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AMD's Fusion Is Coming Together

Anders Bylund
August 6, 2009

Advanced Micro Devices' (NYSE: AMD  ) Fusion strategy is coming together. And this time, the perennial underdog got a jump on the competition.

The OpenCL programming framework is a relative newcomer to the computing scene. This open computing language -- published by the who's-who-of-technology Khronos consortium, which includes everyone from the Los Alamos National Labs to IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) -- helps programmers take full advantage of today’s increasingly powerful but also more complex processors.

The technology taps into the power of both graphics cards from NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) and AMD's ATI unit, and the central processors made by Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) and AMD. This way, you can take a load off your poor overworked processor by sending some work to the graphics processor instead -- or simply take better advantage of the multicore features that give modern processors their power. In short, OpenCL should make computers more efficient by better utilizing their resources.

Yesterday, AMD released the first development framework for running OpenCL work on the central processor. The drivers will work on any reasonably modern processor from AMD or Intel. Intel is also part of the Khronos group, but it hasn't submitted an OpenCL development platform yet.

AMD’s OpenCL implementation should work across Linux and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows platforms today. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL