HP laptop-tablet hybrid is the first with AMD's 'Bristol Ridge' chip

HP will carry an AMD FX processor from the new 'Bristol Ridge' family in its Envy x360 15.6-inch laptop

A new hybrid from HP gives an indication of what you can expect with laptops with AMD's new 7th Generation chips, code-named Bristol Ridge.

HP announced the Envy X360 hybrid, essentially a laptop with a 15.6-inch screen that can fold into a big tablet, on Tuesday. It will be available with AMD's FX 9800P quad-core processor and integrated Radeon R7 graphics. Buyers can also choose Intel's Skylake chips.

The FX 9800P is part of AMD's "7th Generation" lineup of chips, code-named Bristol Ridge, unveiled on Tuesday by AMD.

AMD's FX processors are the company's fastest PC chips and could be used for gaming. The upcoming Bristol Ridge lineup will also include the slower A-series chips. AMD will share detailed information about Bristol Ridge later this year at the Computex trade show.

The Envy X360 gives some idea of what users can expect with AMD's Bristol Ridge chips. The laptop will offer up to 11 hours of battery life and up to 2TB of hard drive or 256GB of SSD storage. It will be just 18.8-millimeters thick, which is a great size for otherwise cumbersome desktop replacements.

A Skylake Envy X360 model is available with an optional Intel RealSense 3D camera, which could be used for biometric logins via Windows Hello. A model with an AMD FX chip will only have a 2D webcam.

The FX processor will be able to deliver better graphics and 4K video than Intel's integrated GPU. AMD is widely acknowledged to offer better integrated graphics than Intel.

AMD claims its Bristol Ridge chips are approximately 40 percent faster than laptop chips from two years ago, so users can expect better performance.

The Envy X360 will start at $679.99 and start shipping in May. The first units to ship will have Intel chips, and the AMD FX model will come later.

With Bristol Ridge, AMD can move on from its moderately successful "6th Generation" chips, code-named Carrizo. Carrizo kept AMD competitive at a time when Intel had troubles with its Broadwell PC chips. Intel later stabilized the PC chip lineup with its Skylake processors, and will release chips code-named Kaby Lake later this year.

Laptops with AMD's highly anticipated Zen CPU architecture will come next year, and Bristol Ridge will serve as a bridge. Zen will deliver a 40 percent improvement in CPU performance, and could put AMD on par with Intel in terms of processor technology. AMD also hopes Zen will be attractive to those faithful to Intel processors.

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Agam Shah

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