AMD and ATI Promise Unified Development by 2008
July 24, 2006 8:11 AM
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AMD and ATI are already planning scalable designs for 2008
"Torrenza" platforms and unified GPU/CPU processors
AMD announced the
$5.4B USD takeover of ATI
earlier today, but the new company is already making large plans for the future. Dave Orton, soon-to-be Executive Vice President of AMD's ATI Division, claimed that AMD and ATI would begin leveraging the sales of both companies by 2007. However, a slide from the AMD/ATI merger documentation has already shown some
interesting development plans for 2008
Specifically, it appears as though AMD and ATI are planning unified, scalable platforms using a mixture of AMD CPUs, ATI chipsets and ATI GPUs. This sort of multi-GPU, multi-CPU architecture is extremely reminiscent of
technology announced this past June
, which allows low-latency communications between chipset, CPU and main memory. The premise for
is to open the channel for embedded chipset development from 3rd party companies. AMD said the technology is an open architecture, allowing what it called "accelerators" to be plugged into the system to perform special duties, similar to the way we have a dedicated GPU for graphics.
Furthermore, AMD President Dirk Meyer also confirmed that in addition to multi-processor platforms, stating "As we look towards ever finer manufacturing geometries we see the opportunity to integrate CPU and GPU cores together onto the same die to better serve the needs of some segments."
reader recently pointed out
that AMD just recently filed its
first graphics-oriented patent a few weeks ago
. The patent, titled "CPU and graphics unit with shared cache" seems to indicate that these pet projects at AMD are a little more than just pipe dreams.
During the AMD/ATI merger conference call, Meyer furthermore added that not too long ago, floating point processing was done on a separate piece of silicon. Meyer claimed that the trend for the FPU integration into the CPU may not be too different than the evolution of the GPU into the CPU.
Bob Rivet, AMD's Chief Financial Officer, claims the combined company will save nearly $75M USD in licensing and development overlap in 2007 alone, and another $125M in 2008. Clearly the combined development between the two companies has a few cogs in motion already.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
7/24/2006 10:28:07 AM
I see this as AMD preparing for the inevitable - single processors handling traditional CPU & GPU responsibilities in the long run. GPUs are becoming more and more general purpose, CPUs are in ways becoming more GPU like (think Cell/Niagra and have a look at Intel's roadmap). There is increasing desire to use GPUs more generally too. Eventually there will come a point where the benefits of specialistion are outweighed by the need to flexibly use processing power, and the specialist hardware that remains of significant benefit can be put on the same die as the main processing core anyway.
CPU/GPU convergence will happen (and credibly for high-end users too), Intel is working toward it, AMD knew it, and so did ATi (who know doubt thinks its better to start on that road now than to be marginalised later as a discrete chip provider).
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