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An accelerated processing unit (APU) is a processing system that includes additional processing capability designed to accelerate one or more types of computations outside of a CPU. This may include a graphics processing unit (GPU), a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), or similar specialized processing system.
Variations on the usage of this term include a marketing-based variation in which the APU is described as a processing device which integrates a CPU and a GPU on the same die, thus improving data transfer rates between these components while reducing power consumption. APUs can also include video processing and other application-specific accelerators.
AMD's new Accelerated Processing Units combine general-purpose x86 CPU cores with programmable vector processing engines on a single silicon die. AMD's APUs also include a variety of critical system elements, including memory controllers, I/O controllers, specialized video decoders, display outputs, and bus interfaces, but real appeal of these chips stems from the inclusion of both scalar and vector hardware as full-fledged processing elements.
AMD is best situated to address this engineering challenge in both x86 processor technology and industry-leading GPU technology. The AMD Fusion APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) allows you to configure the small-form-factor, long-battery-life PCs that consumers crave, while enabling the powerful, next-generation visual experiences that can set you apart and help create a competitive advantage in a hyper-competitive market.