AMD shows off Fusion APUs, on track for H1 2011 release

By on June 2, 2010, 1:02 PM
Nearly four years after first revealing plans for its next-generation Fusion processors, AMD has finally conducted the first public demonstration of its CPU-GPU hybrid, running Aliens vs. Predator in DirectX 11 mode and doing some hardware acceleration in Internet Explorer. The company was careful to reveal as few specifics about the chips as possible, but said two versions of Fusion are being prepared for release in the first half of 2011.

A mainstream version called Llano will feature four cores and 4MB of L3 cache, while a low-power version dubbed Ontario will offer two cores and just 1MB of L3 cache. Both chips are now available to select customers in sample quantities. AMD's Rick Bergman didn't specifically name the APU demonstrated, but described it as a "low power Fusion processor" so we assume it was the dual-core Ontario part. To put the chip's capabilities into perspective, Bergman noted they were using the same game AMD used last fall to demonstrate their high-end discrete GPU.

For those unaware, Fusion basically combines the central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), video processing and other accelerator capabilities in a single-die design. This is a much more sophisticated approach than Intel's at present, which adds a separate 45nm GPU to the processor package. AMD said it is working with several companies to optimize software for its APUs, and announced the AMD Fusion Fund to jumpstart this effort.




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Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If AMD can get some big names on board, and can deliver a solid product early, that hits the specs they are hinting and teasing us with, they could literally blow intel and nVidia out of the water on the low voltage multimedia side of the marketplace.

Big "If" there, I know... But that part of the market is growing in leaps and bounds, and I could see the AMD/ATi merger synergy finally paying off in a big way, with the Fusion products.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'd be most interested in seeing the kind of heat these hybrid processors generate. You put all of that processing power on one processor and I'm thinking liquid nitrogen is in order to keep it cool.... :p

Timonius Timonius said:

Sounds promising. Forgive me for sounding silly but what exactly does APU stand for? I don't see it defined in the article like the CPU and GPU (which are only needed defining for those who are really really new to the abbreviations).

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I wonder if these will end up in the next generation of mac mini's.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Timonius said:

Sounds promising. Forgive me for sounding silly but what exactly does APU stand for? I don't see it defined in the article like the CPU and GPU (which are only needed defining for those who are really really new to the abbreviations).

I believe it's a more generic term, Accelerated Processing Unit. The idea is to take emphasis off computing and graphics, and show that it just does everything.

Guest said:

No. sir, this isn't Nvidia we are talking about. This is AMD/ATI. They seem to have gotten the heat production of some earlier chips very much reduced. This baby is the next gen that Intel couldn't produce.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

....They seem to have gotten the heat production of some earlier chips very much reduced.

Since AMD haven't released any thermal specifications for the part you got this nugget of information from?.......

This baby is the next gen that Intel couldn't produce.

Nor has AMD. Unless you missed the phrase in the report that states the part is due in the first half of 2011 i.e. 6-12 months away. AMD doesn't have a flawless record in adhering to it's CPU timetables.

thatguyandrew92 said:

Intel could have a secret weapon they have chosen not to introduce yet....

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I believe the secret weapon is called "Actually producing the goods on time"

But seriously, a demo of a game running at sub 20fps on an unknown system hidden offstage, using an unknown power envelope, due to be available at some nebulous future timeframe between six months and a year hence (maybe)...introduced by a guy wearing Carmen Miranda's headdress as a boutonniere.....mmmm colour me impressed.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

allow me to attempt to parse this...

"low power" -slightly more than whats being used now

"early 2011" -around christmas

"using the same game AMD used last fall to demonstrate their high-end discrete GPU. " - ultra low settings

"introduced by a guy wearing Carmen Miranda's headdress as a boutonniere." _ I have a date with Carson Kressley immediately after the demo.

Just a hunch.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

dividebyzero said:

I believe the secret weapon is called "Actually producing the goods on time"

But seriously, a demo of a game running at sub 20fps on an unknown system hidden offstage, using an unknown power envelope, due to be available at some nebulous future timeframe between six months and a year hence (maybe)...introduced by a guy wearing Carmen Miranda's headdress as a boutonniere.....mmmm colour me impressed.

Funny, that tactic worked for all the nVidia fanboys to get them drooling about Fermi...

It's a common practice, you get a teaser of "what will be" and then details start trickling out. You DID catch the part where they are actually shipping sample quantities to interested vendors, right? That usually means test production batches are being processed now, so I wouldn't count them out just yet on delivery dates.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

red1776 said:

allow me to attempt to parse this...

"low power" -slightly more than whats being used now

"early 2011" -around christmas

"using the same game AMD used last fall to demonstrate their high-end discrete GPU. " - ultra low settings

"introduced by a guy wearing Carmen Miranda's headdress as a boutonniere." _ I have a date with Carson Kressley immediately after the demo.

Just a hunch.

heh, your parsing technique is to be marveled at!

I would point out that the "low power" is probably lower than the intel/nVidia pairing that would be direct competition... And they are using the same game used to demonstrate high-end GPU, but this very low end integrated system can run it - seems like a win to me, and would be interesting to see how well a similar intel or nVidia product could do the same... I'm just sayin...

Regenweald said:

Sapphire is all AMD and they seem to have acquired EVGA's mobo design team, I'd say the future of APU's may be bright indeed.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Newsflash Regenweald...Contrary to some avid/rabid tech followers concepts, the computer component industry is a job marketplace just like any other. People move from job to job just like any other profession. There are no dug-in trenches around the parking areas at Brea, Santa Clara or Sunnyvale and no artillary barrages at dawn.

You might also notice that DFI's LANParty motherboard team are likely looking for new situations also.

Quite how the success or failure of a CPU/GPU architecture turns on one prospective motherboard manufacturer is beyond me.

BTW I think APU is suing over copyright infringement.. [link]

TJGeezer said:

dividebyzero said:

BTW I think APU is suing over copyright infringement.. [link]

You assume he even read that far in the article when he has real work to do, such as stamping new "sell by" dates on expired dairy products.

vangrat said:

"AMD plans to release two different APUs: Llano for mainstream laptops and desktops and the low-power Ontario for smaller laptops, "

Did anyone else read that and immediately think "ah cool a Piers Anthony reference!"

Guest said:

Man, if they can make future netbooks play Counterstrike source, WOW, Starcraft II at decently smooth fps, I will be golden!

Zeromus said:

'A' stands for accelerated if anyone wanted to know. I wiki'd it lol.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Funny, that tactic worked for all the nVidia fanboys to get them drooling about Fermi....

Most certainly, nothing like a PR/media scrum fuelling adolescent sycophantic hype....Fermi, Barcelona, anything Apple....But at least the Fermi presentations had a certain pizazz....tv stars....props (woodscrews included), but Rick Bergmann's effort was about as boring and low rent as it gets.

You DID catch the part where they are actually shipping sample quantities to interested vendors, right? ....

I should hope so, since Ontario taped out last year. By the same token, according to some supposedly reputable sources, Bulldozer also taped out at the same time...so AMD should have had working chips back around four months ago, yet the roadmap is still either "early 2011" (various media without citations or links) or "Q3 2011" (actual AMD timeframe last I saw). Given that AMD likes to get their CPU's out ahead of schedule I'd go with the latter and say they beat it by a financial quarter- which would make sixteen months between tape out to retail. Hence referencing that timeframe for Llano/Ontario.

I have no doubt that the CPU's, when they arrive should be very good (I hope so for AMD's and competitions sake), but with a new arch on a new node nothing is guaranteed.

That usually means test production batches are being processed now, so I wouldn't count them out just yet on delivery dates.

See above

...I would point out that the "low power" is probably lower than the intel/nVidia pairing that would be direct competition... ...

I think you'll find that the Intel solution on its own won't be that far away. The presentation showed IE9 preview in operation, not IE 8. Core i3 will put up similar numbers in acceleration if not in gaming. Ontario, at least in it's first incarnation is roughly HD 5450 gaming. Good for the added no-cost extra, but not likely to sway many actual gamers. I've also yet to see any figures regarding battery life.

Guest said:

Hi

I am in process of buying an AMD Phenom II x6 1090T processor configuration. Should i wait for another 4 months for the AMD Fusion to be released commercially?

Thanks

Vishal

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