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AMD Refreshes Vision Laptop Platforms

Advanced Micro Devices has updated its platforms for mainstream and ultra-thin notebooks, saying more than 100 systems using the latest technology will hit the market in time for the all-important back-to-school shopping season.

The platforms, unveiled Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival in France, are marketed under AMD's Vision Technology brands that were introduced last year to offer a simpler way for consumers to choose the system that best fits their needs. The focus on use replaced the emphasis on technical specifications that meant little to average consumers.

AMD's Vision strategy has computers makers placing red logos on their products to indicate the best use scenario for the system. The Vision logo indicates an entry-level system, Vision Premium means higher performance for media viewing, Vision Ultimate means the system is also capable of content creation, and Vision Black is placed on the highest end systems aimed at hardcore gamers and computer enthusiasts.

AMD's latest mainstream notebook platforms come in Vision, Vision Premium and Vision Ultimate flavors. Available processors range from the 2.1 GHz, dual-core Athlon II P320 to the 2.3 GHz, quad-core Phenom II X920 Black Edition.

For ultra-thin laptops, which typically trade performance for a lighter, thinner system that's more portable, AMD introduced the Vision and Vision Premium brands. Available processors range from the 1.7 GHz, single-core Athlon II Neo K125 to the 1.7 GHz, dual-core Turion II Neo K665. The ultra-thin platforms are capable of delivering up to eight hours of battery life, AMD says.

In trying to make its processors more appealing than Intel's offerings, AMD has adopted a strategy of providing product that may not perform quite as high as Intel's, but is good enough for the task and is considerably less expensive. For example, AMD's six-core Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition desktop processor sells for less than $300, while Intel's six-core Core i7-980x Extreme Edition sells for just under $1,000. AMD introduced the Phenom II X6 in April.

AMD says computer makers will ship 109 new mainstream laptops built on its new Vision platforms in time for the back-to-school season, one of the biggest shopping seasons for the year for the PC industry. In addition, more than two-dozen ultra-thin laptops are expected to ship, a 30% increase over 2009.

Computer makers planning to ship PCs with the latest Vision technology include Acer, Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, MSI and Toshiba.

Some of those manufacturers will also be launching mainstream and enthusiasts desktops with AMD's latest Vision technology. For mainstream systems, AMD offers the Athlon II, which is available in two, three or four cores. Enthusiasts systems are available with AMD's six-core Phenom II product.

AMD's latest platforms include the company's chipsets and several option for graphics processors, integrated and discrete, from the company's ATI unit.

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