CPU and GPU share die space to cut power consumption and improve performance.
AMD has revealed that its next-generation notebook platform, Shrike, will be the first ‘Fusion’ product to be released and it will integrate both CPU and GPU execution cores onto the same die space. Shrike combines a Swift APU with a south bridge and DDR3 SODIMMs.
Fusion was first talked about when AMD formally announced the acquisition of ATI Technologies, where the company said that it was looking to integrate both CPU and GPU onto the same silicon. We’d been hearing rumours for a while, but when AMD officially talked about the Shrike platform for the first time at a pre-Computex briefing, those rumours turned out to be genuine.
The Swift APU features two ‘Stars’ CPU cores (the same cores that are in the current Phenom processors), a GPU core, a DDR3 memory controller, PCI-Express and also a display controller too. AMD wouldn’t divulge any specific details on the GPU core, other than that it was a ‘next-generation’ design.
We’re told that it’ll feature support for DirectX 10.1 and UVD 2.0 – both of these features are available on AMD’s current desktop GPUs, so we assume it is ‘next-gen’ in relation to the M780G chipset, which currently only supports DirectX 10.0 and the first-generation UVD core. For those not familiar with UVD, it is AMD’s high definition video accelerator and it offloads typically CPU intensive video decoding tasks onto the GPU for improved performance and lower power consumption.
The display controller includes native support for DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI with audio supported over both DisplayPort and HDMI. PCI-Express, on the other hand, allows AMD’s partners to use a discrete graphics adapter if the notebook is targeted at the gaming market – one thing AMD said was that while its GPU core would be fine for gaming, it wouldn’t satisfy hardcore gamers’ desires. It’ll no doubt support the newly released PowerXpress technology, which allows you to disable the discrete GPU when you’re running on battery and we’d also expect it to support XGP if it has become widely accepted at that point in time.