AMD Throws a Coming Out Party for Llano Processors
From the start of the AMD Fusion Developer Summit The VAR Guy got a sense of AMD’s purpose in life going forward. This is, after all, a three-day conference dedicated to advancing the development around – and use of – AMD’s Fusion technology. And after finding success with its first Fusion APU codenamed Brazos, AMD is hoping for a repeat with its latest APU line, codenamed Llano.
First, a little background: For those unfamiliar with it, the AMD Fusion line is basically technology that combines scalar processing on the CPU with parallel processing on the GPU and high bandwidth access to memory. In other words, it shifts much of the processing power from the CPU to the GPU, enabling true heterogeneous processing to better serve those more graphically demanding apps that tend to bog down standard processors.
Brazos, which was designed to go against Intel’s Atom microprocessors, proved to be such a hit in the market that AMD sold out of the technology in its first quarter of 2011, according to a blog on CNET.com. Brazos offered high power in netbooks and ultra-thin notebooks at an affordable price point – devices powered by Brazos are priced in the $200 to $500 range.
Now the A-Series – a.k.a Llano, which means “grassy plain” in Spanish, represents an open field (pun very much intended) as AMD improves upon the Fusion concept with speed and processing power that Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD’s Product Group calls “a supercomputer on a chip,” which will be used in a range of platforms from desktops to laptops.
“Next year 90 percent of our processors in the market will be Fusion APUs,” he said during his keynote presentation at the Fusion event.
Besides the super-fast processing power, perhaps the most significant feature of the A-Series is the 10.5 hours of battery life, which covers just about all of The VAR Guy’s air travels. Also of note is its ability to play 1080p high-definition video (compared with Intel Atom, which is capable of playing 720P video).
The A-Series actually began shipping in April 2011, and laptops and desktops featuring the processing technology are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2011. According to AMD, the Fusion Developer Summit is a coming out party, of sorts, for the technology.
Still not enough for you? Those able to cool their jets for another year can look forward to Trinity, the next generation of Fusion slated for a 2012 release. Bergman noted Trinity will feature performance “at least 50 percent faster than today.”
With such monster power available in a high-density, low-power device, The VAR Guy sees much promise in AMD’s Fusion technology and the channel. Size does matter in mobility – the lighter the device, the happier the end user. But with power comes responsibility, and for AMD that means ensuring its channel partners have the right resources to succeed.