AMD fuses GPU, core logic, CPU on new 'Swift' chip

AMD plans to combine the functions of three chips into one code-named Swift.

AMD plans to combine the functions of three chips into one code-named "Swift:" the GPU (graphics processing unit ), core-logic chipset and CPU (central processing unit), an executive said Thursday.

The company, which runs second to Intel in the global microprocessor business, plans to launch Swift in the second half of 2009. It's using parts of several of its top chips to create this new device, which it calls an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).

"I keep telling you that it's not all about the CPU. The CPU is important but now there are other blocks that contribute to the experience a consumer gets in a machine," said Mario Rivas, an executive vice president at AMD, during an analyst meeting broadcast on the Internet Thursday.

Several chips make a difference in PC performance, he said. Swift will carry AMD's "Stars" processor cores, the company's latest graphics cores and the northbridge from Griffin, the central processor used in its newest laptop PC platform.

The new chip will be AMD's second attempt at such combinations. The company has pledged to launch a chip code-named "Fusion" late next year or in early 2009 that integrates the CPU and the graphics processor on one chip. AMD says combining the chips in Fusion will increase performance and energy efficiency.

Such work is important to the computing industry as people demand smaller, battery-dependent devices. It also saves space. The fewer chips required inside a laptop, for example, the more space a designer has to make it smaller or add other features.

Swift will be made using AMD's 45-nanometer production technology, Rivas said.

The company was unable to immediately provide further details of the new chip.

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