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Oct 25, 2011

AMD Prepares Z-03 Low-Power APU for Tablet Devices

AMD's foray into the tablet market with the Desna APU has seen limited success, but this won't stop the company from releasing a successor for this low-power platform that will be comprised out of the Z-03 accelerated processing unit and of the A55T Fusion Controller Hub (FCH).

On a first look, the Z-03 seems to feature identical specifications with the Z-01 APU is meant to replace, but once we move in closely we come to see that AMD has managed to lower the TDP of this chip.

Compared to the 5.9W required by the Z-01, the new Z-03 has reduced this value to just 4.5W, while retaining the same dual processing cores clocked at 1GHz of its predecessor as well as its HD 6250 integrated GPU with 80 shader units clocked at 276MHz.

How AMD managed to achieve this feat is not yet known at the moment, but one possible explanation could be that this upcoming APU will be manufacturing using a much more power frugal 28nm fabrication node.

In addition to its accelerated processing core, AMD also revised the chipset used for this platform, the A55T.

Compared with its Desna counterpart, the A55T has lost some of the features that aren't required for tablet use such as the dedicated x4 PCI Express destined for connecting an standalone GPU or the USB 1.1 ports included.

Instead, the chipset now comes with a single SATA 3Gbps port, two channels HD audio, an x2 Unified Media Interface, eight USB 2.0 ports, and the ability to access an mSATA storage drive.

All these are joined together by SDIO support for WiFi as to enable the tablets designed around the platform to always remain connected to wireless networks, and an optimized design that doesn't require any active cooling.

According to the information supplied by ComputerBase, the Z-03 APU will enter mass production in late April 2012, just a few weeks after the A55T FCH, and is expected to arrive at about the same time as Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.


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