AMD Unveils 'Puma' Notebook Platform

The next Turion processor is expected to take on Intel's Centrino in high-end notebooks in mid-2008.
Advanced Micro Devices on Friday introduced its next-generation Turion notebook platform, which includes a new processor and chipset designed to compete with Intel's Centrino-branded products.

The overall platform, codenamed Puma, is expected to be available in high-end notebooks in mid-2008. The package is comprised AMD's 64 X2 dual-core "Griffin" processor and a new mobile chipset, called the RS780. The chip package will include support for 802.11n, HyperTransport 3.0, and PCI Express 2.0.

Different from previous Turion processors, the Puma package supports DirectX version 10 (DX10), which is Microsoft's latest graphics application programming interface. DX10 is exclusive to Windows Vista, the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. Intel won't have support for DX10 in notebooks until it ships a chipset codenamed Montevina in the second half of 2008. Intel's chips, however, already have technology for faster booting of the operating system and loading of applications.

AMD also said it focused on improved energy consumption on Puma. To do that, the chipmaker said it will place the two cores in Griffin on separate power planes, so they can be managed independently. If a job requires only one core, for example, the other can be placed on idle.

Puma is also expected to compete with Intel's Centrino chips in the realm of hard drive support. AMD's future mobile processor package includes support for hybrid hard drives (HHD) which can speed up boot times and take advantage of larger memory cache sizes.

The Puma platform is an interim step toward AMD's goal of combining the core and graphics processing units on one piece of silicon. Codenamed Fusion, the combo microprocessor is scheduled to ship in 2009. Fusion stems from AMD's $5.4 billion acquisition of ATI Technologies last July.

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