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AMD sees no Geode chip replacement in sight

Advanced Micro Devices said it has no replacement planned for the aging Geode low-power chip, creating uncertainty for its use in products like future XO laptops made by One Laptop Per Child.

There won’t be a Geode successor and the company has no core microarchitecture planned to replace the chip, AMD executives said. The comments end speculation about the future of Geode, an integrated chip used in netbooks like OLPC's XO laptop, ultramobile PCs and devices like set-top boxes.

“There are no plans for a follow-on product to today's available AMD Geode LX products, but we expect to make this very successful processor available to customers as long as the market demands,” said Phil Hughes, an AMD spokesman.

The chip is too old for further development, said Dean McCarron, president for Mercury Research. Chip designs and manufacturing processes have improved since it was first introduced.

AMD is also trying to channel its resources smartly during tough economic times and Geode isn't high on its list of priorities, McCarron said.

“Geode was a nice niche market for them, but we are in a very different environment. You can't split your attention too many ways,” he said. Geode doesn't contribute to AMD's bottom line like the mainstream chips.

AMD could re-enter the ultra-low-power-chip space after its fortunes improve, McCarron said. It could shrink down existing low-power chips like the Athlon Neo, which are based on newer designs, McCarron said. AMD earlier in the month launched Athlon Neo for ultrathin laptops.

But company executives say that's unlikely.”We'll continue to sell the Geode line of products, but as far as are we going to be bringing out a new core microarchitecture specifically targeted at that space — no, we won't be doing that. It's not a part of our future product road map. You are going to continue to see us offer lower-power processors just like the Neo being offered at 15 watts,” said Randy Allen, senior vice president of the computing solutions group at AMD, in an interview earlier this month.

Geode bundles an x86 processor core, a graphics core and other components on a single chip. The Geode LX series of chips runs at speeds of up to 600MHz and draws between 0.9 watts and 5 watts of power.

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