Behind Closed Doors: Sneak Peak at AMD’s Fusion APU

Last week AMD invited us and some other members of the media to come down to their headquarters in Austin, Texas, to check out their facilities and learn about their current VISION Technology along with their upcoming Fusion APU.

Not too long ago, when you thought of processors – you associated them with a race for the most MHz. But according to AMD, computing is no longer just about how fast your processor is anymore. Granted processor speed is still important, but most modern day processors are fast enough for average people and their tasks. This is why AMD explains that what is important however, is how your computer handles multimedia intensive tasks like video playback and editing. Indeed, for the average computer user, it’s becoming more about your experience on your PC, rather than how many MHz you have under the hood.

To prove this point, they showed us the following stats:

  • 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 1.2 million videos are being viewed right now
  • Over 100 million minutes of internet based video calls are made per day
  • 50 million + digital media files are added to personal libraries every day

In January, AMD will be launching their Fusion APU, a new hybrid processor that will go into $399 notebooks and notebooks. AMD says that this new processor will be a game changer since it’s a hybrid processor and ATI graphics card all on a single chip. As a matter of fact, AMD claims that this chip is faster than a Core i5 system when it comes to many multimedia tasks. Now that is a pretty impressive statement, especially this nifty new chip will go inside netbooks and notebooks as low as $399 – so that could finally mean affordable multimedia computing for everyone.

The new Fusion APU is smaller, shorter and lighter, and more power efficient than previous AMD CPUs

This chip offers Direct X 11 support and accelerated parallel processing. All of this is happening on a single-die processor called an APU. That means that the GPU, now physically placed on top of the CPU, will be working with the CPU hand-in hand, so that the CPU can off load multimedia intensive tasks to the GPU as needed. But in simpler terms, all this means is that this APU is powerful enough for real gaming, HD video editing, and other serious multimedia tasks. It also promises to offer battery life of around 10 hours.

If this new Fusion APU delivers as promised, it may really be a game changer. Until now netbooks and sub $600 laptop  systems have been relegated to being mostly basic systems, just capable of mundane office and ordinary web tasks. This new Fusion APU however, can bring powerful multimedia capabilities to users who couldn’t previously afford it. AMD explains that this is essential because the web is slowly evolving into an application driven experience that needs both a powerful CPU to run hand in hand with the GPU, in order for everything to run smoothly without frustrating hang-ups and crashes.

But there are yet more benefits to this new Fusion APU:

  1. Fusion will feature Motiondsp technology which can help fix wandering and shaking in videos.
  2. The new parallel processing engine in the Fusion APU also dynamically helps improve contrast and anti-aliasing on video.
  3. The Fusion APU brings down CPU utilization and auto-enhances Flash 10.1 video so that it looks and plays better.
  4. It’s able to accelerate apps such as PowerPoint 2010.
  5. The APU is also able to speed up photo and video tagging

Of course, these features that the Fusion APU brings to the table needs to be tapped into by actual applications. So it’s up to the software vendors to take advantage of the new APU. Still, All in all, this is good news for consumers. Have you ever dreamed of playing serious PC games, editing HD video and running multimedia apps on a sub $400 system? Come January, that might no longer be a pipe dream.

Please note, that in accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that AMD has covered my travel, accommodations and costs related to my visit to their Austin-based offices.

One Comment

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  1. This is really great! AMD is the great driver behind Intel’s innovation, and I am excited to see what they come up with to counter this chip. I’m sure they already have something in the lab… but they’re going to have to speed things up to stay ahead of these guys! No more Pentium 4 debacles!

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