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AMD Cling To GPU, Dismiss Intel Sandy Bridge

AMD has gone the way of Intel by integrating graphics and processing into the same chip with its upcoming ‘Fusion’ processors it will showcase in Sydney on February 1. However, AMD believe that GPUs are still integral products on the PC market.

“[GPUs] are still extremely relevant to the Australian market. Australian consumers wouldn’t feel comfortable paying a thousand dollars and above for notebooks without a graphics card,” said Brian Slattery, AMD’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand.

Intel previewed its ‘Sandy Bridge’ processors in Sydney on Tuesday, but despite its push for GPU-less computing there were still vendors at the conference mixing Intel and AMD technology. Intel Vice President Mooly Eden said that Intel understands that they could not completely eliminate GPUs from high-end gaming computers.

They did preview gaming without a discrete graphics card, though, previewing World of Warcraft being played on a Sandy Bridge chip and a previous Core CPU alongside a graphics card to show the similarity in performance.

AMD is honing in on the netbook and ultra-portable markets with the upcoming release of its Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). While the E Series will focus on ultra-portables, the C Series will focus on netbooks despite some analysts predicting a death of notebooks following the tablet boom.

“I disagree that [Intel and AMD] go head-to-head. [Trying to phase out GPUs] is an interesting position for Intel to take. It’s the opposite for us,” said Slattery, noting that AMD’s variety of GPU/CPU integrated chips would perform greater than most entry-level and midrange GPUs but would not replace them in higher end units.

AMD’s focus is on delivering high performance to smaller units, while still driving their own ATI graphics cards in notebooks and desktop PCs.

According to Slattery, integrating CPUs and GPUs has been on the cards for years.

“AMD purchased ATI in 2006 and from there the initial plan was to integrate the CPU and GPU, so it’s been a long time coming,” he said.

Intel has put more effort than usual with its conferences this year, importing its whole US team for the Sydney preview, indicating a heavy marketing push. AMD has been in the same boat, bringing its Vice President for Worldwide Product Marketing, Leslie Sobon, to Australia for a keynote at next month’s presentation.

“It’s the first time that someone at that level has come to Australia from AMD,” said Slattery.