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CPU and GPU all in one to deliver the best performance-per-watt-per-dollar

AMD today during its analyst’s day conference call unveiled more details of its next-generation Fusion CPU and GPU hybrid. Early mentions of Fusion first appeared shortly after AMD’s acquisition of ATI Technologies was completed a few months ago. AMD is expected to debut its first Fusion processor in the late 2008 to early 2009 timeframe.

AMD claims: “Fusion-based processors will be designed to provide step-function increases in performance-per-watt-per-dollar over today’s CPU-only architectures, and provide the best customer experience in a world increasingly reliant upon 3D graphics, digital media and high performance computing.”

The GPU and CPU appear to be separate cores on a single die according to early diagrams of AMD’s Fusion architecture. CPU functionality will have access to its own cache while GPU functionality will have access to its own buffers. Joining together the CPU and GPU is a crossbar and integrated memory controller. Everything is connected via HyperTransport links. From there the Fusion processor will have direct access to system memory that appears to be shared between the CPU and GPU. It doesn’t appear the graphics functionality will have its own frame buffer.

While Fusion is a hybrid CPU and GPU architecture, AMD will continue to produce discrete graphics solutions. AMD still believes there’s a need for discrete graphics cards for high end users and physics processing.

Also mentioned during the conference call is AMD’s new branding scheme regarding ATI products. Under the new branding scheme, chipsets for Intel processors and graphics cards will continue on with the ATI brand name. ATI designed chipsets designed for AMD platforms will be branded under AMD as previously reported.

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RE: fusion=trash
By Woodchuck2000 on 11/17/2006 1:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
Firstly, it will require minimal changes to motherboards - what changes exactly are you referring to? All you'll need is a TDMS chip on board which could feasibly be wired into a 1x PCIe path from the northbridge to carry the signal.

Secondly, it means that for a given price and level of performance, the power requirements will be lower. Or for a given price and power requirement the performance will improve. Or for a given power requirement and level of performance, the price will drop. Pick one of the three.

This is not aimed at hardcore users. It allows low-end users to buy cheap or low-power PCs. It allows midrange users to buy cheap PCs and add discrete graphics later as necessary, possibly using the onboard graphics core for physics. High-end users can still spend $1000 every year for a new CPU and Graphics card with no problems.

RE: fusion=trash
By UNCjigga on 11/17/2006 1:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
Way to make a whole bunch of ASSumptions without qualifying any of them!

Anyways, I expect Fusion will do nicely for midrange graphics and stream computing (i.e. DC, physics etc.)--offering more speed and memory bandwidth than integrated graphics and a lower TDP than high-end. Hopefully by 2009 AMD will offer a Fusion platform with DDR3 or QDR memory (or whatever the next big memory architecture is.)

As far as upgrades go, I expect most people will who buy a Fusion-powered (hehe) PC will upgrade their video card before the CPU (since video product lifecycles are shorter) and take advantage of CrossFire. When its time to upgrade the CPU, they should have a choice between picking a Fusion CPU or a CPU-only core.

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