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AMD's Low-Power Chip "Bobcat" Competes with Intel Atom

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July 21, 2008

AMD's Low-Power Chip "Bobcat" Competes with Intel Atom

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

AMD (News - Alert) confirmed on Friday that it is developing a single-core, 64-bit processor for low-cost mobile devices and sub-notebooks.

The new chip, code Bobcat, will pose a threat to Intel’s (News - Alert) Atom, according to industry analysts.
Intel had announced the launch of Intel Atom processor in March 2008. Atom is a low-power processor designed specifically for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and low-cost Internet-centric computers. 
However, Intel is having problems getting the chip out in the market. According to company sources, the delay is caused due to limited facilities available for testing of the chip.
AMD is adopting a wait-and-watch policy to see how Intel’s Atom will be received in the market. AMD so far has not announced the release date for Bobcat.
“Further details about the new mobile chip are expected to be revealed in November at the company's analyst conference,” was the response from AMD's new CEO, Dirk Meyer during a Thursday conference call.
"Clearly, when you talk about smaller form-factor notebooks and inexpensive notebooks that is a market segment we are interested in," Meyer said.

AMD sources earlier said that Bobcat is featured with 1GHz clock speed, 128KB of L1 cache, 256 KB of L2 cache and 800MHz HyperTransport link, support for 400MHz DDR 2 RAM, and a power consumption not more than 8W. There are no guesses available about the price of the Atom rival.
AMD Bobcat is likely to replace AMD’s low-power Geode x86 system-on-chip, included in One Laptop Per Child’s XO laptop. The x86 system-on-chip design was acquired from National Semiconductor in 2003.
Intel is not the only competition for AMD in low-power chips. In May 2008, Via introduced its Nano processor code named as Isaiah processor for mobile device and sub-notebooks. Also in June, Nvidia came up with Tegra system-on-chip for cell phones with integrated graphic processor.
Apple (News - Alert) gives a strong indication that it may enter the mobile chip market. Apple’s recent acquisition of P A Semi may be viewed as the company’s long-term vision for developing system-on-chips for iPhone (News - Alert). Apple acquired P A Semi for a reported $268 million.
Intel also plans to release an Atom successor code named Moorestown in 2009.
Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

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