Convertible tablets are here to stay. Heck, I'd expect them to become the norm rather than the exception, at least as far as Windows 8 slates go. AMD wants a piece of that market, naturally (who wouldn't?), and it's developed a technology to ensure convertibles offer the best of both worlds: great performance when docked and great battery life in tablet mode. ComputerWorld has the goods:
The company's Turbo Dock technology will adapt system performance when a hybrid laptop is in tablet mode, and vice versa, said Steve Belt, corporate vice president at AMD. The underlying technology behind Turbo Dock cranks up the clock speed of a processor when the tablet is connected to the dock, turning the hybrid device into a high-performance laptop.
ComputerWorld says Turbo Dock increases performance by "up to 40%" when the tablet is docked with its keyboard, uh, dock. Turbo Dock will premiere in Win8 convertibles based on AMD's upcoming Temash APU. As we learned at CES last month, Temash is supposed to outperform AMD's existing, tablet-targeted Z-60 APU by a factor of two. You'll see Temash in both dual-core and quad-core variants, with thermal envelopes under 5W, some time around the middle of this year.
Now, if Turbo Dock sounds familiar, it may be because Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix convertible already does something similar. According to The Verge, "when you click the tablet into the keyboard dock, a special cooling system in the hinge allows the machine to overclock the Intel processor." This isn't quite the same scheme, though, and AMD is undoubtedly doing some good by taking the problem out of the hands of PC makers. A technology like Turbo Dock really ought to be standardized and made available in all systems.
In any case, I like the idea. WinRT slates tend to be sluggish and limited, yet at the same time, Win8 devices don't always have the right mix of performance and battery life. Hopefully, Turbo Dock will help bridge the gap somewhat.