While I don't often give props to Miami Dolphins fans (I mean, come on, the Dolphins!), Scott Bicheno was spot on in his analysis this week about how AMD Fusion technology is no less innovative than tablets. He's right, and I would go further to say the two are not separate discussions.
The demand for more compute capability on smaller and smaller devices is what's driving AMD Fusion. Our 18-watt AMD Fusion APU replaces a Northbridge at 13 watts, a dual-core CPU at 25 watts and discrete-level graphics at 8 watts. With a big bonus- incredibly long battery life.
But, it's not only the power envelopes, size matters too. These three disparate parts took up 242 square millimeters of precious PC real estate. Our 18-watt APU - 75 sq. mm.
So, we get the power down, and we make it smaller. That's not all it takes, though. Netbooks are a good example. Let's remember why we called them "netbooks." Because they couldn't do what notebooks could. Now they can. Netbooks with our dual core 9-watt AMD Fusion APU have 10 times the graphics capability of netbooks with Atom. So, it's really a small notebook. If that's the size that's right for you, now you don't have to give up huge chunks of functionality.
The beauty of putting multi-core x86 together with DirectX 11 graphics is it exponentially increases the compute capability while delivering it in smaller sizes with less power.
When our "Llano" APU launches this year, it will deliver around 500 gigaflops of computing power. That's over 30 times the computing power of a typical CPU of just two years ago. That's about 6 times the computing power the Core i7 2600 (Sandybridge) delivers today. Who needs all that compute capability? Software developers do. It's the only way we can deliver users what they want, like instant video search, HD everywhere, and intuitive, immersive interfaces.
During our AMD Fusion launch at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Tuesday, we talked a fair amount about human interfaces and the PC. Microsoft's Steven Bathiche - a key guy behind the Xbox Kinect and Surface technologies - made a great point that we need to "get the screen out of the way between us and our PCs". Outside of the instant on feature, multi-touch is the best part about the iPad. I don't always need a keyboard (but when I do, I want a real one). Devices must be (1) flexible (2) immersive and (3) easy for consumers.
If any other company is going to be successful with tablets, whether x86 or ARM based, they must deliver on these three things. And I have no doubt many will. We are excited that Acer will deliver the first AMD Fusion-powered tablet in March. We are all witnessing the next era of computing. Mark it down. 2011. Whether tablets, ultrathin PCs, and other portable devices - consumers want big experiences in small form factors. Size does matter.
Leslie Sobon is corporate vice president, product marketing at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD's positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.