We take a close look at AMD‘s recently announced “Puma” notebook platform. Puma is a tightly-knit system for notebook suppliers comprising of the chipset, CPU, GPU and wireless chipset. Similar in some ways to their Spider desktop platform, Puma takes it to the next level by allowing for a hybrid integrated and discreet graphics solution. While Intel has something similar, AMD is apparently the first to offer a dynamically switchable system, allowing your notebook to automatically switch to integrated graphics when it detects you’ve gone on battery, or to allow you to switch manually. I asked if they plan on making it automatic, based on load, which they seemed to think was a pretty great idea and relatively easy to achieve as well. What’s more, despite the fact that the integrated and discreet GPUs are chips of differing abilities and specs, they’re still able to operate in Crossfire/hybrid mode, providing an extra boost in power and achieving some very impressive framerates.
AMD shows us their reference bench system and two other identically-configured systems, the only difference between them an Intel versus AMD integrated graphics chipset. (And CPU, naturally.) With a price difference of around $25 to AMD’s favor, the AMD integrated chip actually performs considerably better in their demo, grain of salt included. The reference system shows off their hybrid processing and lets us see what framerates we might be able to hit on an entry- to mid-level hybrid Puma system.
Puma also brings about something that’s been announced with Intel as well—the ability to deactivate CPU cores and speeds, instead of just stepping down speed. This, coupled with an intelligent HD decoder will bring about several hours of additional battery life.
We take a few moments with AMD‘s Rick Bergman, General Manager of the Graphics Processing Group, about their new Spider platform—a three-tiered computing system that helps tie together and ensure compatibility between the chipset, CPU and GPU. We talk about what sort of benefits this means to the enthusiast-class consumer. We also dive into the nitty-gritty with the new Radeon, currently codenamed the R870—a dual chip design that has two separate GPU units with an internal Crossfire link and Alternate-Frame Rendering to tie them together. I also ask about some of the design challenges realized in smashing two cards together and getting an efficient, workable result. The design is impressive and the ability to link two of these cards together will come to mean a great deal of graphics processing power in the near future.
The card will be available late January and can be powered in a typical system by a 500 watt power supply; ATI has cut their power requirements for similarly powered cards in half, without sacrificing any performance.
We talk to AMD‘s Marketing VP, Pat Moorhead about the Smart House “portal” they had set up at CES. In contrast to our last post, they were much more open this time and let me ask just about any questions I asked, including questions about their roadmap and some very cool details about their new “Black” edition, incredibly overclocker-friendly CPU. We also learn more about their mobile device chipset and hear that we’ll be able to output HD content from cell phones and other mobile devices running on ATI chips within the next year or so, straight to an HDTV. Cool stuff.
We talk about the demographic reach of AMD and how AMD has its technology in hundreds of non-PC products.
Today’s tween girls are a huge market, and Merkury Innovations Fashionation line is just for them. Their iPod cases, star-shaped speakers and more come in neon and other cool colors, and many of the cases have embedded rhinestones for that bling factor.
We chat with AMD‘s Pat Moorhead, this time talking from their Smart House about their involvement in gaming systems like the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, and their new quad-Crossfire capable Radeon offerings.
The Motorola Q9h is a smartphone with Windows Mobile 6 and has seven dedicated keys for your most used applications, and a sensor that allows you to view what’s on your phone regardless of lighting conditions. Coming later this year.
Have a small business? Got signs and televisions in your retail space? Westinghouse wants to give you the best of both worlds with their DSB - Digital Signage in a Box. The Linux-based system integrates digital signage with television, allowing small business owners to promote and entertain at the same time.
The 1080p display is optimized to show signage that is fully customizable using only a keyboard and mouse plugged into the unit - no computer required. The ads can be programmed on a timeline of the user’s choosing and can be placed anywhere on the screen to optimize their impact.
Westinghouse will be releasing the DSB in the second quarter of this year, at a price point that is yet to be determined.
Check the video above for details on Samsung‘s new 2263DX dual monitor setup. The 2263DX features a large display much like the standard displays computer users interact with every day, but also includes a smaller secondary monitor which is mounted on an arm allowing it to be placed above the main monitor or too either of the sides. This secondary monitor allows for short bits of information to be viewed at a glance. Windows sideshow, email account summaries, web video conferencing and other information that is useful to have displayed at all times are ideal for this monitor as they do not take up valuable working real-estate from the main monitor. The main monitor features standard DVI, VGA, and HDMI connections, but to simplify connection the smaller monitor is connected via USB and contains a miniature USB video card.
When going to CES one expects a rough week involving countless interviews, hour after hour of writing, and defending oneself from PR reps from round the world. One thing you don’t expect is to get the living daylights shocked out of you. First and foremost, watch the video above for a chance to see me get tasered. After all, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to see some poor sot get tasered - particularly when they signed themself up for it (full waiver and everything).
Oh yeah, a bit of background - we didn’t go for the ‘shock treatment’ but rather went to check out Tasers new MPH or Music Playing Holster. With this faux-leather device one can carry their original, pink, or leopard skin taser in style and listen to 1GB of tunes at the same time. It doesn’t fully make sense to us, but the Taser company claims this makes it an ideal exercise companion for those jogs through the seedy underbelly of your favorite big city.
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