Mercry News Take on CPU/GPU Combo

Mercury News has posted a very interesting article which outlines the upcoming consolidation of the CPU and GPU into one package. Here, the author gets feedback directly from key players within the industry as vendors such as AMD, Intel, ATI, and NVIDIA are all represented. In short, it sounds as though efforts will be made to bring low-end graphics onboard a multi-core processor with the ultimate goal being to have a full range of consolidated CPU/GPU hardware. One aspect of this approach which surprisingly seems to have not been covered is the topic of upgrading and the overall lifecycle of the hardware. With both CPU and GPU functionality tied to a single package, upgrading to new technology such as switching over to a motherboard based off a new chipset could become an issue. In addition, as graphics technology evolves and games become more demanding, how will users be able to "upgrade" or otherwise increase performance? Will they be forced to completely upgrade the CPU/GPU package? One thing is certain, that hardware sounds like it would be an expensive piece of silicon and I'm sure many would not be thrilled with the idea of replacing that component every year to retain the highest overall performance.

Patrick Moorhead, vice president of advanced marketing at Advanced Micro Devices, said, "The idea that the microprocessor and the graphics chip might combine was an element in our merger. We could have licensed that. We see that as a mid-term reality. We are announcing we will do a combined CPU and GPU development in 2007. Initially it is focused on emerging markets. That's where the right solution is optimized for emerging solutions. The cost of emerging platform is governing a lot of things. The CPU controls the costs of peripherals in the system. If it is more integrated, the less power it requires. You can get by with a smaller power supply and have other benefits."