If you're buying a new laptop any time soon, the usual wisdom just got a shake-up. AMD has just launched a bunch of new low-power CPUs and discrete graphics chips that will be appearing in plenty of mainstream laptops, and they're a genuine contender for Intel's Core i3 and Core i5 — especially if you're thinking about playing any games.
Crucially for thin-and-light systems, some of AMD's new 7000 Series APUs — that's Accelerated Processing Unit, the AMD term for a single system-on-chip combining both CPU and GPU — boast 40 per cent more graphics power than an equivalent Intel Core i5. Considering even the most energy-hungry new AMD FX, A10 and A8 chips are rated at a miserly 25 Watts of power consumption.
Based on the new generation of AMD's processor architecture called Carrizo, the processors also include the world's first hardware H.265 HEVC decompression support in a notebook. If you're watching high-resolution video from a new 4K-capable camera like the Samsung NX1, am AMD Carrizo APU will display it smoothly where a non-accelerated Intel will drop frames.
Power efficiency is much improved, too. A laptop with a new AMD processor could have battery life twice as long thanks to improvements in the way chips communicate and the low-power states they can switch into at a millisecond's notice, with the biggest improvements made when you're watching video — that crucial "try and get enough battery life for a long-distance plane flight" scenario. Even with Web browsing and productivity tests, AMD's 7000 Series APUs show energy usage improvements of 40 per cent.
AMD's new chips will be shipping in Australia soon in laptops from Dell, Alienware, HP, Lenovo and other system-builders. [AMD]