AMD's dual-core Neo set for 2009 release
Netbooks need not apply
AMD plans to release its dual-core version of the low-power Athlon Neo in the second half of this year.
As we wrote late last month, the dual-core chip - code-named Conesus - will be aimed at what AMD senior vice president Randy Allen identified as customers who don't want a "compromised PC experience."
In other words, the dual-core Neo is not aimed at buyers who are gravitating towards the fastest-growing segment of the latop market: those low-power, browser-bearers known as netbooks, whose processors are currently dominated by Intel's Atom line.
According an eWEEK report today, the dual-core Neo will occupy the Congo variant of AMD's "ultraportable, affordable" Yukon/Congo laptop-platform pair announced last November, with the single-core Neo living in the Yukon.
AMD appears to be betting that there will be a critical mass of customers in the niche between those who need a full-power desktop-replacement laptop and those who are satisfied with a netbook.
In light of the company's recent job cuts, we can only hope - for the sake of AMD's remaining employees - that they're right.
RE: Desktop board
Why bother releasing for AM2+ HTPC or desktops? You can already get a dual-core AM2 processor for $30-40 delivered in the States that is reasonably low in power consumption, readily available, and even o'c by about 50% without elaborate measures if you care to do so.
As for the market for this, it makes perfect sense. I consider a 12" (if thin enough) notebook to be ultraportable enough, there are too many concessions in use with a netbook. The keyboard and screen are the main two interfaces, many people would rather carry something ~ 20 cubic inches larger so when they get to where they're going, they have a more usable system - not to mention that once the form factor is large enough they don't have as many incentives to use a lower capacity battery to reduce the size.
The cost difference merely going from a dual-core Atom to Neo shouldn't be much at all relative to the total price the laptop running it. Look at it in the same context as a CPU upgrade when buying a Dell et al, if the total cost difference were a mere $20, lots of people would pick the faster processor but in this case doing so with a Neo opposed to Atom may put the performance at just high enough you don't often notice the sluggishness relative to a contemporary notebook like you would with an Atom under the hood.
In short, this CPU makes perfect sense for most people, IF the 'book has XP instead of Vista or Win7 on it.
What's stopping AMD releasing these things as AM2+ CPU's though, I mean if they were priced right they would make nice Media Centre or low power desktop machines. I know of a couple of clients who would be interested in cheap desktop machines for basic office tasks running on these sort of chips (or Atom boards).
Maybe the price of Atom boards will start to come down a bit now.
Does not matter what AMD produce ...
... if the laptop manufacturers get a hefty bonus for being an Intel only shop.
I am not sure this will be a success
I don't see much of a market for this. Most people either want their laptops to be their primary machines and will take something quite powerful, or have a powerful desktop at home already and will just buy a cheap netbook for on the go surfing and media playing.
The only market I see for this are people who want a very cheap laptop that has a big enough screen and keyboard to be used as a primary machine, but who can't (or won't) buy a "full" desktop replacement laptop. In short they would probably compete against the 12 inch machines with an atom processor and the cheaper (sub $500 / 400€) 15 inch budget notebooks with Celerons.
The only chance I see is if they manage to compress the prices to the point where a 14 or 15 inch laptop cost as much as a Netbook (like $399 / 350€ max), at which point they would displace the budget laptops.
And keep it light.