AMD Fusion '11 Summit Attracts ARM, Microsoft
4/26/2011 by: Theo Valich
After years of waiting, AMD is finally launching their developer summit in Bellevue, WA. For their inaugural event in mid-June, AMD selected ARM and Microsoft to hold keynote speeches.
While the choice of Microsoft was quite obvious, given the closeness of Microsoft's HQ and the tight relationship between the two companies (started in 2002 with Microsoft developing 64-bit Windows using AMD's Hammer architecture), the fact that Jem Davies, VP of Technology for ARM Holdings Ltd. will host a keynote - is quote a surprise and a coup for AMD.
In fact, ARM's VP will host a keynote that discusses the future of heterogeneous computing, which is becoming a hot word from the world of supercomputing (GPGPU, GPU Computing) to the world of ultra-low power devices that are relying on System-On-a-Chip silicon (SOC), such as smartphones and tablets.
ARM is going to reiterate their commitment to OpenCL and the tasking of ARM Cortex A-9, A-15 cores with their own Mali series GPU, nicely tying to AMD's focus on Fusion APUs, i.e. Ontario (9W) and Zacate (18W) in the low power segment and upcoming Llano APUs (up to 95W). Remember that ARM announced their Mali GPU as a GPGPU, as Jem Davies revealed to our John Oram couple of months ago.
In order to learn more details about the conference and respected guests we spoke with John Taylor, Director of Client Product and Software Marketing at AMD. In a long discussion, John expressed his excitement with the fact that AMD is finally organizing a Developer Conference and that the timing is right. AMD is pushing strong in forming a software ecosystem that is not based on pure power metal approach, but rather intelligent approach through industry standard APIs such as OpenCL.
Advanced Micro Devices is preparing over 100 sessions for developers, and the company expects up to 600 developers on this first conference. We believe that number is quite modest, due to natural cachement from Seattle-Redmond-Bellevue-Tacoma area that is host to not just Microsoft, Bungie or Valve Corporation, but Nintendo America as well. The area is home to over 150 game development teams that are located in the area, and about 600 companies in desktop, server and smartphone segment.
The company will also disclose more details on their next graphics architecture, the 28nm GPUs that are expected between fourth quarter 2011 and first quarter 2012. Note that the timing is set by the immatureness of TSMC's 28nm process. We do expect that AMD will announce that the company taped out the first 28nm silicon, as timing would be just right.
The number of press and analysts were not confirmed at the time, but given the draw that Intel has for Intel Developers Forum and nVidia for GPU Technology Conference, number of potential conference attendees could reach 1,000 (our $0.02).
John mentioned that one of key instrumentals in this decision was the fact how Apple looks at customer experience. Instead of focusing on performance sheets, Apple builds the experience on industry standard APIs such as OpenGL and OpenCL and in turn, consumers are enjoying the smooth software experience. AMD is taking the same route and is focusing on delivering the best possible API performance through Software Development Kits and continuous driver updates.
With Fusion architecture, CPU (ok, APU) is getting a driver update each and every month for the first time in history of the silicon. The company insists on a vision that by making a continuous Catalyst driver updates for the Ontario/Zacate/Llano APUs, the CPU and GPU parts will be constantly updated with application profiles and API updates. As a result, users of AMD APUs should experience smoother application performance as the time passes by.
Do note that with the Fusion strategy, AMD is no longer just following computing standards, but rather setting them in silicon with smart adjustments. A good example for that is the upcoming C-60 APU that gives you up to 33% higher performance in typical CPU tasks or a massive 43% performance boost in DirectX / OpenGL / OpenCL - all while staying in the same power envelope (9W).
Beside 9W and 18W parts, Fusion '11 will also see the demonstrations of final Llano APU hardware. John did not disclose the exact launch date for the desktop and notebook parts, but we expect them in time for Computex Taipei 2011. Llano APU hardware will be used to demonstrate broadcast-grade video editing and this session is something I am personally looking forward to see.
Trust me, seeing a video being edited at 8-10fps on a $10,000 multi-core Mac Pro is something that sets your alarms ringing, since a $1,000 PC equipped with a $2,000 Quadro can do the same thing at 30 frames per second using Premiere Pro CS5 (for third of a price). Seeing AMD combining AMD CPU and GPU performance in one will be a thing to behold.
The AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS) or simply Fusion '11 will be held June 13-16, 2011 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington. If you are interested in the conference, AMD is inviting you to visit the following website and register for the conference:
AMD Fusion Developer Summit - Fusion '11 Registration Form
AMD, AMD Fusion Developer Summit, AFDS, Fusion 11, Fusion 2011, Bellevue, Washington, Microsoft, ARM, ARM Holdings, OpenCL, Jem Davies, VP of Technology, ARM VP, CPU, GPU, APU, Intel, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, nVidia, Herb Sutter, Phil Rogers, Eric Demers, Meydenbauer Center
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