AMD has announced a new chip called 'Swift' that combines the functions of three chips into one. The chipmaker said Swift, which is due for release in the second half of 2009, will include the functions of a GPU (graphics processing unit ), core-logic chipset and CPU.

"I keep telling you that it's not all about the CPU. The CPU is important but now there are other blocks that contribute to the experience a consumer gets in a machine," said Mario Rivas, an executive vice president at AMD.

AMD will use parts of several of its top chips to create this new device, which it calls an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).

Several chips make a difference in PC performance, said Rivas. Swift will carry AMD's 'Stars' processor cores, the company's latest graphics cores and the northbridge from Griffin, the central processor used in its newest laptop PC platform.

The new chip will be AMD's second attempt at such combinations. The company has pledged to launch a chip codenamed 'Fusion' late next year or in early 2009 that integrates the CPU and the graphics processor on one chip. AMD says combining the chips in Fusion will increase performance and energy efficiency.

Such work is important to the computing industry as people demand smaller, battery-dependent devices. It also saves space. The fewer chips required inside a laptop, for example, the more space a designer has to make it smaller or add other features.

Swift will be made using AMD's 45-nanometre production technology, Rivas said.

The company was unable to immediately provide further details of the new chip.