updated 03:35 pm EST, Mon December 12, 2011
AMD may go thin and fast to rival Intel
AMD's Australian and New Zealand regional head Brian Slattery in a discussion [reg. required] Monday said that AMD could have its own take on ultrabooks could arrive as soon as January, likely at CES. Calling them "ultrathins" in a likely attempt to avoid colliding with Intel's term, he explained to The Australian that processors for thin but fast computing would be ready soon. In opposition to Intel, however, AMD didn't have set guidelines and would let companies use larger screens as well as thicker and heavier systems if they felt it necessary.
Any designs are likely to use AMD's Fusion concept, which builds a relatively fast integrated Radeon HD graphics core into the processor itself. Similar to Intel's recent Sandy Bridge and soon Ivy Bridge processors, the faster video allows for a moderate amount of graphics-intensive work without a power-hungry dedicated video chipset.
AMD has only ever had a modest amount of success in ultraportables, peaking this year with systems using its E-series Fusion chips like the Pavilion dm1z. They have faced trouble so far as the processors themselves are closer in speed to netbooks than to the fast if expensive Core i5 and i7 chips Intel-based ultrabooks use. Moving to 28-nanometer technology may let AMD produce much more competitive processors and give companies like HP an alternative.
The ultrabook category was largely invented as a way of spurring Windows PC builders to emulate the formula behind the current-generation MacBook Air and provide some of the advantages of tablets in a more conventional design.