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.
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Possibly the biggest improvement to come out of this deal...
7/24/2006 10:44:47 AM
There would be a lot of trade-offs involved in moving a GPU on-die with the CPU:
PROS: shared cache, no latency between the processors, pooled system memory, easier integration for non-graphics tasks
CONS: Personally I think pooling system and graphics memory sounds like a bad idea, larger die = lower yields = higher cost, power supply and heat dissapation gets cranked up about 10 notches in difficulty, as does bus management
But the biggest pro I can think of is that it means ATI gets to use AMDs more advanced fabrication tech. The last I heard NVIDIA and ATI weren't even looking into moving from the 90nm fabrication process, but AMD sure as hell is.
RE: Possibly the biggest improvement to come out of this deal...
7/24/2006 10:48:09 AM
Unfortunately, listening to the conference call, the fabrication situation isn't going to change all that quickly. ATi will remain fabless for now.
They are moving past 90nm as is though, now..though to 80nm, not 65.
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