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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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Uh oh...
By JWalk on 7/25/2006 2:07:48 AM , Rating: 2
I have this really bad feeling about this deal. I see it as good for AMD. But, from the perspective of the high-end GPU market, I see this as the beginning of the end for ATI. It will take a couple of years, but I see them eventually becoming the "chipset/integrated graphics division" for AMD, and that is all. I see them slowly turning away from the super-competitive high-end discrete graphics market. If this happens, I sure hope a new company steps up to challenge Nvidia, just to keep the market competitive. What I don't see happening is some totally new integrated super graphics that will push the discrete solutions out of the market. It doesn't make sense on many levels. I guess we will see in time.

RE: Uh oh...
By casket on 7/25/2006 9:01:30 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming no integration, ATI gives AMD... memory knowledge (GDDR3), motherboard knowledge, A large team of skilled engineers, and a management team capable of 6-month product cycles.

Integration Possibilities:
Because of AMD's move to an integrated memory controller, and discussion of L3 cache and a co-processor...
Why not have ATI make the motherboard....
Stick 512 MB of GDDR3 on the motherboard(Shared by CPU and GPU)(doesn't Xbox360 do something like this with ATI Graphics?)
Put the ATI chip in the co-processor spot
Add L3 cache to be shared by both the CPU and the GPU.

You can still upgrade graphics by buying a new the ATI chip(if it is a co-processor) but upgrading to faster memory would still present problems.

L3 cache for the graphics card would seem to help with Graphics speed, though.

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