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Exclusive ‘Llano’ AMD Fusion processor picture

For years, AMD's been telling us that the future is Fusion. At Computex 2010 it finally ran a full speed demo live on stage in front of the world's press. On 26th July, AMD briefed the press again, with Fusion marketing guru John Taylor taking the lead. Now the threat is finally real, the chips exist, so what do they look like and what can we expect?

Right now the jury is out on whether AMD or Intel will rule the roost for single chip performance, but AMD has definitely won one battle. Naming the category.

Companies like Nintendo, Sony and Apple are able to command huge brand value and margins ,because they have been able to create categories. Retail stores and, ultimately, people, buy products in categories.

How many times have you heard people say things like, “I need a new hoover” or “Microsoft is launching a Wii interface”.

Over the past 2 months, we've heard several people from Intel refer to their upcoming Sandybridge products as “Our version of Fusion”.

Now that's a win in any marketing director's portfolio.

So, the big question remains, when will Llano and its siblings be ready for public consumption?

If having a chip in your hand is anything to go by, we'd say “A lot sooner than most people are expecting”. Sure, AMD could choose to see how Intel's range pans out in terms of price performance characteristics and then decide on a launch strategy. Then again, they might be looking to beat Intel to the punch in terms of getting Llano to the market.

Performance and power consumption to one side, does AMD have a USP with Llano?   Yes. It offers DX11 graphics. In a world where nVidia is finally going to try and launch a card under £100 just before Christmas, AMD Fusion will make DX11 available ‘almost free of charge'. When ATI did that with the Radeon 2400 and DX1, it was enough to win all of Lenovo's notebook business. We're sure John Taylor will be hoping for the same effect this time.

Whatever the reason, Llano is very real and really here. As this picture proves.

AMD Fusion: 4 Cores, 4MB Cache and GPU all in a tidy little package.

KitGuru says: It will be a battle royal for this space in the market. We expect AMD to deliver more graphics grunt and Intel to process more CPU instructions per second. Then it comes down to the PR and advertising messages. If Intel pushes too hard with a message that its graphics are great, then it risks increasing the importance of GPU benchmarks, where it is unlikely to win. AMD, on the other hand, has the challenge of proving that it can stand toe-to-toe with Intel on CPU performance, while using almost no juice at all. Game on!

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