The chief executive officer of Advanced Micro Devices said during a conversation with financial analysts that the first “Fusion” chips from AMD that will feature both general-purpose x86 processing cores as well as graphics processing cores will be made using 32nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) process technology. While the decision is rather surprising, the news that AMD had made its mind in regards of fabrication process seems to be good.
“We will have CPUs, so-called Fusion parts, on 32nm SOI in the next-generation and the bulk CMOS [fabrication process] we are evaluating for subsequent generation. […] For the generations beyond 32nm, we are evaluating our choices, as we do for every generation,” said Dirk Meyer, chief executive officer of AMD, during a conference call with financial analysts.
At present AMD’s central processing units (CPUs) are made using SOI process technology at Globalfoundries, a joint venture between AMD and Advanced Technology Investment Company, whereas the company’s ATI Radeon graphics processing units (GPUs) are produced utilizing bulk technology at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. In order to fit a Radeon HD 5000-class graphics core into the same piece of silicon with a CPU, AMD will have to redesign the GPU.
According to AMD’s most recent roadmap, the first accelerated processing unit (APU, how the company prefers to call its CPU-GPU “Fusion” products) from the company is code-named Llano.
AMD Llano APU will seem to be quite an interesting solution for entry-level market: it will feature up to four Shanghai/Phenom II-class cores; 4MB of L3 cache; PC3-12800 (DDR3 1600MHz) memory controller, possibly, with some tweaks to better serve x86 and graphics engines; DirectX 11 graphics core with third-generation universal video decoder; PCI Express 2.0 bus for external graphics cards.
The decision about process technology for the first “Fusion” chip seems to be very positive for AMD, whose execution and decision making has been heavily criticized for several years now. Since Llano is only due in 2011, the company will have a lot of time to tweak the design of the chip so that to ensure smooth product launch. Obviously, it still remains to be seen whether the company’s Phenom II-class CPU will remain competitive in 2011 in terms of general processing capabilities. However, it is a good news that AMD is ready with the design and process technology for the forthcoming product.
Tags: AMD, Fusion, Llano, 32nm, ATI, Radeon, Globalfoundries
Comments currently: 4
Discussion started: 10/15/09 10:04:29 PM
Latest comment: 07/08/10 01:17:37 PM
It seems to be a foregone conclusion that the GPU inside of Llano is 5000-series based.
With a new GPU architecture coming in H210, is it so impossible it will be a discrete architecture with many cores able to be scaled down to a single core inside CPUs? The rumor of MIMD suggests this, as the way that architecture works through shared memory/controllers and the like would seem to fit with the smaller memory controller of a cpu. More on point, current Juniper products look to be a Cypress literally chopped in half, with the odd die shape and the original cypress actually being a more 'dual core' design, two seperate 800 SIMD blocks, rather than one large one. A transition has obviously started with these parts that will become more apparent in the new architecture and fusion parts.
The notion of a Gen3 UVD makes me think this will be so. Current 5000-series products still ship with UVD2.
10/15/09 10:04:29 PM]
And Llano is for entry-level market! Can't wait. But 2011 is such a long time to wait. Can't wait! Hope AMD got it right the first try. Merging the two would be a herculean task. Would they start with the GPU as base and add-on the CPU? Or would they just package the 2 into one chip with connecting controls?
10/16/09 10:34:27 AM]
turtle, it's possible, but if you look at integrated graphics in AMD chipsets, they are typically older gen tech. A new gen starts at the high end, mid range, then moves to low end, then integrated. And video, on the other hand, doesn't always progress in step with the 3D core (IIRC this has also happened on AMD integrated). So it's not too much to imagine that 53x0 tech, coming out early next year, will be integrated into a GPU a year later. Not that this precludes AMD moving to a slightly more up to date core, but unless they introduce the 6000 family next year, I think that's unlikely. (Though I do think there's a chance they'll introduce the 6000 family next year.)
(The Juniper vs. Cypress point is totally irrelevant, since AMD always designs a range of chips with different number of units.)
10/17/09 11:10:40 PM]
Very interesting from AMD,but i think Fusion not harm discreete graphics.Fusion make room for hybrid CF similar happen (supose)with future Intel graphics and their version of CF.So this is bad news for Nvidia ,and its time to think about their CPU.I am sure Fusion will show low power consumption and that fact put them in notebook,netbook ,pdf reader market etc...
10/18/09 08:37:25 AM]
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