AMD has released a new series of APUs, the AMD Fusion A-Series with AMD Vision technology. The A series of APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) is designed to be used in desktop replacement laptops, while keeping the price of the laptop at around $599, and not above $1000. The A series even promises to be more powerful than Intel’s competing Core i3 Processors in terms of multimedia performance, while managing to be anywhere from $50 to $75 cheaper. In a nutshell, AMD is trying to shake up the desktop replacement category in a similar fashion to the way they are taking on the ultraportable category with the AMD Fusion chips that they have been packing inside laptops like the popular HP Pavilion Dm1z and Sony VAIO Y series.
An APU combines a CPU and GPU together so that they can run along side by side, offloading tasks to one another as necessary. AMD is investing their energies in their APUs with Vision technology because they understand that the future of computing lies in the power of GPU processing. It used to be that developers wrote software that primarily took advantage of just CPU processing, but now that is changing. Since they launched their first AMD Fusion APU series last year, there have been over 100 apps written that take advantage of GPU processing.
At the high end of the new A series is the A8. This APU packs in a quad core processor that can go head to head with Intel’s Core i7 series. It also features dual discrete graphics courtesy of the GPU built onto the APU, and a second discrete GPU inside of the computer. A dual discrete graphics configuration inside of a laptop isn’t quite new, but it never has had the potential to become mainstream until now. The new A series chipset also supports USB 3.0 right on it. That means that you can potentially playback video directly off of a connected USB 3.0 compatible camera without choppiness.
Furthermore, the A series also promises great battery life of up-to 11 hours and it also promises to run cool. Other features of the A series include the power to run dual display set ups, and the ability of AMD Vision to make HD videos look and play back better by improving the color and visual quality of video playback. We personally got a hands on with some of these new systems running the A series and in comparison to their Intel counterparts, they did indeed run cooler. We did indeed get to see how Vision technology can improve video playback, even on YouTube videos. AMD is pre-installing their AMD Vision software on computers running on their AMD processors. This software lets you tweak and turn on video display improvement settings, as well as configure settings to fully take advantage of the APU.
AMD has also been talking about their Motion DSP technology for a while now. This tech actively reduces shake and stutter in video. They say that eventually they will offer software that does this for video that people produce. Finally, AMD is also setting their sights on improving the video chat experience, which we all know needs much improving. They are working with a company called ViVu to improve the experience of video chat over unstable or not so fast internet connections.
To coincide with this new series of APUs. HP is also releasing a whole bunch of desktop replacement laptops at more affordable price points, courtesy of this new AMD architecture. We’re talking about packaging the A series inside of their DV4, DV6, DV7, their colorful G4, G6 and G7 series, as well as their slick new ProBook B and S series.
Overall, the promise of a system that can outperform Intel’s Core i3 series, while managing be more affordable, should be very enticing to consumers wallets – especially, in time for back to school season when there will be surge of interest in budget laptops. Between the A series announcement, their plans to start putting their APUs in tablets, and the fact that their chips will be inside of the upcoming Wii U, things are certainly looking up for David vs. Goliath.