Monday, November 17, 2008

AMD Conesus, Intel Atom Alternative for Netbooks?

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Not it is official, AMD is going to ship a new processor, Conesus, a dual core CPU with a total of 1MB L2 cache (2x512KB), DDR2 and BGA package. Available CPU frequencies, TDP and pricing are still unknow. Also not clear is the production process: some news sites state that the AMD Conesus is going to be produced with the new AMD 45nm process, if you look at the AMD roadmap below (source gizmodo) you'll see that the Conesus is still using the 65nm process. To be noted that Intel Atom is also built using a 45nm process.

According to AMD officials, Conesus doesn't address the netbook market and will be shipped in ultraportable and mini notebooks/mini laptops. This looks like a contraddiction: I'd really like to understand the difference, if any, between a netbook and a mini notebook. For sure AMD doesn't wants to miss the huge netbook market.
AMD guys (see AMD blog) use the term mini notebook to refer to EEE PC, MSI Wind, Aspire One and so on.
Why is AMD saying that Conesus doesn't address the netbook market?
I got two reasons, both of marketing nature
  • AMD wants to stress the fact that Conesus got more performance than Intel Atom. That's why AMD is basically saying: with Conesus you can do more than with Atom. It is actually true that Intel Atom is a bit too weak to be used in notebooks, it will be interesting to see whether or not Conesus will have a performance edge... of course don't forget that Conesus is a dual core CPU while actual netbook include only the single core Atom processor.
  • The term netbook was introduced by Intel about a year ago, to refer to EEE PC and similar products. AMD doesn't want to use a term "invented" by Intel. Actually the word netbook was invented by psion a few years ago...
In any case the good news is that Intel will get tough competition for the netbook market: beside VIA Nano, also ARM, Qualcomm and AMD announced CPUs for netbook. It means for us more performance at a lower price!

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Depends on how you reads the roadmap. Although Griffin and Conesus CPU are colored in the same theme as the 65nm bar. I don't thin that indicate they both are 65nm. Otherwise, Agena (which is also 65nm) should be also colored in the same theme.

Instead, I believe the color theme used by the CPU type, indicates the inheritance relationship.

However, "nm" bar, basically indicate when those technologies occur. The color on those bar may just coincidently be same as the color on the CPUs.

Just my 2 cents.

djsm said...

It's a valid point, thank you.
On the other hand, if you are right about the inheritance relationship, why do Deneb/Geneva and Orochi/Ontario use the same color?
I'd expect two totally different CPUs, without major similarities: Deneb and Orochi being optimized for performance, Geneva and Ontario optimized for netbooks.
In the next couple of months we'll get a clearer picture!
Maybe the picture is wrong, who knows...