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AMD 'Fusion' CPUs slip to 2011, roadmap reveals

More GPU-less CPUs coming in the meantime

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AMD's first quad-core processor for notebooks will arrive in 2010 before being superseded a year later by a four-core part aimed at both laptops and desktops - and AMD's first, late 'Fusion' chip.

The chip maker's latest roadmap lines up 'Caspian' as the successor to 'Griffin', its current top-of-the-line dual-core mobile CPU, released under the Turion X2 Ultra brand. Details remain scare, but Caspian matches Griffin's dual-core, 2MB of L2 cache, DDR 2 memory controller spec.

However, new new part, due next year, will be fabbed at 45nm, suggesting it's primarily a tweaked die-shrink version of its predecessor.

Caspian will be followed in 2010 by 'Champlain', and that's the four-core part. It also takes the on-board memory controller into DDR 3 territory, but according to AMD will again contain 2MB of cache.

Caspian will be accompanied by AMD's RS880M chipset, which includes the upcoming SB710 southbridge. Together these part will form the 'Tigris' platform, which will introduce AMD's third-generation Socket S1 interconnect.

"S1G3", as it's officially termed, will also be used by 'Danube', the Champlain-based platform due in 2010 alongside 'Nile', AMD's platform for ultra-portable laptops.

AMD sees Tigris forming the basis for a range of products, from straight-as-a-due business machines through to media centre and gaming notebooks. The platform's due in H2 2009, so that's presumably when we'll see Caspian too.

In the past, AMD has said that its first 'Fusion' processor - a part that will combine CPU and GPU technology into the same chip - would debut in 2009. So is Caspian a Fusion part. The Fusion logo was much in evidence at the chip maker's analysts conference yesterday, but beyond broad claims that "Fusion is the future", the company doesn't appear to have said much about the platform.

Certainly, when it comes to entertainment laptops, AMD's latest roadmap has Caspian listed alongside "next generation Mobility Radeon HD graphics", suggesting that if it is a Fusion CPU, the GPU' limited to integrated GPU performance.

But the fact that AMD was listing a northbridge chips as part of Tigris, suggests Caspian is a GPU-less CPU.

That leaves us Danube and Champlain as possible Fusion chips, but of these AMD said no more than we've mentioned above.

But what's this? Come 2011, AMD will release 'Llano', a four-core part with 4MB of cache and - yes! - a GPU. AMD describes the part, once again, as an "Accelerated Processing Unit". It'll be fabbed at 32nm and stretch across the notebook-desktop divide.

'Llano' appears to replace the original Fusion laptop part, 'Swift'. Does Llano use Swift's 'Kong' in-package GPU? AMD didn't say, but the delay implies that Llano's GPU may be on the same die as the CPU core - with Swift that wasn't the case, we believe.

It'll be accompanied by 'Orochi' a desktop-only chip with 8MB of cache but no GPU, and 'Ontario', a dual-core, 1MB of cache chip aimed at slim'n'light laptops.

Fusion at least - just two years later than AMD originally forecast.

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