AMD Llano Sampling to Partners in the First Half of This Year
AMD has long talked about 'Fusion' processors integrating CPU and GPU functions in the same package. Intel has since beaten them to the punch and already has its own chips available that do just that, but that doesn't mean AMD's first hybrid part will be any less interesting. For a start, Llano will integrate a DX11 class GPU derived from the Evergreen line-up on the same die, which we can also expect to see from Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture (rather than the current two die Nehalem solution). It is difficult to see Intel offering DX11 graphics with Sandy Bridge though, so we can likely expect AMD to have an advantage when it comes to GPU performance. When it comes to the CPU, the first Llano chip will pack in four Phenom II derived cores (plus that on-die GPU), with the whole thing being built on a Global Foundries 32nm process. We can also expect to see power-gating (à la Nehalem) to reduce idle power consumption by powering down inactive cores (and maybe something akin to Intel's Turbo Boost technology?), along with other features to improve power efficiency.
AMD is aiming for operation at over 3GHz for Llano, with each core being paired with 1MB of L2 cache. It says that sampling to partners will start in the first half of this year and that we can expect OEMs to ship systems in 2011 (though when in 2011 isn't clear). That means it could be ready sometime around Intel's Q1 Sandy Bridge launch, but anything in the first half of the year would be nice to see from a competition perspective (and we all know that competition is good for all of us). You can check out more information in AMD's presentation slides over at Anandtech.