As you can see AMD are reaching across a huge area with this technology and hoping that they can give an all in one solution to all computing needs.
Before we get too excited about this technology - and it is exciting; let us pause and look for some issues:
• AMD's GPU on CPU x86 instruction set has to be accepted as standard (just like x64).
• Software has to be written to utilise this new technology. There is little enough support for dual cores.
• AMD were a little sketchy on what would happen as regarding graphics memory. Would it be integrated onto the motherboard or would this share the slower system memory?
• Even more sketchy were the details of the speed of these GPU's, although we were assured they would be "many times" faster than a chipset graphics solution (referring to Intel's GMA solutions).
• What are AMD doing in the short term? I heard mention in passing of "some exciting new products coming soon" but nothing solid apart from the 2007 release of the native quad core.
Aside from those worries, AMD's future plans look pretty exciting. If they manage to pull it off and their on-die GPU x86 instruction set gets industry approval this may once again be an exciting time to be a fan of AMD. With ATI's blisteringly fast GPU's now owned by AMD (n.b. the ATI brand stays
) and AMD still up there in the processor race, perhaps we are going to see an AMD that reaches far further than just making exceptionally good CPU's.
With Vista on the way this is perhaps the optimal time for this kind of innovation. This would reduce the OEM's overheads by adding graphical support onto the CPU and mean that "Vista Ready" laptops/desktop could start with some pretty powerful graphics hardware, ultimately giving the end-user a better "Vista experience".
As a last word - heres something that made me chuckle. AMD used the "Top500" companies website as an example to show the power of an on-die GPU. With an estimated 1000 nodes typically they came up with this:
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GPU = Graphics Processing Unit
CPU = Central Processing Unit
All pictures are courtesy of AMD