AMD's Llano Fusion - A Series APUs
While we have seen previous Fusion APUs, today AMD releases its code named "Llano" Fusion A Series APU processor on the world. The first one of these we get to see is in a notebook and a mere 228 square millimeter of silicon that AMD is counting on changing its balance sheet.
First let me tell you what a Fusion A Series APU is not. It is not an "enthusiast" part. It is not expensive. It is not big and hot. It is not a desktop part. "Lynx" will be the desktop processors we hope to see soon.
We are looking at the highest end A-Series APU, the AMD A8-3500M that runs at a modest 1.5GHz but does have a very quick 2.4GHz Turbo mode. These A-Series processors are code named "Sabine." Our APU is not all "CPU" though, as we have a Radeon 6620G GPU unit on-die along with our CPU. After all, a heterogeneous CPU and GPU is what makes our 228 sq. mm APU, or better known as AMD Fusion.
What is AMD promising with this Llano APU though? The biggest promise that AMD is making is "Brilliant HD" which you will see over and over again in the slides below. "Discrete-class graphics at virtually every price point," is the underlining point to Brilliant HD. AMD promises "Supercomputer in a Notebook," using its APU in heterogeneous software situational usages. And finally "AMD AllDay Power."
The Llano Fusion APU is not really hard to figure out. It is basically a low GHz 32nm Phenom II core with up to 400 Radeon type cores sitting on the same die.
These Radeon cores can be CrossFireX'd with another GPU put down on the board as well to give us a Dual Graphics situation and from what we have seen this works very well. The software allows the user to set up profiles that will easily switch between Dual Graphics and just using the on-die graphics solution.
The fact of the matter is that the on-die solution that AMD's APU is offering compared to Intel's on-die Sandy Bridge solution simply destroys Intel's across the board. If you can in fact leverage the Radeon's power.
The other side of that coin is that Intel's mobile Core lineup will clean the floor with AMD's A-Series CPU side of the house. There is no sense rehashing that old battle, because nothing has changed there.
The real questions lies in, has AMD made the right gamble thinking its aging CPU architecture fused with its cutting edge GPU architecture can be a savoir for the company?
If the A-Series is truly aimed at the sub-$600 mobile market, I would have to say, "Hell yes."
A-Series APU Slide Deck
You can see the full set of slides below that was shown to us an the 2011 AMD A_Series APU Tech Day in Abu Dhabi.