New AMD Chip to Change Perceptions of Netbooks

Dennis Faas's picture

Thought you knew netbooks? Hardware producer Lenovo is determined to change that. The company says its newest line-up of ultraportable netbooks will boast portability as well as power.

For most of their brief history, netbooks have been little more than compact, lightweight web browsing and word processing tools with minimal performance capabilities. For many consumers, that's been just fine. Netbooks perform these basic functions (which, let's face it, are probably the most important things a computer can do) admirably, and in most cases they cost less than $500.

Changing the Way Consumers Think About Netbooks

So long as the price doesn't jump too high, consumers are always hankering for a little more power. It's a tough line to straddle, but Chinese hardware producer Lenovo (known best, perhaps, for its work on the IBM ThinkPad) says it can do just that.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the company recently unveiled three new netbooks it says will redefine conceptions of netbook performance without dramatically expanding prices. (Source:

The new devices include the Lenovo X120e, the IdeaPad S100 and the IdeaPad S250.

To date, most netbooks have used the capable but somewhat underwhelming single-core Intel Atom chip for processing power. That's changed with two of the new Lenovo products. Instead, they'll be using AMD chips from the Fusion APU series, which employ a single die housing both the CPU and discrete graphics.

The Lenovo X120e and the IdeaPad S250 (both touting 11-inch screens) will use the AMD E-350 APU, while the IdeaPad S100 (with a 10-inch display) continues to employ the dual-core Intel Atom chip.

New Chip Integrates Graphics, CPU on 1 Die

The key to improved performance is the AMD E-350 chip's combination of the CPU and discrete graphics. The integration means a netbook equipped with this processor is not only more responsive, but can reportedly handle newer 3D video games. In essence, it trumps the Intel Atom chip, which doesn't integrate graphics and CPU.

But it's not just the performance boost consumers will notice when using the Lenovo X120e and IdeaPad S250. AMD boasts that its newest chip will also help conserve energy, extending the battery life of a system to as long as 8 hours.

It's not yet known how much these new netbooks will cost, but it's likely there will be a wide range of prices depending on a user's hardware demands. Already Lenovo is hinting that some of these new netbooks could ship with 8GB RAM, HDMI ports, and even a 750GB hard drive. (Source:

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