AMD’s Senior Vice President, Rick Bergman, began the company’s press conference at Computex with a series of surprises: their Llano processor is not going to be launched at this expo, and AMD is getting into the tablet market.
Llano is set to be AMD’s first APU targeted at mainstream audiences as well as their first 32nm chip. 32nm chips are smaller and much more power efficient than their 45 nm counterparts, and are thus are targeted at mobile platforms. The fact that AMD is able to release a 32nm chip is seen as a sign by some that the company has finally “caught up” to Intel, who has had 32nm chips on the market since January 2010. In light of Intel’s Sandy Bridge recall in early 2011, AMD hoped that they could make inroads into the notebook market.
Bergman said in his address that Llano has already been shipping to customers and would be launching at an event in June, though it was widely expected that AMD would offer some concrete details at Computex.
Llano is not the only AMD chip that is missing from the conference; their Bulldozer based Zambezi processor was also unaccounted for. Bergman skillfully navigated around any rumors by offering no details, but simply stating that the project was “looking fantastic”.
While the lack of details surrounding Llano was certainly disappointing, the big news at Bergman’s keynote was that AMD is getting into the tablet market with their “Z-series” or “Desna” chip. The first chip to ship in this family, the Z-01 APU, contains two Bobcat 1GHZ cores, runs at 5.9 watts, and is designed for Windows based tablets. AMD also claims that these Z-series tablets are capable of running both Windows and Android simultaneously.
One of the first tablets to be powered by an AMD Z-series chip will be the MSI WindPad. It runs Windows 7 and has a 1200×800 resolution screen which is powered by a AMD Radeon HD 6250 GPU (the name “AMD HD Tablet” is being used). It is expected that AMD and other hardware manufactures will announce more Z-series powered tablets in the near future.
According to their roadmap, AMD plans to replace the Z-series “Desna” with the next generation, “Hondo”, in 2012.