While putting together the latest system guide, we lamented the lack of a replacement for HP’s excellent dm1z ultraportable. The 11.6″ system is based on AMD’s Brazos platform, and even though it’s more than a year old, we’ve yet to see anything better at around $400.
AMD has a second-generation Brazos platform in the works, and the first ultraportable based on it has already popped up online. HP’s Malaysian site lists the dm1-4210au, an 11.6″ system with an AMD E1-1200 APU. The dual-core chip runs at 1.4GHz and features Radeon HD 7310 integrated graphics. It’s paired with an A68M platform hub, which CPU World claims offers both USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA connectivity. The dm1-4210au’s spec sheet lists only USB 2.0 ports, though. Let’s hope that’s an error; AMD has confirmed that USB 3.0 is part of the new Brazos platform, and SuperSpeed connectivity seems like a no-brainer for modern ultraportables.
According to CPU World, the E1-1200 APU has the same 18W TDP as existing Brazos chips. It also has a faster sidekick: the E2-1800, which will reportedly run its dual cores at 1.7GHz and feature “slightly faster integrated graphics.” Turns out the E2-1800 has made its way online, too, this time in an 11.6-incher from MSI. The company’s Japanese site details the U270 ultraportable, which pairs the E2-1800 APU with the last-gen A50M platform hub. That system has Radeon HD 7340 integrated graphics, suggesting a modest clock speed boost over the E1-1200’s Radeon GPU.
AMD has yet to reveal the Brazos 2.0 platform formally, but we already know that it’s a minor revision of last year’s design based on the same 40-nm fabrication process. Plans for a quad-core, 28-nm refresh were axed, and it appears we won’t get a substantial overhaul until 2013. That’s when a new chip dubbed Kabini is set to arrive with up to four processor cores, a GPU based on the Graphics Core Next architecture, and an integrated platform hub. AMD calls Kabini its “first real SoC,” and there will be a dual-core Tamesh derivative designed for “tablet/fanless” applications.