Business, Graphics, Hardware

AMD Touts Future of Fusion at Computex


This week has clearly been rough for AMD. A lot of people were speculating back and forth when the much-awaited desktop-version of the Bulldozer architecture would launch. Already last week we reported about delays and now AMD has gone up front with it. Still there has been at least some good news from the semiconductor company, namely some new information about upcoming Fusion products.

AMD Computex 2011 Slide confirming the Bulldozer delay from "early" to "late summer"

While the 9 series chipsets have been officially launched now, motherboards featuring them should only be expected within the next 30 days. First reviews are hitting the web now and you can expect that we are working on one as well. The CPUs themselves are to be expected within 60 to 90 days from now. So realistically speaking, in a best case situation it means retail availability in August, in a worst case situation it means paper launch in September. We have good reason to believe that reality will be somewhere in between. On the product pages for the chipsets AMD also officially names AMD FX, the product name for Zambezi CPUs. The server versions of Bulldozer are still expected for third quarter as originally projected and AMD can already tout a major design win with Cray.

Rick Bergman, AMD's SeniorVP and General Manager showed AMD Trinity APU which combines Bulldozer CPU cores with Cayman GPU cores
Rick Bergman, AMD’s SeniorVP and General Manager showed AMD Trinity, and APU that combines Bulldozer CPU cores with Northern Islands GPU architecture

Good news came from Taipei as AMD’s Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President and General Manager, presented the assembled press with an early engineering sample of Trinity. Trinity is the codename of the successor to Llano. Trinity features CPU cores based on Bulldozer architecture and an updated Radeon core based on the Cayman architecture. The APU is scheduled for a 2012 release and is "right on schedule". This is clearly a daring move, as the current generation mainstream APU wasn’t even launched yet.

AMD APUs for 2012: 32nm Trinity, 28nm Krishna, 28nm Hondo. Not shown are 28nm Wichita, Weatherford and Richland
AMD APUs for 2012: 32nm Trinity, 28nm Krishna, 28nm Hondo. Not shown are 28nm Wichita, Weatherford and Richland

AMD also used the opportunity to present the mainstream Fusion APU codenamed Llano. The information given was mostly known due to a presentation about the matter getting leaked online. The company was upfront about its intention to move Fusion into tablets as well. This will be achieved by the Z-series APU codenamed Desna. The follow-up for 2012 is now known under the codename Hondo. It is surprising that it gets a separate codename, since it is based on the same die as Ontario. The low power consumption of 6W is achieved by lowering clocks and voltages as well as a few other tweaks. Something similar is done for the industrial G-series APU. In a blog Phil Hughes, Senior PR Manager at AMD, details the Z-01 APU for tablets. It comes with two Bobcat cores clocked at 1GHz and a Radeon HD 6250 GPU.

On the software side AMD touts full Windows 7 64-bit compatibility. They also mention that they want to leverage BlueStacks. BlueStacks is a software stack to run Android apps on Windows, which is currently under development with a semi-public alpha test starting in summer. Though note that while it allows to run Android apps on Windows, the user experience is not quite the same. The Z-series APUs are already shipping according to AMD. The chip designer also proudly announces a design win with the MSI WindPad 110W, which marked its third appearance on a trade show without shipping, which was recently criticized by PC World. The fact that AMD only recently started shipping the "Desna" APUs and that WindPad 110W is shipping now did not concern the author.

Beautiful Taipei ladies showing AMD Fusion design wins: all based on Zacate, Desna and Llano processors
Beautiful Taipei ladies showing AMD Fusion design wins: all based on Zacate (Brazos), Desna (Brazos) and Llano (Lynx) processors

While speaking about a delay of Zambezi, the desktop version of Bulldozer, seems justified since it was repeatedly announced as a 2Q 2011 product, people now claiming Llano is also facing delays are wrong. Final Llano products are being shipped to OEMs since April and most media should have been informed about the official launch date by AMD. Hint for the non-NDA press: Take a look at the slides recently leaked by NGOHQ. If that’s not enough for you, here is another: Did you hear about that shiny new conference about APUs AMD is holding in
two weeks? Now reporting about delays here clearly looks like a double standard and begging for hits. We wanted to highlight this fact, since some people believe reports about various Llano delays are made out of thin air or spread by the competition using the venerable FUD marketing tactic.