AMD says Llano processor is now shipping

AMD says Llano processor is now shipping

Summary: AMD is now shipping its Llano 32nm APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) to customers, suggesting desktops and laptops using the new chip will be available in mid-2011 as promised.

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AMD is now shipping its Llano 32nm APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) to customers, suggesting desktops and laptops using the new chip will be available in mid-2011 as promised. The company's interim CEO, Thomas Seifert, made the announcement during a conference call this morning to discuss a change in AMD's supply agreement with its manufacturing partner, GlobalFoundries.

Llano, which consists of a dual- or quad-core CPU combined with a DirectX 11 graphics processor, won't be AMD's first APU. It is already shipping C-Series (code-named Ontario) and E-Series (code-named Zacate) APUs, manufactured by a different foundry, TSMC, on a 40nm technology. But these low-power APUs are designed for smaller netbooks and ultra-thin laptops, as well as budget notebooks.

Llano is AMD's first 32nm processor, an important step in order to remain competitive with Intel, which has been shipping 32nm chips since January 2010. In addition Llano is a more powerful processor than the current APUs, which will give AMD a badly-needed competitor to the dual-core Core i3 (Sandy Bridge) processors in the mainstream laptops and desktops that make up the bulk of sales. AMD has a separate desktop CPU, code-named Zambezi, in quad- and eight-core versions that will compete head-to-head with Intel's fastest Core i5 and Core i7 processors.

The introduction of Llano was delayed because GlobalFoundries ran into difficulties manufacturing the APU with acceptable yields. During the call this morning, Seifert said that GlobalFoundries' 32nm yields were now meeting expectations.

Based on all of this, my guess is that AMD will formally announce the Llano APUs--which will reportedly be called the A-Series--in June at Computex 2011 in Taipei and its customers will have laptops on shelves in July in time for the back-to-school.

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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5 comments
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  • RE: AMD says Llano processor is now shipping

    Good.
    james347
  • RE: AMD says Llano processor is now shipping

    i love AMD. I just bought me a CPU though so I doubt that I will be buying another very soon, and I don't see the necessity of having both GPU and CPU on one chip. Are the mobos going to stop having separate chips? Won't the combined functionality hike up the heat output as well? Does this functionality allow CPUs to play better with video cards, especially the high-end ones?
    KBot
    • In answer to your questions

      @KBot

      "Are the mobos going to stop having separate chips?"

      Yes and no. Having stream processors in the CPU is a big plus, but discrete video upgrades still have a big market. Also, don't forget that the classic Northbridge's days are effectively over.

      "Won't the combined functionality hike up the heat output as well?"

      Not over separate designs. Ditto for power requirements - combining them takes less power than having separate chips. Also, if the CPU has to check what a discrete GPU is doing, the data bus is much slower over discrete designs over integrated ones.

      "Does this functionality allow CPUs to play better with video cards, especially the high-end ones?"

      Not really, although there is no real downside here. If designed right, this would enable more efficient designs for those that use switching to discrete GPU's for high-end tasks, similar to Nvidia Optimus. ATI Hybrid CrossFireX never had a switching technology for power reasons, but it did allow the integrated Northbridge GPU to work alongside the discrete GPU to give you a cheap way to double the performance over a single GPU. It only works if you have GPU's of approximately the same speed though, and they have to support the technology.

      The GPU cores in Llano is called a "66x0" (depending on model APU). This is approximately equivalent to today's 5650. So imagine that what you get in a 5650 on a mid-sized discrete video card is now built into the same silicon as the CPU. IMO, that's far more impressive than Sandy Bridge. Would you need a discrete GPU at that point? AMD is hoping that average consumers don't, and it's a major selling point to switch to AMD over Intel. It's a classic bundling system. Intel is *trying* to do the same thing, but Sandy Bridge's graphics are crap. They aren't even DX11, and even though the next version is supposed to be, don't expect much from Intel - the graphics in the Z series Atom's is rated to be DX10, but those are completely unusable with Aero turned on in Windows.
      Joe_Raby
  • HURRRY!!!

    lIKE WE STILL HAVE TIME, EH?
    brettze
  • RE: AMD says Llano processor is now shipping

    The most important thing about AMD APUs is that it consumes less power and provides better battery life. It will be a big thing for the notebooks & netbooks.
    brijeshamin