AMD expands Fusion family with Z-Series APU for tablets

By on June 1, 2011, 10:00 AM

AMD's Computex press conference today set the stage for the launch of a new line of APUs, known as the Z Series, optimized specifically for tablets. The company said it had not foreseen making this move at the beginning of 2011, but apparently after experimenting with Brazos they found that it provides "a nice experience on Windows tablets." The first chip in the family, the Z-01, is already shipping to OEMs and will debut on the MSI Windpad 110W this year.

Not many details were shared at the presentation but from what we can tell the Z-01 is a power-optimized version of AMD's existing C-50 APU for netbooks -- probably the same or a more polished version of the one shown back in February. It features a pair of Bobcat CPU cores running at 1GHz, built-in Radeon HD 6250 graphics, and a 5.9W TDP.

If their previous efforts are any indication, AMD may have been able to cut back on power consumption by removing some of the capabilities of the memory controller and trimming the I/O options to one port of each type, but otherwise the Z-01 should perform similar to its netbook counterpart.

If that's the case then AMD's chip should be faster than any other tablet processor on the market, but it's not as power friendly and can't run Android yet. As they say, the best way to lose a fight is to not show up, so at least AMD will have something in the market until a new APU (codenamed Hondo) designed specifically for tablets arrives in 2012.

AMD also unveiled its 9 Series chipset and the Vision 2011 branding, as expected, in addition to sharing more details on its APU roadmap and briefly showing off a Trinity chip -- which will replace AMD's upcoming Llano in 2012 for mainstream computing. Curiously missing was the official announcement of the A-Series "Sabine" notebook platform, but AMD has told ZDNet that the commercial launch will still occur before the end of the second quarter as scheduled.

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