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Fusion processors are cheap, power efficient, and pack a powerful GPU -- a winning combination for budget designs.  (Source: Computer Shopper)

The chip has helped AMD finally turn the corner and return to profitability.  (Source: Maximum PC)

  (Source: Comic Vine)
Once troubled chipmaker appears to be turning the corner thanks to GPUs and CPU/GPU "Fusion" combos

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.'s (AMD2006 purchase of ATI Technologies for $5.4B USD was widely criticized and scrutinized at the time.  But it now appears that it may have saved the company.

After a couple years of losses, AMD finally appears to be turning the corner this year.  The company reported [press release] an impressive net income of $510M USD on revenue of $1.61B USD.  Its operating income was $54M USD and its non-GAAP income was $54M USD.

The strong earnings were largely driven by AMD's continued dominance in GPU sales.  They also were driven by AMD's new Fusion system on a chip that packs power-savvy Bobcat CPU cores on a die with a full Evergreen (found in the 6000 series) GPU.

OEMs appear to be embracing the chip.  Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Sony and Toshiba have all launched Fusion designs.  And the chips are also becoming popular in the embedded sector for devices like casino machines, which need a more power GPU to drive a large screen.  Fujitsu, Kontron, Quixant and Congatec are all pushing embedded applications of Fusion chips.

Thomas Seifert, CFO and interim CEO, elates, "First quarter operating results were highlighted by strong demand for our first generation of AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs).  APU unit shipments greatly exceeded our expectations, and we are excited to build on that momentum now that we are shipping our 'Llano' APU."

The Fusion chips are proving so popular for several regions.  First, AMD has priced them very competitively, so they're winding up in very affordable laptop designs.  Secondly, the chips are very power efficient.  And finally they offer a nice performance blend, offering sufficient CPU performance and relatively powerful GPU performance.

By contrast Intel Corp.'s (INTC) latest design Sandy Bridge, also packs an on-die CPU/GPU pairing.  But the onboard GPU is significantly weaker, the power consumption is higher, and the chip is more expensive.  Thus while it is solution of choice for high-power enthusiast desktops and laptops, it's less than optimal for the much larger budget laptop/desktop market.  

Sandy Bridge was also hurt by early defects in its SATA connections, which have since been fixed.

A common criticism leveled against Fusion is that having a discrete GPU in a budget design is superfluous.  However, for Blu-ray playback or playing popular older video games like World of Warcraft, customers definitely come to appreciate the benefits of the design.

It appears that AMD is, at the moment, out-competing Intel much in the same way it outcompeted graphics chipmaker NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) -- by attacking the low end.  Of course, AMD's growing Fusion sales likely would not have been possible were it not for new scrutiny from U.S. and European antitrust regulators that forced Intel to stop paying off OEMs to ignore AMD designs.

It's worth noting that Intel still leads AMD significantly in market share.  AMD is also experiencing leadership troubles of late, with a number of executives departing.

But at the end of the day, though, even in the face of these issues and bigger questions loom about the future of x86 processors as a whole, AMD looks much better positioned to be competitive with Intel.  And all of that comes back to the increasing returns from its strong GPU division.



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RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/22/2011 11:16:50 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I think the framerate advantage on the BF:BC graph is more because of the CPU than the GPU.


EXACTLY.

The original op needs to stop spreading FUD.

The quote Anandtech:

quote:
In all cases the HD 6310 acquits itself fairly well compared to the other integrated parts, but CPU performance takes its pound of flesh. Bumping settings down can improve the situation (usually these lower-powered parts will hit bandwidth limitations at 720p and can come into their own at around 800x600) and at that point you're liable to see a substantial improvement over the Nile platform's Mobility Radeon HD 4225, but at the end of the day we're still pretty heavily processor limited.


If they had even read the article you offered a benchmark from, they would see that the AMD beats the Sandy Bridge chip in framerates in 4/6 games.

Their comment is utterly ridiculous. As I said Sandy Bridge has a much more powerful CPU core, no one is arguing that. But the only way Brazos chips can beat it in framerates is because they enjoy a BIG advantage over Sandy Bridge's GPU.

To the original op -- PLEASE inform yourself better in the future.

Honestly AMD deserves a lot of credit here. They've created a chip that's much cheaper than Sandy Bridge, but delivers slightly SUPERIOR performance in most graphics heavy apps and sufficient performance in most CPU intensive apps for the average user (who doesn't generally care about their FutureMark scores...).


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By Aikouka on 4/22/2011 11:33:39 AM , Rating: 3
Jason, if you read the Brazos review, the E-350 is bested in 10/13 games compared to the Radeon 5450, which as we know is last generation's weakest card:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4134/the-brazos-revi...

Now, check out this article:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridg...

This article shows that the Radeon 5450, when compared to Intel's HD3000 in the same motherboard, fails to surpass Intel's latest graphics. The perfect test would involve as much similar hardware as possible, but that's simply not going to happen. So, following simple logic of A > B; B > C therefore A > C... Intel's HD3000 > Radeon 6310 (Fusion GPU).

There's a "but" though! The HD3000 is only in the i5 and i7. Looking at the same URL, the HD2000 (featured in the much cheaper i3 - ~$130) cannot beat the Radeon HD5450, which means that chances are the Fusion GPU would either be close in performance or quite likely beat it.

You can also compare price. The E-350 provided in the Anandtech review costs about as much for the CPU + Motherboard as Intel's i3 processor costs alone. Although, the i3 processor is most likely significantly faster.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By wharblgarbl on 4/22/2011 11:39:53 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Honestly AMD deserves a lot of credit here. They've created a chip that's much cheaper than Sandy Bridge, but delivers slightly SUPERIOR performance in most graphics heavy apps and sufficient performance in most CPU intensive apps for the average user (who doesn't generally care about their FutureMark scores...).


The fact is this isn't true though. Your argument seems to be that if you took the AMD GPU and paired it with a capable CPU, that it would be faster than Sandy Bridge's GPU. That could be true, but it's irrelevant. You're buying a system, not a CPU or a GPU. Sandy Bridge systems are faster than Fusion systems in both CPU and graphics workloads.

quote:
If they had even read the article you offered a benchmark from, they would see that the AMD beats the Sandy Bridge chip in framerates in 4/6 games.


I'm not sure which article you're referring to, the chart I posted was from this article: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4262/asus-k53e-testi...
You'll notice a pattern, the E-350 is at the bottom of every single chart. Jarred even says this:
quote:
What about the AMD E-350 comparison? As we just finished discussing, 3DMark shows the K53E coming in 125% faster than the E-350, though as we’ve noted in the past 3DMark can either skew things too much or too little towards CPU performance. Move over to our suite of games and the K53E still posts much higher scores than the E-350, but now the margin of victory is 88% .


quote:
To the original op -- PLEASE inform yourself better in the future.


I suggest you take your own advice.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By Da W on 4/22/2011 12:06:03 PM , Rating: 3
E-350 is a 18watt piece, an atom-class CPU/GPU, and if it beats HD 3000 or not is irrelevant, Sandy Bridge is a 75-95watt piece! Wait for the equivalent AMD APU Llano. Then you can go into a dick contest if you wish.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By Khato on 4/22/2011 1:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
Except for the fact that... dual core sandy bridge systems without discrete graphics nearly match E-350 power consumption.

The HP dm1z is currently the best of the E-350 platforms as far as power consumption is concerned, many of the other models have 1.5x to 2x the idle power consumption. But according to notebookcheck, http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-HP-Pavilion-dm... it still draws 5.5W idle, and then a maximum of 21W. An amusing fact is that a C-50 based design they also reviewed barely did any better, http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Toshiba-NB550D... 5.4W minimum idle and 19.8W max. Meanwhile an underpowered atom beats 'em out at 4.3W idle and 14.4W max - http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Acer-Aspire-On...

Of course the important point for this discussion are dual core sandy bridge systems. The best example that they test is the T420 at 6.8W idle and 28.6W max - http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Lenovo-Thinkpa... aka, barely higher power consumption than the E-350 based laptop for -far- higher performance. The only reason to buy an E-350 is price, and there's no question that you get what you pay for with regard to performance.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/22/2011 1:01:40 PM , Rating: 4
You're still confused.

quote:
I'm not sure which article you're referring to, the chart I posted was from this article: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4262/asus-k53e-testi...
You'll notice a pattern, the E-350 is at the bottom of every single chart. Jarred even says this:


Just to clarify I'm referring to the HP dm1z piece:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4187/hp-dm1z-taking-...

To spell out the results of benchmarks.

Battlefield: BC2
1. HP dm1z (Brazos: E-350) 15.9 FPS
2. Dell Latitude 6410 (Sandy Bridge: i5-520M) 14.9 FPS
3. Asus 1215N (D525 + Ion) 14.1 FPS
4. Toshiba T235D (Turion II K625 "Nile") 6.8 FPS

DiRT2
1. Dell Latitude 6410 (Sandy Bridge: i5-520M) 24.1 FPS
2. HP dm1z (Brazos: E-350) 23.5 FPS
3. Toshiba T235D (Turion II K625 "Nile") 16.0 FPS
4. Asus 1215N (D525 + Ion) 15.8 FPS

Left 4 Dead 2
1. HP dm1z (Brazos: E-350) 23.7 FPS
2. Asus 1215N (D525 + Ion) 20.2 FPS
3. Dell Latitude 6410 (Sandy Bridge: i5-520M) 19.7 FPS
4. Toshiba T235D (Turion II K625 "Nile") 16.3 FPS

Mass Effect 2
1. Asus 1215N (D525 + Ion) 19.8 FPS
2. HP dm1z (Brazos: E-350) 15.6 FPS
3. Dell Latitude 6410 (Sandy Bridge: i5-520M) 14.8 FPS
4. Toshiba T235D (Turion II K625 "Nile") 9.9 FPS

Stalker: Call of Pripyat
1. Asus 1215N (D525 + Ion) 45.3 FPS
2. HP dm1z (Brazos: E-350) 23.7 FPS
3. Dell Latitude 6410 (Sandy Bridge: i5-520M) 16.4 FPS
4. Toshiba T235D (Turion II K625 "Nile") 14.9 FPS

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
1. Toshiba T235D (Turion II K625 "Nile") 35.8 FPS
2. Dell Latitude 6410 (Sandy Bridge: i5-520M) 31.5 FPS
3. HP dm1z (Brazos: E-350) 27.6 FPS
4. Asus 1215N (D525 + Ion) 17.9 FPS

Again AMD is ahead of Intel's i5 Sandy Bridge laptop in 4/6 tests. It is the leader in 3/6 tests. An NVIDIA ION based platform is the leader in 2/6 tests. And a "Nile" platform (Turion II+IGP) is strangely able to lead in Starcraft II WOL... a rather strange result.

But my above statements were accurate.

You're referring to a comparison with a much more expensive i7 CPU. But as the i5 test shows, the GPU in Sandy Bridge is less powerful than the on-die Evergreen design in Brazos, even though CPU core is more powerful (or MUCH MORE powerful in the i7's case...).

My original statement was correct, yours was not.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By MrTeal on 4/22/2011 1:24:01 PM , Rating: 3
Jason, the i5-520M isn't a SNB chip. The SNB chip would be labeled something like i5-2510M. The i5-520M is a 2.4GHz Arrandale chip.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/22/2011 1:48:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jason, the i5-520M isn't a SNB chip. The SNB chip would be labeled something like i5-2510M. The i5-520M is a 2.4GHz Arrandale chip.


Whoops, thanks for the catch... you're right.

However, I believe my point still stands and here's why.

The Sandy Bridge chip's GPU (HD 2000) has half the EU's of the Ironlake IGP in the Arrandale chip, though they're clocked higher.

So I doubt it will perform better from a GPU standpoint, though it will likely be disguised by superior CPU core performance when going from Arrandale.

At the end of the day, I believe my statement that the on-die Evergreen GPU in Fusion is faster than its closest competitor the HD 2000 found in Sandy Bridge, is 100 percent accurate.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By wharblgarbl on 4/22/2011 2:39:29 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
At the end of the day, I believe my statement that the on-die Evergreen GPU in Fusion is faster than its closest competitor the HD 2000 found in Sandy Bridge, is 100 percent accurate.


So the closest competitor is Intel's lowest performance Sandy Bridge mobile chip? Then it's the HD 3000. Intel doesn't ship the HD 2000 in a mobile chip, not even the lowly i3.

You really just need to admit that you were wrong. You claimed that AMD's Brazos graphics were significantly faster than Sandy Bridge graphics, and your supporting evidence was that it was about equal to Arrandale. You didn't change your mind when it was pointed out that you were using the wrong data. Even with the right data, showing that Sandy Bridge is 88% faster than Brazos, you didn't change your mind.

You said that the discrepancy was due to Sandy Bridge's superior CPU performance, but Aikouka debunked this by comparing both against the Radeon 5450. This didn't change your mind, or even get a response.

Now you change your statement that the Brazos GPU is faster than Sandy Bridge's slower iGPU, seemingly conceding that it's much slower than the HD 3000. But the closest competitor to Brazos is the HD 3000, since the HD 2000 isn't available in Sandy Bridge laptops.

You were wrong. It's okay to admit it.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By wharblgarbl on 4/22/2011 1:37:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You're referring to a comparison with a much more expensive i7 CPU. But as the i5 test shows, the GPU in Sandy Bridge is less powerful than the on-die Evergreen design in Brazos, even though CPU core is more powerful (or MUCH MORE powerful in the i7's case...).


I'm referring to a comparison of the dual-core i5, not the i7. The i5 is 88% faster, on average, than the E-350.

quote:
Sandy Bridge: i5-520M


As MrTeal notes, this is an Arrandale chip, not Sandy Bridge. If the E-350 is about equal to Arrandale, and Sandy Bridge is twice as fast as Arrandale, then Sandy Bridge is twice as fast as E-350.

You're still confused.

My original statement was correct, yours was not.


RE: HD3000 vs Fusion
By Reclaimer77 on 4/23/2011 10:38:50 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are taking a pretty silly position. Sandy Bridge is a single unit. You are trying to differentiate between it's GPU and CPU performance, and that's just silly. It's a combo deal. If the "weak" GPU is being made up by it's faster CPU, so what? Who cares? Total system performance is the goal here people. In case you haven't noticed, gaming isn't all about the GPU, they are very CPU intensive also, as well as system memory.

quote:
Honestly AMD deserves a lot of credit here. They've created a chip that's much cheaper than Sandy Bridge, but delivers slightly SUPERIOR performance in most graphics heavy apps and sufficient performance in most CPU intensive apps for the average user (who doesn't generally care about their FutureMark scores...).


Wait what? So you flame Intel for having a "weaker" GPU made up for it by a superior GPU. But you give AMD a free pass for putting a superior GPU with a weak CPU. Oh, it's "sufficient"? Well isn't that special Jason. So why aren't you just saying Intel's graphic solution for Sandy Bridge is "sufficient" too? Your fanboi is showing...

At the end of the day, using your numbers, Sandy Bridge losses by a whopping 1 or 2 FPS in most benchmarks, and beats AMD in a few. Again, you're trying way too hard. At the end of the day we're splitting hairs here.


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