AMD Puma Sneaks into Town


Graphics Capabilities and a Puma Showcase

More Platform Details - Graphics Goodness

The M780G mobile chipset is essentially a more power-optimized AMD 780G chipset on the desktop, supports ATI PowerXpress Technology to cycle between IGP and discrete graphics engines dynamically (without rebooting) where applicable to save on battery performance, packs up to four times the 3D processing power of the previous mobile IGP (the RS690M) and supports Hybrid CrossFire (user enabled option) to take advantage of both the IGP and discrete graphics (Mobility Radeon HD 3450 for example) to optimize silicon and deliver even greater overall performance. So all in, there are up to 3 levels of graphics performance and battery lifespan possible on this platform. Lastly the new IGP core integrates the UVD feature of the latest Radeon HD 3000 series to support Avivo HD for great Blu-ray and HD DVD playback experience.

 An example of how ATI PowerXpress delivers benefits of either higher graphics performance or longer battery life. This is automatically controlled depending on the loading levels.

 And ATI's Hybrid CrossFireX support on their Puma platform allows you to take advantage of the IGP graphics and ATI's discrete graphics for even more performance. As seen here, these 3DMark results are the real deal as we're registering similar figures in our test notebooks at the moment. The comparative results are accurate too if you were to check our respective reviews. With that said, the M780G is quite a powerful chipset.

 Unlike Intel's lower-end IGP offerings that sometimes support only a single output (depending on chipset variant), the M780G supports dual outputs natively and another two more with a discrete graphics module. No, you don't necessarily require a notebook with 4 dedicated display output ports, but there are alternative design models we're seeing in the form of using high-density mini-DVI outputs and DisplayPort - these are able to relay outputs to multiple monitors with the right cable dongle.

Puma Showcase

There are a handful of notebooks using the Puma platform and is available immediately and these were on display at the launch session (primarily from Acer and HP). More are on the way and we expect a lot more variety within another month. Here's what's available if you're keen to splurge on one:-

- AMD Turion X2 RM-70, 3GB DDR2, 15.4-inch LCD, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 Hybrid X2, 320GB HDD, 5-in-1 card reader, DVD Super Multi drive, Dolby Surround certified, webcam and a biometric scanner. Sounds like a decent deal. Just beware that this is a 3kg entertainment notebook though.

 The next notebook comes from HP and it is the popular TX tablet-based version that got the Puma update. The TX2515AU also features the RM-70 processor, 2GB DDR2, 12.1-inch digitizer touchscreen LCD, integrated Radeon HD 3200 graphics, 250GB HDD, Altec Lansing speakers, 5-in-1 card reader, DVD Super Multi drive, webcam and omni-directional microphones. Weighs just under 2kg and costs from S$2699.

 Here's another Acer notebook right beside the HP TX2515AU. This is the Acer Aspire 4530, a 2.4kg, 14.1-inch model with 3GB DDR2, NVIDIA GeForce 9100M G graphics, 320GB HDD, 5-in-1 card reader, DVD Super Multi drive and webcam. Surprised to find NVIDIA powered graphics?

 As seen here by their marketing logo labels, when AMD meant they will support an open platform initiative, they really mean it. And there is no better proof than this. Kudos to AMD. Also seen are the differing Wi-Fi labels indicating different vendor solutions.

And so the AMD Puma notebook platform is launched and readily available with more variety to offer in the coming weeks ahead. With the combination of either ATI's and NVIDIA's discrete graphics solutions, AMD's notebook offerings reaches out to the majority of the market.

However, they've no options for notebook solutions smaller than 12-inch notebooks, such as the ultra-portable notebooks, netbooks and UMPCs. AMD prefers to say that they are concentrating on the majority of the market share. While politically right, they do not technically have a platform capable enough for the smaller notebook segment. As mentioned in our earlier progress coverage with John Taylor, AMD will have to wait out for their Bobcat platform sometime in 2009 - the same timeframe when the AMD Fusion project should bear fruit. Coincidentally, the projected market requirements then would likely favor a bigger market share for smaller form factor notebooks, which would then be a great time for AMD to tap into this market (albeit very late, it's always better than never).