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Tuesday, 07 August 2012 08:57

AMD To Drop CPUs Into Thier FirePro GPUs... Or Is That The Other Way Round?

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After the success of their consumer level APUs it looks like AMD wants to try and bring some of that to the professional world. Yes, they are going to be making something like Trinity for the workstation market. AMD is going to attempt to drop a CPU (or four) inside their FirePro GPUs to see if it sticks.  The move is almost the opposite of what you see with the APUs. In the Llano and Trinity you have a small number of GPU cores that are added into the CPU die in order to provide graphical output. These cores are very efficient and were pulled from AMD’s successful Radeon line of GPUs. In the new FirePro Processors they will maintain the full GPU (just like in a discrete card), but add in CPU cores to create a more functional whole.

According to AMDs press release there will be two models at first the A300 and the A320. The A300 will sport 384 GPU cores with a speed of 760MHz along with four CPU cores that run at 4GHz (a nice bump in speed there). Power draw for the A300 is claimed at 65 Watts. The A320 will be the faster of the two with CPU speeds of 4.2GHz and 800MHz graphics cores and draws 100 Watts (the number of each is identical to the A300).

On the surface this move would appear to be a way to capitalize on the success of AMD’s existing APUs. Making the FirePro APUs could allow AMD to reach into the workstation market a segment that we talked with them about at CES 2012. At the time we had a nice conversation about the way that many prosumers and professionals were looking to Intel + nVidia for their laptops simply because of the fact that many of the common video processing and animation tools could benefit from acceleration of nVidia’s GPUs while the rest still got a nice boost from the Intel CPUs under the hood.

Although the A300 and 320 are not meant for the mobile market it is possible that AMD will push these into that market soon. First they have to validate them in the desktop market and show they can meet the needs of both prosumers and professionals. This could be an uphill battle for them though as most graphics professionals are exceptionally picky about specification. They want to know before buying that the products they are getting are completely compatible with the software they use.

AMD’s next step will need to be validating these new APUs with software developers like Newtek, Maxon, Autodesk, Adobe and many others. Without their blessing or logo these new products might never get off the shelves.

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Read 2815 times Last modified on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 09:05

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