It was about time
It finally happened. After years of Fusion talk, AMD’s Llano is officially out, but since we’ve spent the past several months talking about the new APUs, we won’t waste much time on specs. In fact, we won’t waste any.
The chips have been shipping for months and the first products are already available. AMD has secured more than 150 notebook and desktop design wins and we should see quite a few products in retail by the close of the quarter. The sad side of the story for AMD must be the rather lengthy delay. Had Llano launched on schedule, AMD could have capitalized on Intel’s Sandy Bridge chipset issues, but don’t get us wrong – Llano is not late to the game just yet.
Judging by the first reviews, AMD might have winner on its hands. Llano is not fast enough to seriously contest Intel’s Sandy Bridge in the high-end, but as an all-rounder in the mainstream market it just delivers better bang for your buck. Moreover, AMD has managed to greatly improve battery life compared to its previous mobile platforms and it is now on a par with Intel in terms of battery life.
For the first time in years, AMD is a serious contender in the mobile market. Half a year ago it took on Intel’s Atom with the Brazos platform, and came out on top. Now it is facing somewhat stiffer competition, but Intel will still have quite a tough time competing with Llano APUs, particularly the affordable A4- and A6-series parts, which will stand toe to toe with Core i3 and Core i5 processors.
Practically the only downside to Llano we can think of is the rather sizable gap between Llano and Brazos products, both in terms of performance and TDP. Intel has a much broader processor offer, tailored to cater to everyone’s needs, hence it can cover some niche market segments a bit better and pack more performance into increasingly popular ultraportables, particularly in the 13-inch form factor.
In any case it is nice to see AMD back in the game, and let’s not forget Bulldozer is just around the corner, ready to stir things up in the desktop space.