RWT dissects AMD's Llano, speculates about Trinity

If Scott's 10,000-word expose on the Llano architecture and its mobile incarnation hasn't quelled your appetite, and you're still hungry for more after reading our review of the desktop-bound A8-3850 Fusion APU, then you're in for a treat. David Kanter over at Real World Technologies has written up an article that dissects Llano and the glue used to meld its not-so-new components—namely Stars CPU cores and Radeon HD 5000-class graphics—into a single chip.

Much of the piece is devoted to the intricacies of physical integration. Kanter provides an in-depth comparison of Llano's CPU-GPU communication architecture—which, incidentally, mirrors Zacate's—with that of Intel's Sandy Bridge. As Scott pointed out in his coverage, Intel's approach is more efficient, but AMD has allocated more die area to a faster, more programmable GPU, so Llano's graphics performance is higher.

The less geeky among us may derive more enjoyment from the latter part of the piece, which includes interesting tidbits and speculation about Trinity, Llano's successor. (Due out next year, Trinity will blend Bulldozer cores with a Cayman-derived GPU component.) Kanter expects that product to feature tighter integration with unified power management and more CPU-GPU communication happening on-die. Kanter goes on to speculate that AMD might later use 3D packaging to outfit future Fusion chips with a small amount of embedded DRAM for higher GPU performance, although he doesn't expect such a move until 2013 or 2014.

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