AMD's APU strategy will take a leap forward with Carrizo, which will be a true System-on-a-Chip (SoC) design. The Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) unifies a CPU, which is traditionally designed to change directions quickly and respond to short operations in sequence, with a GPU, which is usually designed for greater throughput when it comes to repetitive tasks that can be performed in parallel.
Carrizo will not just throw two separate logic blocks onto a package, but integrate them into the same processor die. The lynchpin of this approach is coherent unified memory, which allows both the CPU and GPU to access data as and when required in one combined memory pool, rather than wasting time sending it to where it is needed. Unified memory also has the scope to greatly simplify workflows and reduce equipment costs in data-intensive workstation scenarios such as oil and gas exploration, 3D manufacturing design, and content creation.
Carrizo is also expected to widen the range of form factors in which AMD processors can be found thanks to improved power efficiency and significant gains in battery life. AMD hopes that HSA-based devices will enable natural UIs such as gestures and voice recognition to become more widely used. Augmented reality and virtual reality applications would also get a boost. The company also anticipates smarter and more secure utilization of cloud services, as operations currently offloaded to remote servers for processing could be handled locally.
Disclosure: AMD sponsored the correspondent's flights and hotel for the event in Singapore.