AMD shows off Fusion for the first time

AMD has shown off a version of its hotly-anticipated Fusion chippery in public for the first time at the Computex tech extravaganza in Taiwan's capital city Taipei.

AMD calls the mix of CPU and GPU on a single die an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). To some extent it is the logical next step after chip maker AMD acquired GPU maker ATI in a deal so expensive it broke AMD.

The firm says the Fusion concept is aimed at simplifying the PC buying process for consumers. Leslie Sobon AMD's vice president of worldwide product marketing said consumers are baffled by specs, they just want to know that the PC will do what they want, like play games or watch HD video.

"Nobody knows what processor is in their TV, nobody knows what processor is in their digital music player, and guess what they don't care," she said.

She said few know what processor is in their PC either. She said no component in the PC outweighed the importance of the name of the OEM on the box, which is why AMD with its Fusion branding is focused on simplifying the buying experience for mainstream consumers.

"We are the only company that has both a CPU and a GPU and that's very important," when it comes to simplifying the buying process she said.

Then Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD products group, proudly showed a 20-second Fusion demo of DX11 title Alien Vs Predator on a "low-power" Fusion processor.

"Hundreds of millions of us now create, interact with, and share intensely visual digital content," Bergman burbled. "This explosion in multimedia requires new applications and new ways to manage and manipulate data. Low resolution video needs to be up-scaled for larger screens, HD video must be shrunk for smart phones, and home movies need to be stabilized and cleaned up for more enjoyable viewing.

"When AMD formally launches the AMD Fusion family of APUs, scheduled for the first half of in 2011, we expect the PC experience to evolve dramatically.” he said.

Bergman said their are currently two versions of Fusion: Milano, which is sampling today and the low-power Ontario. He said AMD was showing off versions of the processor "behind closed doors" at Computex.

Steven Guggenheimer, Microsoft's corporate vice president, of its OEM division said that, “While visual computing has made incredible strides in recent years, we believe that the AMD Fusion family of APUs combined with Windows 7 and DirectX 11 will fundamentally change how applications are developed and used."

“Applications such as Internet browsing, watching HD video, PowerPoint and more can enable more immersive, visually rich, and intuitive experiences for consumers worldwide.”

AMD also unveiled an "AMD Fusion Fund," during the event. This is a fund of investment capital which the firm will invest in companies developing "solutions" that will take advantage of AMD's Fusion family of APUs, Bergman said.

You can see a video of AMD's tightly-managed, Q&A-free press conference here. The demo is about 25 minutes in.