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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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RE: Vertex Shaders
By wired009 on 10/25/2006 12:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
The Fusion solution seems convenient and beneficial at first glance but you have to wonder if it's practical to implement. Imagine a batch of new processors. Say I want high CPU performance but don't need superior graphics because I don't play games. Will there be fast CPU - low end GPU, fast CPU - mid range GPU, fast CPU - fast GPU variations so mainstream users and gamers have a choice? What happens during the next CPU refresh and the fast CPU is now the low end or midrange CPU? It will be hard for AMD to contine to offer a certain variation if it is no longer in high demand. This is where Fusion begins to look like a very cost ineffective solution for AMD. It makes a lot more sense to keep CPU and GPU separate for marketing reasons and to keep manufacturing lines efficient. It is more likely that computers will move towards removable socket GPUs that attach directly to the motherboard with the elimination of AGP/PCI slots than they are to move towards Fusion.

RE: Vertex Shaders
By NullSubroutine on 10/27/2006 7:43:00 AM , Rating: 1
it actually makes sense if you consider if u need more graphical horsepower you could slap in an amd made (or nvidia) gpu in the torenzza's 'accelerator' socket.

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