AMD talks Bulldozer, Hemlock and Fusion

The company laid out its road map for the next two years, including new laptop and desktop chips

It's an uphill battle for AMD, however. Intel extended its share of CPU shipments to 81.1 percent in the third quarter, while AMD's share declined slightly to 18.7 percent, according to figures from IDC.

Nor is Intel standing still. The company is developing its own new x86 architecture, dubbed Sandy Bridge, which will succeed the current Nehalem design. AMD hopes combining the CPU and GPU chips together will be enough to distinguish itself.

Asked how Fusion will square up against Sandy Bridge, Meyer insisted that Fusion does more than merely combine a CPU and a GPU on a single chip. Developers will be able to write programs that can allocate tasks to the GPU or CPU, depending on which will be most energy-efficient, he said.

The company will need to ensure software developers have the tools they need to take advantage of Fusion, however, including a development framework, software libraries and debuggers, said Chekib Akrout, general manager of AMD's Technology Group.

To exploit the CPU-GPU architecture, developers will need to "slice applications into threads" and direct those threads to whichever processing engine is most suitable, he said -- the GPU for parallel-type queries and the CPU for sequential tasks.

Developers "need to be able to code at the C level and not have to be aware of all the intricacies" of the architecture underneath, he said.

Other chips discussed Wednesday that are due in the first half of next year include:

-- a six-core desktop processor for PC enthusiasts known as Leo, with DirectX 11 graphics and AMD's Eyefinity technology, which lets gamers use multiple computer screens for a wider field of vision,

-- a chip for mainstream desktops called Dorado that will have integrated graphics and be offered in dual-, triple- and quad-core versions,

-- a dual-core 45-nanometer chip known as Nile for ultrathin notebooks, which aims to give more than seven hours of battery life with DirectX 11 discrete graphics and support for DirectX 10.1 IGP, and

-- a quad-core Danube chip for mainstream notebooks that aims to give seven hours of battery life and supports DirectX 10 IGP, DirectCompute and OpenCL acceleration.

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James Niccolai

IDG News Service
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