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AMD Announces Low-Power Z-60 'Hondo' APU for Windows 8 Tablets

AMD isn't about to sit idly by while Intel pushes into the mobile market with its tablet-focused Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail" processors. Today, AMD announced its alternative: the Z-60 "Hondo" APU. The company claims the Z-60 is its lowest power APU yet with a TDP of just 4.5 watts, and the processor is slated to show up in tablets as soon as Windows 8 devices start shipping.

The Z-60 APU sports a pair of CPU cores clocked at 1GHz alongside 80 integrated AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphic cores. That's a lot of imagery-pushing oomph, and therein lies the difference AMD's APU brings to the already crowded mobile table.

AMD claims those Radeon cores pump out graphics five to six times better than Intel's last-gen Atom processor, The Verge reports. What does that mean in real life? The company also claims that a Z-60-powered tablet can play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at 1024 x 768 resolution at a respectable 30 frames per second. That's far from silky-smooth, but it's definitely playable and quite a feat for a mobile device -- assuming the boasting can be backed up by benchmark testing, that is.

Intel's new Atom Z2760 processor, on the other hand, focuses more on the CPU side of things with its 1.7GHz clock speed and performance-boosting hyperthreading technology. The Atom processor also keeps things a little leaner and meaner than the AMD APU, at least on paper: while AMD's Z-60 fits into tablets 0.39-inch thick and offers up to six hours of HD video playback on a single charge, Intel's Atom processor slips into 0.33-inch tablets and (theoretically) allows you to watch you to 10 hours of HD movies with needing to plug in.

Of course, mobile isn't the desktop, and the question isn't just how AMD and Intel processors stack up against one another; tablet makers also have established ARM-based chips from top-notch manufacturers like Nvidia, Qualcomm and Samsung vying for their interest.