We'll see Fusion CPUs in the shops in 2011, but system builders should get them before Dec 31st 2010.
Fusion is AMD’s forthcoming CPU + GPU product and until we had the chance to catch up with AMD at a recent briefing, we believed it was on track for a 2011 launch. It appears the company is confident that it will now be able to release the chips this year.
AMD has been talking about Fusion for years, and Intel has already beaten AMD by launching its Clarkdale Core i3 and Core i5
CPUs with integrated graphics, but these use separate CPU and GPU dies combined in a single CPU package.
AMD however, is determined to combine everything into one piece of silicon. We asked spokesperson Bob Grim why that was: " I don’t think there’s a simple answer to that
" said Grim, "if you look at the history of AMD, when we came out with dual-core processors, we built a true dual-core processor. When we came out with quad-cores, we built a true quad-core processor. What our competitors did was an MCM solution – taking two chips and gluing them together.
"There was a fair bit of engineering work involved too, but we just have a tradition of building a piece of silicon from the ground up, in fact the only MCM (Multi-Chip Module) solution I’m aware of that we’ve ever done is on the server side with our 12-core product
(the Opteron 6174
). [Regardless], what we’ll be launching with Fusion is definitely all on one die.
When asked if building a CPU/GPU hybrid chip on a single piece of silicon would yield any advantages beyond speed, Grim replied, "We hope so. We’ve just got the silicon in and we’re going through the paces right now – the engineers are taking a look at it. But it should have power and performance advantages. Going to the 32nm [manufacturing process] is also going to help. I believe Dirk (Meyer, CEO) has gone on record saying we’re going to ship some to customers this year, so hopefully we’ll be able to deliver on that promise. I’m confident that we will be - the silicon looks good. I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t [hit Meyer’s target] based on where Fusion is now.
What do you think? Do you care that all the elements of a CPU are combined in a single piece of silicon or does it not matter as long as the thing works? And are you excited by the prospect of AMD's Fusion CPU? Thoughts in the forums please