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Mini-notebook chips suitable for Linux devices?

Jan 6, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

[Updated 2:45PM] — Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced an X86-compatible chipset for ultra-portable laptops. With its Athlon “Neo MV-40” CPU that resurrects the venerable K8 core, the solderable AMD Yukon chipset could prove interesting for low-cost rugged boards and devices running Linux, though no lifecycle guarantees have been announced.

To reduce power consumption, AMD turned to its older K8 microarchitecture for the 65-nanometer process Athlon Neo. The chip supports 512KB of Level 2 cache and should out-perform Atom, according to Scott Ferguson in an eWEEK story, while using about four times more power. It may also cost less than Atom, though speculation varies.

Yukon comprises an AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 running at 1.6GHz, plus an AMD chipset and either a discrete ATI Radeon HD3410 graphics card or integrated RS690E-based graphics, says Ferguson. The Yukon chipset has a 35-Watt TDP (thermal design power), compared to nine Watts for the netbook-focused N270 and Intel's accompanying single-chip chipset.

HP Pavilion dv2
(Click to enlarge)

The Yukon platform is debuting today as part of a Windows-equipped Hewlett-Packard (HP) Pavilion dv2 mini-notebook (pictured at right). As used in the dv2, the Yukon chips apparently solder to the board, to reduce product thickness compared to socketed designs. Solderable packaging may increase Yukon's appeal among single-board computer vendors, who are always interested in low-power parts for rugged designs. So far, though, AMD has not announced any long-life guarantees for Yukon.

AMD recently announced that it would enter the market between netbooks and smaller notebooks such as the Lenovo X300, says Ferguson. The semiconductor giant appears to be competing less with Intel's Atom than with other low-volt Intel processors, says the story. He quotes AMD marketing manager David McAfee as saying “There is a gap of products that have come into the market.”

More information on the AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 and the Yukon platform may be found here, More info on the HP dv2 may be found here. Ferguson's eWEEK coverage can be found here.

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