updated 09:40 am EDT, Wed October 25, 2006
AMD and ATI Fusion CPU
Having formalized their merger today, AMD and ATI have also announced that the combined company will be working on a CPU with a built-in graphics processor. In contrast to current integrated chipsets, which are typically soldered into the mainboard and more closely resemble stand-alone cards, the new AMD concept, codenamed Fusion, would merge the circuitry for graphics processing with the CPU core itself. This will improve the performance per watt of later CPUs, AMD argues.
The tighter integration would also significantly improve the performance of normally slow integrated graphics, as the delays in sharing graphics data with the CPU or system memory would be dramatically reduced. However, AMD has said that it doesn't intend to lock out other graphics options and will still include PCI Express slots for standard video cards, including those from its former ally NVIDIA. Fusion processors should ship in production form by late 2008 or early 2009, according to AMD.