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AMD's 'Fusion' not a native CPU+GPU design

First 'Acceleration Processing Unit' named after Simpsons character?

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AMD's first 'Fusion' processor isn't due until mid-2009, but specs are leaking out. Given how AMD has touted its 'native' multi-core designs, AMD's next-gen part isn't as integrated as you'd expect

The chip, codenamed 'Swift', brings together CPU and GPU. However, according to Taiwanese mobo-maker moles, cited by Chinese-language site HKEPC, Swift's 'Kong' graphics core is separate die built into the CPU package.

Does this matter? From a technology standpoint, not much, and from a business perspective it's a smart move. AMD can be sure both GPU and CPU work properly before they're sealed in their black ceramic shell. That means better yields and better profitability.

As AMD puts it, Swift will be an "optimised design using more existing IP for less risk and faster time to market".

However, having spent so long needling Intel over the fact that the chip giant's quad-core chips were simply two dual-core dies in the same package whereas its quad-core CPUs were single slabs of silicon, it's pleasing to see that the boot is now firmly on the other foot.

AMD's use of an established GPU core for Kong - it's based on the 'RV710' - will mean Swift gets DirectX 10.1 support and will feature the company's UVD video decoding core. Kong, like Swift's CPU die, will be fabbed at 45nm.

Curiously, the moles claim Swift will not use HyperTransport but a new bus codenamed 'Onion'. The GPU's link to the on-board memory controller is called 'Garlic', apparently. However, the description is vague, so it's probably best not to read too much into this at the moment.

Kong is said to clock at 600-800MHz and link to DDR 3 graphics memory over a 128-bit bus.

The CPU will be a multi-core 'Stars' design.

Swift's northbridge components come from those designed for AMD's 'Griffin' mobile CPUs - aka the Turion X2 Ultra.

And, lastly, what do you call a CPU+GPU combo? AMD's acronym is APU - Accelerated Processing Unit.

Which is, of course, the name of The Simpsons' Kwik-e-Mart convenience store owner. What should we read into that, we wonder?

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