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Intel, Amd Vie to Rewire Pc's Brain

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Heterogeneous computing

Heterogeneous computing combines functions typically found on a graphics processor with the main CPU chip.


Intel and AMD are off to the races again. This time it's about making PCs not just faster, but more versatile.

The two longstanding PC chip rivals seem to agree, roughly, on one thing: the need to meld the two key PC chips, the central and graphics processing units, into one processor. But they both bring different strengths to achieve that end.

Why combine chips? Put simply, it takes less energy to move electrons across a chip than to move those same electrons between two chips, so this saves energy, resulting in better battery life for laptops. A point made by Insight 64 principal analyst Nathan Brookwood in a white paper written for AMD, but which, in some fundamental respects, applies equally to Intel.

And CPUs and GPUs are suited to different kinds of computing. CPUs can handle a broad array of tasks, while GPUs are more specialized but much faster at certain types of operations. Future heterogeneous chips could find photos and videos in your library that contain particular faces or places. Or recognize your face when you log in. In short, putting both capabilities on one piece of silicon creates a brainier chip with more processing brawn.

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