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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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By dwalton on 10/25/2006 11:44:34 AM , Rating: 4
What's the transistor budget for an high end GPU from ATI? 384 million transistors is a lot to add to a CPU and we are talking current gen and not R600 which is rumored to be 500 million+. AMD will probably reduce transistor count with better custom logic but adding that much real estate has to kill yields and add cost.

Plus, neither Nvidia nor ATI sell enough high end GPUs to persuade AMD to commit a production line to a CPU/GPU that at most will sell a few hundred thousand chips if that. Furthermore, AMD would have to be retooled thier production line every 6 months to deal with refreshes.

A CPU/GPU with IGP performance makes sense due to fact there is market of millions for such chips versus a market of thousands.

By dwalton on 10/27/2006 1:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
You're talking high margins and I'm talking high volume. Can you imagine AMD selling a FX 80 for $1600.00 and still maintain volume sales of a either a highend standalone GPU or CPU.

$1600 is pretty forgiving once you take account that margins on GPU arent that great at start of production and then having to deal with yield of a cpu that has multiple cores.

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