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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 kokal on 10/25/2006 3:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
I am very eager to see what they make of this fusion. At the moment I don't like the ever growing need for more power from the PSU. I aint rich and I don't like the idea of 500$+ bill for electricity per month if I had 1000+ W PSU. At the moment I have 2 PCs at home both using 350 W PSU. I am a casual gamer, I watch movies and the second pc is for my sister. I would be very pleased it they make something out of this and work on efficiency rather than building faster GPUs/CPUs.

What I hope to see is they make low-end, mid-range and high-end integrated graphics and keep the flexibility - like for instance if they make a socket in the CPU itself that you would use to plug the additional add on video card so that you can have different combos like - you buy a mid-range processor and low-end graphics and have the possibility of upgrading the video by unpluging the old and pluging a better solution and selling the old one thus minimizing cost. Also it could be possible (in my head) for the CPU to work without the additional GPU in socket thus enabling you to use PCI-e for better graphics solution - Single or SLI/Crossfire or even 3 GPUs and stuff like that. Well these are just my thoughts but I am looking forward to the future of integrated solutions.

By Ralph The Magician on 10/26/2006 1:20:37 PM , Rating: 1
IMO, Apple has the right idea in terms of power usage. The 24" iMac has a maximum power draw of 220W.

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