It's the Chip Wars, Next Generation. Just as Intel is releasing its new generation of Sandy Bridge chips in time for this week's opening of the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Advanced Micro Devices is launching its much-delayed Fusion family of Accelerated Processing Units (APU).
The new processors incorporate into a single die design multi-core x86 technology, DirectX 11-capable discrete-level graphics and parallel processing engine, a dedicated high-def video acceleration block, and a high-speed bus.
'Greatest Advancement in Processing'
The new products, AMD said, combine "more compute capabilities than any processor in the history of computing." Desktop, notebook and HD netbooks with the APUs are now being released from such manufacturers as Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba. Tablets and products with embedded designs are expected later this quarter. AMD said the features will include "stutter-free" HD video playback and "all-day battery life."
Rick Berman, senior vice president and general manager of the AMD Products Group, said the new Fusion processors are "quite simply, the greatest advancement in processing since the introduction of x86 architecture more than 40 years ago." This new generation, he said, will lead to high-definition everywhere, and "personal supercomputing capabilities in notebooks."
To propel the vision of HD everywhere, Fusion-equipped PCs will feature a VISION Engine. The engine consists of DirectX 11-capable graphics, massive parallel processing, graphics drivers updated monthly, and, when accompanied by the new AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series GPUs, a UVD3 video-acceleration block for high-level gaming and other uses.
10.75 Hours of Battery Life
AMD sees the supercomputing label as more than a marketing phrase. The company said that, to this point, application developers for PCs have been "held back" by the separate ways CPUs and graphics processors handle data, but now that barrier has been removed. It said an upcoming APU, the A-Series Llano, will offer more than 500 GFLOPS, "bringing supercomputer-like performance to everyday computing tasks."
Four APUs will be released, two for the E-Series platform and two for the C-Series. The E-Series is designed for mainstream notebooks, integrated systems, and small desktops, while the C-Series is for HD notebooks and tablets.
From a user's point of view, a key question is how the new chips from AMD and Intel will be reflected in capabilities, and whether the capabilities are ones that average users need or want. The new chips from both companies promise unprecedented graphics and HD video capabilities, integrated graphics, higher performance, and power efficiency.
Although outstanding graphics and HD video are always showstoppers, power efficiency is a big concern for users of laptops and other mobile devices. Both new generations of chips promise to dramatically increase battery life. An upcoming HP Pavilion Fusion- and solid-state-drive-equipped laptop, for example, is reported to get up to 10.75 hours of battery life.
Posted: 2011-01-05 @ 5:41am PT
too bad the chipsets still suck