News Bits: AMD Puma Launches in June, Intel SSDs, LED Backlighting Costs Drop

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Intel to push SSDs with Centrino 2

Intel is planning to bundle Solid State Disks (SSDs) with notebooks based on its upcoming Montevina platform. The firm expects SSDs to become mainstream, and plans to launch its own SSD products by the third quarter of this year. Intel SSDs will target enterprise, mid-range, and high-end notebook markets. Initial models will have a capacity of 80GB in 1.8- and 2.5-inch form factors, and the capacity will eventually reach 160GB.

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AMD to launch Puma platform in June

AMD is planning to release its long-awaited Puma notebook platform next month at Computex Taipei on June 3. The Puma platform will include a newer ‘Griffin’ processor and AMD’s 780M chipset. The Griffin processor has two cores and is based on older Turion K8 processors. It has been specifically designed for notebook use with better power management. Features include 2MB or more of L2 cache (1MB per core), and each core can run at a different frequency.

The Puma platform will have HyperTransport 3 and DDR2-667/800 memory support. The 780M chipset will feature DirectX 10 integrated graphics. The integrated graphics will work in conjunction with a discrete graphics card (if available) to help lower power consumption; the discrete GPU will only be used when needed.

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Touch-screen notebooks to boost panel demand

Several notebook makers are expected to launch branded notebooks in June with built-in touch-screen displays. Two million notebooks and tablet PCs were shipped in 2007, but that number is expected to rise to nine million by 2012.

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LED backlighting costs going down, approaching CCFL

The penetration rate of LEDs into the notebook market may reach 15% this year as the cost difference between LEDs and traditional CCFL displays continues to narrow. A CCFL backlighting unit (BLU) for a 12-inch notebook costs about $15, whereas a same-size LED BLU is now about $23. LED BLUs may only be 20 – 30% more than a CCFL solution by the end of this year.

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OLPC OS producer in talks with notebook makers

Walter Bender, producer of the ‘Sugar’ OS that went on the OLPC XO laptop, recently left OLPC and created his own start-up, Sugar Laboratories. Bender is now in ‘informal’ talks with four notebook makers to put the OS on low-cost notebooks.

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