AMD launches new A-series processors

Chip maker AMD (Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.)  officially launched its Fusion A-series APU processors June 14. The processors, formerly under the code name Llano, are a follow-up to the C-series and E-series APUs, which began shipping earlier this year.

The processors combine up to four x86 CPU cores with Direct X-11 discrete-level graphics and up to 400 of the company’s Radeon graphics cards with HD video processing on what the company calls a single “accelerated processing unit,” or APU.

The A-series APUs will target mainstream laptops and desktops as opposed to its C-series and E-series counterparts built for more mobile devices, such as netbooks and tablets.

The chips are currently shipping. HP also announced June 14 that its new Pavilion g and dv-series notebook line will use AMD’s A-series. AMD estimates that its new chips will appear in more than 150 notebooks and desktops throughout the remainder of 2011. The HP laptops are priced between US $399 and US$699.

The company has also rebranded the different levels of processors to simplify the retail experiences for both the sellers and customers, according to Tony Fernandez-Stoll, AMD’s vice-president of marketing for the Americas.

The APUs are now available as A4, A6 and A8, rather than the previous Premier, Ultimate and Black levels. “We felt that those were confusing to customers,” he said. “From a branding perspective, it wasn’t as intuitive. Numbering is a better way to say good, better, best.”  

Apart from that, though, making the company as recognizable for end-users as a company like Intel isn’t a strong priority, according to Fernandez-Stoll. “Our goal as a company is really to help our OEMs differentiate.”

One of AMD’s main claims with the A-series chip line is a strong, “all-day” battery life, or between eight and 10 hours of life, which the company argues is critical for taking advantage of the HD graphics that the new chips allow for. “Moving toward more graphic capabilities could be a major shift in how PCs are used,” Fernandez-Stoll said.

AMD has also been making more effort to simplify its Fusion Partner Program with a single global program over the past 18 months, according to Fernandez-Stoll. “We’ve made an effort to consolidate,” he said, since the company previously had about seven different partner programs running worldwide.

“We continue to add functionality to the program with a portal we’re launching,” he added. The portal is already up and running for the commercial side, but the consumer portal will come later this year. That side takes longest since AMD chips aren’t the “final product in the box,” he said. “Consumer is also where we have the least amount of partners.”

The first-ever AMD Fusion Developer Summit is also running this week in Seattle.  

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Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh
Harmeet reports on channel partner programs, new technologies and products and other issues relevant to Canada's channel community. She also contributes as a video journalist, providing content for the site's original streaming video. Harmeet is a graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism.

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