Hybrid tablets represent an interesting compromise between laptops and slates and AMD wants to make sure they’re not being left behind. To properly welcome Windows 8 and the upcoming range of hybrid devices that is soon to come, AMD has developed the Z-60, a chip which is bragged to deliver great performance, while extending the battery life to almost a full day of use.
Previously known as Hondo, the AMD Z-60 is fully optimized for hybrid tablets, those that warp from the casual media tablet encountered on the daily train, into a full-state desktop computer once the owner reaches home and connects the keyboard dock. The most pressing matter with these kind of devices, besides battery life of course, was if they could supply the graphic performances of a regular system, at least at a conveyable pace. AMD’s answer is right here.
AMD Z-60: ten hours of battery, six times the performance
Launching the Z-60 as a direct competitor over the Intel made Clover Trail chip, AMD claims that their main focus is on visual quality. Said to bring graphic performances five and even six times better than its competition, the Z-60 supports resolutions of 1920 x 1200 and can render data over a HDMI connection. Of course, while playing advanced games or watching videos, the system will demand more of the chip and the battery life will depend proportionally of the resolution used – in AMD’s own words, 720p will offer the best experience, while full HD is considered a power horse.
On the other hand, the Z-60 is the first AMD chip optimized solely for Windows 8. It offers no support for Linux (that means no Android) and can be compared in matters of performances to the old C-60 chip encountered in netbooks. Speaking of performances, the Z-60 allows the system to boot in under 25 seconds and has a 2-3 seconds awakening time, from hibernation. AMD also claims that Wi-Fi reconnections will be handled quicker than on other chips.
As for battery and power consumption, the Z-60 eats around five or six watts, depending on the task being handled. AMD also claims that the processor has been tested and found sufficient for a full-day work on a single charge, in the Windows Presentation Mode. When seeing the chip in normal action, it is said to supply almost 8 hours of web browsing and 6 hours of video playback, but the actual life time can only be seen in a final product, like a tablet.
Speaking of final products, AMD states that it will deliver the chip at the end of this year, just in time for manufacturers to make use of the Holiday season. Whether it will be for an affordable price or not, remains to be seen. With this move, AMD takes the battle with Intel in the tablets market.
Update: DigiTimes reports that quite soon, sometime in mid-November, we will already start seeing tablets with AMD’s Z-60 chip, dubbed the AMD Hondo. Thus, AMD is joining the fight against Intel. Here’s what DigiTimes has discovered about the supposed prices of these tablets:
MD’s director of Global Product Marketing John Taylor’s recent estimate that a Hondo-based tablet should not have a price of more than US$899, the sources pointed out that Asustek’s Windows RT tablet is expected to be priced between US$599-699 and Microsoft’s Surface will also put strong pressure on the pricing of Windows 8 tablets; therefore, US$899 is still not friendly enough and US$699-799 will be the best price range for Hondo-based machines.
Update 2: we didn’t have to wait until mid-November to see the new chip in work. Fujitsu has introduced world’s first AMD “Hondo” Z-60 powered business tablet – the Stylistic Q572/F, another Windows 8 tablet. The new chip in Fujitsu’s tablet features two x86 Bobcat cores that are clocked at 1.0GHz with 1MB of L2 cache (512KB per core)with an AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics adapter. It will be really interesting to find out what the first reviews will reveal about this chip.