Vizio's AMD Z60 Hondo-based Windows 8 Tablet PC at CES 2013by Vivek Gowri on January 15, 2013 5:40 PM EST
Even with the comprehensive overhaul of their notebook lineup, the big news out of Vizio’s CES booth was definitely their new Windows 8 tablet. The Vizio Tablet PC is the first system we’ve come across with AMD’s Z60 APU inside. It’s a 1GHz dual-core part, with a pair of Bobcat cores and an HD 6250 GPU onboard. The low clock speed allows it to hit a TDP of roughly 4.5W, easily the lowest of AMD’s APUs, but likely means that compute performance will likely be similar to or slightly worse than Clover Trail. This isn’t unexpected, since we saw the same situation play out with Ontario last year - basically a faster microarchitecture clocked significantly lower such that it performed roughly on par with Atom, except with significantly better GPU performance.
In addition to the AMD Z60, the Vizio Tablet PC comes with an 11.6” 1080p display, 2GB of memory, a 64GB SSD, stereo speakers, and Vizio’s now customary industrial design and attention to detail. The chassis is pretty thin at 0.4”, and at 1.66lbs isn’t too heavy for a system of this form factor. It’s a nice design, very flat and clean, and feels good in hand. The frame is aluminum, with a soft-touch back and glass front. I'll explore the hardware fully in the review, but for now, just know that it's a good looking, well executed design.
My main comparison point was the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T, a Clover Trail-based 11.6” (1366x768) tablet which weighs a very similar 1.64lbs. The ATIV isn’t a particularly well designed system, which I’ll get into in my review, so the Vizio is unsurprisingly a much nicer piece of hardware design, but what really got me was the performance of Z60. Even at 1080p, the Vizio feels smoother throughout the Windows 8 UI than Clover Trail at WXGA. The extra GPU horsepower of the APU certainly makes itself felt when compared to the PowerVR SGX545 in Atom Z2760. This is a good sign, and all of the hardware acceleration capabilities that opens up should make Z60 a much more livable computing situation than Atom. Obviously, it won’t come anywhere near 7W IVB, which I’d say is the current preferred Windows 8 tablet platform (and should be until Haswell comes) but it should be a good deal cheaper.
The display is supposedly not IPS but is definitely some wide-angle panel type, so perhaps it’s a Samsung-sourced PLS panel or something similar. Pretty crisp, 1080p on an 11.6” panel is fantastic from a pixel density standpoint. We have no indications on price or release date, but Vizio says that it will be priced “competitively”. Competitive to what still remains a question, since the Z60-based Vizio kind of bridges the gap between Clover Trail and Ivy Bridge tablets, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see it drop at around $800. That puts it on par with the ASUS VivoTab 810C (the Atom one, not the one we reviewed) and just above the ATIV Smart PC ($749) but well below the 1080p Ivy Bridge tablets ($899 for Surface Pro, $949 for Acer’s W700).
I’m excited, it looks like a pretty decent offering and I’m glad to see AMD get such a solid design win. Intel has long owned the mobile and ultramobile PC space, so it’s nice to see AMD finally put out a viable chip that will hopefully shake things up going forward.
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Death666Angel - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkI've been researching Windows 8 laptops and x86 tablet for the past week. Just out of curiosity mostly, as I am happily using my desktop old i3-330UM 11.6" laptop and 10.1" Android tablet still. I have no real need for any upgrades.
But the Asus 13.3" AMD A6-4555M 1080p laptop for 800€ (Vivobook U38N) is pretty enticing as is the UX32 with a GT620M (better performance but at 1050€ much too expensive compared to the AMD offering for me). Now this tablet is just as interesting with the internals. Though price needs to be 700€ or below in my opinion.
But I don't need any of those right now and considering that much better tech is just around the corner, I'm hoping for more powerful products at better prices in the fall of this year or early next year. :)
duploxxx - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkaccording your feedback.
its smoother in usage, cpu powerfull enough, gpu much better and according the specs low power usage.
yet all oem provide the atoms and none to find with AMD.... consumer is yet again loosing. Just like with the netbooks, Brazos is a way better platform, but almost all devices are atom based in sales...
MrSpadge - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkToo bad the CPU can't turbo up a bit if only one core is used. "Race to idle" and better responsiveness FTW!
jamawass - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkIsn't this a standard feature of windows 8 regardless of hardware? Shouldn't this tablet be able to download email etc while in standby mode?
kyuu - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkI'm pretty sure it has to be supported by the hardware.
amdwilliam1985 - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkI believe the feature you're talking about is Smart Standby. Forget whether it's a windows 8 feature or a intel SoC feature.
B3an - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkIt's a Win 8 feature. The hardware has to support it.
Wolfpup - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkI have a tiny notebook based on AMD's C50 that I bought last year. C50 appears to be the exact same hardware-dual core Bobcat (basically a stripped down Athlon 64) @ 1Ghz + 80 VLW5 slowish clocked GPU cores, only the C50 could draw 9 watts versus this thing's 4.5.
I remember thinking last year what a great chip that would be for a tablet, and...here it is.
It's sluggish, but not unusable, and of course "sluggish" is relative, as it's running a real full OS with real multitasking, yet still outperforms my iPad 2 with it's dual core A9s on a limited OS without much real multitasking.
Wolfpup - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - linkThe more I think about this, the less interested I am in Atom tablets. I know for a fact z60 can play back video fairly well (and even accelerate Flash)...25% more single threaded performance and a bajillion times better GPU (not to mention better driver support)...I'm really wishing Dell and HP had used z60 for their tablets too.
haukionkannel - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkTablets are very good for reading, so good GPU that allows smooth scrolling is actually very good compromise for tablet CPUGPU. I am not so interested in Hasvel tablets, bacause they most propably are way too expensive, but this and the next generation Atoms can be something that can compete with ARM based tablets. Hasvel based will be in their own league and more like very portable laptops, with removeable keyboards. Very good and fast items, but 1000$+ price will keep them in very different category than these portable electronics books! (allmost like softcover vs hardcover novel :-)