Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
AMD Portables Hardware

New AMD Processors Aiming Between Laptops and Netbooks 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-too-big-not-too-small dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an article about AMD's Conesus chip, suggesting that it is intended to compete with Intel's Atom for the netbook market. However, CNet reports that AMD is eschewing that form factor in favor of something larger, yet still more portable than a traditional laptop. Quoting: "AMD's strategy seems solid, in my opinion. Go for a segment that is bigger and better than Netbooks. The ultraportable category (the MacBook Air being the best example) is full of attractive but expensive designs. Why not work with PC makers to offer an ultrathin, ultralight, full-featured 13-inch notebook that is priced a lot less than $1,800? Why not $600 or $700? In addition to the conventional criticism of Netbooks (small screens, tiny keyboards), an underrated fact is that many users eventually get the feeling that they're stuck with an underpowered laptop."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New AMD Processors Aiming Between Laptops and Netbooks

Comments Filter:
  • Intel's Nano? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by A12m0v (1315511)
    Doesn't anyone proofread anything anymore?
  • Intel Nano? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Don't you mean Via Nano?

  • by boorack (1345877) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @03:28AM (#25769125)
    Microsoft stroke deals with hardware vendors to limit capacities of their netbook products. Asus is trying to pull off this market and sell bigger (and a bit more expensive) products. Are they scared that too many people will learn that a netbook is enough for them ?
    • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @04:01AM (#25769229) Journal

      I'm actually inclined to agree with AMD's stance on this. Incidentally, I think this [notebooks.com] is the original article that all these other news sources are paraphrasing and it has more information.

      You are undoubtedly right that now netbooks are available people who were previously stuck at full laptop level but only need a netbook will migrate. And we're seeing that. But not all the people who buy a netbook will find it suits them in the end. I was very tempted to get one, nearly did, but eventually decided that nice though the Eee PC looked, it ultimately wasn't quite powerful enough for my needs. The supposed advantages of netbooks / mininotebook are excellent portability, battery life and cheapness. But they're not actually that cheap - they're priced too high. Oh, they're cheaper than modern laptops, but UK£300 for an Asus Eee PC (about $US450, probably cheaper outside the UK), is still a significant purchase for most. Significant enough that spending an extra £150 / £200 for something obviously more powerful (and with more screen real estate), is less of a factor. For most people, the decision is more likely to be based on the portability (battery life is getting pretty good for full laptops these days and places to plug them in more commonplace, so less of a concern). Netbooks are more portable, but they're still not exactly mobile phones. And at the same time, laptops are getting lighter. A student who walks around with a netbook all day long might benefit from this, but a travelling salesman in his car, or a holidaying Slashdotter on the train... I think a lot of people prefer the power and the screen size of a laptop.

      Netbooks seem to have done well because they are a new market segment and people who naturally fall to that segment are shifting from laptops or getting in for the first time now. Or because they're new and they're trendy. But what AMD are reporting is that actually sales compared to laptops are fairly small and there is also an uncommonly high level of returns on netbooks which suggests people realising they don't suit their needs either. We're also seeing a failure of the principle of the netbooks by their manufacturers as they implicitly concede that there is a demand for more power by releasing increasingly expensive and more powerful netbooks - a sign that they are trying to overlap more with the bottom end of the laptop market.

      So netbooks - certainly have their market, but AMD might well be right to focus on real laptops where they may well take a strong lead over Intel. AMD have had their ups and downs, but most of those downs have been due to either not having as much money to throw around as the giant Intel, or sheer luck (Intel's Israeli lab unexpectedly turning up an unforecasted power boosting design). In terms of strategy, AMD have usually been pretty strong turning out, if not always the most powerful chips, usually the best price to performance ratios.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrNaz (730548) *

        I've been saying this for a very long time. I bought a second hand X40 and it serves me far better than a netbook would, was cheaper than one, is more durable, has a full size excellent keyboard, full size screen and is only slightly larger.

        • That's great. How about weight? How about battery longevity? These Netbooks really outstand in those two. And what if I want a new one with a guarantee and all?

          See my point?

          Now, having said all these, I would love to have a second hand X40 :-P

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        For most people, the decision is more likely to be based on the portability (battery life is getting pretty good for full laptops these days and places to plug them in more commonplace, so less of a concern). Netbooks are more portable, but they're still not exactly mobile phones. And at the same time, laptops are getting lighter.

        Bulk, rather than weight, is also a factor.

        I recently bought an Acer Aspire One [johnlewis.com]. I get around by bike, and I found that my Laptop, a 13" MacBook + Brenthaven sleeve, was taking up

        • by h4rm0ny (722443)

          I recently bought an Acer Aspire One [johnlewis.com]. I get around by bike, and I found that my Laptop, a 13" MacBook + Brenthaven sleeve, was taking up most of the space in my pannier. A netbook, with no padded case, leaves a lot more room.
          I think you're right about the UK price, but Linux netbooks are GBP 200-220 and I'm sure that competition, catalysed by AMD's entry [theinquirer.net], will drive the prices down over the next 12 months.

          Ah, you are right. I wondered why those Eee PCs were more expensive

        • you really should have read the article, it suggests that AMD is in fact going to miss the segment entirely. Going for full function laptops in slimmer lighter cases for sub $1000 (they cite the macbookair as a good example of the form factor, but not price obviously), essentially going you can pay twice what a netbook costs but actually get a proper computer, which seems like as good a ploy as any for AMD. They do have some competition from the core2 which does scale down to low power quite well, but intel
      • The supposed advantages of netbooks / mininotebook are excellent portability, battery life and cheapness. But they're not actually that cheap - they're priced too high.

        Check out Nokia N800/N810. That looks to me precisely like what netbooks should be.

        But actually netbooks were pitched as smallest system capable of running Windows... What frankly to me makes absolutely no sense. I still recall times when Windows 3.x started requiring twice more memory because M$ implemented icon cache. They never being good at handling consumer's precious resources, always shifting costs to hardware.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @09:03AM (#25770099) Homepage

        High-powered, high-priced ultra mobiles have always been there - I bought a very expensive Toshiba back in 2002 which is pretty near as small and light as you can get given the screen and keyboard. Atom opened up a whole new market exactly because these ultra-mobiles are cheap enough to buy as alternatives, not replacements or to completely new markets which probably explains the higher returns. A lot of the statements in the article is plain old bullshit, like the "failure of the principle". It's like saying compact cars are a failure because people also want semi-compacts instead of full-sized cars. The laptop producers have been fighting heavily for margins but Intel has huge margins on the Atom, do a little die size math and you'll see that they sell for far more than Core 2 Duos/Quads in terms of $/mm^2. And the sales are so far beyond expectations that Intel, you know that semiprocessor production giant, had trouble delivering.

        The alledged market AMD is claiming is there can be snuffed out by Intel at any time, they have the chips to do it but are keeping the prices on the high-powered ultra-mobile chips very high. The Core 2 Duo T-series will easily cost you 3x as much as desktop chips for clockspeed parity, for example at 2.5GHz you can get a 170$ E7200 or a 510$ T9300. Sure it would be very nice of AMD to come in and help push prices down, but Intel could slash the T9300 to 2-300$ in a heartbeat and essentially close any gap that might have been between netbooks and laptops.

        Yes, for a certain range AMD still has good value products as that's where they have to be as challengers, but don't confuse market realities with how they're doing financially or technologically. However that range has been growing slim, with better chipsets to match the Atom they're fighting a losing battle on the lowest end, they have lost the high-end desktop and laptop market long ago and nehalem has a heavy dose of server-oriented improvements. Intel's been hitting all their high-margin strongholds and just delivering "value" desktop/laptop processors has very poor margins. Intel can keep up their tight tick-tocks and weather this recession, I'm not sure AMD can even with this restructuring.

        • by thealsir (927362)

          I think AMD will be kept afloat by ATi. That said, I agree that this is less of a financial opportunity for them than it seems due to the reasons you pointed out.

      • But they're not actually that cheap - they're priced too high.

        I realize this is comparing apples and oranges, but going on pure GHz, the eee Atom units are more than twice as powerful as my 667 P3 laptop (which is currently my workhorse) at less than half the original cost. If the performance of the eeePC lags behind the P3, I'm going to be a little disappointed.

        However, I see your point and agree that the eee units are a bit overpriced for the hardware involved. But I'm going to justify my purchase based on my love affair with ASUS. I've never had a serious problem w

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slashnot007 (576103)
      Why would anyone but a bussiness person want a netbook? Just asking not stating. Presumably bussiness folks want to check e-mail, corporate calanders, catch a movie, and show power points. They will never program, do calculations on the road with them so how much power do you need. If you need to program or present calculations wou want a big screen and big KB anyhow, plus a fast CPU and battery to match. So it's gonna be bigger. Net books only need slow cpus right?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Why would anyone but a bussiness person want a netbook?

        Why would a business person want one in the first place? They are not large enough to stand out among the cubicle desks and their small speakers are not nearly powerful enough to echo their tacky startup sounds to their whole floor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slittle (4150)

        Why would anyone but a bussiness person want a netbook?

        Anyone with ubiquitous network access? They're called netbooks for a reason.

        I have plenty of storage and processing power elsewhere, I don't need battery sucking features on my portable terminal.

        Netbook == PADD with a keyboard.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Students in college would use a netbook. They are is more than enough for email, notes, and surfing the web.

      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @04:32AM (#25769321) Homepage Journal

        Why would anyone but a bussiness person want a netbook?

        I like my eee because:

        • I can chuck it in my backpack without having to make a big deal of taking a laptop
        • It runs on 9 volts so a simple voltage regulator gets it running in the car
        • I can use it on public transport with people piled up shoulder to shoulder around me
        • These are precisely the sort of computers that hikers look for. Laptops are too clumsy for multi-day trips and the drives are rather fragile as well. Its a lot easier to store a flashcard in a waterproof container than it is a hard disk.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MichaelSmith (789609)

            These are precisely the sort of computers that hikers look for.

            Ummm, maybe. It depends on what you mean. I ride a bicycle to work. I could never take a full sized laptop on the bike but I sometimes take the eee. I wouldn't want to take it all the time though.

            If I am camping in my van I would definitely take the eee, but if I am out in the bush walking for days on end I wouldn't take it because it still has too much weight to justify carrying.

          • by renoX (11677)

            Not really ideal though: still the wrong screen technology for outside reading though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Right now, my laptop is my 'main' computer. It takes 4-5 minutes to pack it up and bring it somewhere, plus it's heavy. An EEE I could just carry along, no hassle. Why have it? Simple, org-mode in Emacs!

        • 5 minutes? I also use my laptop as my main machine and packing it up is less than a minute if I don't let it shut down entirely before putting it in the bag. Of course, all I have to pack is the charger and the mouse (some people I see toting around external hard drives/fans/etc).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sammyF70 (1154563)

        I'll have to disagree on the "program" part.

        I have an Acer Aspire One, with the awfully named Linpus distro on it. After making it boot to xfce instead of the very limited Linpus GUI, installing geany, blender, Krita (had problems with gimp sadly:/, code::block and pygame, the AA1 turned out to be great for on the road coding.

        If you're like me and you prefer to code some minigame fast, instead of playing sudoku or solitaire while traveling, a netbook is just the thing to have. The keyboard of the AA1 is big

      • Wrong. My laptop is my main and only computer at work. I work for a company that has 100k+ employees. The only people that get desktops these days are the ProE guys. I spend 95% of my life in Matlab and compiling XPC programs. I can grab it and go to a meeting where I can compile and program in meetings. I can also give presentations and such.

        I currently have an M90. Most people that give me a hard time about the weight have kids, so I ask them how heavy their kids are at birth and how often they carried th

      • If you need to program [...] [y]ou want [...] a fast CPU

        I can program on netbooks (and PDAs) and I don't need a powerful CPU locally because I just ssh to the development servers as long as there is 3G/GPRS connectivity. Remember Sun's "the network is the computer"? I actually do not use a desktop computer at all, and if I need more local power the netbooks are augmented by more powerful laptops, but the fact is that 99% of the time the Intel Atom CPU is enough for cloud-based computing. Desktops are a thing of the past when you get accustomed to network-cent

      • by Wdomburg (141264)

        System administrators who want to something small to carry when they're on call? Students who want something small to take notes on? Parents who want something light and relatively cheap for their kids?

    • by Abreu (173023)

      Too late.

      Everybody who sees my new Acer Aspire One falls in love with it, especially after hearing its price.

      I think Acer will sell quite a few of these babies during the holiday season in Mexico
      (the Asus EEEPC is not available here)

  • Well... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
  • Between $600-700 with DDR3 RAM? Hope you can run Vista on 256 MB if that's how much you're expecting to pay and get DDR3...
    • They only said support for DDR 3 so it could very well still support DDR 2 memory. While DDR 3 is expensive right now in the not too distant future it will be cheap. To me it looks like they just want to cover all of there bases and not have to redesign a chip to be compatible with DDR 3 in the next year or so when prices for DDR 3 fall.
  • by magarity (164372) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @04:01AM (#25769227)

    an underrated fact is that many users eventually get the feeling that they're stuck with an underpowered laptop
     
    I have a new netbook with Intel's Atom chip in it (Lenovo Ideapad) and it isn't underpowered so much as just underfeatured. For the screen, it isn't the size but the resolution; Fujitsu manages to put 1280x800 in their even smaller Lifebook models but that doesn't explain the 6x cost difference. It'd be nice to have a firewire port (I have a FW video camera and external drives) and a DVI instead of analog VGA. Other than that, the thing is perfect so it's close enough. Some people will want more CPU power for ... games? Who knows... I think it's the same mentality that gets dual/quad CPUs in desktops that are used for spreadsheets and browsing. More power to AMD to sell their products - just as long as it comes with a screen resolution upgrade.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Some people will want more CPU power for ... games? Who knows... I think it's the same mentality that gets dual/quad CPUs in desktops that are used for spreadsheets and browsing.

      Bootup and app startup times are usually the bottleneck for office software. Whether its the CPU, bloated Vista, junkware, or disk I/O rate that causes the problems is an open mystery. I'd like to see more research on that.
           

    • by b4upoo (166390)

      For me there is no need for lite weight lap tops. I don't run through airports. I could make use of a lap top that weighed thirty pounds. But I want power and really bullet proof construction.
                  The point is that nobody gets what they want. We are all stuck with what the manufacturers consider a typical consumer product or if we want something just a bit different we are expected to pay and pay and pay!

    • by Mike1024 (184871)

      I have a new netbook with Intel's Atom chip in it (Lenovo Ideapad) and it isn't underpowered so much as just underfeatured. [...]It'd be nice to have a firewire port (I have a FW video camera and external drives) [...] Some people will want more CPU power for ... games? Who knows... I think it's the same mentality that gets dual/quad CPUs in desktops that are used for spreadsheets and browsing.

      I think you've just answered your own question by saying "What do people want additional CPU power for?" and saying "I'd rather have a firewire port to connect my video camera to".

      I can see AMD's point, though; it does seem that, when ordering laptops by price, screen size goes 9", then 10", then 15", then back to 13".

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lysergic.acid (845423)

      well, hopefully as low-power netbooks catch on we'll start seeing more purpose-based rather than marketing-based designs in both netbooks as well as traditional laptop/desktop systems. and it's good that Intel and other chip makers are starting to focus on more efficient processors rather than just adding cores and increasing clock speeds.

      if consumers start seeing that they can get better results with cheaper, more modestly powered systems, maybe the general public will start to question why they have to ke

      • The real reason, in many cases, that people upgrade has more to do with software than with hardware. Once your stock consumer Windows install has picked up a case of free smileys disease, a grab bag of oddball viruses and spyware, an expired version of norton fighting to the death with mcafee, and a bit of general bitrot it is virtually unusable.

        Your basic geek wouldn't have let it get that way in the first place, and could easily restore it if necessary; but if you are clueless, have almost certainly los
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      Hey, my low-budget laptop is a dual core amd64, I'm not complaining (especially since it's my main computer, heh...)! Ironic that it shipped with 32-bit Vista, but I wiped that without ever booting the damn thing anyway, and I run Debian/amd64.

    • by bazorg (911295)

      It'd be nice to have a firewire port (I have a FW video camera and external drives)

      2 USB ports should be enough for everyone

      --- S. Jobs

    • by Morgaine (4316) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @08:01AM (#25769939)

      You're right about the "underfeatured" angle, but that's only visible now because of the ever-rising prices of these devices.

      What happened in netbooks to cause this is that Asus did a "bait and switch" on consumers. (And of course all other manufacturers followed.)

      The original Eee PC was announced at a very low price, almost competing with the increased price of the OLPC, but ever since then the company has been adding features and raising model prices to the point where this product series is no longer the same thing, but is now a low-end laptop instead. And when compared against a low-end laptop, it's clearly underfeatured.

      This is inevitable, because the whole point of netbooks was long battery life, low weight and low prices, and you can't have any of those when extra features suck power, add weight and raise cost!

      So yes, this whole market niche is in danger of becoming a dodo, but it's entirely due to crummy marketting / product design moving the price point upwards instead of downwards. At $150 or $120, lack of features becomes irrelevant or even a bonus, since it extends battery life.

      • what they should have done is kept the original specs or design goals, which really catered well to the casual computing market which most consumers fall into, but also add higher end netbooks that are purposed for specific market niches. that way you keep the baseline netbook for the average non-technical user, but also provide higher-end netbooks that aren't just low-end laptops.

        for instance, a purpose-driven netbook for college students might be a netbook-based tablet for note-taking, or perhaps incorpor

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *

        > What happened in netbooks to cause this is that Asus did a "bait and switch" on consumers.

        That was more a case of ASUS found itself in a Nintendo situation, where they could sell every unit they could produce except in this case they had two lines, the 700 series and the 900 series. If you can sell everything you can build do you build the cheap ones or the more expensive (and likely higher margin) boxes? Now consider the dollar was way down last year, LCD availibility was spotty and batteries were e

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AsnFkr (545033)
      Some people will want more CPU power for ... games? Who knows...

      Hi def video playback. I download everything in x264 these days as it looks amazing on my TV, but from time to time I want to take something with me to watch on my laptop and would like to be able to do so without down-converting the video first.
    • Again, blame Microsoft.

      People want XP on these. Microsoft will only sell them it if it has a screen smaller than 1280x768 (I think that was the requirement... maybe 1024x768), with 1GB of RAM or less, and a single-core 1.6GHz CPU.

      So until some OEM gets their shit in gear and gives the gorilla a swift kick to the balls we're not getting better netbooks.

      I loved the netbook concept. Microsoft killed it already. It's over guys.

      AMD realises this. They're going to make cheap light notebooks. So what if Vista/Win7

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is already a player in the ultraportable market: Intel Ultra Low Voltage (ULV), which currently powers all the sleek models from Apple, Toshiba, Sony, Thinkpad, etc.

    Article says, "Delivering a more powerful dual-core processor (such as AMD's Conesus) for this segment would also turn some heads".

    Sorry, if you deliver a more powerful processor at a higher TDP, you are no longer in the ultraportable segment, per se. The AMD Conesus will not fit into Macbook Air or its competitors. Instead, it will go f

    • The best source for the netbook implications of the information released at this Financial Analyst Day is http://www.notebooks.com/2008/11/13/live-at-amds-financial-analyst-day-2008/ [notebooks.com] and the author notes, towards the bottom, that AMD concede they can't compete with the highest battery life available from their competitors. (As an aside, it bugs me that AMD can do a die shrink or improve their chip steppings and get a better performance-per-watt figure than Intel, but can't put that all together in a competi

    • by evilbessie (873633) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @09:07AM (#25770105)
      now incorperate the chipset, well northbridge, into the TDP, AMD is not that far off so it really does come down to AMDs performance at this power level. And if they can ship machines sub 2lb with 12-14" screens for $800 that's a big saving on the $2000 you'd pay for this sort of vaio. What with ATi becoming a force again in graphics and proving to be more power efficient than recent nVidia offerings this might become more interesting than you suggest.
  • I see by the slashdot summary that they mean 12 in. or 13 in. ultraportables. Yes, as they say, they're expensive but in my limited undestanding I think it's because the design, material and certain components (e.g.: ultra slim dvd drives)..not because the processor.
    So is there a market for this kind of processor? Only time will tell but I don't think so.
  • by XTrollX (1398725)
    I'm 50/50 on this one. Here's why. I think it's good that AMD is venturing into new territories and trying to make a statement, but at the current time I think they need to hold whats been keeping them afloat now for years. Their servers. Now that Nehalem (Or Core i7) is released and is threatening that market AMD needs to come out with something big to keep Intel down. Once the server market is secured then I think they should go full steam ahead into the netbook market.
    • THey, along with sun micro have the umpf for the server market, but commodity hardware is eating it up, so its actualy good they are going while the going is good. Besides, I'd fancy a single core 1.6 GHz SPARC laptop with a decent radeon and solaris (Nexenta) ;)
  • amd has better chipsets then what intel uses with nano put in a low end one with 64 - 128 side port ram and then you have nice low end chip set that is much much been then the out of data POS that intel used with the nano.

  • Just go CHEAP. I mean CHEAP. Very few people I know need anything more than Windows XP (or a similar Linux Distro), and Firefox and a handful of other apps that really do not require much processing power. I mean, as a nerd and slashdot junkie, I like a powerful computer and games and all that jazz, but mom really just does email, and occasionally surfs youtube or wikipedia.

    Build her a laptop that costs less than $200, and she'll buy several. So will everyone.

  • I have an asus EEE 900, and I run sql server, visual studio, and world of warcraft on it. They all work just fine.

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.

Working...