The execs at chipmaker AMD obviously knew that CES 2009 would be absolutely saturated with netbooks and laptops. So they came up with an idea that would set the company apart from the rest–the Yukon platform, the heart of which is AMD’s Athlon Neo single-core processor. The company calls the Neo a “platform for ultrathin notebooks”. Not quite built to typical laptop specs, the Athlon Neo is also more powerful than the typically used Intel Atom netbook platform. Yep, AMD is trying for that mid-range sweet spot.
The Athlon Neo runs on a 1.6 GHz cycle but according to AMD can handle multiple applications better than the Atom. It comes equipped with either ATI Radeon X1250 or the higher-end ATI Radeon HD3410 graphics. The latter easily handles the Windows Vista Aero interface, basic 3D gaming, and 1080p video playback. The first ultrathin notebook to use the Athlon Neo is HP’s 12- inch Pavilion dv2 (coming in April). As you can see from the dv2’s screen size, it’s too big to be a netbook but a little smaller than a traditional laptop. The mid-range.
I can understand AMD’s need to create a market. The Atom currently has a stranglehold on the netbook market and laptops vary in chip usage. But is there really a need for a mid-range? Probably not. I for one am just waiting to see all the netbooks that emerge at CES–after which I’m grabbing my first. I think a 10-inch display is perfectly functional and I just can’t see myself 3D gaming at a coffee shop anytime soon.