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Thursday, August 26, 2010

AMD & Intel to make computers more versatile and FASTER

AMD and Intel to make Computers faster and more versatile

It's one thing to make computers run faster. Everybody loves a fast computer that performs tasks in record speed and can crunch complex math equations or tally multiple rows and columns on a spreadheet in a split second.
But making them more versatile takes a bit more creativity and engineering, especially when it comes to the CPU (central processing unit), the heart of any computer or enterprise server.
Well Intel and AMD, the two largest chip makers, respectively, seem to agree on at least on one thing: the need to fuse the two key PC chips together, the central and graphics processing units, into one single processor. Easier said than done, though.
Still, both companies bring different strengths and a complete different set of skills to achieve that goal.
But why combine two CPUs together you may ask? Well, it takes a lot less energy to move electrons across a chip than to move those same electrons between two chips, so this saves energy, resulting in increased battery life for laptops and other MIDs (mobile Internet sevices).
A point made by Insight 64 principal analyst Nathan Brookwood in a white paper written for AMD, but which, in some fundamental respects, applies equally to Intel as well.
Overall, heterogeneous computing combines functions typically found on a graphics processor with the main CPU chip. And CPUs and GPUs (graphics processor unit) are well suited to different kinds of computing chores.
Modern CPUs today can handle a wide array of all kinds of computing tasks, while GPUs are more specialized but much faster at certain types of operations when it comes to graphics. Future heterogeneous chips could find photos and videos in a large library that contains particular faces or places, or famous people, for example.
Or a well-optimized GPU can easily recognize your face when you log into a computer. In short, putting both capabilities on one small piece of silicon creates a much smarter chip with a lot more processing power than was ever possible before today.
Of course, the question is which company will really deliver the goods and drive cutting-edge PC and laptop technology next year?
AMD claims that because it is also a supplier of GPUs, via its ATI graphics chip unit, that its products are more forward-looking because of the increased emphasis on graphics via key multimedia technologies like Microsoft's Direct-X and Apple's Open-CL software.
Earlier this year, Intel was the first chip maker to move to 32-nanometer technology, which allows it to pack more functions and more complexity on the same chip.
In comparison, Global Foundries, AMD's manufacturing partner, won't make that move until sometime in 2011 the company said. But the upcoming 32-nanometer Sandy Bridge architecture from Intel will represent the fruition of this effort.
Mark Bohr, Intel's senior engineering fellow says "Sandy Bridge combines multiple CPU cores together with the graphics circuitry on the same chip. The fact that we're an aggregate device manufacturer allows us to do internal optimization of all these pieces and bring out a leading-edge product sooner than other companies."
"Also, Intel is understandably more 'CPU centric'. That's Intel's view," said John Taylor, director of marketing for Fusion at AMD.
"Through ATI Technologies, we're a provider of high-performance graphics chips. We're also incorporating world-class GPU intellectual property into a new type of design as well. We look at the GPU in a consumer notebook as a very efficient computer engine as well as all of the wonderful 2D and 3D graphics capabilities," Taylor said.
Not surprisingly, Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, believes it has the upper hand because of its cutting-edge manufacturing technology allows it to integrate a lot more on a single piece of silicon, and sooner than any other major chip maker.
For instance, Intel's Atom chip already fuses two CPU processing cores and the graphics function on a single piece of silicon, and that's the whole idea: make it smaller, cheaper, make it run cooler, and make it faster and more versatile and you have a real winner in your hands.
Source: Intel and AMD.

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