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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 AMD's Torrenza technology announced this past June, which allows low-latency communications between chipset, CPU and main memory. The premise for Torrenza 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."  A clever DailyTech 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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By Targon on 7/24/2006 11:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
There may be things that can be added to the CPU that are "standard functions", but still keep a seperate video adapter for new additions. Think about it like a co-processor for the new stuff, but the old stuff which doesn't need to go faster could be on the CPU.

For example, TV tuner type stuff could be accelerated on the CPU die itself, with the render/decode phase on a seperate card or chip. This would allow for an easy upgrade of certain components without the need to replace the entire CPU.

AMD already has the specs for a HyperTransport slot called HTX as I recall, so it's also possible we will see graphics moving to this slot for a better interconnect between card, memory, and CPU. PCI Express may seem slow in comparison, and with a HyperTransport link between two HTX slots, you COULD do the equivilant of SLI/Crossfire without the need for a cable or special card.

When in doubt, consider that those who design GPUs and CPUs think differently from other people, and they may see better ways of doing things than you or I could. I see potential for both good and bad to come from this merger, but all things considered, I suspect more good will come to both GPU, CPU, and Chipset divisions.

By Tyler 86 on 7/27/2006 12:10:19 AM , Rating: 2
I could see a CPU with basic video features, and a direct trace to analog & digital video out adapters...

Then off to the side, you have a 2nd CPU socket, filled by a GPU, with some graphics memory on the same package (to get a mental image, look up some of ATi's performance laptop integrated graphics, not the miniPCI/PCI-E/MXM or whatever cards)...
At 8 stacked GDDR4 RAM chips stacked in 2s around the center core, maybe 512MB to 1GB -- projecting a ways into the future, mind you -- with some heavy cooling...
Maybe a CPU-socket GPU package could be widened to extend above around the socket as well - there is certainly some breathing room in current socket designs...
.. but I can speculate all day on that, and see no fruitful results...

I think it should be noted though, that there is such a thing as a HTX slot, like Targon mentioned, that looks similar to a PCIE slot...

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