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AMD adopts Qualcomm's new Wifi 6E chip to challenge Intel in enterprise laptops

AMD adopts Qualcomm's new Wifi 6E chip to challenge Intel in enterprise laptops
18 May, 2022
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Two US-based chipmakers, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Qualcomm, have partnered to take on Intel’s remote management platform, vPro, as well as its Wifi 6E offerings – in a potential move to take on the enterprise segment. The latest collaboration will see AMD use Qualcomm’s FastConnect connectivity chips on its Ryzen processors for laptops, which will use the 6GHz wireless band in multi-band configurations to produce faster internet speeds and greater bandwidth – and offer enterprise devices better remote management.

The collaboration will begin with AMD’s Ryzen 6000 Pro series laptop CPUs, and feature the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 mobile wifi chip. The latter uses the 6GHz band (for Wifi 6E), along with delivering Wifi 6 connectivity standard to all laptops equipped with Ryzen 6000 Pro series processors. The key advantages of this include internet bandwidth of up to 3.6Gbps, and Qualcomm also claims “VR-class” low latency – or super-fast response times to stream virtual reality content.

Other key features of the FastConnect 6900 chip include Bluetooth 5.3, and “advanced” audio features that include higher definition wireless audio streaming via Bluetooth, using the Qualcomm AptX and Bluetooth LE Audio standards.

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In a joint press note, AMD and Qualcomm state that this collaboration will bring multi-band wifi connectivity to laptops. The latter will seemingly enhance “connection robustness”, alongside improving data bandwidth and reducing latency. Such features can translate to data-intensive high resolution internet tasks, such as video conferencing.

The move means that AMD laptops, at least on paper, would surpass the bandwidth offered by Intel’s Wifi 6E chips. The latest line from Intel, which has been available for over a year in the market now, already has several laptops based on them available in the market – such as the HP Spectre x360, Asus ZenBook Duo 14, and more. The line of Wifi 6E chips from Intel includes the AX210, AX211 and AX411, and each of them offer peak bandwidth of 2.4Gbps – lower than AMD-Qualcomm’s 3.6Gbps from today’s announcement.

AMD and Qualcomm are also taking on Intel’s enterprise information technology (IT) management platform, vPro, with its own ‘AMD Manageability Processor’. The latter will be available starting with AMD’s Ryzen 6000 Pro CPU-based enterprise segment processors, and offer faster and more stable remote connectivity and internet services management by IT teams in remote locations. Such a feature would come handy, considering how hybrid workplaces are the increasing norm.

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Jason Banta, AMD’s corporate vice president, said that the Manageability Processor “is an important tool for enterprise IT managers to diagnose and fix issues, even when the operating system is not running.”

This, however, isn’t new in the market, with Intel’s vPro remote IT management platform being around for a while now. The company’s latest Wifi 6E chips detailed above also have Intel vPro integration, making any Intel-powered, Wifi 6E-compatible laptop to be potential enterprise class devices.

While the inclusion of Wifi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 is an expected evolution, the remote IT management platform that comes with AMD and Qualcomm’s new collaboration should be a prominent feature for enterprise laptop buyers looking for an alternative to Intel.

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The latest chips from Qualcomm will feature in new generation AMD-powered laptops such as the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series, or the HP EliteBook 805 portfolio.