Vizio's AMD Z60 Hondo-based Windows 8 Tablet PC at CES 2013by Vivek Gowri on January 15, 2013 5:40 PM EST
Even with the comprehensive overhaul of their notebook lineup, the big news out of Vizio’s CES booth was definitely their new Windows 8 tablet. The Vizio Tablet PC is the first system we’ve come across with AMD’s Z60 APU inside. It’s a 1GHz dual-core part, with a pair of Bobcat cores and an HD 6250 GPU onboard. The low clock speed allows it to hit a TDP of roughly 4.5W, easily the lowest of AMD’s APUs, but likely means that compute performance will likely be similar to or slightly worse than Clover Trail. This isn’t unexpected, since we saw the same situation play out with Ontario last year - basically a faster microarchitecture clocked significantly lower such that it performed roughly on par with Atom, except with significantly better GPU performance.
In addition to the AMD Z60, the Vizio Tablet PC comes with an 11.6” 1080p display, 2GB of memory, a 64GB SSD, stereo speakers, and Vizio’s now customary industrial design and attention to detail. The chassis is pretty thin at 0.4”, and at 1.66lbs isn’t too heavy for a system of this form factor. It’s a nice design, very flat and clean, and feels good in hand. The frame is aluminum, with a soft-touch back and glass front. I'll explore the hardware fully in the review, but for now, just know that it's a good looking, well executed design.
My main comparison point was the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T, a Clover Trail-based 11.6” (1366x768) tablet which weighs a very similar 1.64lbs. The ATIV isn’t a particularly well designed system, which I’ll get into in my review, so the Vizio is unsurprisingly a much nicer piece of hardware design, but what really got me was the performance of Z60. Even at 1080p, the Vizio feels smoother throughout the Windows 8 UI than Clover Trail at WXGA. The extra GPU horsepower of the APU certainly makes itself felt when compared to the PowerVR SGX545 in Atom Z2760. This is a good sign, and all of the hardware acceleration capabilities that opens up should make Z60 a much more livable computing situation than Atom. Obviously, it won’t come anywhere near 7W IVB, which I’d say is the current preferred Windows 8 tablet platform (and should be until Haswell comes) but it should be a good deal cheaper.
The display is supposedly not IPS but is definitely some wide-angle panel type, so perhaps it’s a Samsung-sourced PLS panel or something similar. Pretty crisp, 1080p on an 11.6” panel is fantastic from a pixel density standpoint. We have no indications on price or release date, but Vizio says that it will be priced “competitively”. Competitive to what still remains a question, since the Z60-based Vizio kind of bridges the gap between Clover Trail and Ivy Bridge tablets, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see it drop at around $800. That puts it on par with the ASUS VivoTab 810C (the Atom one, not the one we reviewed) and just above the ATIV Smart PC ($749) but well below the 1080p Ivy Bridge tablets ($899 for Surface Pro, $949 for Acer’s W700).
I’m excited, it looks like a pretty decent offering and I’m glad to see AMD get such a solid design win. Intel has long owned the mobile and ultramobile PC space, so it’s nice to see AMD finally put out a viable chip that will hopefully shake things up going forward.
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tipoo - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkI look forward to when you guys get your hands on this for another analysis of SoC power consumption. It doesn't seem like AMD has the architecture or the fabrication advantage of ARM or Intel to get so low power consumption, but I'd love to be surprised and have them be a good competitor in this space. We all know they won't catch up in desktops and laptops in performance per watt, hopefully in a new market they can.
frozentundra123456 - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkIt looks nice, but I am comcerned about cpu performance. If it is 800.00 compared to 900 to 1000.00, I would have to strongly consider the IVB more powerful tablet. Seems like 700 ish would be a more appropriate price point.
NichrolasHoult - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - linkLove my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)
Happy New Year!
twotwotwo - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkWhen I really think about it, I know I should wait maybe a yearish for Haswell to come out and Ubuntu to get usable enough on tablets. Besides, my 'old' laptop isn't _that_ old, and works fine.
When I don't really think about it, I want one of these. :)
kyuu - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkI'm definitely looking forward to this tablet. However, I hope you're wrong on the price point. Considering there are Atom-powered Win8 tablets in the $500-600 range, and AMD's chipset should be significantly cheaper than Intel's, I was more expecting this to be in that range, *maybe* ~$700. Granted the 1080p panel instead of 1366x768 is going to drive the price up a bit, but I still don't see this being competitive at a price approaching that of Ivy Bridge tablets.
If they bring this in at $600 or cheaper, it's pretty much an instant buy for me. $600-700 I'll definitely consider it. Any more than that, I don't really think I can justify it over getting a touchscreen laptop... like Vizio's refreshed 14" Thin+Light.
LordConrad - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkI'm glad to see AMD has a horse in this race, their low-end chips are much better than the Atom. This might change when Intel updates Atom to support Out-of-Order execution, but for now AMD rules the x86 low-end.
Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkWay way way waaaaaaay too expensive. Wow. Two years ago you could buy a C-50 tablet with 32GB SSD for $500. Hell it was on sale for $450 several times. 64GB of SSD costs less than 32GB costed back then. The same 2GB of RAM costs less. The battery costs less. The panel probably costs $50 more. The SoC probably $20 more. So where in blazes do you get off even speculating $700? Where do these outrageous numbers keep coming from? The bill of materials on this thing cant possibly be over $400.
Beenthere - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkIt's all good. Nice to see smarter PC makers not being bamboozeled by InHell hype and strong-arm tactics.
themossie - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkI believe AMD's TDP figures are for a system including everything except for storage and screen, such as radios. As such, they're not directly comparable and a 4.5W TDP isn't as bad as it sounds.
Looking up how AMD calculates TDP for this isn't getting me anywhere, maybe my memory's wrong - only relevant links I found were
http://hothardware.com/News/AMDs-Hondo-Will-Challe... (see Competitive Positioning)
http://www.amd.com/us/press-releases/Pages/new-amd... (see bottom, reference 2)
Also, Z-60 systems do not stay connected to wifi in standby mode. This is a big difference from iPad and Android, which you can rely on to notify you of emails, IMs and the like...
kyuu - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - link"Also, Z-60 systems do not stay connected to wifi in standby mode. This is a big difference from iPad and Android, which you can rely on to notify you of emails, IMs and the like..."
That's true, but as far as I'm concerned, a non-issue. I have a smartphone to keep me appraised of things like that. A tablet for me doesn't need to replicate the connected-standby function of the computer I have in my pocket all the time anyway.