The next generation of CPU (Central Processing Unit) called APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) is promising to bridge the gap between scalar and vector data.
In today’s scheme of things, we have 2 kinds of processors. One is our very familiar CPU and the other not well known but popular with gamers is a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). Those who require high performance graphics go for a GPU which is nothing but a processor which renders graphical operations. Technically these GPU’s are different from the CPU in the sense they work only on the display needs.
CPU’s typically handle scalar data and GPU’s work on vector processing. While the former is directly involved with data that are serial in nature, the latter works on parallel processing. Let’s say that 100 points on the screen in a line have to be displayed. For a CPU it would take 100 ADD instructions, whereas for a GPU it is just 1 instruction that moves all data in parallel.
AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) the long time competitor of Intel has announced the next line of chips called APU’s which combine both these world’s together. They have named it fusion and tout that this is the future. Both the CPU and GPU functionality have been merged into one chip thus making the next generation of processors called APU’s quite powerful.
They have announced the arrival of their next processor line code named Llano and Ontario for Desktops and Laptops, very soon. What this simply means is better battery usage of laptops and vivid graphics supporting things like Face Recognition and Gesture Computing a breeze. It also means high definition chats on applications like Skype.
Powerful as it may be, AMD has also iterated that price points would be low and flexible. Hope that Intel soon up’s the ante by launching new chips that can be of competition to AMD.