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AMD: Fusion Makes Sense For Next-Gen Consoles

By - Source: X-bit | B 50 comments

AMD's Neal Robison said Fusion makes sense for the next-generation consoles.

Could Microsoft, Sony, or even Nintendo be eying AMD's tasty new Fusion platform? Or perhaps even Nvidia's Project Denver as the foundation for their next gaming consoles? For Neal Robison, senior director of content and application support at AMD, the use of Fusion makes total sense, as the platform packs tons of horses within a small form factor.

"If you are looking at a system that can provide a great deal of horsepower, the Fusion architecture certainly makes sense," he said in an interview with X-bit on Sunday. "With the processing power on its CPU in addition to just general graphics performance, I think it is really interesting because it gives a bit of headroom."

X-bit points out that Sony's PlayStation 3 uses a Cell heterogeneous multi-core microprocessor, and that AMD's own Fusion concept is a heterogeneous multi-core chip containing x86 processing cores and Radeon stream computing elements. That said, AMD could easily provide a Fusion-based system-on-a-chip platform for any of the three big console manufacturers.

"I see the Fusion architecture as capable of scaling both up and down," Robison added. "We’ve already talked in the past about the role of the Fusion architecture in areas such as server, and we think that our architecture is strong enough to be able to scale to many different usage scenarios."

Now would certainly be the time to promote Fusion as a baseline solution for next-generation consoles, as both Microsoft and Nintendo have already revealed that they're currently working on the next-gen designs.

What we'd like to see with the next crop is a finer line drawn between consoles and PC/Macs, a platform that allows the developer to create scalable engines and games that don't focus on one particular device (console vs. PC). Even if one console used Fusion and one used Nvidia's Project Denver, we'd still be a step closer to universal development.

With that said, could Nvidia's Project Denver be console bound? The platform isn't due to arrive until 2013, but will reportedly consist of a "Maxwell" GPU fused with general-purpose ARM processing core(s). It may even use 20-nm processing technology and offer 14 – 16 GFLOPS of double-precision performance per watt by 2014. The next-gen consoles aren't even slated to arrive until sometime around 2015, so it's quite possible the Big Three are waiting on something like Fusion and Project Denver to arrive (like tablet makers waited for Android 3.0 "Honeycomb").

"Project Denver will support a range of systems from laptops to supercomputers. It is still a product in development, so I can't provide any more detail about potential platforms than that," Nvidia's Ken Brown said.

To read the full interview with AMD, head here.

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  • 5 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , March 28, 2011 10:38 PM
    "What we'd like to see with the next crop is a finer line drawn between consoles and PC/Macs, a platform that allows the developer to create scalable engines and games that don't focus on one particular device (console vs. PC). Even if one console used Fusion and one used Nvidia's Project Denver, we'd still be a step closer to universal development."

    But that's what they do already! And it's not even quality development! You can't see the graphics quality in PS3/Xbox 360 games like you do in PC games- and that's the issue! The console developers that then port the games to PC (unlike the other way around like it should be) and then the graphics suck.
  • 4 Hide
    nebun , March 28, 2011 11:23 PM
    PC was and still is the best :) 
  • 2 Hide
    _Pez_ , March 28, 2011 11:27 PM
    I say I will never buy consoles, because computers rocks for games with settings maxed out at 1080p !, of course if you have the right hardware. :p 
  • 0 Hide
    husker , March 28, 2011 11:43 PM
    Maybe it makes sense and maybe not, but AMD is hardly unbiased on the subject. Stop the presses -- This just in:

    Manufacturer: Our Product Makes Sense For Our Customers.
  • 3 Hide
    11796pcs , March 28, 2011 11:45 PM
    Oh please make the Fusion platform a beast AMD. If AMD is able to secure a spot in one of the next-gen consoles hopefully that base will give them some cash for working on Bulldozer and it will get rid of any takeover rumors that Toms keeps throwing around.

    P.S. We all know consoles suck, everyone doesn't need to keep pointing it out.
  • 3 Hide
    shoelessinsight , March 28, 2011 11:49 PM
    LuckyDucky7But that's what they do already! And it's not even quality development! You can't see the graphics quality in PS3/Xbox 360 games like you do in PC games- and that's the issue! The console developers that then port the games to PC (unlike the other way around like it should be) and then the graphics suck.


    Most companies will almost always develop for the console first and then port to the PC as an afterthought. I hate it, you hate it, but it makes good business sense.

    I think what the author of the article is trying to say is that by bringing common PC hardware and architecture into consoles, releasing games for both consoles and PC will, hopefully, be less about "Porting" and more about a game being compatible with several similar systems.

    In other words, a console would just be another PC configuration rather than an entirely different platform, which ideally means that games would more likely work natively across them without the need for translation.
  • 0 Hide
    dcompart , March 28, 2011 11:56 PM
    I feel that at the rate technology is advancing, Next-Gen consoles are going to be outdated on day one of release. Just look at the Smartphone market, there's newer and better phones being released all the time. How can the console segment keep up if other markets are moving so quickly. I feel that consoles will either continue their evil reign and stall development (poor PC players :(  ) or console makers are going to have to move away from developing the hardware for their consoles and just supply the software that allow the use of platform specific games.
  • 2 Hide
    Flameout , March 29, 2011 12:07 AM
    ***********************************
    fyi, it's not always about graphics
    ***********************************
  • 0 Hide
    pelov , March 29, 2011 12:16 AM
    dcompartI feel that at the rate technology is advancing, Next-Gen consoles are going to be outdated on day one of release. Just look at the Smartphone market, there's newer and better phones being released all the time. How can the console segment keep up if other markets are moving so quickly. I feel that consoles will either continue their evil reign and stall development (poor PC players ) or console makers are going to have to move away from developing the hardware for their consoles and just supply the software that allow the use of platform specific games.


    That means developers will have to pander to a wide audience with a wide range of hardware! The lazy bastards won't approve of such a thing.

    As for fusion... I'm quite excited. I think x86 has a bit of an edge when it comes to gaming, especially dedicated gaming devices. AMD will be offering CPUs (APUs, really) that are many times faster than the crap inside a ps3 and xbox360 and a graphics card that outperforms those inside the crappy boxes as well.

    In this respect it's a great thing for consoles, but not too sure how I feel about that as a PC gamer...
  • 1 Hide
    welshmousepk , March 29, 2011 12:19 AM
    Assuming the next gen consoles also support 1080p, it should allow for a much more comparable platform. Being able to natively make games across all platforms, then jsut tweak settings for performance on each, will stop all this awful port nonsense.

    Make a game, allow for higher graphic settings on pc, and lower on consoles. No porting of the engine required. Sounds good to me.
  • 0 Hide
    kilo_17 , March 29, 2011 12:47 AM
    I like this idea, it would be good for consoles and good for AMD
  • 0 Hide
    neblogai , March 29, 2011 12:51 AM
    Doesn't make much sense. Consoles need either great GPU, or innovation in other respect- like Wii controls were. Yet, such innovations do not come often, and even less often they have success in the market. Anyway, the options currently are:
    a) the usual, "power" approach- great GPU and CPU, great graphics upon launch, long product life. Fusion doesn't fit here- either chip would be too big to manufacture, or it's graphics too weak for a new console; as for the current consoles- AMD has already sold the technology and is no longer needed in "fussing" GPU and CPU chips.
    b) Cloud gaming: console is not necessary- it could all run of a PC.
    c) 3D gaming- double GPU power needed, which means a discrete powerful GPU.

    The next gaming consoles might very well be PCs with gaming docks for cloud gaming. So AMD does not need to sell Fusion to consoles- but to create their own gaming markets off PCs.
  • 0 Hide
    guardianangel42 , March 29, 2011 12:53 AM
    welshmousepkAssuming the next gen consoles also support 1080p, it should allow for a much more comparable platform. Being able to natively make games across all platforms, then jsut tweak settings for performance on each, will stop all this awful port nonsense. Make a game, allow for higher graphic settings on pc, and lower on consoles. No porting of the engine required. Sounds good to me.


    The PS3 and Xbox already support 1080p. In at least the Xbox's case it's scaling, but they still support it.

    And FYI, sitting 20 inches from a screen is the only time you notice a difference in graphics. I sit 6'+ from my TV when I play Xbox and, while I definitely notice a difference in quality on PC (speaking of ME2 here) that is mainly in the quality of the screen. My 1080p monitor has better colors and black levels than my 1080i TV.

    Everything else is negligible (with the exception of AA).

    This Great Divide is superficial in anything other than an open world game like STALKER or Crysis, CPU heavy games.

    But I haven't heard much about AMD's SoCs so I don't have much of an opinion on this article.
  • 1 Hide
    Mathos , March 29, 2011 12:55 AM
    It does make a lot of sense if you think about what they could do with improved versions of Fusion APU's. It all comes down to how they work along side their IGP equipped chipsets too though. The million dollar question is, will the APU in the Llano based processors be able to do hybrid Crossfire X with say the IGP on an 890gx or 880g chipset. Or, whatever the 990gx/980g turns out to be.
  • 1 Hide
    pelov , March 29, 2011 1:07 AM
    MathosIt does make a lot of sense if you think about what they could do with improved versions of Fusion APU's. It all comes down to how they work along side their IGP equipped chipsets too though. The million dollar question is, will the APU in the Llano based processors be able to do hybrid Crossfire X with say the IGP on an 890gx or 880g chipset. Or, whatever the 990gx/980g turns out to be.


    AMD has answered that and their answer was yes. Basically, if you own a discrete AMD GPU you will be able to crossfire a fusion-based APU with the AMD GPU for added performance. Of course, there's probably lots of kinks to work out and it may be restricted as to which graphics cards you use (sort of like how crossfire outperforms SLI but only with respect to the upper end 6000 class GPUs).
  • 0 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , March 29, 2011 1:31 AM
    if consoles get more x86 then it means better console ports for us....although they will still be ports. It would be a great boost for AMD if they were to get their parts in consoles. They have a hand in the Wii's GPU dont they?
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , March 29, 2011 1:51 AM
    I believe AMD especially for the Xbox as they are x86. They'll just have to be aggressive with the graphics power of their APU's though.
  • 0 Hide
    Blink , March 29, 2011 2:22 AM
    Can APU's work in parallel? It seems if they could they would be the solution to a lot of things.
  • 0 Hide
    aznshinobi , March 29, 2011 3:41 AM
    Although this is a product promoting article. I would see how it does make sense. The APUs themselves have pretty decent processing power and graphical power. We see that in the Llano demonstration. Plus it would probably consume less power than the current consoles. But what about thermals? I know the 360 and PS3 already run hot, if you stuck a Llano in their how would thermals work out.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 29, 2011 4:13 AM
    im just wondering, why cant they install xbox/playstation os as a program on the pc and play them there with a usb controller?
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