AMD: Ultrathin Notebooks Will Get Supercomputer Power Shortly

The Era of Personal Computers Clearly Not Over - AMD

by Anton Shilov
10/05/2010 | 11:43 PM

The chief executive officer of Advanced Micro Devices believes that personal computers will not only continue to exist in their present form, but will also gain ultimate advantages from the company's central processing units with integrated graphics processors.

The conversations about the end of personal computers era started right after the first PCs hit the market. Recently such talks intensified fueled by the early market success of Apple iPad tablet that can do almost nothing except helping to consume media sold by Apple and its partners as well as doing very basic things. Quite naturally, personal computers continue to exist and gain functionality. But in order to reinvigorate the interest towards personal computers from various mobile gadgets, new hardware and software will be needed.


"We are in the midst of one of the most dramatic shifts ever in the way people use computers. PCs, for years mostly text-based machines manipulated with mice and keyboards, are rapidly becoming rich, visual multimedia hubs controlled by users' hands and bodies for which no amount of processing power seems to be enough," said Dirk Meyer, the head of AMD, in an article at Forbes.

The hardware - such as high-performance central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) - powerful enough to process advanced visuals or other data have existed for years, but at present such products are quite expensive. According to the chief executive officer of Sunnyvale, California-based chip designer, the so-called accelerated processing units (APUs) that combine x86 and graphics cores will allow to massively boost functionality of PCs because they are cost-efficient yet powerful.

"It will not be long before APUs allow road warriors to routinely carry ultrathin notebooks with supercomputer power. You don't have to be a geological engineer to find that desirable. Compared to all but the most high-performing current generation of PCs, even entry-level APU-powered devices will offer immensely more processing power, challenging developers and game designers to unleash even more engaging, entertaining and productive applications controlled via visceral interfaces," wrote Mr. Meyer.

Keeping in mind that the first-generation of APUs (code-named Ontario and Zacate) is designed for entry-level netbooks and notebooks, they will hardly have any influence on the market or on the software. The second-generation (which code-name is Llano and what was originally supposed to be the first-generation) accelerated processing units are aimed at mainstream market, which is why it could have larger footprint on the industry. Unfortunately, Llano APUs are only going to emerge in mid-2011, which means that effect of their existence can have an effect on the market sometime in 2012 if not later.