AMD Demos 'Llano' APU for Notebooks, Desktop PCs

AMD showed off its upcoming "Llano" APU, which offers integrated compute and graphics capabilities onto the same piece of silicon. Llano will appear in systems in 2011.

Advanced Micro Devices officials gave the industry a glimpse of their upcoming "Llano" processor, part of the company's Fusion initiative that integrates computing and graphics capabilities onto a single piece of silicon.

AMD on Oct. 19 gave a demonstration of what the APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) can do during the company's AMD Technical Forum and Exhibition in Taiwan.

AMD officials simultaneously ran three individual, compute-intensive workloads on Microsoft's Windows 7 OS. The tasks included calculating the value of Pi to 32 million decimal places and decoding HD video from a Blu-ray disc, according to the company.

"'Llano' is the kind of APU that makes you stop and stare," Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's client group, said in a blog post. "It stands to deliver world-class performance, ranging from everyday multi-tasking to stunning video and gaming."

Click here for a look at Intel and AMD chips with integrated graphics.

Llano, which is designed for notebooks, ultra-thin laptops and desktop PCs, is scheduled to begin appearing in systems in 2011. Llano and "Ontario," aimed at low-end notebooks, netbooks and tablets, are the first of AMD's Fusion chips. New systems powered by Ontario also are due out next year.

The company became a player in the graphics market in 2006, when it bought GPU (graphics processing unit) maker ATI for $5.4 billion. The purchase proved to be a financial burden on the company, but officials saw the promise of integrating the CPU and GPU with businesses and consumers demanding greater performance in such areas as videos and multimedia applications.

With ATI under its wing, AMD has made strong strides in the graphics market. Market research firm Jon Peddie Research reported in August that while Intel remained the world's top PC graphics vendor in the second quarter, AMD saw significant gains in shipments and market share, mostly at the expense of graphics vendor Nvidia.

Intel, which in May put an end to its "Larrabee" project to design its own discrete graphics chip, talked up its upcoming "Sandy Bridge" Core processor that includes integrated graphics capabilities. According to Intel CEO Paul Otellini, Sandy Bridge, which will appear in systems starting in early 2011, offers graphics performance that is 25 times faster than what was available in Intel chips in 2007.