AMD's 'Fusion' not a native CPU+GPU design
First 'Acceleration Processing Unit' named after Simpsons character?
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?
to TimM - Windows does not dominate 64 bit
TimM says, "Let's be real here and recognise that Windows vastly dominates the desktop... The main issue with 64bit Windows is the lack of support by software and more importantly hardware manufacturers. Drivers really are the big problem."
Let's be real here and recognize that Windows does not dominate the 64 bit market.
You want 64 bit applications on a 64 bit operating system with 64 bit driver support.
Pick the operating system and platform to support your application requirement.
If your application does not support a real operating system, you picked the wrong application.
I have been using 64 bit operating systems for years and using 64 bit applications when we hit 32 bit memory boundaries (3.75 Gig under Solaris, 2 Gig under other operating systems.)
It is all about architecture.
to Matt Bryant - SUN Sells Linux and Solaris; Solaris 10 is not slow
Matt Bryant asks, "since when has anyone shown any interest in a Niagara-based or SPARC-based laptop?"
Since the release of the first 64 bit 8 core CPU from SUN, back in 2006. Many would love to see a T1 or T2 based laptop, it would be another "first" for the computer industry (i.e. the first 8 core laptop.) The following page illustrates why:
SUN has been about stateless Thin Clients for almost a decade. In a similar fashion, SUN was about disk-less workstations in their first decade.
WiFi Ultra-Thin Client laptops on the market from various partners which work with SUN systems based upon proprietary AMD & Intel or various Open Source SPARC systems.
All those 32 bit and 64 bit software applications that people wanted to run were possible through this architecture... and that was the target of my original comment. SUN has been where people wanted to be for 64 bit applications on 64 bit operating systems on 64 bit architecture.
Matt Bryant asks, "And as for Sun's graphical ability, that was surpassed by the average Xeon workstation years ago."
I am not sure what your point is, since SUN sells high-performing proprietary AMD and proprietary Intel workstations with Linux, Solaris, and Windows support.
SUN seems to have a pretty robust line of graphic cards for quite some time, as well.
I guess Matt is trying to say that SUN has passed SUN eons ago.
Matt says, "as to your waffle about Slowaris and 'real operating systems', the challenge there would be to find anything that runs on any version of Solaris that doesn't run better, faster and cheaper on Linux"
This has not been the case since January 2005.
Solaris is free, linux is free, so Linux being cheaper (in price) is incorrect. Solaris support seems to be less expensive than various Linux support vendors, however.
As far as "better": if you are looking for visibility into running processes, Solaris 10 has DTrace, which is superior to Linux; if you are looking for large filesystems, ZFS under Solaris 10 is far superior to file systems offered under Linux (unless you like to sit around for days, waiting to make use of a 48 terabyte file system under Linux instead of minutes under Solaris... but that might qualify as faster & better.)
It seems Solaris is just as fast as Linux, in regular benchmarking, done by trade journals.
"Solaris 10 is as fast as its Linux competition... The numbers posted by Solaris 10 and RedHat Enterprise Linux AS 4.0 in our series of Web transactional tests, in which both were running Apache 2.0.3 on the same Polywell 64-bit server,were very close across the board. We did find that Solaris had a small performance advantage when tested on Sun's own V20z box."
The performance benefits since Solaris 10 have found their way into legacy SPARC platforms, as well.
"Many of the major features built into Solaris 10... Key improvements include faster networking technology that Sun has built into the TCP/IP stack. Fike said the networking enhancements have "dramatically improved" the performance of network-intensive applications that run on Solaris-based systems at FedEx."
Seems for other real world applications, Solaris is superior.
VoIP - http://www.thrallingpenguin.com/articles/asterisk-solaris.htm
"By employing your converged voice/data on the Solaris 10 operating system, you are able to increase the number of concurrent calls on equivalent hardware."
Linux shops have been enjoying the performance enhancements of Solaris, as well.
"The Real Time Matrix Corp. faced something of a dilemma. As a small company with 15 employees and contractors, Real Time Matrix was a die-hard Linux shop. But the company's computing processing needs quickly surpassed its size."
"On a 64-bit AMD processor and Fedora, we could process approximately 200 matches per second of RSS," Whitehead said. "With Solaris 10 on the T1000, this match rate jumped to 10,000 per second."
If it is a small single core embedded system, Linux may outperform Solaris, but Solaris on the same modern day hardware will usually be faster than Linux. The throughput performance gap widens in favor of Solaris significantly when multi-core CPU's are benchmarked.
This comparison, is silly, however, since SUN is a Solaris and Linux vendor.
Matt suggests, "and probably the Linux version will have been around a lot longer, have a far superior community support, and viable commercial support options too if you so wish. And as for desktop apps for Slowaris x86?"
SUN has been selling Solaris based systems for 20 years, Linux applications did not really exist back then, so longer seems to be a silly comparison.
I guess Linux users really have GNOME, which is shipped on Solaris desktops as well as Linux desktops.
Are you suggesting that SUN's OpenOffice desktop application Solaris is not as good as Linux? (That would be rather silly!)
Is the community support for SUN's MySQL is superior under Linux because MySQL is different under Linux than Solaris?
(Commercial vendor support from SUN is offered to both Solaris & Linux communities, by the way.)
Perhaps, if you could discuss what is slower under Solaris than Linux, that would be a good starting point. I could not find any meaningful benchmarks to support your assertion.
The reality of the situation is... SUN sells Linux as well as Solaris on the desktop, so suggesting that one of SUN's desktops is better than another of SUN's desktops is not very significant.
Let's be real here and recognise that Windows vastly dominates the desktop, so let's push the Penguin into the water for a start (yes, yes, it's wonderful, better than Windows, OS X, and whatnot)...
The main issue with 64bit Windows is the lack of support by software and more importantly hardware manufacturers. Drivers really are the big problem.
Another important point is that 64bit doesn't automatically mean faster & better. It's just a wider address and register space. For computational purposes, 32bits is just fine for most things the majority do with a PC. In terms of memory, few need more than a couple of gig at present anyway (and remembering most software is bloatware consuming far more than required). In graphics it's another matter but then we have GPUs with more "bits" than CPUs anyway for this.
Just simply compiling your favourite app in 64 bits and running it on a 64 bit processor isn't going to make it any better or faster though generally. Not to mention that many of the current 64 bit processors are optimised for 32 bit performance.
Should also be noted that it took the DOS/Windows world quite a long time to move up to 32bit. Whilst NT was the first of Microsoft's 32bit line, the majority sat on DOS and Win 3.1 for years (with some hybrid 32bit layering available later on), before finally the masses adopted 32bit Windows 95 (and even then it was still essentially a hybrid 16/32 OS). True 32bit from the core adoption by the masses in Windows didn't happen until XP!
RE: David Halko
No, what matters to business (and probably to most home users) is that the job gets done at the lowest cost, with the least hassle. How it is engineered is irrellevant, as long as it does the job. This is how x86 stole into the server market in the first place, by doing a reasonable job a lot cheaper than proprietary UNIX offerings such as Solaris on SPARC. Over-engineering for the sake of cleverness rarley pays off, unless it gives you a market advantage. In this case, comparing Intel and AMD's approach, it looks like the smarter engineering decision to do the two-in-one rather than both-as-one option, as it will probably get AMD's solution to market first with a clear advantage. Introducing Solaris and SPARC into the conversation is just whimsical - since when has anyone shown any interest in a Niagara-based or SPARC-based laptop? And as for Sun's graphical ability, that was surpassed by the average Xeon workstation years ago.
And as to your waffle about Slowaris and "real operating systems", the challenge there would be to find anything that runs on any version of Solaris that doesn't run better, faster and cheaper on Linux, let alone Windows, and probably the Linux version will have been around a lot longer, have a far superior community support, and viable commercial support options too if you so wish. And as for desktop apps for Slowaris x86? Please, don't make me laugh!
to Anonymous Coward - no 64 bit apps or 64 bit OS? Get a Real OS
An Anonymous Coward said:
"But where are the main stream 64 bit apps? That's been how many years of 64bit computing potential and we are still stuck in a rut with main stream 32bit OS and apps."
"multicore 64bit CPUs and now soon APUs totally crippled on a 32 bit OS running 32 bits apps, is it just me or can anyone else see how pathetic this is?"
Hope you didn't missed the boat - 32 bit users have been transitioning to 64 bit in the Open arena ( http://www.sparc.com/ ) for almost 20 years now. 64 bit users have been in 8 core open source CPU's ( http://www.opensparc.net/ ) for years now. People have used 32 bit and 64 bit applications on a 64 bit OS ( http://www.solaris.com/ ) for 10 years now.
When you run a 64 bit operating system like Solaris (for commercial support), or OpenSolaris (to compile and tweek the source code yourself) - it will run all of your old 32 bit code (transparently) and give you the option of running 64 bit code (when you run into a jam!)
Heck, you can even run various OS's in virtualized containers ( http://opensolaris.org/os/community/brandz/ ) with virtually no overhead and no licensing costs of virtual machines.
Yes, Solaris and OpenSolaris will run on your AMD x64 or Intel x64 platforms - and even on your 32 bit proprietary platforms.
While the rest of the market is struggling to get a foothold in the 64 bit world, the Open System market is moving to 256 bit capability ( http://opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/ ) with ZFS.
It has been time to move on from old 32 but technology for a decade, it is now time to move up to 64 bit & 256 bit computing capabilities on over a dozen cores ( http://www.itjungle.com/tug/tug041708-story01.html ) with many dozens of threads.