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AMD flies in Hawk, Griffin notebook CPUs

HDMI, DisplayPort, UVD to be added to laptop chipsets

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Mobile Roadmap AMD's roadmap for its notebook-oriented has taken a decidedly avian turn as the chip maker gears up to battle Intel's Centrino, a plan that will see it support Flash-fitted hybrid hard drives, 802.11n Wi-Fi, HyperTransport 3 and DirectX 10.

AMD current labels its mobile platform 'Kite'. Unlike Centrino, Kite's more a broad collection of technologies the chip maker recommends manufacturers incorporate alongside its Turion and Mobile Sempron processors. Kite will be refreshed next year in the Q1/Q2 timeframe, AMD's new public roadmap reveals, undoubtedly timed to coincide with Intel's next major Centrino release, 'Santa Rosa'.

The Kite refresh will centre on 'Hawk', an expected mobile CPU update that will support 800MHz DDR 2, as will Santa Rosa. AMD doesn't supply wireless chipsets, which, in any case, have nothing to do with processors, but that won't stop the company claiming Hawk is compatible with draft versions of 802.11n - a technology, again, Intel has said it will build into Santa Rosa.

Incidentally, AMD's roadmap indicates Hawk - almost certainly a 65nm part - will form the basis for both future Turions and Mobile Semprons, be they single- or dual-core chips.

Hawk's debut will coincide with new mobile chipsets that support the HDMI display interface and the adoption of hybrid Flash-equipped hard drives - Windows Vista will handle these - and hybrid graphics chips. The latter combines integrated and discrete GPUs, the first for battery operation, the second for use when the notebook's hooked up to the mains. According to AMD, simply plugging in or unplugging the AC adaptor will automatically flip between the two.

The next big change to AMD's laptop-friendly chipsets will come in Q4 with the debut of products that support DirectX 10, PCI Express 2 and HyperTransport 3.

That's also - and not coincidentally - the timeframe for the arrival of Hawk's successor, 'Griffin', which with the new chipset(s) will form the 'Puma' platform. Puma will support the final, IEEE-ratified 802.11n standard, AMD expects. At this point, the chipset will also begin to support the VESA organisation's DisplayPort monitor connection, presumably for the main display while HDMI is used to drive external monitors.

We'll also see the arrival of the Universal Video Decoder (UVD) technology ATI was touting pre-merger. Essentially, it's a dedicated video processing core built into the chipset to take the pressure off the integrated GPU.

Griffin will be a low-voltage part, the roadmap reveals and use a power management system much more closely tied into those used by other components.

Griffin will extend well into 2009, at which point AMD will begin rolling out mobile versions of its Fusion processor platform. ®

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