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Quad-core chips will be in 49 per cent of laptops by 2015

On-chip graphics has a bright future
Wed Jul 13 2011, 13:58

INDUSTRY ANALYSTS IHS Isuppli has predicted that 49 per cent of laptops will have quad-core processors in 2015.

IHS Isuppli reported that currently quad-core chips power just nine per cent of laptops, but claimed that by 2015, 160 million machines, or 49 per cent of all laptops sold will have quad-core processors. The outfit went on to predict that shipments of six-core processors will also rise, with 18 per cent of laptops sporting such chips.

Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst of compute platforms for IHS said, "For decades, the main focus for increasing microprocessor performance was in the area of clock speed, with suppliers battling to offer parts with the most megahertz or gigahertz. However, the competition now has shifted to the battle over cores, with suppliers racing to offer parts that boost performance by providing greater parallelism. The battle now has moved from the dual-core segment into the quad-core area-and next will spread to the six-core realm."

Desktop quad-core processors from AMD and Intel have been around for some time and now both firms have a number of mobile quad-core processors available. The move towards quad-core processors is perhaps not so surprising, however more intriguing is IHS Isuppli's claim that 90 per cent of laptops will have "on-chip graphics processing units" by 2015.

AMD is betting on its Fusion line of on-chip graphics processing units, which it terms accelerated processing units (APUs). The firm is hoping that more of the workload can be offloaded to the GPU so it can get away with a CPU that is most kindly described as an average performer.

IHS Isuppli wasn't completely bowled over by APUs though, saying, "These chips deliver improved power management of the on-chip graphics unit, although in terms of graphics performance, are not able to outperform standalone graphics processing units used in discrete graphics cards."

Frankly it's hard to see AMD caring too much about graphics performance just yet, as Intel doesn't have anything that will touch the graphics capability of its A-series Llano chips at the moment. However what is of greater concern is whether software vendors will aggressively adopt technologies such as OpenCL so that AMD's chips can really show their stuff over the competition.

Given IHS Isuppli's rosy outlook for both quad-core processors and APUs, it seems that AMD's Llano chips are well placed to pick up some of that 90 per cent. µ


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