Feeds

AMD's 'Bobcat' to leap out and claw Intel's Atom tomorrow?

Netbook CPU strategy due to be detailed

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Will AMD announce its Atom-smasher this week? It's certainly going to talk about netbook processors tomorrow if it makes good on a past promise, but the company won't necessarily be announcing 'Bobcat', its UMPC-oriented processor.

Back in July, AMD CEO Dirk Meyer said that AMD's initial response to Intel's Atom would be discussed in Q4 at its analysts conference. That event takes place tomorrow.

What will it talk about? Most AMD watchers hope it'll be Bobcat, a chip that was first encountered more than 18 months ago as an alternative to the Celeron M chips Intel was then pitching at UMPC makers.

Since then, the chip giant has rolled out Atom, though it's important to note there are two versions of the processor: 'Diamondville' for netbooks and other Small, Cheap Computers, and a second one, 'Silverthorne', for handheld internet tablets, or MIDs.

It's hard to say which - possibly both - of these roles AMD has in mind for Bobcat, a chip said to contains a single 1GHz 64-bit core, 128KB of L1 cache, 256KB of L2, an 800MHz HyperTransport link and a DDR 2 memory controller. It's set to consume no more than 8W and sit inside an 812-pin 27mm² BGA package.

That's a greater TDP than Intel's 2.5W Diamondville, but less than the combined power draw of the Atom and the 22W northbridge chip it needs to work with, though Intel's chipset includes a graphics core.

So Bobcat's going up against Atom, right? Well, not necessarily. Back in September, AMD roadmapped a set of low-cost single- and dual-core Athlon-based "AMD Ultra-Value Client" processors for release around about now.

The dual-core UVC, the 3250e, will consume up to 22W and run at 1.5GHz. The 2650e is clocked at an Atom-matching 1.6GHz but consumes 15W. Both CPUs have 512KB of L2 cache per core.

The UVC certainly sound like a Diamondville rival, on the desktop at the very least.

Meanwhile, analyst Avi Cohen of Avian Securities recently said he'd heard that AMD was cancelling the Bobcat project, though the chip maker quickly denied this was the case.

Certainly, MIDs have entirely failed to take off in any significant way. However, more basic SCCs are providing popular, with netbooks in particular helping drive up PC sales in Q2 this year.

AMD has remained sceptical, with executives often pooh-poohing the format, though to what extent that was simply because they didn't then have a chip to sell to notebook makers is unclear.

From tomorrow they may have something to sell, though Atom has come to dominate the segment, even displacing existing rivals: HP's newest netbook has an Atom CPU in place of the VIA C7-M its original offering was equipped with.

Yet, Intel has admitted it hasn't produced enough Atoms, to the extent that Acer - whose Aspire One netbook is second only to the Asus Eee PC in popularity - has been said to be looking elsewhere for its next netbook's processor.

Tomorrow, we may well learn if it's an AMD part it has in mind.

Regiser Hardware Netbooks and Mini-laptops Buyer's Guide

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.