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Puma on the loose in Zagreb

by on10 June 2008


It roars, it scratches, but does it have the bite?

Just days
after the global launch and subsequent launch events in Moscow and Paris, AMD showed off its latest carnivorous platform to local IT hacks in Zagreb, Croatia's picturesque capital.

Like the four-legged predator it borrowed its name from, Puma's bloodline can be traced back to North America - it packs Canuck graphics and Yankee CPUs. The Turion X2 Ultra CPU is a polished K8, with much emphasis placed on energy efficiency. AMD claims that this 65nm part coupled with its new 55nm mobile chipset offers up to an hour of extra battery life on certain notebooks compared to its previous generation of mobile products.

The graphics, however, are the more interesting bit. Puma uses an optimized 780G IGP, the Radeon HD3200, or RV610. Like its desktop sibling, the mobile version also supports Hybrid Crossfire and decodes HD with no trouble whatsoever. Apart from these new features, it's also more than three times faster than the X1250 it succeeds which is more than enough to wipe the floor with Intel's X3100. The most interesting feature on the graphics side is not Hybrid Cross, or HD, or performance, but Lasso, or XGP, an optional port which will enable consumers to easily and cheaply upgrade graphics on their mobile companions.

Fujitsu Siemens is the first vendor to include an XGP port on its notebooks. The white 15.4-inch FSC was the only only notebook at the presentation to feature XGP.

AMD claims 95 design wins on launch day, including models from Toshiba, Acer, Asus, MSI and FSC. According to Pierre-yves Ferrard, this is almost double compared to the plain Turion launch a couple of years back. You won't find Puma in ultra-portables or netbooks, but it still covers the biggest notebook market segments: desktop replacement, thin and light notebooks and business class machines.

Asus plans to launch a bunch of Puma-based models, ranging from 12.1 to 15.4+ inches, and the F5 "entertainment system" is just the first one.

Global availability is expected in the last week of June, but according to AMD, MSI will probably beat other vendors to the market by a week or more. Interestingly, MSI will first launch 13.3 and 12.1-inch Puma based notebooks and we had a chance to see the 12.1-inch model at the presentation.

AMD used MSI's 12-incher for presentation purposes, although the TV was less than enthusiastic about the whole affair, but it cooperated after some persuasion. Of course, all three displayed notebooks featuring HDMI.

AMD feels confident about its new mobile platform, mainly due to its widespread acceptance by major vendors who control around 80 percent of the notebook market. Puma might turn out to be an interesting alternative to Intel-based notebooks, especially if the price is right. Better, upgradeable graphics might attract consumers who don't place an emphasis on raw CPU power. On the other hand, consumers on the prowl for some CPU muscle won't find a 2.2GHz Turion X2 Ultra very appealing.
Last modified on 10 June 2008
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