AMD ships first Fusion processors
CPU + GPU = APU (finally)
AMD has — finally — shipped its first Fusion processors, years after they were first announced.
Better late than never.
"As of 4am Central Time, our facility in Singapore, our test and manufacturing facility, shipped the very first Fusion APUs — production units — to customers worldwide," AMD senior vice president and general manager Rick Bergman told his audience at the company's analysts day in Sunnyvale, California.
"So it's no longer the dream. The Fusion era has truly arrived for AMD, our customers, and end users out there that really want that full HD, graphical experience that we've been promising for a couple of years now."
In mid-October, during a conference call announcing the company's financial results for its most-recent quarter, AMD CEO Dirk Meyer said that "customer shipments [were] on track for the fourth quarter and customer systems available early next year."
It appears that AMD has met that goal with weeks to spare.
But the shipment of the company's first Fusion APUs — AMD-speak for accelerated processing units — has been a long time coming, with shipment dates slipping multiple times.
Back in late 2006, AMD's roadmap had called for the first Fusion chips to ship in late 2008 or early 2009. Needless to say, that goal wasn't achieved — AMD didn't even demo Fusion until this June at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan.
The first — now shipping — APUs were identified by AMDs CEO Dirk Meyer on Tuesday as being "Ontario-slash-Zacate." Zacate is a dual-core, 18-watt part with an integrated graphics core that Bergman claimed would have significantly better performance than the integrated graphics in Intel's GPU/CPU mashup, Sandy Bridge. Ontario is its 9-watt compatriot; both are based on AMD's Bobcat core.
Meyer promised that systems using his company's APUs would debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January of next year. ®
Should help power
External buses require quite a bit of power to drive the buses. Keeping these on-chip gets rid of a lot of power consumption. Pin-count and package count is reduced which should cut down on cost.
Might end up being good for those all-in-one systems and lower end desk/lap tops.
Netbook on a chip?
9W, 18W is netbook territory. If they signifcantly outperform Intel's Atoms (especially on graphics) then they might be the key to getting acceptable performance on a Netbook running Windows 7.
These would be ideal for use is low-power, small size HTPCs
Well... they *would* if AMD/ATI pulled their fucking thumbs out of their arses and released a driver with access to an HD decoding API. (that actually works)
NVIDIA released VDPAU donkeys ago and within WEEKS the Open Source community was able to use it.
More than a year after AMD release VAAPI and it still produces hundreds of rendering bugs - making it as useful as a chocolate teapot.
My HTPC running XBMC at home can decode a 1080p x264 MKV with the 1.8Ghz single core CPU bimbling along at about 5% utilisation. The heavy lifting is offloaded through the VDPAU API to a fanless GeForce 9400, which cost me about 30quid over a year ago.
I've yet to hear of anyone who's got hardware accelerated video decoding working reliably on ATI GFX hardware in Linux/BSD