Wednesday, November 30th 2011

AMD Still Committed To x86 - But Not In High End Desktop

Further to our article yesterday, that AMD was to give up competing with Intel, they have now made a statement which semi-clarifies their future strategy. AMD told The Verge, that they are still committed to x86, but have decided to concentrate on low power, emerging markets and the cloud:
AMD is a leader in x86 microprocessor design, and we remain committed to the x86 market. Our strategy is to accelerate our growth by taking advantage of our design capabilities to deliver a breadth of products that best align with broader industry shifts toward low power, emerging markets and the cloud.
This sounds very much like they are giving up competing with Intel in the high-end x86 CPU market, but will instead compete with the likes of ARM, NVIDIA, TI and Intel in the low power market. It doesn't seem like a good strategy however, not least because getting the power use levels of an x86 CPU right down to ARM levels and still have some semblance of performance seems to be an unachievable aim, as Intel has already found out. The problem is that the ancient and complex x86 instruction set dating from the late 1970s, requires complex decode logic and a bigger chip (more transistors) to implement. It also isn't very fast, which is why all the various "turbocharging" technologies and enhancements have had to be applied to it over the years to bring us the fast CPUs we see today. These are all very expensive on transistor budget, power and require a high clock speed. The fact that all modern x86 CPUs are actually hybrid x86 (32-bit) & x64 (64-bit) machines adds an order of magnitude to the problem, as they're almost two CPUs in one. Time will tell whether AMD were right to go down this road.
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87 Comments on AMD Still Committed To x86 - But Not In High End Desktop

#1
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
cadaveca said:
You're very young still. I have 4 kids and a wife, mortgages, and several business ventures that afford me some luxury, but not very much, TBH. Frankly, right now, because of my shoulder injury, I'm actually quite broke. Not that I cannot py my bills...but liek nearly everyone else, extras are harder to come by. $350 for a CPU is pocket change in the real world.



I don't use credit, and always suggest others don't either. I'd rather wait to buy something, then pay extra to get it when I cannot truly afford it.

Likewise, this sentiment seems to fit within AMD's goals..to forget the high-end space completely, and work on affordable products that are easy on the wallet. Rather than making designs to compete with Intel, it seems it's more prudent to create designs that meet customer needs instead. Enthusiasts have screamed loud enough that Bulldozer doesn't meet their needs, after all.
wise words indeed.
Posted on Reply
#2
Grim_Reaper
Intel fanboys should be happy, AMD still exist. ONLY by this reason they are able to buy cheap 2500-2700K, because intel wants and has to rub AMDs wounds. There are no other meanings of that. intel is out of competition already, so the only thing they want is to humiliate AMD completelly. But still ought to keep prices down. Time will come, and you will see, that just after AMD will leave x86 CPU market, intel will "suddenly" gonna remember that "oh, crap, we forgot that this is too price for us to keep such pricetag low. We need to rise the price because of... bla-bla-bla". Guys, honestly, think about it. Almost 90% of market. it's matter of time intel will set price for middle-end CPU to cost ~800$ like it was several years ago. Then Phenom II came, and intel was forced to lower prices. That's why even today 2700K costs beyond 400$. Only because AMD is still rival. But all problems in AMD because of their stupid management.
Posted on Reply
#3
Deadlyraver
Well played AMD.

If they were to focus mostly on cloud computing then our lives on the smartphone will be 10x more awesome. I saw a preview of a GTA IV play session completely streamed by AMD's cloud. I am already convinced once they put it on the smartphone as they promised.

As for their CPUs, I love low power. Soooooo much room for OC.
Posted on Reply
#4
chron
cadaveca said:
The fact that people still don't have that much spending cash, and the fact there still are other affordable options?


AMD cannot stop making CPUs. They need the revenue to pay their loans. They just don't need to be taking Intel head-on in a performance war.

SandyBridge is a killer chip. I really think they are worth much more than they are sold for now. Why are they cheap?


So Intel can sell as many as is possible. The more units they move, the more they profit. And it's much harder to make profit by increasing prices. Heck, SandyBridge is so affordable based on performance, that I bought two chips, with one sitting on a shelf, collecting dust.
What you say is true only to an extent. They won't be charging 10x as much, but they will be charging more without any competition forcing them. I'm just pulling numbers out of the air, but for example the performance you get for $300 now, you might see for $400 later. Not enough to keep people from buying but enough that they can make extra profits with AMD out of the way, not to mention all the business they'll get FROM the AMD customers.
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#5
ManofGod
Assimilator said:
OH NO YOU DIDN'T! XD



After the Bulldozer fiasco, it'll have to slaughter every Intel chip in existence performance-wise for any enthusiasts to even consider it. If Piledriver can't beat Ivy Bridge, AMD really should GTFO the high-end CPU business; at least then they won't be making promises they can't keep.

As for the peole bemoaning the potential lack of competition... there already is no competition at the high end of the CPU spectrum. The only people buying "high-end" AMD CPUs are fanboys, cheapskates, or people who have been conned into doing so.
Ah, I am a fanboy, cheapskate and I have been conned. Thanks for letting me know that, could have not made it through the day without that. :rolleyes::slap:
Posted on Reply
#6
makwy2
Let's face it low-end, low-power, mobile, and cloud computing is the way of the near future. Everything is getting some kind of processor in it starting from huge markets like tablets and smartphones to appliances, vehicles, and so much more. If you want to survive you find a way, for AMD it will be those kind of devices. Although, on a personal note, I bet that they still keep some high-end parts around if not just to compete a little as well as try out new designs and the like.
Posted on Reply
#7
turtile
Is this really surprising?

AMD Market Value: $3.99 Billion
Intel Market Value: $126.77 Billion

In other words, Intel has about 32 times the market value of AMD.

How does anyone expect AMD to pull off a competitive product against that?
Posted on Reply
#8
robal
Doesn't sound too good.
x86 makes sense ONLY for high performance desktop (and server).

Anything else is (and will be) dominated by ARM.
Few years forward and EVERYTHING (including high-end desktop and server) will be dominated by ARM. Mark my words :)
Posted on Reply
#9
naram-sin
robal said:
Doesn't sound too good.
x86 makes sense ONLY for high performance desktop (and server).

Anything else is (and will be) dominated by ARM.
Few years forward and EVERYTHING (including high-end desktop and server) will be dominated by ARM. Mark my words :)
Hmmm, there's some crystal ball stuff here... but, judging from relevant practices, I can only guesstimate that AMD is leaving server/Opteron in the dry... High-perf desktop was a parallel to server tech solutions up until now...

And, I guess that:
- either AMD's gonna continue mainstream Bulldozer path ina next couple of years;
- or they're gonna focus on Opteron and develop server platform tech solutions usable for dektop purposes and this is a marketing BS...

can't think of any other right now... working on beer fumes here... :rockout:

turtile said:
Is this really surprising?

AMD Market Value: $3.99 Billion
Intel Market Value: $126.77 Billion

In other words, Intel has about 32 times the market value of AMD.

How does anyone expect AMD to pull off a competitive product against that?
but why not?! you can still get a sheik or a wealthy Chinese investor to give you a notch-kick-up... either the problem is AMD's R&D (loosing their, errr... motivation????) or they're in kahoots with Intel to bring all of our Ivy-Bridge hungry knees to the ground...

Anywho, if vmware and citrix could live over their expectations, maybe AMD should browse an academic market... you newer know... they (and us) could profit greatly...
Posted on Reply
#10
erocker
Senior Moderator
naram-sin said:
the problem is AMD's R&D
R&D costs money. Lots and lots and lots of money. Intel has lots and lots and lots of money. AMD only has lots of money. Designing processors is no easy job. Lots of failures before you get something right and Intel can afford to do this, AMD cannot.
Posted on Reply
#11
naram-sin
erocker said:
R&D costs money. Lots and lots and lots of money. Intel has lots and lots and lots of money. AMD only has lots of money. Designing processors is no easy job. Lots of failures before you get something right and Intel can afford to do this, AMD cannot.
I get it erocker, and thanks for joining those damned posts together... :-)

There's one thing i learned in a past couple of months. My engineers can handle anything. From learning how to deploy new MS tech as a pilot in a matter of days (if there's enough motivation) to querying and researching something completely out of their current scope of expertise, and bringing me viable and useful results. And the only reason is if the project is big enough - bigger the project, greater the challenge - and bigger the effort.

Hence, the kahoots theory. If I worked for AMD/Intel/nV, I'd surely kick some R&D buts with sleepless nights... in a strict HR sense...
Posted on Reply
#12
Syborfical
If amd are giving up on the high end will x86 chips go up like in 2000's
Posted on Reply
#13
turtile
naram-sin said:

but why not?! you can still get a sheik or a wealthy Chinese investor to give you a notch-kick-up... either the problem is AMD's R&D (loosing their, errr... motivation????) or they're in kahoots with Intel to bring all of our Ivy-Bridge hungry knees to the ground...

Anywho, if vmware and citrix could live over their expectations, maybe AMD should browse an academic market... you newer know... they (and us) could profit greatly...
It is always possible that they can compete but that's many years away. Intel is reorganized well. My point is, AMD can't afford to run multiple projects like Intel can. For instance, AMD could have further developed the Phenom for the desktop market while using Bulldozer for the server market if they had more money (and if they had a Fab that could do it!).

They also scrapped their original plans after A64 and wasted a long time working on something that never arrived.
Posted on Reply
#14
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
Syborfical said:
If amd are giving up on the high end will x86 chips go up like in 2000's
sure why not. they are already in 1000s
Posted on Reply
#15
Wile E
Power User
cadaveca said:
You're very young still. I have 4 kids and a wife, mortgages, and several business ventures that afford me some luxury, but not very much, TBH. Frankly, right now, because of my shoulder injury, I'm actually quite broke. Not that I cannot py my bills...but liek nearly everyone else, extras are harder to come by. $350 for a CPU is pocket change in the real world.



I don't use credit, and always suggest others don't either. I'd rather wait to buy something, then pay extra to get it when I cannot truly afford it.

Likewise, this sentiment seems to fit within AMD's goals..to forget the high-end space completely, and work on affordable products that are easy on the wallet. Rather than making designs to compete with Intel, it seems it's more prudent to create designs that meet customer needs instead. Enthusiasts have screamed loud enough that Bulldozer doesn't meet their needs, after all.
Same way I do things. I just save until I can get what I want.

And by doing this, who knows, maybe they will actually develop something that can compete with Intel eventually.

Syborfical said:
If amd are giving up on the high end will x86 chips go up like in 2000's
No. The high won't change because AMD already doesn't compete up there anyway. This has zero effect on the high end market.
Posted on Reply
#16
costinul_ala
AMD ... - yes!

As long as they have a competitive CPU in the 100-200 euro range, I will always get one over Intel's
Intel is a big driver for technology in general and have made many things happen. But it has soiled itself with the antitrust fines and market practices so as long as I can choose ... it is AMD.

Then AMD has always innovated and taught the big guy some lessons
Posted on Reply
#17
DaedalusHelios
If AMD stops trying then we are all screwed......... No competition is horrible in a capitalism. It results in captive markets. That means Intel will charge literally as much as they can get away with. If IBM and AMD stop making x86 Processors then I would like to see Intel broken up by Anti-trust law. Like with the US phone companies long ago. Our telecoms need the same treatment.
Posted on Reply
#18
nt300
If AMD sticks to the low to mid, this is no problem. They still have to develop and design efficient CPUs. And if they manage to miraculously come up with something super fast, then I can see them taking advantage of this within the market.

AMD should still continue to dedicate staff in developing fast CPUs imo.
Posted on Reply
#19
kciaccio
Paulieg said:
Well, you can laugh now, but when you see Intel chips go up 50-60% at every price point, you'll be...:banghead::cry: I know I will, and I'm more or less neutral with Intel and AMD...but I want to be able to still afford enthusiast hardware.
Totally agree. Stupid Intel fanboys are going to be paying up now. Without AMD to keep Intel honest god help us. It's funny how the fan boys privately or publicly feel good about AMD's failure with bulldozer so far. They won't be laughing so hard next time they are checking out at micro center buying their next Intel CPU.
Posted on Reply
#20
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
kciaccio said:
Totally agree. Stupid Intel fanboys are going to be paying up now. Without AMD to keep Intel honest god help us. It's funny how the fan boys privately or publicly feel good about AMD's failure with bulldozer so far. They won't be laughing so hard next time they are checking out at micro center buying their next Intel CPU.
+1 and I'm an Intel user.* Ultimately, we need strong competition to keep prices low and progress in performance rapid. SB-E & IB are what happens when that competition isn't there.

*"Intel user" sounds like a drug habit, doesn't it? :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#21
kciaccio
qubit said:
+1 and I'm an Intel user.* Ultimately, we need strong competition to keep prices low and progress in performance rapid. SB-E & IB are what happens when that competition isn't there.

*"Intel user" sounds like a drug habit, doesn't it? :laugh:
lol. it does.
Posted on Reply
#22
mastrdrver
In related news......
So, who is AMD looking for? The positions are mostly located in Austin (TX), Sunnyvale (CA), Boxborough (MA) and Fort Collins (CO) and we have to say that job descriptions are intriguing. This is just a small sample of jobs available:

Video Architect, Sunnyvale CA - "Responsible for the design and development of x86/SSE and GPU-based Software video codecs, such as MPEG-2, H.264 and SVC"

SOC Integration Engineer, Austin TX - "Own floor planning (estimates & actual), C4 planning, packaging requirements, top level interconnects, implement overlays, full chip assembly along with associated physical verification of assembled chip for next generation AMD Server and Fusion microprocessors."

SOC Design Verification Engineer, Austin TX - "This position is for an experienced verification engineer in AMD's SoC verification group working on next generation high performance x86 client and server microprocessors. The location is the Lone Star Design Center in southwest Austin."

System Software Development Engineer, Austin TX - "System Optimization Engineering team is seeking an experienced system-software developer to join AMD's modeling team for software-based simulation of AMD's future server, notebook, tablet and desktop platforms."

Read more: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-starts-hiring-world-class-soc-engineers/14113.html#ixzz1fQshFINj
Sounds like the high end desktop (client) is going to be SoC. Is that really a surprise?
Posted on Reply
#23
Fx
ManofGod said:
Ah, I am a fanboy, cheapskate and I have been conned. Thanks for letting me know that, could have not made it through the day without that. :rolleyes::slap:
lol, I guess I am all those things then too

good thing my X4 955 can handle everything I throw at it...
Posted on Reply
#24
Wile E
Power User
DaedalusHelios said:
If AMD stops trying then we are all screwed......... No competition is horrible in a capitalism. It results in captive markets. That means Intel will charge literally as much as they can get away with. If IBM and AMD stop making x86 Processors then I would like to see Intel broken up by Anti-trust law. Like with the US phone companies long ago. Our telecoms need the same treatment.
Not really, because all the money they dumped into trying to compete on the top end has been wasted. Now they can devote more R&D money into the segments that bring the most income: low to mid range.

AMD hasn't affected top end prices in years, as they simply haven't had anything up there anyway.
Posted on Reply
#25
TRWOV
mastrdrver said:
In related news......



Sounds like the high end desktop (client) is going to be SoC. Is that really a surprise?
At this stage the only thing left outside the CPU is the south-bridge so, no.
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