Why AMD’s Fusion APU Series Might Just Be the Next Big Thing

There is no denying the fact that the Netbook fad is dying while tablets take over. Last October when we visited AMD HQ in Austin, we talked about the AMD Fusion APU and why it has the potential to be such a game changer. This is because AMD’s Fusion APU has the potential to breathe life into the ultraportable laptop industry by essentially killing the netbook and instead offering consumers ultraportables in the $400 to $500 price range. At CES this month, HP was one of the first PC makers out the door to announce one such ultraportable powered by the new AMD Fusion APU. The HP dm1 is a $449 ultraportable PC with a 11.6″ display, 3.5lb weight, and a 10.75 hour battery life, yet despite its very affordable price point it’s still able to playback 1080p video (Blu-ray discs included), and it even offers some moderately serious gaming performance including support for resource-heavy DirectX 11 games. AMD has accomplished this by combing the CPU and GPU (graphics processor) onto a single lower power chip which they call an APU. This is an incredible feat at this price point, considering that until now, for $100 less you got an underpowered netbook or for $600+ more you would get an almost as powerful ultraportable.

If you’re not psyched just yet, this certainly will excite parents next summer when they shop for laptops for their kids. You know how it is, kids want the cool ultraportables that are easy to carry around, but those have been traditionally pricey – at-least until now. And netbooks might be sufficient enough for the little ones, but they can’t really cut it as a primary computer for multimedia driven tweens and teens.

For the first time, powerful ultraportables are finally becoming affordable. Already most of the major PC manufacturers have plans to come out with laptops using the Fusion APU. That includes the likes of Sony, Fujitsu, Dell, Asus, and Toshiba. At CES, Lenovo announced the Lenovo Thinkpad X120e, a soon to be released ultraportable also priced in the $400 range.  And there is already talk of the AMD Fusion APU showing up in tablets too. That means that there will be more competition in the tablet space for processors. More competition means more innovation and more price wars, which is all ultimately good news for us consumers.

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