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AMD gooses graphics, specs first CPU/GPU mashups

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CES AMD has released a new series of GPUs that it claims increases its lead in mobile graphics, and it has revealed a bit more about its Fusion line of processors.

"One year ago AMD claimed the title of undisputed technology leader in mobile graphics performance," said AMD graphics-division general manager Matt Skynner, "and since then we continue to pave the way for mobile computing innovation."

That paving job is the role of the new AMD Radeon HD 6000M series of mobile graphics chips, announced in Las Vegas on the eve of the annual Consumer Electronics Show gear-fest.

The HD 6000M series includes the Radeon HD 6500M and HD 6300M GPUs. Both support Microsoft's DirectX 11 and AMD's EyeSpeed graphics and video acceleration and HD3D stereo-3D technologies.

Both also support AMD's Eyefinity multi-display tech, with the HD 6500M supporting up to six displays and the HD 6300M, four. Both also support parallel GPU-as-CPU computing through the open source OpenCL 1.1 and Microsoft's DirectCompute 11.

Spec-for-spec, the HD 6500M is more potent than the HD 6300M by far, despite the latter part's higher maximum engine clock speed:

AMD Radeon HD 6500M and HD 6300M specifications comparison

Not too shabby for notebook chips, eh?

The new Radeon HD 6000M series announcement shares the AMD spotlight at this year's CES with the first offerings in the company's Fusion series of what it calls APUs – accelerated processing units – which combine CPU and GPU cores on the same slice of silicon.

Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Products Group, isn't shy about his company's new APUs: "We believe that AMD Fusion processors are, quite simply, the greatest advancement in processing since the introduction of the x86 architecture more than forty years ago," he said when announcing the Fusion roll-out.

In their announcement, AMD focused on what it modestly referred to as the chips "powerful DirectX 11-capable discrete-level graphics and parallel processing engine, a dedicated high-definition video acceleration block, and a high-speed bus that speeds data across the differing types of processor cores within the design."

It's no surprise that AMD leads its list of Fusion features with its DirectX 11 capabilities, seeing as how Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU/GPU mashup, also to debut at CES, doesn't share that capability.

In what's surely an effort to prove that Fusion has powerful friends, AMD also announced on Tuesday that during CES it will exhibit what it refers to as "amazing computing experiences" provided by a "coalition of industry innovators" – demo partners include Adobe, Corel, DivX, EA/BioWare, Microsoft, and Sega, among others.

The low-power processors in the Fusion line began shipping in early November of 2010, and have now graduated from their code names of "Zacate" and "Ontario" to the far more mundame monikers of E-Series and C-Series:

AMD low-power Fusion processors specs

AMD claims its new low-power chips have better performance than Intel's Atom

When announcing the shipment of those first Fusion processors in November, AMD CEO Dirk Meyer promised that systems using the chips, both based on AMD's Bobcat compute core (AMD’s first new x86 core since 2003), would be showcased at CES. On Tuesday the company offered specifics, saying that it expects systems to be available from Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba "at very compelling value and mainstream price points."

The Reg will be attending CES in force, where we hope to bring you details about systems based on Zacate the E-Series and Ontario C-Series APUs. ®

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