Tuesday, November 29th 2011

AMD To Give Up Competing With Intel On x86? CPU Prices Already Shooting Up

It looks like the Bulldozer disaster might have been too much of a setback for AMD to recover from. After 30 years of competing with Intel in the x86 processor market, AMD is about to give up, even with the 2009 1.25bn antitrust settlement they extracted from them. Mike Silverman, AMD company spokesman said, "We're at an inflection point. We will all need to let go of the old 'AMD versus Intel' mind-set, because it won't be about that anymore." He was vague on the exact strategy that AMD intends to pursue from now on, though. However, the company is widely expected to make a concerted effort to break into the smartphones and tablets market. The big problem with this strategy unfortunately, is that this arena is currently dominated by many other competitors. On top of that, their arch enemy Intel is also trying to muscle in on this space, hence AMD could find themselves back at square one, or likely even further back. AMD's graphics cards are doing well at the moment though and are quite competitive, so it looks like their expensive purchase of ATI back in 2006, might yet save the company from extinction. If they become primarily a graphics card company, they will inevitably end up a lot smaller than they are now though and that’s a lot of lost jobs and personal hardship, along with a monopoly x86 market remaining and all of its negative effects on the market.

The current predicament that AMD find themselves in can only be due to bad management, especially with that massive injection of over a billion dollars. Surely they must have seen the way Bulldozer performance was going years ago? Ultimately, it doesn't matter if they would have scrapped Bulldozer as a bad job and tweaked up the reasonable Phenom 2 instead and called it Phenom 3. It doesn't matter a jot what's actually under the hood, what clock speed it runs at and what you call it. Ultimately, it's comparative real-world performance and price that matters, nothing else. Nothing at all. Back in October, we reported on AMD's projection of a 50% CPU performance improvement by 2014. It was clear as day that this was a non-starter against the high performance competition from Intel, who's products are already 50% faster and more right now, so today's announcement that AMD is giving up isn't really all that surprising, although depressing.

AMD's move is bad news for PC enthusiasts everywhere as Intel will now be left with no competition in the x86 market and be an effective monopoly. We're already seeing the effects of this with Intel processors trending upwards in price and Intel's Sandy Bridge replacements, Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge, which essentially give the same per core performance as SB, with just a few tweaks to make them "new" products. With more and more computing power being crammed into an ever smaller space, could it be that high powered PCs will become a very small niche market, having been replaced by laptops, very small form factor, low power computers – and games consoles? And what will happen to AMD and NVIDIA when they can't sell high-powered graphics cards in sufficient quantities to be profitable any more? Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

There's more info, analysis and quotes on this grim situation over at Mercury News.
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156 Comments on AMD To Give Up Competing With Intel On x86? CPU Prices Already Shooting Up

#1
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Yup, prices are seriously shooting up. I ordered the i7-2700K from Novatech yesterday at £265 with the BF3 vourcher. It's now £275. Overclockers have them on preorder for £300 and no voucher. Ebuyer have them at £282 with no voucher. Looks like I got mine in the nick of time, doesn't it?
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#3
xkche
It's a shame, I hope is another strategy that will be used.
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#4
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: AthlonX2
proof?
What?
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#6
badtaylorx
holy shit.....

are you listening Intel........

you NEED AMD.......

GIVE THEM SOME MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!
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#7
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
LOL ! This will never happen .
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#8
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: qubit
What?
I think he's refering to all the "whats" and "coulds". It's all speculation, only the future will tell us how it'll end.

To the time machine!
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#9
devguy
Oh brother. I read this article this morning, it fails to even mention the APU platform. Even if Zambezi had been launched with performance surpassing Sandy Bridge, it still would account for a small part of their sales, as that's not where the volume/money is.

For average consumer, an A6 quad with Llano graphics is beyond adequate for everything they'll want to do. An Intel 2500 might outperform it in CPU tasks handily, but the GPU is much weaker, but still adequate for most users.

I know the gut reaction to AMD's high end chips not matching/besting Intel's high end chips is to say they are screwed and have to give up, but simmé down nah, and remember we enthusiasts aren't the major market!
Ultimately, it's comparative real-world performance and price that matters, nothing else. Nothing at all.
Power consumption is unimportant? From what I've seen so far, one of the main attractions of Ivy Bridge over Sandy Bridge is the reduced power consumption.
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#11
badtaylorx
perhaps a joint venture between ARM and AMD

i can just see it now......

AMD+ARM=ARMD
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#12
pantherx12
I think AMD are just not even bothering to go for the top spot now is all, I'm more than sure they'll still make desktop processors and people will still get the level of performance they expect.

Just no more "OMFG FX IS BACK!" and then ballsing it up.
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#13
Mistral
Another entertaining editorial, thank you qubit. I can recognize the stuff you post by the writing alone, without having to look at the name of the author.

:respect:
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#14
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: Frick
I think he's refering to all the "whats" and "coulds". It's all speculation, only the future will tell us how it'll end.

To the time machine!
:laugh: Ya know, I had a "time will tell" in there, but it somehow got lost in the editing, lol. Never mind, the article still works as it is.

by: Mistral
Another entertaining editorial, thank you qubit. I can recognize the stuff you post by the writing alone, without having to look at the name of the author.

:respect:
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. :toast:
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#15
suraswami
that means should I grab 2 x 6870 and a 1090T while it is still there? I was holding off on the upgrade. may be I jump ship now?

Does this mean they are going to even stop making procs for servers?
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#16
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: suraswami
Does this mean they are going to even stop making procs for servers?
Nah, that will continue. They still need this kind of horsepower for datacentres and supercomputers, a lot of which are now based around a large array of x86 processors. They'll just be produced by Intel only that's all, with prices starting at a couple of grand...
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#17
MarcusTaz
I own a FX-6100 and an Intel Core i7 950 and with the same cards XFX 6970 and the same hard drive setups the only difference is the memory the Intel has 12Gb and the AMD has 8Gb and I play BF3 with NO differences. I do not have to OC the 6100 and the gameplay is smooth. Buy AMD even if you think BD is a failure... Maybe in the overclocking/power consumption dept it is a failure but who give s a rats arse.. Buy AMD and keep the competition... Then you will see Intel prices drop...

I know we all love to OC stuff and bench at times but in the end for me if the rig is snappy and the framerates rock who gives 2 cents... Just pwn n00bs!!!Now everyone go out and buy an FX chip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :toast:
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#18
freaksavior
To infinity ... and beyond!
Waiting on Chris cdawall to reply to this.
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#19
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
AMD turned a profit so I don't see what is driving this?

The prices of processors are likely going up because of the holiday shopping season.

If AMD was truly in trouble, there's a lot of companies that would be interested in buying them out for the fabs, x86 licence, and GPUs--IBM being #1.
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#20
GenTarkin
OMG, seriously, if AMD exits the x86 market...Intel will have monopoly and get ready for the freakin dark ages PC progression....it will slow to a halt. No more competition really sucks...for us all =/
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#21
ensabrenoir
.........wow...maybe that poll was right. If bd is the turd that kills amd....my gpus....nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!
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#22
LAN_deRf_HA
I don't get it. So is AMD quitting the desktop segment or not?
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#23
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
FUCK! there goes anymore desire for Intel to continue advancing on their chips in the desktop segment!
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#24
Jonap_1st
i knew BD had become major dissapointment for AMD enthusiast, but it didnt stop me to build a rig with their processor. for years i build so many rigs with AMD, only a few of them were Intel. because on low level market, their price point is more competitive than Intel.

if they want to quit for achieving the spot king on the fastest processors its okay, but want to quit entirely from desktop segment? i hope they dont..
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#25
CrAsHnBuRnXp
What I dont understand is how the AMD engineers find it so damn difficult to make a solid chip that is competitive with Intel's offerings. Especially after all these years.
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