Not too long ago we heard promises from AMD that they would have their new “Hondo” APU ready to go in time for Windows 8. Fast-forwarding to just a few weeks before the launch of Windows 8 and we’ve yet to see any tablets announced that are based on the AMD chip. This could be changing finally.
The “Hondo”– officially known as the Z-60– is now ready, according to AMD. The device utilizes some pretty cool technology including a low power API that promises All Day power for tablet form factors in a size as thin as just 10mm.
The new Z-60 is about booting quickly and resuming quickly, which fits in line with Windows 8’s faster boot times. It is about low-power consumption and about bringing a real tablet-worthly AMD solution to vendors. Is it fast enough to compete, though? It’s certainly not bad.
The Z-60 APU is a dual-core processor deisng and has a speed of 1GHz with 1MB of cache. It’s video side of the APU features the Radeo HD 6250 and an 80 AMD Radeon core. Add the new AMD AppZone that brings Android apps over to Windows 8 and you have a very compelling platform.
The new AMD chip is exclusively going to support Windows 8, though it is still compatible with Windows 7 and legacy applications. From the sounds of it, that simply means that no vendor-made Windows 7 PCs will ship with the chip– not surprising since Windows 7 vendor PCs are going to go extinct in just a few weeks.
On the downside, the new Clover Trial is considerably faster. Critics say that the speed advantage from the newer chips will probably outweigh AMD’s power-saving features. As for ARM competitors, they don’t have legacy apps but many high end (Tegra 3, for example) processors are pretty close to the same power as AMD.
How well AMD does in the tablet world will likely have to do with pricing. AMD chips are almost always much more affordable than Intel. If AMD tablets can price similarly to midrange ARM offerings, they might appeal to those that want to pay ARM prices but want some legacy action thrown in.
I’m glad to see that AMD is announcing a bit about its tablet efforts, but I’m equally frustrated. Okay AMD, you have the chip, GREAT! But the proof is in the pudding. I want to see some tablets that run the new chip. How do they compare to Intel and ARM offerings? Show me.
Hopefully we’ll have at least one or two AMD options launching around the time-frame of the Windows 8 conference. AMD can’t afford to be months late to the tablet game if they want any chance at all to compete.
What do you think? Would you consider an AMD-based tablet or do you prefer the idea of an ARM or Intel offering?