Intel's new Sandy Bridge chips Core i3, i5 and i7 chips are now available in consumer laptops, and now has a rival -- AMD plans to release new A-series chips, code-named "Llano," for consumer laptops and desktops in the second quarter.
The A-series processors could intensify the chip battle between Intel and AMD as consumers evaluate laptops based on price and performance. The Intel and AMD chips both combine a CPU and graphics processor inside a single chip, but have unique strengths, analysts said.
Intel's Sandy Bridge chips are generally considered to provide better CPU performance and have a capable graphics processor, but PCs with AMD's Llano are thought to better handle graphics-intensive tasks.
The A-series chips will include between two and four cores, according to the company's road map.
AMD's Llano will have a better graphics engine and offer a superior movie playback and gaming experience, Brookwood said. Llano's integrated graphics processor supports DirectX 11, which is a set of tools that help generate more realistic images when playing games on PCs running Windows 7.
AMD's superior graphics capabilities could also give it a price advantage, Brookwood said. PCs based on Intel's Sandy Bridge chips may require a dedicated graphics card to handle high-end graphics, which could increase the price of laptops.
Intel spokesman Dave Salvator said that rather than talking CPU versus GPU, it's more useful to look at what people do regularly with PCs. Sandy Bridge chips are good for mainstream gaming, and have advanced power-saving and security features.
"If you're an enthusiast gamer, then Intel Core i7 with a high-end discrete 3D card is the right solution for high-end gaming," Salvator said.
AMD may have an aging CPU in Llano, but a price advantage and a better graphics processor could help it compete with Intel's Sandy Bridge, Mercury's McCarron principal analyst at Mercury Research said.