AMD Demonstrates Upcoming Fusion Chips at Computex

AMD officials at Computex showed off one of the company's upcoming Fusion APUs, which combine a CPU, GPU and various accelerators on a single die, and which will be available for use in desktops and notebooks in the first half of 2011.

Advanced Micro Devices officials June 1 gave Computex attendees the first public demonstration of a Fusion processor, technology that is scheduled for release in the first half of 2011.

Fusion is AMD's effort to create what the company is calling APUs (accelerated processing units), which bring together "CPU, GPU, video processing and other accelerator capabilities" on a single die.

AMD is integrating its x86 CPU expertise with the GPU technology acquired when it bought ATI for $5.4 billion in 2006.

During his address at the Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan, Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Product Group, ran a clip of the recent film "Alien vs. Predator" on a system powered by a Fusion APU, according to reports. Bergman also showed off a wafer holding Fusion chips, though he reportedly would not let the media take photos of it.

AMD officials have said the company is readying two versions of the Fusion APU-"Llanno" and a low-power model called "Ontario"-for release in the first half of 2011. The chip vendor already has sent out samples to certain customers.

The goal is to create technology that can handle the visual and data-intensive workloads that are becoming more commonplace. AMD is not the only tech vendor seeing the trend. Cisco Systems officials June 2 predicted that 91 percent of all global consumer IP traffic will be video-based by 2014.

AMD's representatives were joined onstage at Computex by Microsoft officials who talked about how the Fusion APUs would benefit users of Windows 7 and DirectX 11.

In addition, AMD is working to expand the base of manufacturers that will incorporate Fusion chips into their systems. The company unveiled the AMD Fusion Fund, which will financially help companies that want to build systems that will run on the APUs.

Projects that can be considered for funding include those involving application and tool development, device designs, and PC components.

In late May, AMD hired Manju Hegde, vice president of rival Nvidia's CUDA technical marketing business, to run the Fusion program.