AMD completes ATI merger, plans marriage of CPU, GPU chips

Its 'Fusion' project is due out in 2009

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. plans to make chips integrating its x86 processor with a graphics chip on a single piece of silicon by early 2009. The announcement came today as AMD completed its $5.4 billion merger with graphics chip manufacturer ATI Technologies Inc.

The project, code-named Fusion, will lead to chips for a broad range of applications, from laptops to servers, AMD said.

PC manufacturers can already put a graphics processor next to the main processor on a PC's motherboard rather than adding a dedicated graphics card in a PCI slot. That allows them to reduce the cost -- and size -- of their computers.

Packaging the main processor and graphics processor on one chip will take that integration further and lead to a jump in power efficiency, AMD said. The Fusion chips could even show up in consumer electronics gadgets and products for emerging markets, where low cost and low power consumption are often important.

AMD won't shut the door on developers of coprocessors such as physics accelerators or high-end graphics chips for gamers: The Fusion chips will continue to support such external devices over the PCI Express bus, the company said.

Although AMD said it will take until late 2008 or early 2009 to build the Fusion chips, other fruits of its merger with ATI will show up sooner.

After 2007, AMD plans to deliver versions of its Turion 64 mobile processor that are more closely integrated with an external graphics processor, resulting in extended battery life for notebook computers, the company said.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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