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

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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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