The Accelerated Processing Unit (It is the future you know?)

May 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Technology

While you may be thinking that you know all there is to know about the Accelerated Processing Unit or APU, as made famous by AMD, I’m here to tell you that perhaps there’s just a few tidbits that you don’t know just yet.  While it is easy to think that the Accelerated Processing Unit is the love child of AMD, with their Llano Cores, their Bulldozer Cores and their new Piledriver Cores, it wasn’t AMD that birthed such a technological marvel.  AMD are just the ones who marketed it the best.  I mean with named like the AMD Trinity or the AMD Piledriver it’s hard not to expect that to stick in your head over(cue unenthusiastic voice) Northbridge or, wait for it, Ivy Bridge.  Hmmm, a big powerful dirty machine that’s slamming beams into the ground or a serene bridge with a bit of ivy growing up the side of it?  Which of these names do you think will stick in the minds of male computer enthusiasts around the world?  And then there’s the AMD Trinity which just brings up either images of Divinity or hot chicks in skin tight black vinyl outfits kicking serious ass.  You have to admit that while Intel is certainly winning the CPU war AMD is cleaning up in the marketing department

So anyways, I digress, back to the APU.

Now while the term APU or Accelerated Processing Unit really came into the lime light in 2011 with the introduction of AMD’s APUs, most notably Llano the term accelerated processing unit or APU was first used in a public context with respect to accelerated computing in 2006, and prior to that in various presentations and business plans written by Joe Landman of Scalable Informatics.  In fact some of you may remember this little device called a Playstation 3 which was powered by IBM’s Cell processor which itself is an APU.  In fact a point can probably be made that one of the driving reasons why we have high end APU’s from AMD like the Trinity set to be released on May the 15, 2012 costing so little is because of the millions and millions of PS3’s being sold and the demand for APU like components driving up competition and driving down costs from manufacturers of accelerated processing units.  As well as an enormous amount of R&D funded in part by Sony for this release.   Other examples of previous APU chips are Examples include AMD FusionIBM CELLIntel HD Graphics, and NVIDIA‘s Project Denver.   Although it can be argued that AMD is leading the charge at this point and definitely delivering the largest improvements and gains to the APU tech as a whole.  AMD is banking heavily that these Accelerated Processing Units are the future and by all counts they definitely seem to be.  It doesn’t seem a matter of If APU’s will become the norm but simply a matter of when.. I mean if you can tap into the insane power of the computers GPU to handle regular non-graphical complications when needed without requiring somethign complicated like CUDA then why the hell wouldn’t you want that?  But when you consider what the accelerated processing unit brings in terms of power and heat reductions the possibilities for implementation into the mobile arena are huge, and that is definitely where computing seems to be going.

For more on the Accelerated Processing Unit or APU and a better description into how it works, check out an earlier post dedicated to that the topic:

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