AMD Launches 'Llano' Fusion Chips for Mainstream PCs
Advanced Micro Devices is launching its "Llano" platform, the Fusion processors for mainstream desktop and notebook PCs.
The June 14 release comes six months after AMD officials rolled out the first of its Fusion APUs (accelerated processing units), which offer discrete-level graphics, a memory controller and a CPU on the same piece of silicon. There also is a dedicated chip for video encoding and decoding, according to the company.
Company officials argue that PC owners are using their systems for much of their day for both personal and businesses tasks, and that much of that use is becoming more visual in nature. Those trends dovetail with AMD's push to make their chips higher performing and energy efficient, with high-end graphics capabilities.
AMD already has a number of Fusion chips in the market. First released at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in January, the current Fusion product lines include the C-Series "Ontario" and E-Series "Zacate" APUs for smaller systems such as ultra-thin notebooks and netbooks. The chip vendor also has the Embedded G-Series Fusion chips for embedded systems.
The new Fusion A-Series APUs offer up to four x86 CPU cores, DirectX 11-capable graphics and up to 400 Radeon GPU cores, according to AMD. They also offer features like gestural interfaces, multi-monitor support, three-dimensional entertainment and image stabilization. AMD officials said they offer supercomputer-like performance and a battery life of up to 10.5 hours.
To coincide with the Llano launch, Hewlett-Packard on June 14 rolled out 11 new consumer and business notebooks based on the new AMD platform. The offerings include three systems within the Pavilion dv-series entertainment notebooks, two notebooks in the Pavilion g-series for everyday performance, two systems in the commercial ProBook b-series, and three in the ProBook s-series.
The ProBook systems are scheduled to be available June 27, while the Pavilion systems will be released in July. Pricing starts at $399.
AMD executives have said that integrating the CPU and GPU on the same die will drive up performance and energy efficiency of computer systems while reducing power costs in both consumer and commercial machines. AMD rival Intel also is putting integrated graphics onto its chips with its latest Core processors based on the "Sandy Bridge" architecture.
"The AMD A-Series APU represents an inflection point for AMD and is perhaps the industry's biggest architectural change since the invention of the microprocessor," Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD Products Group, said in a statement. "It heralds the arrival of brilliant all-new computing experiences, and enables unprecedented graphics and video performance in notebooks and PCs. Beginning today we are bringing discrete-class graphics to the mainstream."
AMD officials said they expect the Llano chips to ship in more than 150 desktops and notebooks starting this quarter, not only from HP but other OEMs like Dell, Lenovo and Acer. Interim CEO Thomas Seifert said in April that AMD had begun shipping the 32-nanometer A-Series APUs to OEMs.
Among the features in the new chips is AMD's AllDay Power, which enables more than 10.5 hours of resting battery life, which officials said is 50 percent better than its 2010 counterparts. AMD also is offering dynamic switchable graphics, which further optimizes battery life by managing power states on the APU and discrete Radeon GPUs.
On the performance side, Llano offers up to 400 gigaflops of performance for notebooks, and 500 gigaflops for desktops. They also include AMD's Turbo Core technology, which boosts the performance of the CPU and GPU based on the workloads to help improve performance and energy efficiency.
AMD also noted that the chips come with its Vision Engine for enhanced digital content like videos, games and photos. In addition, they also offer AMD's new Steady Video feature, designed to stabilize videos during playback.