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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 sdsdv10 on 10/25/2006 12:43:58 PM , Rating: 2
This means that the CPU to GPU overhead could be drastically reduced by processing vertex instructions on the CPU/GPU hybrid, then sending the data down through the PCIe bus to the add-on graphics card,

Wouldn't incorporating a CPU/GPU hybrid mostly eliminate the need for an external graphics card? Otherwise, this will only be a high end product. The added cost of a CPU/GPU hybrid processor and extra graphics card would really raise the price on an overall system. Maybe I misunderstood, I thought they were going after the integrated graphics market (lower end) with a more elegant and efficient solution. But then again, I'm not really a "computer" guy.

RE: Vertex Shaders
By Tlogic on 10/28/2006 7:54:45 AM , Rating: 2
"Wouldn't incorporating a CPU/GPU hybrid mostly eliminate the need for an external graphics card?"

Yes and they already exist in integrated chipsets. The problem is can you shut off the 'gpu' on the cpu if you want to add a stand alone graphics solution?

Lastly stand alone graphics solutions will always be superior simply because you cannot get dedicated ram and high bandwidth bus's on a cpu/gpu that is integrated, main memory speed and/or bandwidth would have to increase in exteme amounts to catch up to stand alone solutions.

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