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Windows 8.1 laptops with AMD's new chips to support wireless display

AMD introduces faster and more power-efficient A4, A6, A8 and A10 chips for laptops

Advanced Micro Devices hopes to regain share in the PC processor market with its upcoming chips based on the Jaguar core, which will bring console-like gaming and wireless displays to laptops with Windows 8 and its successor, Windows Blue.

The A6, A8 and A10 chips, code-named Richland, will be up to 12 percent faster than the comparable previous-generation processors code-named Trinity, which were released last year. The chips will boast a 40 percent improvement in graphics processing speed.

The company on Thursday also introduced A4 and A6 chips code-named Kabini for low-end laptops. With the chips, the company is facilitating the introduction of inexpensive, low-power laptops with touchscreens and other features. Acer and Hewlett-Packard are expected to ship laptops based on Kabini.

The financially struggling AMD is hoping the new chips will spark a revival in the company's PC business. PC shipments have been falling and AMD has been losing market share to Intel.

An interesting feature in the Richland chips is AMD Wireless Display, which will support wireless beaming of images from PCs to TVs. The feature will be supported on Windows Blue laptops this year, AMD said.

Microsoft is releasing a preview of the Windows 8.1 OS, code-named Blue, in June. The OS will be available as a free upgrade to existing Windows 8 users.

The Wireless Display feature will allow whatever is on the display to be wirelessly streamed to TVs. AMD's Jaguar chips and graphics cores have already been selected for use in Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox, so the laptops could deliver a console-like gaming experience. Laptops will be able to display images on up to four external displays simultaneously.

The Richland chips are also more power efficient than their predecessors, which translates to more battery life on laptops. Laptops with a 55-watt-hour battery may be able to deliver power for up to 8.3 hours of Web browsing. That goes down to 4.3 hours for watching a 720p video.

The chip lineup includes the dual-core A6-5357M, which has a maximum clock speed of 3.5GHz; the quad-core A8-5557M, which has a maximum clock speed of 3.1GHz; and the quad-core A10-5757M, which clocks up to 3.5GHz. The chips draw 35 watts of power and are targeted at standard-sized laptops.

For ultrathin laptops, AMD also introduced four A4, A6, A8 and A10 chips that draw from 17 to 25 watts of power. The maximum clock speeds for the chips are from 2.6GHz to 2.9GHz.

The new low-power A4, A6 and E-series chips in the Kabini lineup deliver up to 66 percent better performance-per-watt than comparable chips released last year, AMD said.

The graphics capabilities are "console-like," and 88 percent faster than the previous-generation chips, AMD said. The new chips are also up to 25 percent more power efficient.

Laptops will be able to deliver around six hours of battery life for watching high-definition video, and nine hours or more when browsing the Web, according to internal measurements by AMD.

The chips, which are based on the Jaguar core, will compete against Intel's Core i3 and Pentium processors, which usually go into low-cost laptops. Intel is set to release new fourth-generation Core i3 processors code-named Haswell in June.

The Kabini lineup includes the A6-5200 chip, which runs at 2GHz and draws 25 watts of power, and the quad-core A4-5000, which runs at 1.5GHz and draws 15 watts of power. The company also announced dual-core E1 and E2 chips, which have clock speeds between 1GHz and 1.65GHz, and draw between 9 and 15 watts of power.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com


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