After a long wait, it seems that the marriage of AMD and ATI has finally conceived a child worthy of their merger. The Llano platform is AMD’s answer to Intel’s integrated graphics, and it has successfully turned heads. AMD doesn’t call the Llano a CPU or GPU, but rather some peculiar marketing term dubbed the “Applications Processing Unit” or APU. It may not be the catchiest phrase, but we all know what it really is and it actually could give the Intel IGP a legitimate challenge.
On the CPU side, the Llano will have a quad core on a 32 nm die. Each core will have 1 MB of L2 cache, and AMD is most likely targeting under 3 GHz for clock speed. Tag that along with with a fully DirectX 11 capable GPU (details not yet revealed) cast on the same die as the CPU with parallel vector hardware, and you get a potential Intel laptop killer.
Sampling will occur in the second half of the year and OEMs will get access in 2011.
Via Ars Technica
After experiencing some problems with Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors, which Apple currently uses in iMac desktops, the company may drop the processors altogether. Rumors are circulating that Apple will choose to stop purchasing the Intel Core i5 and i7 due to crashes and DOAs that have occurred while in use.
So what will happen next? Apple could switch over to Arrandale processors, but cannot do this until the chips are customized to their liking. If this occurs, Nvidia and ATI would be given a momentous opportunity to work with Apple. It is also possible that Intel will scramble to serve Apple with customized i5 and i7’s in order to prevent losing one of their largest customers. After all, isn’t the customer always right?
Qualcomm has big stakes in the netbook business. For four years it’s been feverishly working on a $350 million chip to be used in netbooks, which shall be based on the Snapdragon processor.
The prototype will be released next year and is expected to be a departure from the style of Intel’s Atom chip.
Manjit Gill of Qualcomm’s Connected and Consumer Products Group thinks the market is in the mood for more connectivity, not just processing power. “Our vision is that [the device is] always connected. Even when you shut it down, it’s still ‘on’.”
This ‘always on’ business means you can instantly get on a server and check your email as soon as you open up your netbook. This is the kind of thing Intel can’t do right now – Gill believes the “limitations in the [Intel] architecture” separates the Qualcomm chip from the Atom. On an Atom chip, leaving it on all the time would suck up all the battery.
To contrast, the Atom is a more agile device despite its lack of integration.
But Intel’s not Qualcomm’s biggest competitor, for the moment. ARM, whose processors are featured in most mobile devices today, has the model Qualcomm’s trying to imitate.
It got a license for ARM’s architecture, threw $350 million at it, and now we see the result: the Qualcomm QSD8672 dual-core Snapdragon. It has two CPUs which can manage 1.5GHz performance, download speeds of up to 28 MB/s, 1080p HD video, Wi-Fi, and HSPA+. The chip even has mobile TV and GPS.
Qualcomm will also use technology from ATI to power the graphics core of the chip. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will build the processor at 45 nm. Devices by ASUS, Acer, and Toshiba are already being planned with the Snapdragon in mind. Watch out, Intel!