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back to article AMD crashes Windows 8 tablet party with ultrathin hybrid

AMD struggled to make itself heard above all the Intel Ivy Bridge noise at Computex this week, but did manage to introduce new E-Series APUs for the budget notebook and desktop market and show off a solitary Windows 8 tablet hybrid prototype running its new Trinity architecture. The firm said its 2012 E-Series APUs – the chips …

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Facepalm

Really AMD?

This was exactly the wrong tablet strategy. I like AMD and hate to see them follow Nokia into the dark.

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Re: Really AMD?

Perhaps - battery life is still a problem for x86 even if you run android - I'd have preferred some ARM chippery in the screen for android use, but I suppose that wouldn't attract MS funding.

However, if they can produce a reasonable laptop which converts into a tablet (even a not so good one) it may be a winner. Use it at work, take it home in the evening.

A step in the right direction, with the convertable laptop/tablet, but not quite there yet.

Don't get me started on the cheesy keynote...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really AMD?

I still think the cost is high for a laptop when for this kind of price you can still buy a fully featured laptop.

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Re: Really AMD?

I disagree. Loads of people would love an ultrathin laptop. Pretty much all agree that they are over-priced. When AMD release their own version at a more sensible price, they'll wipe the floor with Intel. No casual or business user wants to pay an extra couple of hundred quid for processing power that they'll never use.

Also, people don't want to have to buy / use lots of different devices but many people want to be able to lie in bed and surf the web which tablets are suitable for. WIndows buyers are also more likely to want to do serious work on the device as well which, for many of us, means a real keyboard. So a hybrid will actually be a good seller, imo.

Plus the new APUs they have developed provide decent graphics and good enough processing with lower cost and power use. Really, I think AMD are looking at a winner here. My only caveat is that they should ensure they don't skimp on the screens. I don't mind if my laptop APU isn't as rawly powerful as an Intel processor because it's plenty good enough for what I use my laptop for. But I do care if it's a shoddy screen or skimped on elsewhere.

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Re: Really AMD?

> My only caveat is that they should ensure they don't skimp on the screens.

This is my big wish too, but I think we may be disappointed. In order to save weight and space, the ultra[book|thin]s have had to ditch the discrete graphics card, and it's the limitations of the integrated graphics chips that force the low resolution screens.

AMD integrated graphics are generally better than Intel's, but I haven't seen any benchmarks on the new Brazos 2 and Trinity chips yet. Still, don't hold your breath for resolutions higher than 1400 * 900.

The thing that I'm really waiting for is the weight savings to be passed on to the larger models. A 17" 1080P screen in a laptop that's actually portable (under 3kg) would be worthy of my cash.

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Re: Really AMD?

"> My only caveat is that they should ensure they don't skimp on the screens.

This is my big wish too, but I think we may be disappointed."

I think you missed the point here. For small device 12" screen with 900 lines is perfectly good resolution. The problem is not in resolution, and we already know AMD will be better able to drive it than Intel in any case. The problem is with viewing angles and color reproduction; awful TFT used by so many laptop vendors simply has to go and one of the reasons (granted, far from top) iPad sales are beating laptops is great looking IPS screen.

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@h4rm0ny RE " Loads of people would love an ultrathin laptop"

I think that you are likely right, the only caveat being that the large majority of punters definitely do not like the £800 - £1000 price point. If AMD and the OEMs can bring decently specced ultrathins in at around the £600 mark then they will really have something cooking here. It will also give Intel a monumental headache because I do not think that Intel is yet willing to contribute to making the ultrabook mainstream by taking a hit on their normal pricing.

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Trollface

Re: Really AMD?

A 17" 1080P screen in a laptop that's actually portable (under 3kg) would be worthy of my cash.

You just have to hit the gym. :)

Seriously, I use 18"6 1920x1080 laptop and it aint exactly light be meh, it's a proper tool. Dunno about video card though even an old, old intel 845G supported 1919x1080 (1920 is just blocked)

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Stop

Re: Really AMD?

"For small device 12" screen with 900 lines is perfectly good resolution. "

That's a common cry but why, then, have Apple put a 2048x1536 pixel screen in a 10" tablet?

Those "retina" displays are very bright, sharp, and clear. The great thing about having a very high pixel count is that you can render text clearly in any size you like, not just the sizes that map onto whole numbers of pixels. You can also do anti-aliasing without any perceptible "fuzzing" around the edges of the characters.

There can't be much price difference between the different screens as Apple were able to introduce the new "retina" iPads at the same price point as the older iPad 2 ... so there is NO excuse for low resolution screens.

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Re: Really AMD?

No excuse, apart from one: have you ever tried to use Windows (even Win7), which these laptops almost certainly are bundled with, on high DPI displays?

Maybe it's just me, but when I have my large display with the "make text larger or smaller" setting (DPI scaling) anything other than 100%, there are so randomly clipped regions going on it's almost unusable. I've had scrollbars in Explorer span out of the window and Chrome, Opera, and Firefox all seem to screw up their default stylings.

You can disable scaling on a per application basis, but then you're left squinting at the ones that don't supply in-app scaling.

The reason it works for iOS and Android is that interfaces are built to reference the areas of the screen they want to use in a relative way, whereas Windows applications tend to have been built historically on a pixel basis.

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Re: Really AMD? @Richie 1

What utter cobblers. The graphics chips whether integrated or discrete have <u>never</u> been the limiting factor for the display - it always been cost.

Even the crappiest integrated graphics can drive the laptop display plus a 1080p monitor and they have been able to do so for years.

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Re: Really AMD?

One of the good things about WIndows 8 is that it comes with a lot of built-in handling for different DPIs and screen sizes that works better than simply scaling something up or down. It has native vector graphics for applications, APIs that automatically swap in the appropriate bit map for a given DPI range or dynamically create menu layouts for you. Should work really well for these devices.

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resting?

'resting' battery life? That seems kinda pointless.

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Coat

Re: resting?

It'll be less under acceleration, no doubt.

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Anonymous Coward

Trinity powered Ultrthins will sell like hotcakes

I'll bet my money that Trinity laptop APUs turn out to be the best selling product AMD has made to date and that's saying a lot when you look at the long run of Phenom II CPUs.

As far as toy tablets I really don't care about that crap. If AMD can sell chips for those toys too, great. It's all revenue for AMD and the more money they make the more resources they will be able to develop to further their bread and butter CPU/APU product lines.

Consumers are the winners and InHell is the loser - again.

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Re: Trinity powered Ultrthins will sell like hotcakes

I would agree to some extent. The biggest barrier I've found to selling ultrabooks is that people look at the price and turn around. They'd rather have an Apple for some ungodly reason. The AMDs, sneaking in with plastic casing and maybe a slightly higher-capacity HDD, along with the APU setup, that sounds like a winning formula to me.

When I'm not dangling dangerously close on the retail ladder to a used-car-salesman, I'm studying. I don't really give a crap about battery life, I'm not going to wave it around on the bus, but lightness is a priority and as long as the resolution is decent enough to have a few things on screen at once, I'll be happy. Also, it must play Diablo 3.

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Re: Trinity powered Ultrthins will sell like hotcakes

I expect so, too. I'm interested in reasonable laptop performance, good battery life and price. Also, as my last laptop got fried by the graphics chip, low heat build-up is an issue. The thinness/lightness is not a key selling point for me, otherwise the HP dm1 would be good enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trinity powered Ultrthins will sell like hotcakes

I agree on all fronts. I don't necessarily need super thin but it would be nice to have a 11.6" that is less than 3.5 lbs. and that has enough power to do any practical laptop computing. Trinity offers this and more IMO. Trinity powered Ultrathins should be hundreds less expensive than Ultrabooks which are a poor value and mediocre performance, IMO.

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Dates and Products please!

An affordable small laptop with decent battery life, screen and price point seems like an obvious winner to me.

This is what happened with the original Brazos, but once the laptops finally started coming out no one in the media seemed to care or even bother reviewing them.

Would be nice to hear some solid dates and products soon pls

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Re: Dates and Products please!

Don't hold your breath.

"We can take Trinity and put it in a 17W VGA and it can give us over 10 hours of battery life"

Is 17W typical for a laptop display? It's not that hard to run the whole of the rest of the PC on less than that, so the display is now more than 50% of the total power budget. This has interesting implications.

Firstly, there's no overwhelming benefit in using a clever ARM CPU that sips only milliwatts. You won't actually be able to see anything (ie, use the computer) until you turn on the screen and at that point the CPU hardly matters. Once Intel have got "sleep" consumption down to the same ballpark, ARM's advantage is lost, at least until we address the second implication...

Secondly, the real breakthroughs in laptop battery lifetime will only come when people develop display technologies that drink about a tenth of the current ones. E-ink is obviously the sort of direction to go in, but it isn't much use for video. (Still, you can get a lot of useful work done on a high-res low-colour-depth grayscale display as long as the stupid programmer hasn't decided it would be "cute" to animate everything.)

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I usually buy portable computers with high price and short battery life. It sounds like those are going to be harder to get now.

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Battery Life

Well you could always install some bloatware and paint it in gold

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Battery Life

I'd like to see a laptop that delivers on battery life measured in calendar months as well as running hours. My daughter's "Space Clam" iBook could sit on her homework desk, plugged in, for weeks at a time, then be unplugged and get 4 hours on the battery charge. My mid-2000 Toshiba killed its battery after less than a month of such use, and while Toshiba replaced it, they chided me for expecting any different. Now everybody seems to take the same line: "You _must_ unplug when the battery is fully charged, and re-plug when it is close to fully drained, or we cannot guarantee battery life". IIRC my Thinkpad T-40 worked decently, too. Later Dell and Apple laptops, not so much.

So what is it that at least Apple and IBM used to know about chargers and power management, that everybody has forgotten?

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Happy

Re: Battery Life

Wrap lithium battery in newspaper. seal in plastic bag. Place in freezer for a week. Leave it out overnight, or while you are at work. Unwrap. Recalibrate. It often works for me.

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Re: Battery Life

"You _must_ unplug when the battery is fully charged, and re-plug when it is close to fully drained"

Sounds tedious. If only there was a machine nearby that was good at repetitive tasks.

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Anonymous Coward

Bring it on!

I've been waiting for a nice Trinty powered laptop. Intel can't sell Ultrabooks even with bribe money to lower the retail price.

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FAIL

Re: Bring it on!

At the risk of becoming predictable, they'd have sold me one already if it had a proper screen. But 768 vertical pixels are not enough.

Maybe AMD can persuade them to have a proper screen?

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