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The future of CPU/GPU computing

With the completion of AMD’s acquisition of ATI, AMD has announced its working on new CPU/GPU silicon that integrates the CPU and graphics processor into a single unit. The upcoming silicon is currently codenamed Fusion and is expected in the late 2008 or early 2009 time frame. AMD claims Fusion will bring:

AMD intends to design Fusion processors to provide step-function increases in performance-per-watt relative to today’s CPU-only architectures, and to provide the best customer experience in a world increasingly reliant upon 3D graphics, digital media and high-performance computing. With Fusion processors, AMD will continue to promote an open platform and encourage companies throughout the ecosystem to create innovative new co-processing solutions aimed at further optimizing specific workloads. AMD-powered Fusion platforms will continue to fully support high-end discrete graphics, physics accelerators, and other PCI Express-based solutions to meet the ever-increasing needs of the most demanding enthusiast end-users.

AMD expects to integrate Fusion for all its product categories including laptops, desktops, workstation, servers and consumer electronics products. Judging by the inclusion of PCI Express support, it would appear the integrated GPU is more of a value solution—similar to Intel’s cancelled Timna processor. It is unknown if AMD will retain the current Athlon and Opteron names with the launch of Fusion. This isn't too surprising as AMD and ATI previously promised unified product development including vague mentions of hybrid CPU and GPU products. AMD also previously announced its Torrenza open architecture as well.

In addition to Fusion, AMD expects to ship integrated platforms with ATI chipsets in 2007. The platforms are expected empower commercial clients, notebooks, gaming and media computing. AMD expects users will benefit from greater battery life on the next-generation Turion platforms and greater enhancements with AMD Live! systems. DailyTech previously reported on ATI's chipset roadmap which outlined various integrated graphics and enthusiast products.

With the development of Fusion and upcoming integrated AMD platforms, it is unknown what will happen to NVIDIA’s chipset business, which currently relies mainly on AMD chipset sales.


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Less Price/Workstation?
By Dfere on 10/25/2006 8:21:31 AM , Rating: -1
You have to be kidding. I think my wallet is about to become a source of fusion.

Think about it. I used to buy a mid range vid card and processor. Then upgrade my vid card 2 years later. I still got decent play rates on a budget at 1024X 768 for the last few years now (excepting oblivion)with AMD. Now this is two full upgrades at possibly more price.

This is not Timna or the attempt by Cryix for a budget all in one processor ( I cannot recall the name).

Market share is all. Has AMD only recently forgotten about Dell and price/performance? God Help us all.




RE: Less Price/Workstation?
By killerroach on 10/25/2006 9:35:28 AM , Rating: 3
You so sure on that? We don't know what the purpose of these potential SoC (System-on-Chip) solutions are (at least, with moving everything onto one die, that's what the obvious path that this is going to would be). Typically, SoC designs have not catered to the bleeding edge, and I'm sure this one probably won't either. However, these do have some interesting applications for thin clients, embedded systems (i.e. cell phones and PDAs), workstations, and budget to mid-range consumer PCs.


RE: Less Price/Workstation?
By Dfere on 10/25/2006 1:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure enough to bet on the following.

1) When Fusion comes out, it is not a “low end” only solution comparable to current day IGP.
2) That the product satisfies all primary functions of today CPU and GPU. Secondary functions such as physics processing, hypertransport type bus support/links etc may well be merged, but I am talking about current basic operating functions.
3) That comparable to Intel offerings, there is no benefit price/performance wise over the product life of the computer it is installed in.


This is a business prediction, not technology (though the two are hugely interrelated in this industry). AMD is expecting increased market share due to this and is already planning on exploiting it. You would not make an announcement targeting the “synergy” of these two companies by going after the low end market. Granted there is a lot of volume and reliable profit, but ATI already has the lion’s share of this.

This is about increased profit margins due to market share.

What is the wager?


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