AMD to offer triple-core laptop processors

The chips will become available by the end of the first half

Advanced Micro Devices will put triple-core processors into laptops to fill a power and performance gap, the company said.

Laptops today contain either dual-core or quad-core processors, and offering a triple-core CPU could bring laptops that are faster than the dual-core chips but more power-efficient than quad-core processors, said Bob Grim, director of client product marketing, at an AMD event during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The chips will ship by the end of the first half.

AMD's offering would be the first triple-core processors available for laptops. AMD has been offering triple-core processors for desktops and offers only dual-core chips for laptops. Intel offers dual-core and quad-core chips for its laptops and desktops.

Laptops with dual-core processors offer good performance, but adding an extra core helps boost application performance, Grim said. For example, the third core can take on resource-heavy tasks like antivirus scanning while freeing up the other two cores. The chip could also be a power-efficient option to Intel's quad-core chips, which usually go into power-hungry enthusiast systems.

AMD is also offering triple-core processors to PC makers as a way to differentiate from the usual dual-and quad-core offerings, Grim said.

The chips will be offered as part of the next-generation laptop platform code-named Danube and manufactured using the 45-nanometer process, which helps the company achieve higher levels of integration. The platform will also include dual-core and quad-core chips.

Danube processors are designed to boost laptop battery life by more than an hour, Grim said. The company is also launching a new platform for ultrathin laptops called Nile. Danube chips will support the faster DDR3 form of memory.

The company displayed the first laptop with a Danube chip at the event. The chip offers an improvement in speed and graphics compared to the current Dragon platform, Grim said. AMD is upgrading the integrated graphics capabilities in the platform.

AMD also displayed a desktop running on the next-generation Leo platform. The platform, which is based on processors with up to six cores, will include new integrated graphics and a chipset.

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