At a recent press event in Los Angeles, Legit Reviews got a a chance to take a look at an AMD development platform that was running an early revision of AMD’s Llano Fusion processor. This is the first time that one of AMD Llano Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) have been seen outside an AMD test lab so it looks like they are coming along nicely. We have been told that these processors are being manufactured by GlobalFoundries and from the sounds of it these processors will be slightly delayed as this was GlobalFoundries first 32 nanometer process run. It looks like the shrink down to 32nm wasn’t as easy as first thought, but the company obviously figured it out and wafers are rolling out the fab as you read this. In fact we got in touch with GlobalFoundaries and asked them if they would like to make a comment on the status of Llano for this article and they made this statement.
“AMD’s Llano is the industry’s first foundry product with High-k Metal Gate (HKMG), so it is an important proof point of our ability to deliver this new technology. Our 32nm HKMG technology ramp is currently in early production at Fab 1 in Dresden and we are making continued progress on ramping the process in support of AMD’s 1H 2011 customer commitments.” – GlobalFoundaries PR
In case you are wondering, AMD’s other Fusion SKUs that have already been announced are Ontario and Zacate. These are low power processors that are being manufactured by TSMC on the 40nm process. The parts being made by TSMC are said to be due out around CES 2011 and since Llano had a slight delay at GlobalFoundaries those parts will be coming out sometime in the first half of 2011. Now that you have the basics covered let’s take a look at the very first Llano APU demo!
Well, as you can see that demo was over rather quick. AMD ran the AvP PC game demo that you just saw in the video above in front of a room of about 100 members of the press and the system played back the game demo just fine at what we later found out was a resolution of 1024×768.
AMD invited Legit Reviews to get some personal time with their Llano platform and also invited use to a private showing of this platform. We were not told any specific clock frequencies or model numbers, but were shown the full length demo scene from of Aliens Versus Predator. We found that it was running rather smoothly with DX11 setting enabled at a screen resolution of 1024×768. From the image above you can see the development board did not have any discrete PCIe video cards being run, so all this was being done on just the processor. It is our understanding that you will be able to run CrossFire on these new Fusion APU’s, but AMD has not confirmed or denied that rumor yet.
Here is a closer look at the AMD development board that they were using for the Llano CPU demo. AMD didn’t have much to say about the board or the processor, but we could make out that tag hanging on the right corner of the board and it said Llano Super Sumo. We will take a wild guess and assume that is the code name for this board.
AMD would not allow us to touch the CPU cooler on this test platform for fear of static shock, but shortly after giving the warning Kyle Bennett from [H]ard|OCP walked into the room and stuck two fingers right on the pair of heat-pipes. Since he wasn’t given the instructions not to touch the CPU cooler we were able to get direct feedback from a respected hardware reviewer as to the heat dissipation of this new APU.
“It was just slightly warm to the touch, or cool compared to any other processor I have seen on a motherboard for the last few years.” – Kyle Bennett
As you can see from his statement the Llano CPU is cool running, but this is expected. A recent post over at X-Bit Labs noted that the TDP of the processor is around 20W.
“Quite a lot is known about Llano processor, which is a part of Sabine platform. As reported earlier, AMD Llano accelerated processing unit (APU) will have four x86 cores based on the current micro-architecture each of which will have 9.69mm² die size (without L2 cache), a little more than 35 million transistors (without L2 cache), 2.5W – 25W power consumption, 0.8V – 1.3V voltage and target clock-speeds at over 3.0GHz clock-speed. The cores will dynamically scale their clock-speeds and voltages within the designated thermal design power in order to boost performance when a program does not require all four processing engines or trim power consumption when there is no demand for resources. According to sources familiar with the matter, different versions of Llano processor will have thermal design power varying from 20W to 59W: high-end dual-core, triple-core and quad-core chips will have TDP between 35W and 59W; mainstream chips with two of four x86 cores will fit into 30W thermal envelope and low-power dual-core Llano chips will have 20W TDP.” –
AMD won’t allow us to show you the Llano CPU itself or any real up close and personal pictures, so this concludes our coverage of AMD’s first press showing of their upcoming Llano Fusion processor. We will bring you more information on this processor in the months to come, but for now, you know it works and that it can run games like AvP in DX11 mode at lower resolutions.
It looks like the next generation of CPU’s, APU’s or whatever you want to call them are looking good! We can’t wait to get some benchmark time with these new processors to see how they really perform!