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Advanced Micro Devices has unveiled more details concerning its forthcoming chips that will include both central processing and graphics processing capabilities. Apparently, the processors currently referred to as Fusion will still fit into AMD’s open infrastructure and may be complimented by other chips. Nevertheless, certain Fusion models will be made tailored for specific needs.

Fusion processors – chips that combine AMD’s strength in x86 microprocessors development and ATI Technologies’ expertise in creation of advanced graphics processors – are projected to be made using 45nm process technology and are expected to emerge commercially in late 2008/early 2009. The company expects to use them within all of the company’s priority computing categories, including laptops, desktops, workstations and servers, as well as in consumer electronics and solutions tailored for the unique needs of emerging markets, according to AMD.

With Fusion processors, AMD plans to continue promoting an open platform and encourage companies throughout the ecosystem to create innovative new co-processing solutions aimed at further optimizing specific workloads. AMD-powered Fusion platforms will continue to fully support high-end discrete graphics, physics accelerators, and other PCI Express-based solutions to meet the ever-increasing needs of the most demanding enthusiast end-users.

It is unclear whether enthusiasts or workstation users need basic graphics accelerators built into microprocessors, however, mainstream users may find it useful, as it provides further upgrade opportunities. In addition, graphics processing engines within a central processing unit may be used for general purpose processing as well, which is especially useful for consumer electronics and other devices that cannot install multiple chips due to size, cost, power or other constraints.

“With the anticipated launch of Windows Vista, robust 3D graphics, digital media and device convergence are driving the need for greater performance, graphics capabilities, and battery life,” said Phil Hester, AMD senior vice president and chief technology officer. “In this increasingly diverse x86 computing environment, simply adding more CPU cores to a baseline architecture will not be enough. As x86 scales from palmtops to petaFLOPS, modular processor designs leveraging both CPU and GPU compute capabilities will be essential in meeting the requirements of computing in 2008 and beyond.”


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