While AMD does not have a true SoC to combat the likes of Intel, NVIDIA, and ARM, this doesn’t mean they’re completely ignoring the market for the type of devices SoCs normally go in. Announced today at Computex 2011 and shipping immediately will be AMD’z Z series APUs, AMD’s formal entry into the modern tablet market.

While at this time it’s nigh-on impossible to get into a phone without a SoC (just ask Intel), tablets can be more forgiving. With a larger device and a larger battery, such devices don’t necessarily have the same extreme integration requirements and battery life requirements as a phone, even if the processors used in such devices are often the same. As a result of AMD’s current resources and technologies, it’s the tablet market that they have decided to go after first.

The Z-series, codename “Desna”, currently has a single APU that is shipping immediately: the Z-01.

AMD APU Lineup
APU Model Number of Bobcat Cores CPU Clock Speed GPU Number of GPU Cores GPU Clock Speed TDP
AMD Z-01 2 1.0GHz Radeon HD 6250 80 276Mhz 5.9W
AMD C-30 1 1.2GHz Radeon HD 6250 80 280MHz 9W
AMD C-50 2 1.0GHz Radeon HD 6250 80 280MHz 9W
AMD E-240 1 1.5GHz Radeon HD 6310 80 500MHz 18W
AMD E-350 2 1.6GHz Radeon HD 6310 80 500MHz 18W

The Z-01, as near as we can tell, is a power optimized version of AMD’s existing C-50 APU. It features the same dual-core CPU design, using a pair of Bobcat CPU cores running at 1GHz. The GPU meanwhile is a Radeon HD 6250, and while AMD hasn’t listed the clocks, we believe it’s clocked at the same 280MHz as in the C-50. We don’t have any information on whether AMD is using the same packaging for the Z-01 as they are the C series, but otherwise the available specifications are identical to the C-50 with one exception: TDP. While the C-50 is rated for 9W, the Z-01 is rated for 5.9W. Given the 33% power reduction, it’s a fair guess that AMD is binning Ontario chips to find ones that operate at the low voltages Z-01 would require.

Based on what we’ve seen with the C-50, the Z-01 should perform far above any other tablet processor. However the 5.9W TDP means that it’s not going to be in the same market as the likes of OMAP 4, Tegra 2, Apple’s A5, or even Intel’s Moorestown. All of these SoCs/platforms use well under 5.9W, and with the exception of Moorestown are all ARM based.

So what kind of tablets is AMD shooting for with the Z-01? The primary market is going to be full-fledged Windows 7 tablets, although Z-01 is capable of running the x86 branch of Android too. The first product will be the MSI Windpad 110W, which we actually saw earlier in the day before AMD’s announcement. The 110W is a 10” tablet running Windows 7 (Win7 Pro on the showfloor), which should retail for around $599.

Ultimately the biggest factor differentiating Z-01 tablets from ARM tablets is going to be Windows 7, given that a suitable version of Android is not yet available. Tablets like the 110W are going to be sold based on their ability to use applications like Microsoft Office, Windows Media Center, Windows games (that will run on a Radeon HD 6250 of course), and any other common Windows applications. So while devices like the iPad are based around media consumption, for Z-01 tablets AMD’s goals are more about a balance of consumption and creation, putting Z-01 tablets in a somewhat different market segment altogether.

We’ll have more on the Z-01 and the MSI Windpad 110W later this year once the tablet ships.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Khato - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    While the fact that the platform isn't an SoC was mentioned, I'm curious as to whether anything was said about a lower power FCH to go along with the Z-01? Spending 2.7-4.7 watts (according to the chart on page 2 of Anandtech's Brazos preview part 1) for the FCH when the processor is 'only' 5.9 watts wouldn't make much sense at all.
  • mino - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    You are forgetting that most of the FCH TDP goes to things like six SATA 6Gbps ports, 14 USB posrt, gigabit NIC etc ...

    What should have been mentioned (but would distract from the negativistic attitude) is that almost as big savings were made with regards to the FCH, but mostly not by binning but fusing fuctionality to a lower level.

    It is not like people will run 6-drive SSD arrays on their tablets :).
  • quadrivial - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    A SOC like tegra 2 uses quite a lot of power when running at full capacity. The only reason it is "power efficient" is because it works quickly and returns to idle (a few milliwatts). If the Z-01 can idle at a similar wattage, it can compete. In fact, because it could return to idle more quickly (because it is faster) and because it can provide more top end performance if needed, it could even be a better alternative.

    The big question is how to get rid of the low power x86 stigma that manufacturers seem to have.
  • mmatis - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    it's "nigh", not "neigh". Quit horsing around.

    1st sentence, 2nd paragraph.
  • AmdInside - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Why do companies keep releasing Windows tablets? I have never seen anyone on the street carrying a Windows tablet. Honeycomb and iPad yes. Never Windows tablet.
  • erikejw - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    Because they might use it instead of seeing it as an accessoar
    getting street cred, compare Chihuahua.
  • riottime - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    ...but i'm happy with my eee slate ep121 and it's uber powerful i5 cpu and wacom digitizer for now. ;)
  • qqgoodhao - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link


    Women's fashion, men's personality + shoes

    Travel bagthat eye-catching jacket + super pack free shipping

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now