AMD Conjures up Alchemy Kit for Tablets

AMD Monday continued to entice manufacturers to use its chips in more mobile devices.

At the WinHEC show in New Orleans, the company released samples of its Portable Media Tablet Reference Design Kit (RDK) centered on its Alchemy Solutions Au1500 processor. The $3,500 kit includes a board, LCD panel, battery, debug card, enclosure, and design file. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based semiconductor maker said it would release the kit on a wider scale starting this August.

The software is designed to help develop portable multimedia and data terminals running Microsoft Windows CE or Linux.

“Manufacturers need a solution that enables the development of high-performance, low-cost wireless displays with extended battery life,” AMD vice president Phil Pompa said in a statement. “While helping to enable advanced multimedia capabilities, this tool also helps our customers lower development costs, improve the overall computing experience, and bring their products to market in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

The RDK supports the major multimedia playback capabilities including MPEG1, 2, and 4; Windows Media Video 8 and 9; MP3 and advanced two-dimensional graphics with the integrated Philips TriMedia processor and Silicon Motion Voyager Gx Graphics controller.

The design kit also supports multiple wireless LAN standards including 802.11b , 802.11g, and 802.11a supported by the Mini PCI-based wireless LAN. AMD said the new RDK can handle mobile monitors with a 12.1-inch, 1024 x 786 16-bit per pixel display, and can support resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 16-bit per pixel display.

AMD has been toting the benefits of its Au1500 processor over low-power competition from main rival Intel with its XScale processors and upstart Transmeta , which runs its Crusoe chips inside Hewlett-Packard’s Tablet PC.

The Au1500 is a MIPS32 technology-based system on a chip (SOC) processor, and is available at speeds of 333MHz, 400MHz and 500MHz, with power dissipations of less than 400 milliwatts, 700 milliwatts and 1.2 watts, respectively.

The chip has integrated system peripherals, including a 33/66MHz 32-bit PCI Controller (PCI 2.2 compliant), GPIO, two 10/100 Ethernet Controllers, USB Device and Host, two UARTS, an AC-97 Controller and a PCMCIA controller. The Au1500 also supports dual Ethernet MACs (Medium Access Controllers), an integrated Universal Systems Bus (USB) host and device ports, and a Peripheral Component Interface (PCI) for better connections to home and small office networking products.

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