For image processing-intensive applications, balancing performance with efficiency has always been a challenge. That balancing act is about to become considerably easier: AMD, leveraging its merger with GPU manufacturer ATI, is releasing its Fusion family of Accelerated Processing Units, or APUs. These APUs subvert the traditional tradeoffs between GPUs and CPUs by combining the two processors on a single chip. This allows the APU to handle media-centric data processing with heterogeneous multi-core processor architecture, bypassing the typical limitations found in discreet processor units.

AMD is releasing the Fusion to the mobile and embedded market as the Brazos platform, and it comes in two flavors: the ultra-low power single- and dual-core Ontario processors, which require only 9 watts of power, and the Zacate processors, which offer dual-core processing yet require only 18 watts.

All indications are that the Brazos platform will be a real winner, based on benchmarking tests that show it pulling ahead of Intel’s Atom processors, namely the D510. Between the Brazos platform and Intel’s upcoming Sandy Bridge platform, this is a great time for the digital signage market and other image processing-intensive applications. The first AMD Fusion Brazos boards should be arriving at our store later this quarter!

News Update: This morning AMD released a product brief and press release for their new Fusion G-Series of processors for embedded systems. Click for the press release.