Intel representatives evangelized the latest generation of Intel’s mobile Core processors and Nvidia promoted 16 new notebooks with their discrete graphics at this year’s Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan. However, it was AMD that might have quietly stolen the show with 109 new mainstream notebooks based on the AMD “VISION” technology consisting of the newest AMD mobile processors and ATI graphics.
Rather than focusing on processor speeds and the amount of dedicated RAM in discrete graphics, AMD’s VISION is based on dividing their CPU and GPU products into four categories (Vision, Vision Premium, Vision Ultimate, and Vision Black) based on what the consumer wants to do and what the hardware is capable of doing. In short, VISION is about simplifying the shopping process.
A standard VISION laptop is designed for media consumption–listening to music, viewing photos, watching DVDs, watching downloaded movies and online videos, surfing the Internet and using email. Notebooks with VISION Premium can do everything a standard VISION notebook can do, but it also handles content creation–running several applications at once, playing mainstream games, convert CDs to MP3s, performing basic photo editing, watch Blu-Ray/HD movies, and using a webcam for video calls.
VISION Ultimate provides the best-in-class performance you need for advanced multitasking, recording live TV, playing graphics-rich 3D games, editing and mixing your own music, Advanced photo editing, and creating/editing HD movies. The final level of the VISION categories is VISION Black. This category offers bleeding-edge technology for users who want the highest performance they can get in a given class of notebook or ultrathin laptop. VISION Black provides full support for Microsoft DirectX 11, ATI Eyefinity technology with support for up to six monitors, allows you to create and manage a massive digital library, provides the best high definition 3D gaming performance, and allows you to create, edit and render memory-intensive HD photos and movies using fast, multi-core processors.
The AMD booth at Computex was filled to the point of overflowing with new and upcoming notebooks from almost every major manufacturer. The booths for Acer, ASUS, and MSI were likewise loaded with laptops featuring AMD processors with ATI graphics promising exceptional battery life (up to 7+ hours of continuous runtime in some cases) at a range of prices aimed at every budget.
Some of the more interesting AMD-based notebooks included systems that haven’t been officially announced yet, such as the Toshiba Satellite A660D. Available in VISION Premium and VISION Ultimate configurations, this mainstream multimedia notebook features your choice of several multi-core AMD processors and ATI discrete graphics.
We even spotted an apparently unreleased Dell Inspiron notebook labeled as the “Dell P11S” at AMD’s booth. There were no hardware specs available, but the notebook was labeled as part of the standard VISION category so it’s safe to assume this Inspiron is another entry-level laptop from Dell that we’re likely to see in time for the back-to-school season.
Of course, AMD had some notebooks on display that had already been announced as well. MSI showcased the new CR630 along with 30 other notebooks that MSI plans to launch worldwide this year. The MSI CR630 is part of the “Classic” for small and medium business laptop buyers. It features a 16-inch LCD, a chiclet-styled keyboard with a gesture-enabled touchpad and HDMI output. Pricing and availability is expected soon in the US and the target price is less than $700.
The HP G62 notebook is another mainstream laptop available with your choice of the AMD Athlon II dual-core processor, AMD Phenom II triple-core processor, or AMD Turion II dual-core processor. All AMD-based configurations feature the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 graphics with HDMI output and 15.6-inch LCD (1366 x 768 resolution) with LED backlighting.
The Acer Aspire 4625G is a high-performance mainstream notebook featuring the AMD Phenom II X4 P920 processor (1.6GHz), 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive and ATI Mobility Radeon HD5470 discrete graphics. It is unclear if Acer plans to make this particular configuration available in the US, but it is currently available overseas.
Meanwhile, Acer recently unveiled a new 10-inch netbook powered by an AMD processor. The new Acer Aspire One 521 features the ultra-low voltage (ULV) AMD V105 processor that runs at a clock speed of 1.2GHz. We recently spent some time at Acer’s booth at Computex where we drooled over this impressive next-generation netbook. The Aspire One 521 will also feature ATI Radeon HD 4225 and the AMD M880G chipset. According to the Acer representatives, the new netbook will provide up to 7 hours of runtime, which so far hasn’t been possible for netbooks running a discrete GPU.
As previously mentioned, AMD spent much of the last year trying to find ways to make it easier for consumers to understand the performance of AMD processors and ATI graphics. Since the ATI Radeon HD 4225 has “HD” in its name it should be capable of flawless 1080p HD video playback via the included HDMI port.
Additional specs on the Acer Aspire One 521 include:
- Up to a 250GB hard drive
- 1.3-megapixel webcam with microphone
- 802.11b/g/n wireless with Bluetooth and optional built-in 3G
- Available in Antique Brass or Onyx Black finishes
There is no information on the release date or price of the Aspire One 521 at this time.
On the opposite end of the laptop size spectrum, Acer showcased another interesting AMD-based notebook at Computex: the Acer Aspire 7552G. The new 7552G features a 17.3-inch (1600 x 900 resolution) LCD with AMD Phenom II Black Edition quad-core processor and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 discrete graphics. This is an impressive powerhouse with 4GB of DDR3 RAM (upgradeable to 12GB), your choice of one or two 640GB hard drives, a 4X Blu-ray writer and DVD SuperMulti double layer drive, and full Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Pricing isn’t available yet for the US market, but rest assured this is a high-end notebook.
At the end of our time at Computex it was quite clear that an impressive number of laptops will feature AMD technology in 2010. Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and Toshiba all have multiple systems from ultraportable netbooks all the way up to massive desktop-replacement notebooks featuring AMD processors and ATI graphics. No one doubts the performance of Intel’s mobile Core i5 and Core i7 processors or Nvidia’s latest generation of mobile graphics with Optimus technology, but in a struggling global economy AMD might just offer the best bang for the buck along with a simple marketing message based on VISION.