AMD says Fusion will knock Intel for six. Or five

At a reviewers’ day at the Lone Star facility in Austin TX last week, AMD chief technology officer Joe Macri waxed large on Fusion and the potential it has for the future.

He said some interesting things. 

He said: “We went to multicore because we knew we could exploit that area. But with GPUs we needed to run things in parallel.  We’re at three teraFLOPS today but they’re almost working in team, one on latency, and one of bandwidth.”

He said: “Fusion is the combination of many decades of computing. It’s the fusion of CPU and GPU compute within one processor, significantly enhances active/resting battery life, and provides high bandwidth IO.”

He continued: “On a single die you can do many things that two chips talking to each other on a narrow channel really can’t do. We believe why we’re in a really good position. We’re taking two world class teams and merging them together. The APU (accelerated processor unit) is truly a supercomputer on a chip. “

He explained: “If you can get more work done with less data transfers you get a significant saving on battery life.  We’ll win with Fusion, Fusion is going to be the mantra and we’ll spread it everywhere from handheld devices to supercomputers.”

And: “The best hardware is hardware you don’t notice.”

AMD, he said, has some priorities and those are to win in the popular usage areas that are video, graphics, computers and continued battery life improvements.

He said: “The computing win will be a set of hardware that will allow content providers to produce applications, a bathtub filled with apps, some of which we can think about today, and some of which we can’t.”

He explained: “The apps we’re playing with today are the science fiction apps of yesterday. We’ll give you PCs that will run all day. I want the sleep mode to go away.  All day compute is a mantra we have.  We don’t want you to go have to plug your machine in every day.  AMD couldn’t be successful as just a component company. Platform power is as important as core silicon power.”

He continued: “in 2010 we’ll see six hour battery life and in 2011 we’ll see an additional boost as Fusion comes in.”

Macri then showed these slides:

AMD’s fusion’s plans (14 pictures)

The important points are these: Danube will appear in the first half of 2010,and will have a 45 nanometer quad core with DX10.1 IGP. It will support seven hours resting battery life, and have ATI Stream application acceleration.  AMD may well introduce a five CPU system.

The third generation processor for the ultrathin market is codenamed  Nile.
It will be available in the first half of 2010, be a 45 nano dual core, seven plus hours resting battery life, enhanced UVD capabilities for exceptional HD video experience. The Geneva CPU has two CPU cores, BGA, DDR3. The Danube Champlain CPU will have up to four CPU cores, DX10.1 IGP with DX11, discrete option, DDR3.

There will be new power techniques in both Nile and Danube. AMD will push 32 nanometer very aggressively in 2011, said Macri.

“This is the Fusion era, the watershed event. Year over year you’ll see it extending further abroad. We’ll be top to bottom with DX11,” said Macri.

In 2011 we’ll see the Sabine Platform, the Llano APU, four cores, DX11 GPU 4MB cache,and DDR3. And we’ll see ultrathin Brazos platforms, the Ontario APU, two cores 1MB cache, DX11 GPU, DDR3, BGA. This, said Macri, will be a dedicated design with a different team and a different focus of execution. “Their real goal is battery life and cost and performance that gives you a real experience. It will be the ultimate thin and light CPU with the best performance and power consumption.”

Finally, Macri had stuff to say about memory types. He said that DDR3 in some ways is half a step backwards because DDR2 offers less latency.  DDR2 has turned into a commodity. We’re very close on prices between DDR2 and DDR3

He returned to AMD CPUs. He said Bulldozer and Bobcat were big core and little core. “you’ll see there’s a full new compass in that potential.”