NEW YORK— AMD announced a major increase in the number of computers expected to be equipped with AMD processors, and the expansion of its Vision brand into the desktop PC arena.
“This is the largest consumer client launch in AMD’s history,” said Rick Bergman, senior VP/GM of AMD’s products group, during a webcast last week.
He added this is also the first time the company has simultaneously launched products across all its platforms.
AMD reported that 109 mainstream and 41 ultra-thin notebooks will be equipped with the company’s processors.
The four-tiered branding effort, rolled out last fall, is the company’s primary effort to tell consumers which processor is right for their needs without relying on their understanding the chips speeds and feeds. The four levels are:
• Basic Vision – for casual gaming, music, video and photo viewing.
• Premium – Blu-ray/HD video viewing, video conversion, basic photo editing, watching TV on the PC, music ripping, Web cam.
• Ultimate – create/edit movies, advanced photo editing, edit/mix music, 3D and online gaming, TV DRV.
• Black – overclockable, best 3D gaming experience.
“We want to move away from the technical jargon that nobody understands anyway,” Bergman said.
Keeping with the spirit of Vision, none of the AMD executives mentioned any specifications of their latest processors during the webcast, but described the upgrades in relation to what the chips now deliver.
AMD said it has upgraded the chip architecture for its third generation of ultra-thin processors, Vision Premium, extending battery life out to eight hours and boosting overall performance by 22 percent.
The architecture also sports integrated graphics allowing ultra-thin notebooks to deliver a better visual experience without a corresponding increase in the size of the laptop, said Leslie Sobon, AMD’s product and platform marketing VP.
Improvements for mainstream laptops include seven hours of battery life, better 3D performance and quad cores.
In the desktop space, AMD is including its quad- and six-core processors in the Vision campaign.
One major upgrade to the six-core processor is its ability to turn off unneeded cores as an energy- and heat-saving measure. In addition, computers equipped with these processors will come with a software utility allowing end users to overclock the processors to deliver more power. This is a task normally done by a vendor when a PC is being constructed.
Dell will use the high-end Black Vision Phenom II X6 six-core in its Dell Studio XPS 7100. This is the first time Dell has used an AMD processor in a premiumpriced desktop, said Lane McCullough, Dell’s product group consumer product planner.
“This is a low-cost, but fast PC,” Mc- Cullough said, adding using the AMD processor allows Dell to offer a highend machine to budget-conscious enthusiasts.
AMD said the processor itself costs $300 per chip or about $700 less than competitive models.
The XPS 7100 is available direct from Dell immediately with a starting price of $699 and will be at retail later this summer.
Acer’s Joe Castillo, senior director, U.S. consumer, said the company will launch 20 AMD Vision-based models for the back-to-school selling season, including an AMD-powered HD netbook.
Hewlett-Packard last week announced several portable products with an AMD processor option.