At Computex 2010 AMD gave the first public demonstration of its Fusion processor that combines the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) on a single chip. The AMD Fusion family of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) not only adds another acronym to the computer lexicon, but ushers is what AMD says is a significant shift in processor architecture and capabilities.
AMD says combining the CPU, GPU, video processing and other accelerator capabilities in a single-die design provides more power-efficient processors that are better able to handle demanding operations such as HD video, media-rich Internet content and DirectX 11 games – AMD hasn’t revealed the technical specs of the GPUs it will embed in its APUs, but has disclosed they will be DirectX 11 compliant.
Many of the improvements stem from eliminating the chip-to-chip linkage that adds latency to memory operations and consumes power - moving electrons across a chip takes less energy than moving these same electrons between two chips. The co-location of all key elements on one chip also allows a holistic approach to power management of the APU. Various parts of the chip can be powered up or down depending on workloads.