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.
Add your own comment

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

#26
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
two things:

1: finally the crappy amd can leave x86 and make room for a real cpu company to compete with intel
2: bought time we moved past x86, isn't it...
Posted on Reply
#27
ensabrenoir
Just how much money did amd put into bulldozer?:confused:
Posted on Reply
#28
xenocide
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 =/
Except that then Intel will have to compete against themselves to try and get people to actually buy CPU's. Why would they continually make the same product when people would then have no reason to upgrade and thus give Intel actual income? They would face heaps of Anti-Trust suits forcing the company apart well before AMD was allowed to go under.

The bottom line is AMD isn't going anywhere, and they have nobody but themselves to blame for subpar products. I don't buy for a second that they didn't see BD being weak from the get-go. It's fucking Multi-Core Netburst with a slightly better version of Hyper-Threading. I knew just by hearing the description of it that it was going to disappoint. This article is just sensationalist crap, similar to all those articles that pop up about how Apple will overtake everything and Microsoft is a stones throw from going belly-up.

The fact is, things in the Tech Industry move fast, and fluctuate often, for all we know the 7xxx series could blow the 6xx series away and AMD could post huge gains in their GPU segment, we just don't know. I mean, TSMC's Revenue was down ~35%, but everyone still raves about how great they are doing.
Posted on Reply
#29
LAN_deRf_HA
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..
I don't know about Jakarta but here AMD is only competitive in the $125-180 price point. That may be a popular price point but apparently not enough to survive on.
Posted on Reply
#30
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
LAN_deRf_HA
I don't get it. So is AMD quitting the desktop segment or not?
Probably just shifting focus after Bulldozer, they more likely just want to focus on other markets as stated such as mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

I still think it's nonsense that AMD will be quitting the desktop CPU market, as there is still a lot of money to be made in that segment.
Posted on Reply
#31
mtosev
one more failure like BD and they can exit the cpu market.they didn't learn anything from the Phenom fail:/
Posted on Reply
#32
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
When BEASTS get cornered they get 180% more vicious and become super agressive as they are fighting for their life/survival.

When AMD gets cornered, they lay down and prepare to get rick-rolled without a fight.

-------

you could say that AMD has been fighting for a long time - If you can class rolling over as as fighting then yeah, they the best at it.

Bulldozer is not the first monumental fuck up AMD have made.... Remember the days when AMD staff said their new CPU's were 'PHENOM-INAL'?? Then Intel came out with a game changer - the Core 2 Duo and slapped AMD's new phenom around like a cheap worthless whore.

I still remember reading a article in customPC magazine about AMD talking about their phenom and their thoughts on Intels new C2D chips. Aparently, AMD knew about the new C2D chips way before the phenom was due for release but refused to delay it while they tweaked the performance some more.

And the same thing happed with Bulldozer except Bulldozer was a 'victim' of clever marketting. AMD had ample time to come up with a superior CPU since the C2D's, C2Q's and even SB chips as they were out long before AMD's BD. And what happends??? they fail to grasp victory again. :banghead::banghead::banghead:

AMD's move does not suprise me. Obviously I want them to carry on competing just like everyone else does but it comes to a point in the road where flogging a horse no longer makes the horse run faster.
Posted on Reply
#33
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Easy Rhino
two things:

1: finally the crappy amd can leave x86 and make room for a real cpu company to compete with intel
2: bought time we moved past x86, isn't it...
I like it - yes and yes. :toast:

The only problem with point 1 is that "exclusive" licence. I use the quotes, because I know VIA and one or two others have an x86 licence, so I don't quite understand the deal here.

I might have to research this point and perhaps write up an editorial on it. :)
Posted on Reply
#34
GenTarkin
Things would be lookin a lot better for amd at this point if they just would have simply marketed the 8 core as a 4core 8 thread processor. Everyones perception of the new CPU would have been quite the opposite if that were the case.
Posted on Reply
#35
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
@FreedomEclipse

That's a great rant and well put. :toast:
Posted on Reply
#36
pantherx12
I'm fairly certain AMD are going to remain in the x86 market but probably focus on APUs, assuming computing software carries on the way it is APUs are a good investment.

(APUs would make great super computer processors potentially given that they have a GPU in them that can do floating point brilliantly)

They also don't make bad desktop cpus for the very same reason ( although not many desktop apps that utilise the tech at the moment)
Posted on Reply
#37
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
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 =/
you really think the existence of AMD is what's driving intel's incredible innovation rate :confused:
Posted on Reply
#38
tigger
I'm the only one
I don't think Intel should be punished for doing well. If Amd can't keep up with Intel why should Intel help them out? If we end up with an Intel monopoly, it might not be so good for us, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Remember, in business the idea is to crush your opposition, not help them to crush you. Unfortunately it's a dog eat dog world.
Posted on Reply
#39
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Easy Rhino
you really think the existence of AMD is what's driving intel's incredible innovation rate :confused:
Why would they bother if they had no competition?
Posted on Reply
#40
cadaveca
My name is Dave
qubit
Why would they bother if they had no competition?
Why do you think they have any competition?


:nutkick:
Posted on Reply
#41
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
cadaveca
Why do you think they have any competition?


:nutkick:
Well, yeah, it's something. Well, it was until Sandy Bridge came out...
Posted on Reply
#42
Thefumigator
tigger
I don't think Intel should be punished for doing well. If Amd can't keep up with Intel why should Intel help them out? If we end up with an Intel monopoly, it might not be so good for us, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Remember, in business the idea is to crush your opposition, not help them to crush you. Unfortunately it's a dog eat dog world.
Not sure how it will go out as monopoly is illegal in the US, Europe, Japan and many other countries.

I don't think Mike Silverman is right. He may say what he thinks but there will always be AMD competing against intel. Look at VIA, they still offer their processors, not sure if they sell them but they are there. AMD got around 20% of CPU market share. Its not that bad, the problem is that in the times we're living anything can happen.
Posted on Reply
#43
KainXS
I think Intel just caught AMD off gaurd and now they're paying for it, actually no . . . . they should have stopped developing BD once they saw how bad it was in closed testing

If they stopped and continued the Phenom II line, this would be a different situation

they really stepped on a mine they made themselves.
Posted on Reply
#44
cadaveca
My name is Dave
qubit
Well, yeah, it's something. Well, it was until Sandy Bridge came out...
Thefumigator
Not sure how it will go out as monopoly is illegal in the US, Europe, Japan and many other countries.

I don't think Mike Silverman is right. He may say what he thinks but there will always be AMD competing against intel. Look at VIA, they still offer their processors, not sure if they sell them but they are there. AMD got around 20% of CPU market share. Its not that bad, the problem is that in the times we're living anything can happen.
The same thing applies to both comments here.

Intel owns say 75% of the CPU market. They have the capacity to meet the demand of that part of the market, but really, not much more than that.

AMD has 23%. They currently have issues getting chips on store shelves.

AMD can NEVER compete with Intel until they can PRODUCE enough chips to meet Intel's demand. The cost of the foundries needed is not possible for AMD's foundry partners, nor anyone else.

Intel literally OWNS the market, because they OWN the fabrication facilities. Even if x86 code use disappeared completely tomorrow, Intel would still own the market, as none else can make the chips the meet demand. As long as computing products are sold, Intel will own the CPU market completely, and that's just that.


If hte industry is truly going to thrive, each company needs to centralize focus on the products they produce, in order to meet specific needs, rather than a broad range of capabilities. Current technology is so advanced that there really is very little need for further growth in overall computing power...we need more uses for computing technology before that will ever become an issue.

Frankly, I think dropping the x86 CPU market is the bet thing for AMD, so they can focus on GPU designs, and use other companies CPUs to power their GPU technologies. All AMD really needs is a small, efficient CPU, not any server-based technology like Bulldozer is. Low-power, small footprint technology has far more possible uses once functionality is "made-to-order".

The sad part is that AMD needs the revenue from CPU sales to pay their loans.
Posted on Reply
#45
Makaveli
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 =/
nvidiaintelftw
FUCK! there goes anymore desire for Intel to continue advancing on their chips in the desktop segment!
Do you guys know how a business the size of intel works.

They have shareholders which demand profit and innovation.

Even if AMD tanks intel still has to release cpu's to hold their huge profit margins up.

And no is gonna buy sandbridge 3 if its only 100mhz faster than the last and with no IPC improvement. The server market always need faster chips and we just get the left overs for desktop processors that is always how it has been.

And the desktop segment is slowing down due to the shift to more mobile devices it was already happening and will happen regardless if AMD is here or not.


You need to start looking at the bigger picture!
Posted on Reply
#46
Mistral
LAN_deRf_HA
I don't get it. So is AMD quitting the desktop segment or not?
Of course they are not. You'll be getting AMD branded chips for years to come. :D

Easy Rhino
two things:

1: finally the crappy amd can leave x86 and make room for a real cpu company to compete with intel
2: bought time we moved past x86, isn't it...
Ahahah on 1. Who do you suggest that be?
2: About time we move past d-sub too (yah, on computer's that's happening but friggin TV's will be calling it a "PC input" for ages)
Posted on Reply
#47
bigboi86
Easy Rhino
two things:

1: finally the crappy amd can leave x86 and make room for a real cpu company to compete with intel
2: bought time we moved past x86, isn't it...
I am disappointed in AMD's inability to compete with Intel, but that does not make AMD a crappy company.

I suppose noone remembers when AMD held the performance crown back in the Athlon XP/64 days. This made Intel completely change the way they designed processors. They realized that you can make a fast processor by making it more efficient instead of just ramping up clockspeed(p4).

Intel wouldn't be what it is today if AMD never stepped in.

I don't know why they're having such a hard time, a few years ago they were doing great.

However, I don't think that Intel will slow down their development of extremely fast processors with AMD gone.

I will personally miss having great processors for a good price.

I just unlocked an Athlon II x4's L3 cache and clocked it to 3.5ghz for 100 bucks. Wish I could get that kind of bang for buck with Intel.

I have nothing against either processor manufacterer, competition is good for the consumer. These companies kept each other in check for years.

I hope AMD bounces back but it looks like the company is being ran by pussies now. They are ready to give up. Sad, really.

Just because Intel wins in synthetic benchmarks doesn't mean that AMD processors are crappy. Most users wouldn't see a difference while using a high end AMD machine vs a high end Intel machine.
Posted on Reply
#48
Deadlyraver
AMD is a good company for progression of technology, so they should be fine with this new move that they have.

Despite the loss of profit, the company is still slowly increasing in profit for their Phenom series as affordable solutions, and same goes for their server solutions. My thought is that they are just rethinking their company after helping innovate such products like the popular APUs. AMD is a collaborative company in nature, allowing a fair chance competing in other markets.

If anything, they are making a catalyst (haha) towards future solutions with their presence in mobile computing solutions. If they progress well, they may give high performance desktops another go. As for Intel, they are either going to monopolize and show weakness in value for other competitors in the market or stay where they are and slowly begin price cuts.
Posted on Reply
#49
xaira
i said it soo many times, amd should give up on the high end stuff and go mid range/low end/energy efficient, thats where all the volume is, this is a sad day, but i doubt intel will be given the market on a silver platter, someone will step in to save amd
Posted on Reply
#50
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
@cadaveca

So Intel own the market because they own the fabs to meet the demand, regardless of what happens? Yeah, I'll go with that. :toast:

I don't agree that more computing power isn't needed though. It's one of those things that's classically "never enough" and there's always an application to soak it all up. Even though it might just be the same thing done 100 times faster, this can still be enough to bring about a paradigm shift. To give you an example, take voice recognition. It's a notoriously difficult thing for a computer to do accurately and with little training, since computers don't have the awareness and the "smarts" that humans do, to implement a proper artificial intelligence. However, the speed of today's processors allow for this functionality to a passable extent.

Another one is weather prediction. It can be pretty accurate up to about three days in advance now and that's simply because of the huge amount of processing power available on today's supercomputers.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment