AMD has introduced its first Fusion processor chips aimed at mainstream laptop and desktop systems, combining multiple CPU cores integrated with on-chip Radeon GPU circuitry for greater graphics performance and number-crunching capabilities.
The A-Series of Fusion chips, codenamed Llano, is aimed squarely at mainstream laptops, desktops and all-in-one PCs, unlike those announced by AMD so far this year, which target ultra-mobiles, tablets and embedded systems.
AMD reiterated its belief that the future of computing is intensely visual, with consumers already using applications such as HD video, videoconferencing and 3D gaming.
This calls for a new approach to processor design that combines the CPU with the massive vector processing capabilities of the GPU, into what AMD terms an accelerated processing unit (APU).
"We're finally achieving some of those incredible science fiction 'wow' factor capabilities in computing," said John Taylor, director of product marketing at AMD, who claimed that Fusion is "fundamentally the biggest shift in x86 processor design in decades".
The A-Series combines two or four x86 processors with Radeon HD 6000 series GPUs, clocked at up to 2.1GHz and consuming 35W to 45W of power.
AMD is also trying to simplify its numbering scheme, branding the new processors as A4, A6 or A8 depending on capabilities.
The A4 chips have dual x86 CPU cores combined with 240 Radeon cores (shader processors) in the GPU, while the A6 are quad-core x86 with 320 Radeon cores, and the A8 are also quad-core x86 but with 400 Radeon cores in the GPU.
However, the dual-core A4 chips are clocked at 1.9GHz to 2.1GHz, while the quad-core A6 chips have a lower clock speed of 1.4GHz to 1.6GHz, and the A8 line are 1.5GHz to 1.9GHz.
The new chips also support AMD's Turbo Core technology, which ramps up the clock speed when required to as high as 2.6GHz in the case of the top A8 chip.
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