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AMD already sampling Fusion chips

CPU underdog AMD has revealed that it’s already begun sending out samples of its first Fusion CPUs with integrated graphics.

During a webcast to discuss AMD’s quarterly earnings announcement, the chip maker’s CEO, Dirk Meyer revealed that the company has already started internally sampling chips based on the Fusion architecture. “We do now have internal samples of both of our initial Fusion designs,” said Meyer, adding: “We’re learning quite a lot” in the process.

According to Meyer, AMD is “quite happy” with the testing of the samples so far, and has even started sampling “one of those two designs” with “select customers.” Meyer says that the chips will be produced by AMD’s former fabrication wing, GlobalFoundries, and that volume production will begin in the second half of this year.

We’re still going to have to wait a while before we can get our hands on one, though. Meyer says that he expects to see “OEM system availability in the first half [of 2011],” with chips designed for both the laptop and desktop PC markets.

AMD revealed a rough production schedule for the first Fusion CPUs at the end of last year. The chips included a design codenamed “Llano” for mainstream laptops and desktop PCs, which will combine a CPU and GPU in the same piece of silicon. This differs from Intel’s current Clarkdale CPUs, which have an integrated graphics processor (IGP) in the same CPU package, but in a separate piece of silicon.

As well as this, AMD also says that 2011 will see the introduction of the new “Bobcat” and “Bulldozer” x86 CPU architectures. These launches will include a chip codenamed “Ontario” based on the Bobcat core. As with Llano, Ontario will feature an integrated GPU, but will be targeted at the low-power and ultra portable laptop market.

AMD says that 2011 will also see the launch of a top-end enthusiast desktop CPU codenamed “Zambezi.” Based on the Bulldozer architecture, the chip will feature up to eight cores.