AMD's purchase of ATI closes, and Fusion begins


— 12:48 AM on October 25, 2006

It's done. AMD just sent out the press release:

SUNNYVALE, CALIF. - Oct. 25, 2006 - AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced the completion of its approximately $5.4 billion acquisition of ATI Technologies Inc. Combining the complementary strengths of the two technology leaders, the new AMD opens for business as a processing powerhouse committed to driving innovation, choice and growth in the technology industry. With approximately 15,000 employees, the company merges AMD's technology leadership in microprocessors together with ATI's leadership in graphics, chipsets and consumer electronics. "Today marks a historic day for our employees, our partners and our customers as we officially welcome ATI into the AMD family," said AMD Chairman and CEO Hector Ruiz. "On day one, we are delivering a winning set of complementary technologies, igniting a new level of innovation and continuing to champion choice for the industry. Thanks to the strength of our talented employees, the new AMD now has a full range of intellectual property (IP) in microprocessors, graphics, chipsets and consumer electronics to deliver open platforms and integrated solutions. In the near term, customers gain a new level of choice, and in the long term, we believe the possibilities for innovation are truly limitless."
The transaction was part stock, part cash, with some of that cash coming via a $2.5 billion loan from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding.

AMD plans to bring its first integrated, Centrino-like platforms to market next year. The press release mentions the Turion and AMD LIVE brands in connection with this effort, as well as consumer electronics devices.

In addition, AMD has announced the code-name "Fusion" to refer to merged CPU-GPU hybrids. I'm leaning heavily on the press release material, but I think the original source is worth seeing in this instance:

AMD plans to create a new class of x86 processor that integrates the central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) at the silicon level with a broad set of design initiatives collectively codenamed "Fusion." AMD intends to design Fusion processors to provide step-function increases in performance-per-watt relative to today's CPU-only architectures, and to provide the best customer experience in a world increasingly reliant upon 3D graphics, digital media and high-performance computing.

With Fusion processors, AMD will continue to promote an open platform and encourage companies throughout the ecosystem to create innovative new co-processing solutions aimed at further optimizing specific workloads. AMD-powered Fusion platforms will continue to fully support high-end discrete graphics, physics accelerators, and other PCI Express-based solutions to meet the ever-increasing needs of the most demanding enthusiast end-users.

"With the anticipated launch of Windows Vista, robust 3D graphics, digital media and device convergence are driving the need for greater performance, graphics capabilities, and battery life," said Phil Hester, AMD senior vice president and chief technology officer. "In this increasingly diverse x86 computing environment, simply adding more CPU cores to a baseline architecture will not be enough. As x86 scales from palmtops to petaFLOPS, modular processor designs leveraging both CPU and GPU compute capabilities will be essential in meeting the requirements of computing in 2008 and beyond."

Fusion processors are expected in late 2008/early 2009, and the company expects to use them within all of the company's priority computing categories, including laptops, desktops, workstations and servers, as well as in consumer electronics and solutions tailored for the unique needs of emerging markets.

Buckle up, folks. Things are just starting to get interesting.
   
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