During AMD’s Financial Analyst day, the “GigaOM” (http://gigaom.com/) and “Fudzilla” (http://www.fudzilla.com/) sites picked up on a PowerPoint slide that AMD’s senior vice president and chief of sales officer, Emilio Ghilardi, displayed but didn’t discuss. The slide featured two iMacs and a Mac Prowith the AMD Fusion logo below them.
If this slide is any indication, Apple could be on the verge of using AMD processors in its desktops, says “PC Mag” (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372484,00.asp). This week AMD this week demonstrated the company’s first APU, which stands for Accelerated Processing Unit, based on its Fusion technology.
AMD says Fusion is a new approach to processor design and software development, delivering CPU and GPU capabilities for HD, 3D and data-intensive workloads in a single-die processor called an APU. APUs are designed to combine high-performance serial and parallel processing cores with other special-purpose hardware accelerators, “enabling breakthroughs in visual computing, security, performance-per-watt and device form factor,” says AMD.
Dirk Meyer, AMD president and CEO, says AMD Fusion APUs mark a significant leap forward in technology innovation to address evolving workloads and users’ needs for smaller, more power-efficient form factors that enable richer visual computing experiences such as:
° Outstanding Web browsing experiences in terms of speed of response, quality of graphics, quality of animations;
° Smooth video playback of HD and 3D content in even the most portable form factors;
° Optimized experience in popular GPU-accelerated productivity applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint where AMD Fusion enables smooth transitions, better animations, easier video editing;
° Better content management capabilities to organize the millions of digital media files created and stored by consumers everyday;
° User interface innovations designed to rapidly evolve as new technologies such as gesture recognition and voice command take advantage of the massive parallel processing capability of GPUs as evidenced by the hundreds of gigaflops of compute power in the AMD Fusion APU codenamed “Llano.”
“AMD’s trump card appears to be that its integrated and discrete GPUs will be more powerful than what Intel has coming down the pike,” says “PC Mag.” “And Apple, as we all know, has always been a big fan of GPU power. Apple’s desktop line has also been using ATI Radeon GPUs (now, AMD Radeon) for the longest time, so this isn’t the first time the company has been in bed with AMD.”
In April there were rumors that Apple and AMD execs were talking about the former using the chips of the latter in upcoming products. Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, even said there’s a slim chance that something more could be in the works, such as Apple buying AMD. However, Meyer denied that.
Around the same time, there were also reports that Apple and AMD execs had been meeting to allow Apple to begin working with AMD processors in its labs as part of an initiative to position the chips inside some upcoming products. Purportedly, Apple was mainly interested in AMD’s workstation and notebook class CPUs.