/ 15 July 2008

Intel shows off new laptop chip package

Intel rolled out a new batch of chips for laptops on Monday that promises longer battery life and better graphics-rendering abilities, the company’s latest salvo against smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Both companies are posturing to capture the attention of computer buyers looking for crisper, high-definition video playback on their laptops and less battery drain, a difficult balancing act.

The latest from Intel is its new Centrino 2 ”platform” — a package that includes a processor, related chipset and wireless communications chip.

Intel is releasing five new processors in different versions of the bundle. Three of those use just 25 watts of energy, a 30% reduction from the previous generation, Intel said.

Power consumption is an area where Intel has an advantage because it has moved faster than AMD to a manufacturing process that lowers the energy use of its chips and the cost of making them.

AMD, meanwhile, has dramatically improved the visual capabilities of its chips with the 2006 acquisition of graphics chip maker ATI Technologies, a $5,6-billion deal that saddled AMD with substantial debt. AMD overhauled its mobile line-up last month with the release of its new Turion processor and related chipset.

AMD said those chips deliver three times better 3-D performance and five times better high-definition image quality than competing models.

The processors consume as little as 32 watts of power.

Also at stake is Intel’s need to push a new long-range wireless internet technology called WiMax. Intel has invested heavily in WiMax but the technology has serious competition.

Intel plans to introduce WiMax technologies into the Centrino 2 bundle later this year. The company hopes that move will help spread the adoption of WiMax in the same way that the first Centrino package of chips, released in 2003, helped accelerate the use of Wi-Fi. — Sapa-AP