It was during CES that Acer announced its upcoming 10.1-inch Aspire One 522, a netbook built around AMD's A50M Fusion chipset with a 1GHz dual-core C-50 processor and Radeon HD 6250 graphics. You still can't get your hands on one, but you can put your preorder in.
Amazon has the netbook listed at $330 with an ETA of 3 to 5 weeks. For those of you who need a refresher, other notable specs include 2GB of DDR3 memory, 250GB SATA hard drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, HDMI port, and Windows 7 Starter.
Also on the Fusion front, Acer announced the eMD644 laptop through its eMachines subsidiary. This one sports a 14-inch screen, AMD dual-core E-350 processor, the same A50M Fusion chipset, 2GB of DDR3 memory, Radeon HD 6310 graphics, 500GB SATA drive, and 8X DVD burner. This one isn't available for preorder, nor is there any word on pricing.
Perennially beleaguered chip maker AMD announced Monday that Dirk Meyer is no longer the company’s CEO. Until it finds a permanent replacement, Chief Financial Officer Thomas Seifert will serve as the firm’s acting CEO. The abruptness of Meyer’s resignation has left a lot of room for speculation. AMD’s perfunctorily terse explanation hasn’t helped either. Meyer’s resignation was the result of a mutual agreement between the board and the former CEO was all that the company was willing to say.
"Dirk became CEO during difficult times. He successfully stabilized AMD while simultaneously concluding strategic initiatives including the launch of GlobalFoundries, the successful settlement of our litigation with Intel and delivering Fusion APUs to the market,” said AMD chairman Bruce Claflin about the former CEO’s accomplishments.
"However, the Board believes we have the opportunity to create increased shareholder value over time. This will require the company to have significant growth, establish market leadership and generate superior financial returns. We believe a change in leadership at this time will accelerate the company's ability to accomplish these objectives."
Speculation is rife that Meyer’s failure to gauge the growing importance of the mobile market could have been a major reason for his ouster. Under Meyer, AMD adamantly refused to shed its inexplicable apathy towards increasingly important device segments like netbooks, smartphones and, most recently, tablets.
Yes, the timing of the Consumer Electronics Show could be worse. It’s hard enough prying yourself off of your couch after the holidays and going back into the office without having to worry about hopping on a plane to Las Vegas and spending four days surrounded by high-decibel bass tones, throngs of sweaty geeks, and 30-minute delays everywhere you go.
Total madness, every year.
But you know, despite our initial apprehension, we’re excited for CES. We always are. If you can’t get amped about seeing and playing with thousands of brand new and not-yet-released tech products, you have no business being in this business.
The Maximum PC team leaves for Vegas on Wednesday, and we’re jumping right into the fray with Samsung, Corsair, and Microsoft press events lined up from Wednesday morning all the way through to the evening hours.
As always, the new year brings some big questions that will be answered at CES. Will Microsoft announce Windows 7 (or 8?) for ARM devices? Whose tablets will generate the most buzz? And what about 3D?
Our thoughts, questions, and predictions are below. We’re also incorporating comments and questions that we received from you guys into our story as well. The short version of your reponses: No More 3D!
Gigabyte today introduced its first AMD fusion board -- the GA-350N-USB3 -- which also happens to be the mobo maker's first ever mini-ITX board for the AMD platform.
"We’re excited about the GA-E350N-USB3 motherboard because it’s the first all-in-one Mini-ITX board with DX11 capabilities, and we expect it to go a long way towards bridging the gap between discrete and integrated graphics performance," commented Tim Handley, Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing at Gigabyte Technology Co. Ltd. "With its specially designed low profile fansink and multitude of hi-def, high-speed connectors, we expect this little power house to be popular amongst HTPC system integrators, DIY enthusiasts and case modders."
Gigabyte's mini-ITX board sports some big features, such as USB 3.0, SATA 6Gbps, HDMI, dual-BIOS chips, and triple the amount of USB power to enable quick charging of Apple handheld devices (iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch).
The board comes with an AMD E-350 dual-core chip and AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics, a combo Gigabyte says is sufficient to playback Blu-ray content.
While Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors remain the immediate focus of the world, the Santa Clara-based chip maker is already laying the groundwork for the coming of Ivy Bridge, the 22nm die shrink of Sandy Bridge expected to hit the market in late 2011 or early 2012. Ivy Bridge processors will be fabricated at four of Intel's plants in Oregon and Arizona. However, a Digitimes report suggests that Intel might outsource the production of Ivy Bridge's chipset consort.
The first consumer products powered by Advanced Micro Devices' upcoming Fusion chips will be available early next year, officials at the chip maker said today. The Fusion family consists of chips, or APUs (Accelerated Processing units), that combine CPU and GPU cores onto a single die.
The Ontario (codename) System-on-Chip, which combines two Bobcat CPU cores and a DirectX 11-capable GPU core, will be the first Fusion chip on the market. Onatrio is aimed at netbooks and ultra-portable laptops, with the chip maker promising “90% of today’s mainstream performance in less than half of die area.” According to Dina McKinney, vice president of design engineering at AMD, Bobcat's CPU core will consume less than 1 watt of power.
As details of AMD's Hudson D1 -- the southbridge the chip maker will launch in tandem with its upcoming dual-core 32nm Fusion processors -- begin to trickle out, one thing still up in the air is how USB 3.0 will factor in. According to whispers among some notebook makers, there's a good chance AMD will integrate USB 3.0 into Hudson.
We won't have to wait very long to find out. The Hudson D1 chipset is expected to debut in the fourth quarter of 2010 and will primarily target ultra-thin notebooks and netbooks. USB 3.0 is somewhat of a rarity so far on mobile PCs, and with Intel taking its sweet little time pushing the SuperSpeed spec, something like this could give the Sunnyvale chip maker a leg up in a segment mostly served by Intel.
While nothing is yet decided, there's reason to believe AMD will get this done. AMD is already tapping into NEC to outfit its desktop boards with USB 3.0, and extending that relationship over to notebooks shouldn't be overly challenging.
Advanced Micro Devices has said that it remains ahead of schedule with its Fusion chips - or APUs (accelerated processing unit) as it likes to call them. The low-power “Ontario” SoC (System-on-Chip), aimed at netbooks and low-end notebooks, will be the first Fusion chip on the market when it makes its debut during the fourth quarter.
AMD has, in fact, pushed in Ontario’s launch, which was previously scheduled for next year, citing accelerated development owing to great interest from consumers. However, the company plans to steer clear of the burgeoning tablet market for now, restricting Ontario to netbooks and low-end notebooks.
Not all of the news centered around Oracle deals with the company's proposed takeover bid of Sun Microsystems. Instead, Oracle's in the headlines for allegedly infringing on a Georgia company's technology to build user interfaces associated with Fusion.
MB Technologies, the company who filed the complaint, is the developer of Bindows, a toolkit that lets developers create a replica of the Windows UI for their Web apps. The company entered a licensing agreement in 2004 with EPM (enterprise performance management) vendor Hyperion, and after Oracle acquired Hyperion in 2007, MB asked for an addendum to the original agreement.
In October 2007, Oracle sent MB a draft of the addendum, which included a section stating it would license Bindows "for use in Oracle Fusion products," and that's what has MB in a tizzy.
MB claims it has made several "good faith" attempts to reach an agreement with Oracle, but has been unable to do so. Now MB is seeking damages, including any profits Oracle has made from the use of Bindows.
AMD has been talking up its CPU/GPU combo chip codenamed Fusion for some time now, but it might not see the light of day for another three years, according to the latest rumor.
Initially expected in late 2008 or early 2009, Fusion in 45nm form was ultimately scrapped due to design challenges. The same might be happening with 32nm, says news and rumor site Fudzilla, who claims AMD has now decided to wait until it moves to a 22nm manufacturing process, currently scheduled for the second half of 2012.
That sounds like a long time to wait, especially as Intel puts the pressure on with a CPU/GPU chip of its own (Larrabee). For that reason, it's possible AMD may opt to follow in Intel's footsteps and release Fusion constructed with a 32nm IGP and CPU as two separate dies on the same chip. If AMD went this route, it could conceivably have Fusion parts ready by the second half of 2010, Fudzilla says.