AMD: Fusion Makes Sense For Next-Gen 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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  • jaksun5
    It's not quite the same as when tablet makers waited for Honeycomb, in the console market's case it means a cheaper product but probably a similar experience for the end user. In the case of the tablets I guess the end user's experience was key. All that happens if Fusion is applied is that console makers probably save some money on manufacturing and console design and the end user might get a few more ports with development costs of multiplatform coming down.

    The big news would be if AMD could actually land a deal. Last time they were close with Microsoft (during the first Xbox) Intel practically gave their processor away to make sure it didn't happen.