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AMD promises 10 teraflop notebooks by 2020

Demos next year's Trinity and talks elephants

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Fusion Summit AMD has demoed its next-generation "Trinity" processor, promising 10-teraflop notebooks based on follow-ons to its new A-series "Liano" APUs by 2020.

"Two and a half years or so ago ... I brought up a bold promise: that in 2011 AMD would deliver a supercomputer in a notebook," AMD senior vice president and products-group general manager Rick Bergman told devs gathered at his company's Fusion Developer Summit in Bellevue, Washington.

"At the time, there were some skeptics out there who didn't think it would happen. And certainly as you saw in our announcement today, it did." The supercomputer performance that Bergman claims the Llano APU (accelerated processing unit) is capable of? Four hundred gigaflops, single-precision. "In a notebook," he reminded his audience.

"And we're not going to sit still, either," Bergman continued. "Our next product, called Trinity, is lined up for next year, as well. And that performance is going to be at least 50 per cent faster than the performance you see today from Llano."

Still not fast enough for you? Bergman had a far more outlandish promise to share: "And then think out ten years from now – or less than ten years from now – to 2020: 10 teraflops of performance in a notebook."

In case his audience didn't fully grasp the implications of that promise, Bergman provided a bit of context. "The first 10-teraflops supercomputer wasn't introduced until sometime in 2001, so less than 10 years ago we had that 10-teraflops supercomputer."

That super was in the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore Labs, and was used to test nuclear explosions "and those type of events," said Bergman. "And now you're going to be able to get that type of capability in your notebook."

He then provided a somewhat bizarre comparison. "It took a supercomputer that weighed roughly the equivalent of 17 elephants – over two hundred thousand pounds – and yet within this decade we're going to get that in a notebook."

The next step towards that 17-elephants-in-your-laptop future, Bergman said, is the Bulldozer-based Trinity – and he just happend to have a notebook running a Trinity APU ready for a demo.

The demo was rudimentary – the notebook, running Windows, merely displayed an HD video clip – but as Bergman said, "We've just had this silicon for a few weeks in our lab."

"We've got a ton of work – you won't see [Trinity] in a notebook until 2012," he admitted, but he emphasized that AMD's commitment to the Fusion future is "absolutely clear," and told the assembled devs that they could go "confidently forward" in their work to develop apps for the Fusion architecture.

Apprently lumping Intel's CPU/GPU/video-encoding Sandy Bridge chips into the APU stew – although never mentioning Chipzilla by name – Bergman claimed the APU crown for AMD. "I think with what we've announced today," he said, "it's pretty darn clear that Llano – our A-series APU – is the best APU of 2011. There's no one even close with the GPU, or graphics, and video capability within that part."

Pausing after each word for dramatic effect, Bergman said that AMD will continue to lead the APU pack: "Every. Single. Year." ®

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