AMD debuts tablet-friendly Z-60 APU

AMD has officially debuted its Z-60 (Hondo) Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), an x86 chip designed specifically for small form factor PCs and tablets as thin as 10mm.

As expected, AMD’s lowest power APU offers full support for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS, as well as compatibility with Windows 7 and legacy MS apps.  

“The AMD Z-60 APU comes loaded with features designed to enhance the tablet experience, including Start Now technology that allows fast boot and resume from sleep times, up to eight hours of battery life while Web browsing, and up to six hours of HD video playback,” explained AMD spokesperson Steve Belt. 

“The  Z-60 also includes] AMD Radeon graphics on the APU, with support for full HD 1080p (1920×1200) resolution, HDMI output for external displays and impressive gaming performance with Microsoft Direct X 11 capability.”

Additional specs include:

* AMD Radeon HD 6250

* 80 Radeon cores

* 4.5W TDP

* 2 CPU cores

* 1 GHz clock speed

* USB 3.0 support

* 1MB L2 cache

* 2 second resume, 25 second boot to windows cycle

The first tablets based on the AMD Z-60 APU are expected to launch globally this year in conjunction with  Windows 8 on October 26, 2012. Of course,  the success of AMD’s Z-60 APU is contingent upon two primary factors.

Firstly, how tablets powered by the chip will stack up against devices equipped with Intel’s Clover trail processor – both in terms of price and real world performance. 

Secondly, will Z-60 APU tablets be able to take on Windows RT ARM devices  that offer both a lower price point and longer battery life? 

While AMD might have some luck in competing with Intel for those interested in running legacy Windows apps, the company will undoubtedly face an uphill battle as it struggles to carve out a space for itself in a tablet market overwhelmingly dominated by ARM-powered devices.