AMD Unveils Mobile Multimedia Chip

Jeff Berg
SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Computer hardware manufacturer AMD placed its new Alchemy chip on the market today with the intention of revolutionizing portable multimedia technology and allowing consumers to take high-resolution, DVD-quality video on the go.

The low-power chip features on-board media acceleration hardware and media player software, which means that products containing the chip can eschew the now-needed digital signal processors in order to create speedier applications. Formats currently supported by the chip include MPEG, DivX, and Windows Media Version 9.

AMD said that its new chip was part of an effort to work with digital video recorder manufacturer TiVo in its newly announced TiVo-To-Go program, which will make TiVo recordings transferable to personal music players, laptops and other portable devices.

“The explosive growth of MP3 players illustrates the desire consumers have to take entertainment on the go,” said Iain Morris, senior vice president of AMD’s personal connectivity solutions group. “The natural progression to the next ‘must have’ portable entertainment device is a video equivalent to the MP3 player, albeit with a slight different user model.”

The first line of AMD Alchemy chips, the Au1200, supports 720 by 480 resolution in multiple video formats, USB2.0 connections, a camera interface and 128-bit encryption.

The chip is planned for release in speeds of 333, 400 and 500 MHz sometime during the second quarter of 2005, and will retail for about $22.50.