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MSI S270 AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology
By Justin Ong
Category : Notebooks/Laptops
Published by Vijay Anand on Monday, 18th July, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

AMD's Decisiveness To Penetrate The Mobile Space

For those of you who have been keeping a close eye on the proceedings of processors for the past decade or so, you would have no doubt in your mind that AMD has been, for the most part, playing second fiddle to Intel for a great many years in both desktop and notebook computing. While the pole position had changed hands numerous times between the top two names in the processor business, AMD is still by a considerable gap, the underdog at the end of the day. Still, that's not equivalent to saying that AMD has never had its share of successes. Through the immensely powerful and value for money Athlon line of processors, AMD was able to reclaim some much needed pride and market share while moving that close to the heels of Intel.

Concentrating specifically on the mobile computing space, AMD hasn’t particularly been a choice brand and their mobile offerings thus far have had lukewarm response at best. Not even a mobile adaptation of its successful desktop Athlon processors could tilt the scales in favor of AMD, especially not when Intel so timely launched a massive worldwide Centrino branding campaign for its new mobile platform that has proved absolutely phenomenal in every aspect. The Intel Centrino platform essentially transformed the industry as it propelled notebooks into a new era with increased performance and more streamlined designs without compromising on battery life, making them very portable and practical for serious use on the go.

This is AMD's answer to combat Intel's Centrino Mobile Technology and we'll soon find out how it fared in our trials.

Despite losing out to Intel in the first few bouts, AMD has never really thrown out their ambition to make positive inroads into the notebook market. In fact, if we were to take a closer look at AMD's latest product lineup of mobile processors, the company is actually busy expanding its mobile solutions with the AMD Mobile Athlon 64 and the Mobile Sempron processors for the performance and value notebook segments. Their very latest addition comes in the form of their Turion 64 Mobile technology, which we'll be spending a great deal of time in this article to establish its various aspects. Let's take a brief look at the former two options, before we move into explaining AMD's new foray.

Mobile Athlon 64

For the uninitiated, the Athlon 64 processor is the first 64-bit processor of its class to deliver compatibility with existing x86 solutions and the Mobile Athlon 64 is nearly identical to a regular Athlon 64 processor in every manner except power consumption. Athlon 64 processors that have been tested to consume lower power than nominally specified would be marked and sold as Mobile Athlon 64 processors. Since these variants consume less power, they are therefore better suited for use in a mobile environment that are tied to a finite power source. As it stands, a Mobile Athlon 64 processor consumes less power and consequently generates less heat when stacked against an Intel Pentium 4 processor. Despite its lower power consumption than a desktop Athlon 64 and an Intel Pentium 4 processor, the Mobile Athlon 64 processor is still not quite the battery miser when compared to an Intel Pentium M processor. Due to this thorny power concern, AMD Mobile Athlon 64 processors of today are typically found in desktop replacement notebooks where high performance and the occasional portability are the two paramount design parameters.

Mobile Sempron

The Mobile Sempron processor on the other hand, is more of a processor that's designed to clash head on with the Intel Celeron M processor and the lower echelons of the Pentium M series. The reasons are easy enough to comprehend when you do a cross comparison of their specs. Where the Intel Celeron M and Pentium M processors (based on "Banias" core) have a L2 cache that ranges between 512KB and 1MB, the Mobile Sempron has only 256KB across its entire series, but in its favor are other features such as the integrated DDR Memory Controller (MCT), integrated Northbridge and Enhanced Virus Protection Capability. Also, the maximum thermal design power (TDP) of the Mobile Sempron at 25W is in a similar ballpark (albeit a tad higher) as the 21W TDP of the Celeron M and Pentium M processors. Still, where actual marketing of notebooks and real world performance are concerned, the Mobile Sempron has its work cut out in an Intel dominated notebook market.

The Circle Is Now Complete With The Turion 64

With the above mentioned mobile processor variants, AMD has two out of three notebook categories covered and that just leaves the thin and light category waiting to be plugged. This brings us to our main product coverage of the day and®'s first detailed look at the new AMD Turion 64 processor in an actual retail notebook by the way of MSI from Taiwan. Before commencing the review, it's to be noted that the Turion 64 is a 64-bit processor capable of running both 32-bit and 64-bit applications, just like the Mobile Athlon 64. That means transitioning to upcoming 64-bit operating systems will be a smooth process, but will it be the breakthrough that AMD has long desired?

The MSI S270 bears AMD's Turion 64 Mobile Technology.

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