Up to now, AMD has spent more time bashing netbooks’ limitations as low power computing devices instead of pushing technology that can make them more powerful. But it looks like that could soon change.

AMD is expected to announce a new chip this week aimed at low cost portable computers like netbooks and MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices). According to APC Magazine, the new chip will focus on two areas


  1. Extending battery life
  2. Boosting video performance


It’s likely that the new chip will be smaller and more energy efficient than current AMD processors. And AMD, which acquired graphics card maker ATI not too long ago, will likely use ATI’s expertise to produce a chipset with integrated graphics capabilities that will allow for decent high def video playback without burning down your battery in a matter of seconds. 

In the past, AMD’s comments about netbooks have left me wondering whether the company truly understands what makes these tiny notebooks tick. We won’t know for sure until AMD unveils more details about the new processor, but I’m still a bit dubious. Focusing on battery life is a good start. But I’m not convinced that graphics should be a high priority. Sure, it’s nice to be able to watch some web video or a ripped DVD on the go. But I’ve never had a problem doing that with an Intel Atom, or even Celeron CPU. If AMD can offer performance as good or better without taking a toll on battery life, that’s fine. But I’d rather see a focus on multi-tasking. A dual core, low power chip would be a nice.

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30 replies on “AMD’s netbook plans: Boost battery life, video performance”

  1. Apple’s jobs said it best:

    “There’s, as best as we can tell, not a lot of them [netbooks] getting sold.” In other words, a small market.

    “We don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that.” In other words, the current netbooks suck.


    So I HOPE AMD improves the graphics capabilities!

  2. Hard OCP thinks netbooks suck, also. Fanboys unite. :>

    -Odd scrolling touchpad function.
    -Intel Atom Powered – Multitasking neutered.
    -Comes out of standby-hibernation “magically.”
    -Will be limited in full bitrate HD video.
    -Would still like a higher resolution screen.
    -No optic drive.

    1. Pros:

      Easily portable
      Low power usage – perfect for browsing
      Does everything the average user needs

  3. You dont get the big picture. Moorehead is just asking to EXTEND the current netbook capabilities. That doesnt mean AMD thinks the current ones suck (they created the first one with the XO laptop), he merely suggests 2 improvements. Who could argue with better better battery life? Who could complain about better multimedia features? Only FANBOYZ. Grow up guys, Moorhehead is probably trying to advocate internally to get this stuff going. You are just slowing it down with the freakish bad comments.

    1. I find it hilarious to imagine Moorehead going cap in hand to Intel asking them to extend the capabilities of their own products.

      Simply put, AMD can’t make their own Atom. So what do they do? They engage in some negative PR against not only Atom, but the whole current Netbook range. After all, if you can’t compete with your opponent in any way you’re just stuck with raising your fist and shouting at them.

      There’s a massive difference between being a fanboy and being a realist. AMD are only doing what they can do, trying to make Netbooks go away in their current incarnation. If they can convince people they need something with lots of bells and whilstles, they’ve evened the playing field whilst Intel tries to make something that does that.

  4. Moorhead makes honest and great points in his blogs. Remember, he commented primarily on the first netbooks, which WERE a complete joke. 7″, Linux, 3 cell batteries, 8gb storage? They did suck. It’s not just moorhead. Many reviewers think they suck.

    CRN: “It won’t replace a notebook. It won’t even replace a smartphone. But for one task at a time, it’ll work — even if you have to re-learn how to use a PC. ”

    HardOCP: “Don’t think for a second that a $500 netbook is going to replace a more expensive notebook if you have any kind of content creation applications or true multitasking needs. Another thing that has to be taken into consideration is living with a screen resolution of 1024×600 like we see on the MSI Wind. If you have applications that you run that you want pixels behind, a netbook is likely not for you. ”

    1. Listen Moorhead, if youre gonna troll the sites at least dont reapeat the same idiotic statements to justify your company’s lack of vision.

      >CRN: “It won’t replace a notebook. It won’t even replace a smartphone.
      Who ever claimed this?
      It wont replace a smartphone but it is MUCH more useful to do work/typing than an Iphone.
      This doesnt support anything you said. It states the obvious.

      >HardOCP: “Don’t think for a second that a $500 netbook is going to replace a >more expensive notebook

      Wow, you quote the exact same bullshit. OBVIOUS.
      Will the Mini 9 replace my 1500$ XPS with 4 GB ram? No.
      But no one said it would. Only a total moron would think so. Or a PR flack.
      But it has a perfect place between the smartphone and the overkill of an expensive heavy laptop.

      Of course Moorhead feigns not to undertand this and keeps comparing apples and oranges.

      Its about price, its about mobility.

      it is not about doing an 8hr typing session or editing movies (I do use it to record and edit audio with Audacity on the road).
      To claim this is the very definition of red herring.

      Moorhead, go look up the words red herring, you douchebag.
      And if were going to play that game, then I just have to ask: “Do you still beat your wife?”

      1. If it’s about price then get a $499 real notebook with a 15″ screen, DVD, 2gigs RAM, full keyboard, Bluetooth, 250GB hard drive, and can play games on and run HD video.

        If its about mobility buy and iPhone or an Android or a Nokie 71 or a Palm or a Blackberry. Duh.

        Who is the douchebag now?

        At least he doesn’t hide behind some fake made up name. “Boombastic”. You claim you are married so I guess you are over 18. What was “Bombastic” taken? Loser.

  5. Moorhead’s idea of an at-home netbook sounds like the definition of a laptop. Maybe he’s never used laptops before. And for his mobile netbook, he wants a 320GB hard drive. I know some people agree with this, but why do you need 320GB on your secondary PC? This might be useful if you were going to do serious software pirating on the road or want to carry your DVD collection around with you. (I have a pepper sauce bottle collection but don’t carry it around with me 😉 But then, hard drives are getting so big and cheap, I suppose, why not?

    I do agree with his idea for netbook minimum pixel dimensions of 1024 x 768. This would cut down quite a bit on vertical scrolling. I’ve never seen the need for the short 600 pixel display height in netbooks. Surely these few more pixels could be squeezed in without altering the size significantly. If 1024 x 768 is good enough for the Lenovo X-61, it’s good enough for netbooks (as a minimum 🙂

  6. If I were a betting man, I’d say that what we’ll see from AMD will not be a new chip design. It’s going to be a very low clock version of the Athlon 64/ Turion with a decent integrated graphics core and chipset that should hopefully churn out less heat than the i945.

    What we won’t see is astounding performance in general applications. It’ll probably have some sort of HD decode abilities, and you’ll no doubt see advantages in some games, but the processor is going to be so crippled as to be slower than Atom. As well as this, I wouldn’t be surprised if it churns out a ton of heat.

    Of course if it’s AMD PR making this announcement now, you can bet they’ll be the ones to provide all the details and spin necessary. Excess heat? It just saves you money on heating in the winter!

    1. Slower?! Think again…


      Yes, it’s a duel of desktop Atom vs. desktop low power AMD solution, but it shows what AMD is capable of. And only with, basically, normal A64 underclocked to 1GHz…it’s both faster and uses less energy!

      Basically what kills Intel is their antiquated chipset that they put in netbooks…but, apparently, this won’t change for a year, when Intel will have Atom integrated with northbridge on one die…

      If AMD can put in the netbook low power version of 780G northbridge and some derivative of A64 with even lower power (they are moving to 45nm now after all…), they can be both more energy efficient and faster.

      problem is, they’ll probably be used in budget netbooks, with weak batteries…

      1. Sorry chief, but what you’ve just said only really works in a world where AMD doesn’t desperately need every penny it makes.

        1) The A64 that Tom’s used seems to be a special model being as a similar Sempron couldn’t meet the same standards. If AMD can’t get decent yields on something like this, then they can’t charge rock bottom prices.

        2) Following on from 1, the die size on the A64 is still bigger than the Atom. If AMD can’t get hundreds of these from a single wafer, what’s the point in making it? An underclocked A64 on a 300mm wafer costs the same to fab as a Phenom on a 300mm wafer (assuming similar die sizes) so why sell the cheap chip?

        3) Similarly, why sell an expensive motherboard in a cheap netbook? The reason Intel is using the 945 is because it’s cheap to make and they probably have a severe overstock of it. For AMD to use the 780 in a netbook would divert stock from notebooks/ desktops where they can make a bigger profit.

        Simply put, AMD can’t provide what they need to – a ground up design that does what they’ve been claiming they’d do for years: combining the CPU, GPU and NB into one.

  7. Whenever you see the words PR or marketing in front of a persons name remember that this person is payed to lie.
    Moorhead will swear that the sky is pink …until he tells you a few months later that its actually blue because that’s what he does.
    Lie. Its his job.
    We know he is full of shit, he knows he is full of shit but that[s whathe does for a living.

    Battery life is something EVERYONE from manufacturer to kernel and OS specialists are working on so nice of them to jump on the bandwagon (and then sell it as something that THEY are doing and not others)
    Boosting video performance is not something I have ever heard anyone complain about netbooks.

    >But I’d rather see a focus on multi-tasking.
    >A dual core, low power chip would be a nice.


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