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AMD demos CPU with integrated graphics

Oct 20, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has provided a glimpse of its upcoming “Llano” APU (accelerated processing unit), which integrates computing and graphics capabilities onto a single piece of silicon. Scheduled for release in mid-2011, the processor is being touted for its “world-class performance.”

AMD marketers have coined the term "APU" to denote that Llano will include both a CPU and GPU (graphics processing unit) on a single piece of silicon, much like recent Intel processors have. The company's first such chip was demonstrated during the AMD Technical Forum and Exhibition in Taiwan, as seen below.

A demonstration of AMD's Llano
Source: AMD
(click to play)

AMD officials simultaneously ran three individual, compute-intensive workloads on Microsoft's Windows 7 OS. The tasks included calculating the value of Pi to 32 million decimal places and decoding HD video from a Blu-ray disc, according to the company.

"'Llano' is the kind of APU that makes you stop and stare," Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's client group, said in a blog post. "It stands to deliver world-class performance, ranging from everyday multitasking to stunning video and gaming."

Llano, which is designed for notebooks, ultra-thin laptops and desktop PCs, is scheduled to begin appearing in systems in 2011. Llano and "Ontario," aimed at low-end notebooks, netbooks and tablets, are the first of AMD's Fusion chips. New systems powered by Ontario also are due out next year.

The company became a player in the graphics market in 2006, when it bought GPU (graphics processing unit) maker ATI for $5.4 billion. The purchase proved to be a financial burden on the company, but officials saw the promise of integrating the CPU and GPU with businesses and consumers demanding greater performance in such areas as videos and multimedia applications.

With ATI under its wing, AMD has made strong strides in the graphics market. Market research firm Jon Peddie Research reported in August that while Intel remained the world's top PC graphics vendor in the second quarter, AMD saw significant gains in shipments and market share, mostly at the expense of graphics vendor Nvidia.

Intel, which in May put an end to its "Larrabee" project to design its own discrete graphics chip, has talked up its upcoming "Sandy Bridge" Core processor that includes integrated graphics capabilities. According to Intel CEO Paul Otellini, Sandy Bridge, which will appear in systems starting in early 2011, offers graphics performance that is 25 times faster than what was available in Intel chips in 2007.

Further information

The blog posting mentioned above may be found here. More information about AMD's Fusion architecture may be found here.

Jeffrey Burt is a writer for our sister publication

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