CEBIT: Future AMD Turions unleashed

CEBIT: Future AMD Turions unleashed

AMD's Turion won't be available until April, but PC makers are already showing designs based on future Turion chips at Cebit.

Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD's) new Turion mobile processors haven't been formally released yet, but notebooks on the show floor at Cebit are already on display, including a few with Turion processors not yet announced by AMD.

Acer is displaying two Turion-based notebooks in one of the 27 exhibition halls on the fairgrounds of Hanover, Germany. Both Aspire notebooks feature the ML-40 version of the Turion processor, which runs at 2.2GHz and features 1Mb of Level 2 cache, according to BIOS (basic input/output system) information displayed during the startup procedure of the notebook.

The most powerful Turion chip announced Thursday by AMD was the ML-37. A clock speed or cache amount was not provided for that chip.

Turion is AMD's most ambitious attempt yet at cracking Intel's runaway lead in the market for notebook processors. AMD's Athlon 64, Sempron, and Athlon XP chips can be found in several notebooks from a variety of manufacturers, but Intel's Centrino package -- consisting of the Pentium M processor, a mobile chipset and a wireless chip -- has been a massive hit for the world's largest chip maker.

AMD lowered the power consumption of its mobile processors with Turion, which comes in 25-watt or 35-watt varieties, according to an Acer spokesman. The power consumption number refers to the maximum amount of power the chip will require at a given time, a worst-case scenario figure given to notebook makers so they can design their systems to withstand that amount of heat. AMD's older mobile chips were generally used in heavier notebooks that didn't require the same heat protection demanded by notebooks weighing 5 pounds (2.25 kilograms) or less.

Turion chips fall into one of two categories, the ML and MT families. Under its naming system, the closer the second letter is to the end of the alphabet, the less power the chip consumes. The numbers refer to the relative performance of the chip within a given category.

Benchmark results and technical reviews are not available yet, but the Acer Turion systems are expected to outperform similarly configured Pentium M systems, and cost less, the Acer spokesman said.

Contract manufacturer, Asustek Computer, was also showing a Turion notebook on the Cebit show floor. Its model was based on the 25-watt version of the processor, and comes with 1MB of Level 2 cache, according to Asustek's display.

Turion chips and systems are not expected to become widely available until the end of April. AMD representatives were not immediately available to confirm plans for the ML-40.

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