AMD has tested and certified the motherboards, which will be available to computer makers for at least the next 15 months, Ron Myers, divisional manager of AMD Validated Solutions, said. Partners Asus International, EliteGroup Computer Systems, Micro-Star International, and Gigabyte Technology will each make and offer a motherboard. AMD handles support and services for the hardware, which is made for business computers.
The 690 series, introduced at the end of last month, integrates features from the ATI Radeon X1250 graphics processing unit into an AMD processor. AMD gained the graphics capabilities last fall with the acquisition of ATI Technologies.
The new chipset is a step toward AMD's Fusion processors, which are expected to merge x86 and ATI graphics cores onto one chip. The processors are scheduled to ship in 2009 and will initially be available for notebooks. AMD plans to offer them for desktops later.
AMD's 690 series is optimized for running the enhanced graphics found in Vista, the latest version of Microsoft Windows that shipped to businesses in November, and consumers in January. Because the latest motherboards were built for business use, they lack more consumer-oriented entertainment features, such as support for delivering video to a television, Myers said.
AMD processors are used on a total of eight Vista-ready motherboards from the four partners. Two of the four previous motherboards were available with ATI GPUs, and the other two carried graphics chips from its rival Nvidia.
Myers said the latest motherboards represent an evolution in the previous hardware. "It's not a huge departure from the kind of specifications we had before," Myers said.
The biggest advantage of AMD's 690 series processors is a higher ratio of power to energy, AMD has said. The 690G chipset sells for about $20, and the motherboards cost about $80.