AMD is finally looking to get into the netbook game for real. Forget about the thin-and-light NEO chipset that’s been out for a while—we’re talking about an honest, netbook-specific chipset based on the company’s Fusion initiative that’ll blend power-sipping CPUs with ATI graphics. The platform will draw between 10 and 15 watts of power and will be designed for screens 12 inches and smaller.
With all these netbooks coming out now that are powered by Intel Atom CPUs paired with either Broadcom HD graphics accelerators or NVIDIA ION GPUs, it appears that AMD must finally be thinking to itself, “These guys from all these different companies have to pair this CPU with that GPU or add this accelerator because Intel’s GPUs stink. We have our own CPUs and our own powerful ATI GPUs. We could do this much more easily and cheaply.”
AMD’s Nigel Dessau told InternetNews.com the following:
“It will have a good processor integrated with graphics, so you won’t need the Ion graphics to give it half-decent performance… If we’d had a part, we’d have been in this space. We didn’t have a part so we went and worked on a part for the thin and light space. The plan is to come to market next year with a Fusion part that fits it nicely in a netbook type thing.”
With the impending confusion that’ll be caused (or is already being caused) by all the pairings between Intel, NVIDIA, and others, AMD is in a prime position to come in with a few netbook chipsets comprised of its own AMD CPUs and respectable ATI GPUs, price them $50 less than comparable Intel offerings, and watch the sales roll in. Unfortunately by 2011, who knows what state the netbook market will be in? AMD can’t just show up and say, “Look! We have a new platform that’s better than the Intel + ION pairings from last summer!”
The company’s got a big opportunity here. Netbooks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but people are expecting to be able to do more and more with them—an area where Intel has purposely under delivered in order to try to convince consumers to purchase more expensive CPUs. As it turns out, most consumers don’t really care how fast the CPU is. They just want to watch HD videos and play games. If anyone can deliver that experience in a single, integrated, inexpensive package, it’s AMD.