At Computex this week, AMD is offering the first-ever public demonstration of AMD Fusion technology. AMD Fusion represents AMD's effort to combine the CPU and GPU onto a single die - called an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).
The idea is that a single die or chip could efficiently deliver popular (and demanding) consumer experiences like playing a DirectX 11 game to HD video playback. AMD Fusion represents what AMD believes to be a major shift in processor architecture and capabilities.
Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, AMD Products Group, provided an APU technology demonstration during a press conference today. This demonstration provided a sneak peek into the upcoming shift in the computing industry: power-efficient processors that combine CPU, GPU, video processing and other accelerator capabilities in a single-die design to power HD video applications to media-rich Internet experiences to DirectX 11 games.
"Hundreds of millions of us now create, interact with, and share intensely visual digital content," said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, AMD Product Group. "This explosion in multimedia requires new applications and new ways to manage and manipulate data. Low resolution video needs to be up-scaled for larger screens, HD video must be shrunk for smart phones, and home movies need to be stabilized and cleaned up for more enjoyable viewing. When AMD formally launches the AMD Fusion family of APUs, scheduled for the first half of in 2011, we expect the PC experience to evolve dramatically."
Microsoft joined AMD on stage at Computex and discussed how AMD Fusion APUs can enable improvements to applications such as Microsoft Windows 7 and DirectX 11.
In addition to Microsoft DirectX with DirectCompute, software developers can also build applications using OpenCL via the ATI Stream SDK.
The AMD Fusion Family of APUs are planned for the first half of 2011. These will include a mainstream version called Llano and a low-power version called Ontario. The mainstream Liano chip will support DirectX 11 and 3D gaming. The Ontario chip will power ultra-thin notebooks and offer HD playback capabilities.
AMD also demontrated the ATI XGP Technology (eXternal Graphics Platform), an external graphics solution for notebook PCs. ATI XGP allows users to enjoy high graphics performance powered by an external graphics device plugged in to their notebook. The device connects to specially designed notebook using an external PCI Express 2.0 connector. Once the device is plugged in ATI XGP technology is activated. ATI XGP can run up to 4 displays when activated on the notebook PC and comes with HDMI with integrated audio, DVI and USB connections.
AMD Fusion Fund
AMD also unveiled the "AMD Fusion Fund," a vehicle to make strategic investments in companies developing solutions that will take advantage of the forthcoming AMD Fusion family of APUs.
Starting immediately, interested ecosystem companies may submit proposals for investment to be reviewed and evaluated by AMD.
Projects for consideration include a range of next-generation and accelerated computing capabilities enabled by AMD Fusion APU products, including application software and tool development, unique device designs, PC components and innovative ideas which extend the reach of collaborative computing on the CPU and GPU.
In addition to development programs such as the AMD Fusion Fund, AMD supports its hardware and software partners through the AMD Fusion Partner Program. The Fusion Partner Program provides software companies and developers with technology enablement, development tools and support such as the ATI Stream technology software development kit (SDK), which supports OpenCL standards. AMD's partners wil also receive marketing support, the company added.