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

Editor & Senior Moderator
CPU prices all over are expensive, because it's the shopping season. A $250 FX-8150 is going to $280.
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Fishfaced Nincompoop
Just wanted to say that CPU prices are pretty much the same over here.
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Maybe if this was 1990 you may have been onto something but IBM gave up on the Consumer market ages ago.
That's only half true. They realized PowerPC-based PC's were never going to make it, and being an OEM was costing them too much money. They still care about Consumers (to the extent anyone can) but have shifted their focus to indirectly benefit consumers (Game Consoles, Phone Parts, etc.)
Posted on Reply
Wile E
Power User
Also to add, Bulldozer will likely come into its own when it transitions to the 22nm. Every other fab AMD uses is completely shit. 90 nm (Athlon 64) was good, 65 nm (Phenom) sucked, 45 nm (Phenom II) was good, 32 nm (FX) sucked. 22 nm is likely to be good.

Of course it won't be able to hold a candle to Ivy Bridge but if you're looking for a cheap processor that's "good enough," AMD has that market pretty well cornered.

This too. AMD has virtually no brand recognition because they refuse to advertise except on their website (e.g. Ruby) and games (powered by AMD). Neither are effective at reaching the masses and they must change that. AMD's decision to not advertise is the dumbest thing since square wheels.
65nm didn't suck for AMD. You forgot about Brisbane. Just Phenom sucked, not the entire process.

Had to come up with some sort of good reply...

We have already seen AMD shape a lot of things in the past year ever wonder why AMD is pushing "the future is fusion" so hard? That might be the saving grace along with ATi. I am already seeing it how many intel notebooks for $299 can you play a lot of todays games on? The E-350 series chips kicks some major ass in the low budget laptop market. AMD is taking that over. Coming from my sales at BBY experience those laptops are the ones that sell 15-20 per store every Sunday. Thats just BBY, throw in newegg, amazon and other etailers. Those notebooks are damn near bestselling on every single site. Now move up to the A4 chips with integrate 65x0 graphics on them and you have a budget gamer that can play ALL of todays games with decent settings, throw in hybrid xfire with another 65x0 chip and you have all high settings for under $700. Something intel cannot touch. As drivers mature those chips keep getting better. There is no way the influx of fusion chips is by mistake. AMD is trying to take as much low end market as humanly possible. We may loose the high end with AMD's bulldozer fiasco, but if they can stake a claim in low/midrange markets that is the bulk of home computing. Word of mouth travels better than commercials if one housewife get a FUSION sticker and loves it they all go get one. The top 4 selling laptops at my Walmart right now are all AMD based and under $700. All it takes is one salesman to go hey these perform similar this ones cheaper and games play better.
Still behind in compute power.

Flamebait much?

AMD still holds an 18% market share and Intel 80%. Thats commonly available knowledge. Without AMD competing with Intel we will see processor markups again. Competition is good in every way it brings out the best product, best price and more options. Think if there was no AMD when the P4 was released? Who is to say Intel would have gotten there collective heads out of their asses and fixed that to release Conroe? As long as AMD holds its current marketshare through the quarter they could always bounce back. As far as intel's way of doing business yea right thats why AMD won that 1.45 billion antitrust. The only business plan Intel follows is when in doubt cheat, lie and steal. Hell the old P4 commercial specifically quote needing a P4 to use XP...I mean really?
So, how does the past have anything to do with current strategies and markets?

Sorry, pulling the antitrust card is no longer a valid defense. Time to move on.
I support AMD because:
  • tried Intel, and for my use AMD was and still is a better choice (example: try to use dism with all patches for windows; Intel based PC will die and will be unusable for a few hours, while AMD finishes 1 hour before an Intel and during the task the PC is usable)
  • I don't care for the quantity of game framerates; I play games 2x in a month
  • I use Sony vegas for rendering and it truly uses all cores on the AMD platform to the max, while Intel....that's just sad story behind....
  • I was thinking buying a laptop, a cheap laptop with the CPU virtualization and I wanted an Intel (I was recommended by I friend who I trust about these things), the problem was that the Pentium mobiles don't have virtualization, while even the cheapest model of any AMD CPU has it. This rises a question "Why would I buy an Intel???" :laugh:
So here you have my opinion and logical reasons why I support AMD. Now I own a 8-core AMD beast and it does the job damn good!
What are you smoking?

What Intel chips are you comparing to, P4's? Do you perhaps want to compare performance in these apps against a modern Intel owner?

Sorry, but my almost 2 year old Intel system would mop the floor with any current AMD system, let alone a newer SB based system.
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perhaps a joint venture between ARM and AMD

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

xD lol armd, thats funny to me
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Cool, time to put fackin black box agin on Intel K CPU's and sell them as extremes for 1000$.
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