AMD's new 'Llano' chip targets sleek designs

At the AMD Technical Forum & Exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan, the chip supplier showed off its future AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) codenamed "Llano."

Advanced Micro Devices showcased its upcoming Llano chip today, a highly integrated design targeted at sleek computers.

Currently-available HP Pavilion dm1z ultraportable features AMD processors and an 11.6-inch design.
Currently-available HP Pavilion dm1z ultraportable features AMD processors and an 11.6-inch design.

At the AMD Technical Forum & Exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan, the chip supplier held the first public demonstration of its future AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) codenamed "Llano." Due in the first half of next year, Llano integrates the main processor and graphics function onto a single piece of silicon and is targeted at ultrathin and mainstream laptops, among other designs.

Llano will use 32-nanometer technology, feature up to four CPU processor cores, and integrate AMD's 5000 series graphics technology.

The demo involved three "workloads" running simultaneously on Microsoft Windows 7: calculating the value of Pi to 32 million decimal places; running a complex physics simulation using DirectX 11; and decoding HD video from a Blu-ray disc, AMD said. "Microsoft's n-Body DirectCompute application is shown achieving around 30 GFLOPS, according to a statement. GFLOPS, or gigaflops, means billions of floating point operations per second. (Another n-Body demonstration can be seen here.)

AMD is in the unique position of being a supplier of both central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) and therefore can combine both technologies to create what it calls APUs.

By comparison, Intel's newest Atom processors integrate a CPU and low-end GPU onto one piece of silicon, while the upcoming Sandy Bridge processor--due in systems early next year--has a higher-performance graphics function integrated onto the CPU.

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