AMD is on the up. With the launch of its new A Series Fusion processor, tested here in AMD A8-3500M form, it looks like the good times are going to keep on rolling.
With four cores and grunty graphics in a single, power-efficient chip, the processor previously known as Llano – part of the company's Sabine notebook platform - looks set to take the notebook market by storm.
It feels good to type those words. After all, AMD's processor division had been taking a beating from arch rival Intel since way back in 2006 when the first Core 2 processors were launched. It was all one way traffic until AMD launched its first fusion chips, the C and E Series processors based on AMD's new low-power Bobcat core.
The platform will be marketed under the AMD Vision brand. As well as this A8, there will also be A4 and A6 variants available. We're testing this inside a whitebook (unbranded latop), sent to us by AMD.
AMD claims the C and E Series APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) have been such hot sellers that millions have shipped already this year and supplies have literally run out. That's not a big surprise. As a cheap netbook and low-end notebook processor, the C Series in particular is an awful lot better than Intel's Atom. The Atom is arguably better suited to ultraportable devices.
It's therefore the job of the new A Series APU, codenamed Llano, to do the same thing for AMD in the mainstream laptop and notebook market. It certainly has some serious weapons. For starters, it packs highly efficient 32nm transistor technology. It also sports up to four CPU cores. Significantly, each is based on AMD's Stars architecture as found in its top-end Phenom II chips, rather than the relatively weedy Bobcat core in the C and E Series.
Then there's Llano's new integrated graphics core. It's the most complex integrated core the world has ever seen. In short, Llano is a much more powerful chip than the C and E Series and it might just have what it takes to take the fight to Intel's Core i3, i5 and i7 notebook processors.