AMD Consumer Electronics Event '08 in NYC
We're sure many of you have already seen a few of the items that were on display, but we were able to get a bit more up close and personal with a few of them and can give more insight into their operation. The various demo stations were filled with different types of systems / devices and all of them featured an AMD product or technology at their heart.
The first couple of images above are of AMD's next-gen Home Cinema Platform, codenamed "Maui". The Maui platform consists of a Phenom X4 9550 processor, 780M chipset, ATI TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe tuner card, and an integrated 5.1 surround sound amplifier that can output 100W per channel. And of course the system employs AMD LIVE! software elements. The integrated amplifier makes this platform stand out from most other HTPC platforms, and we're looking forward to testing it for ourselves.
There were also a bevy of notebooks of various form factors on display. All of the notebooks were based on AMD's Puma mobile platform which is built around AMD processors and chipsets, with third-party WiFi adapters (namely Broadcom and Atheros). We covered many details regarding the Puma platform here if you'd like more background on the underlying technology.
HP had their Pavilion tx2500 tablet on display, as well as a handful of Pavilion dv-series machines. If you haven't seen these machines up close and personal yet, head on down to your local retailed and check them out. The chrome finish and mirrored touchpads don't look nearly as good in these pictures as they do in person--very cool machines form an aesthetic standpoint. AMD was also keen to compare a pair of dv-series machines playing back Blu-ray video. In the demo, the AMD machine was pitted against a Centrino 2 model with Intel graphics. The AMD machine showed about 40% CPU utilization, while the Intel machine hovered around 95%. As soon as any other task was performed on the Centrino 2 machine, it started to drop frames almost immediately, while the video on the Puma machine remained smooth. In the interest of full disclosure, however, we weren't able to verify that the version of PowerDVD running was properly taking advantage of the Intel IGP. And as an aside, I have personally witnessed a Centrino 2 machine playing back a Blu-Ray disc with much lower CPU utilization; granted that was in a controlled demo as well. There was also a nice HP DTR notebook playing back a Blu-Ray disc on an external display, while a demo presentation was running on the integrated screen.
Toshiba had a couple of nice Puma-based machines on display as well, as did Fujistu-Siemens. Of particular interest at the Fujitsu demo stations was ATI's XGP interface. XGP is basically an external box that interfaces with the host notebook over a proprietary PCI Express cable / connector, that allows for external discreet graphics. XPG, however, also allows for Hybrid CrossFire configurations, so it's not only for adding display outputs, but for increasing performance as well. The external XGP boxes may also incorporate USB and Firewire hubs, or eSATA connectors, so they're not just for graphics. We've seen devices like this before that haven't quite taken off, but this solution is definitely more elegant and useful. Hopefully it'll hit retail sometime soon as XPG could be very appealing to enthusiasts that are constantly on the go. The notebook and XPG box could be setup at home with a big screen for gaming, while the notebook is always ready for travel.