Trinity sounds like it should be a pretty decent chip, please don't gimp it by only throwing it in these low cost and low quality designs like you did with Llano.

RE: Sub $500...
By epobirs on 4/20/2012 8:24:26 PM , Rating: 5
AMD just makes the chips. You need to talk to the likes of HP, ACER, etc. about what goes around those chips.

RE: Sub $500...
By chµck on 4/20/2012 9:59:53 PM , Rating: 4
HP, ACER, etc. all just buy reference designs. You need to talk to the likes of Quanta, Compal, etc. about what goes around those computers.

RE: Sub $500...
By Operandi on 4/21/12, Rating: -1
RE: Sub $500...
By Mitch101 on 4/21/2012 11:41:48 AM , Rating: 2
Great sub $500.00 laptops are out there Im amazed when people think you cant make a solid laptop for under $500.00

My $300.00 Walmart Acer laptop has outlived two Lenovo laptops my employer has provided and is every bit as fast as them today. Thats no fluke my co workers have all had dead drives, cooling fans, backlit issues all lenovos and these are supposed to be business class machines.

While it may have a cheaper feel and a bit of weight/size to it I prefer to use it over the lenovo. Im currently looking for a SSD to replace the internal hard drive and making the Hard drive a backup and storage drive. I did invest $18.00 into making it 4 gig from 3 gig and a 120gig SSD would breathe new life into it making it a rocket for what I do on a daily basis.

Not long ago I sent my friend a link of a $380 laptop with an internal blu-ray drive and HDMI connection. It already had 4 gigs of ram I would add an SSD and use the internal drive as a backup/extra storage just like Im going to do above. I believe it also had a USB 3.0 port.

Remember most laptops have a 1366x768 resolution so the graphics chips dont need to be the top end chips to play games on them if you wanted to.

RE: Sub $500...
By StevoLincolnite on 4/21/2012 1:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing wrong with $300 AMD laptops. :)

Bought my oldies one, all they do is play minecraft and facebook.
Minecraft will run on even a sun dial. So why waste more than you need to?

RE: Sub $500...
By Alexvrb on 4/22/2012 12:27:02 AM , Rating: 2
Actually Minecraft is written in Java, so it's pretty power hungry for how simple the graphics are. Also chews up way more memory (between MC and the VM) than it has any right to - again, Java. Run it on an older laptop with oldschool Intel GMA and it runs like crap. If you're running Intel you need at least HD2000 and two fairly strong cores for a good framerate with all the settings turned up.

The reason it runs so well on cheap AMD laptops is better integrated graphics and better drivers. It even is tolerable on a lowly AMD C-60 thanks to turbo core (which C-50 lacked), E-350 and up should have no problems either.

I will say that there are ways to boost Minecraft's performance tremendously on slower machines. Unfortunetely, that involves relying on third party modifications (Optifine, et al), which every update seems to break until the modders catch up. I have no idea why Mojang doesn't implement some of these changes in official releases, it really boosts performance on slower systems.

RE: Sub $500...
By Mint on 4/22/2012 11:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
I still want a good display, and you'd think that at least one manufacturer would stand out from the pack by charging $50 more for a high quality TN at the very least over the 200:1 contrast garbage we see now.

Give me a 3.5lb Trinity with a high contrast display and I would pay $700 for it if I didn't already give up waiting for a good display+GPU a year ago and purchase an Acer 3820TG.

RE: Sub $500...
By Taft12 on 4/23/2012 3:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
Your coworkers carry their laptops to work and back every day, throw them into the backseat, bash it off the doorframe as they carry it (lid open) into the meeting room for their presentation, etc, etc, etc. Your Acer probably has rarely even left the house. Lets compare apples to apples (but not Apples)

Good lord are we ever sidetracked :P

RE: Sub $500...
By spread on 4/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: Sub $500...
By SPOOFE on 4/22/2012 5:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
Dear AMD; I'm not in the market for a 15.4" heavy, low quality plastic commodity sub $500 notebook.

Dear Operandi; You're not almost everybody.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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