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.