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AMD unveils the brand-new 'Llano' APU for notebooks

AMD’s first ever Fusion chip sees a demonstration of its capabilities

So what would it be like to have a chip that combines the capabilities of a CPU and GPU? Well Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has come up with something exactly like that, something that’s called an APU, i.e. Accelerated Processing Unit.

AMD on October 19th, as part of its Fusion camp, which is focused at churning out chips like the APU, unveiled the ‘Llano’ APU for the very first time. As part of a demo, AMD officials also ran exhaustive tests on machines powered by the APU to show its capabilities. However, the Llano isn’t the only APU from the Fusion portfolio; the ‘Ontario’ is yet another product on the same lines.

While the Llano APU is targeted at notebooks, ultra-thin laptops and desktop PCs, the Ontario will serve low-end notebooks, netbooks and tablets. Both chips are the first of their kind from the AMD stable and are slated to hit the market by next year. The success of the Fusion project can be largely attributed to the inclusion of major graphics chip maker ATI under AMD’s wing. If you might recall, AMD had acquired ATI in the year 2006 for a reported $5.4 billion. In fact recently ATI brand was phased out and all the graphics cards were brought under the AMD umbrella. This move, although will give some discomfort to the die-hard AMD fans, will let AMD achieve the Fusion concept better.

All in all, the concept of APUs sounds very tempting and is sure to spread some fire in the market. Although, what now remains to be seen is how arch-rival Intel reacts to this announcement by AMD. Well, Intel’s very own representative, the Sandy Bridge processor, is not far away too. 2011 will see a clash of the titans in a big way it seems.


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2010-10-23 (Update: 2012-05-26)