AMD acquired ATI five years ago, and not until the end of 2010 and during this summer it saw the fruit of this merger. The Fusion concept, an APU where it has combined CPU and GPU on the same silicon with expertise in both areas. This is the future for AMD, and it has no plans to release any traditional processors for notebooks.
Since the purchase of ATI in 2006 AMD was constantly saying ”The Future is Fusion”. The Fusion concept combines the traditional processor/CPU with the på graphics circuit/GPU. The idea was to make use of the seemingly completely different base concept, and let them help each other – and not just in games.
We have tested the first products and fruits of AMD’s work for the last five years. The Brazos platform was released at the end of 2010 in the form of Ontario and Zacate, and the Danube/Lynx platform with Llano ”Beavercreek” and ”Wintercreek” during the summer. AMD has seen a need for these products, not the least on the mobile market.
In talks with AMD’s new head of retail products in Northern Europe Toby Williams he shared something interesting, but not surprising. AMD has no plans to develop, and release regular CPUs for notebooks. AMD sees this is a niche market not worth getting involved in, since it also belives in the Fusion concept. He said that with tese products you get much more graphics and longer battery times, at a lower price than competing products. If you need more graphics power there is always Dual Graphics, but high processor power is not something that is being prioritized.
We have already seen in leaked roadmaps that AMD has no plans for regular processors, but we now have confirmation from AMD. Performance machines with a strong and power hungry processors, paired with an even hungrier graphics card is not at the top of the meny when looking for a new notebooks, but it is an existing market.
That AMD is dedicated to its APUs there is no doubt. It also talked about how it spends more money than ever on developing software, where it has partnered with over 100 developers and companies. The cooperations are meant to result in better usage of the GPU, for more than games, through OpenCL, which is the very base of the Fusion concept.
When he was asked about the Intel Ultrabook concept, he was unable to answer. But it is an interesting platform no doubt about that, and he implied that AMD intends to follow. We pointed out that AMD CFO, Thomas Seifert, has actually revealed that the Llano successor, Trinity will come in flavors with TDPs half of the 35W Llano consumes. Since he could not comment on unreleased products, he said that if Thomas said so, we should trust him.
Tablets was another topic that was discussed. Jokingly we asked if the fad iPad had built up would go away, and with a laughter he responded that he didn’t think so. Windows 8 will help power the development of tablets forward, and AMD will put more focus on this market with the launch of Windows 8. It will open up for x86 to move into tablet territory.
AMD tablets, with Windows 8 Developer Preview
It was too early to comment on how competitive ARM and its partners will be, but he settled for saying that we are heading interesting times where the architecture behind will be less important. He said that AMD can reduce energy consumption of its APUs and compete with better performance.
We should not forget that ASUS was present to show some AMD creations. The focus was on the Llano A6 series for notebooks, but also a minor that has been out for six months sporting E-350. The focus on X53T and X73T will be covered below, it is on the high graphics performance they ship with in relation to more expensive computers.
ASUS Eee PC 1215B (middle) is one of few 12.1″ computers on the market, that sport 4 GB RAM, 500 GB harddrive and 1366 x 768 px resolution. According to ASUS it is a big seller, and after squeezing a bit we can conclude that it is a stable construction with a quality impression. The APU is the famous E-350, but ASUS said that the model will be updated with AMD’s new E-450. ASUS Eee PC 1215B is in stores at around 400€.
ASUS X53T (left) is a 15.6″ model with 1366 x 768 pixel resolution that comes with 8 GB RAM and 640 GB harddrive. The model sports AMD A6-3400M, discrete HD 6650M with 1 GB DDR3 memory together with Dual Graphics/Crossfire for a HD 6720G2. Also this model felt solid in our hands. It costs around 550€.
ASUS X73T (right) is a 17.3″ computer with 1600 x 900 pixel resolution. Also this computer gets 8 GB RAM, and a slightly bigger harddrive at 750 GB. Like little brother it comes with AMD A6-3400M and a discrete HD 6650M with 1 GB DDR3 memory with Dual Graphics/Crossfire for a HD 6720G2. Considering design and construktion it is very similar to X53T. This model costs around 600€ and it has be considered a nice upgrade if you want a bigger screen than X53T.