by Anton Shilov
10/10/2010 | 11:27 AM
Advanced Micro Devices has not delivered a top-performing central processing unit since 2006. Although the company has managed to fight back the first place on the market of discrete graphics cards, its financial performance remains questionable. But there is the next - Fusion - era comes to AMD, which will have drastic influence onto the company's future. The firm thinks so.
"As AMD heads into 2011, it really is starting to feel like some historic battles between irresistible forces and unmovable objects are coming to a head. [...] For thousands of people inside the company, you can sense us rising from our seats to see what AMD Fusion is going to deliver, and we all know it is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before," said Gary Silcott is senior manager of product PR at AMD.
Unfortunately for AMD, the first accelerated processing unit (APU) is going aim only very low-power low-end devices, such as cheap notebooks or netbooks. AMD's code-named Ontario/Zacate design sports a couple of AMD Bobcat cores as well as ATI Radeon HD 5400-series graphics engine (with similar performance to 4400-series from 2008). Naturally, such a product cannot make a major market change. Moreover, given the fact of AMD's low mobile market share, it is hardly likely that Ontario/Zacate will influence the market of mobile computers. What AMD hopes on are two things: highly integrated Fusion chip will allow to shrink down size of small form-factor system (SFF) and software evolution will make use of integrated graphics core making AMD's offerings more productive compared to rivals from Intel Corp.
But the success of AMD's Ontario/Zacate is not cast on stone. The chips are highly integrated, but their power consumption may be as high as 18W and as low as 9W. The APUs may be welcomed by notebook makers because of high integration and hence ability to make smaller notebooks, but may receive tepid reception because of 18W power consumption. It also remains to be seen how quickly software makers will actually make use of multi-thread capabilities of graphics processing units.
"All the calls made in the last few years to stick to a unique plan of action in order to deliver the user experience consumers and customers want to get from a company like AMD, are about to pay off. I hope you’ll stick with us for this game [as] the season may end, but the love of the sort goes on forever," added Mr. Silcott.
AMD Brazos platform for desktops and mobile computers will consist of AMD Fusion accelerated processing unit (APU) code-named Ontario/Zacate as well as code-named Hudson D1 fusion controller hub, which will connect to processor using PCI Express 2.0 x4 bus and will support 4 PCIe x1 ports, PCI bus, 6 Serial ATA-300 ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports as well as integrated clock-generator. The part does not support RAID, Gigabit Ethernet and other capabilities, hence, Brazos platform will hardly be suitable for commercial desktops without additional chips.