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AMD at least has the release of Trinity, Southern Islands to look forward to

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.'s (AMD) new CEO Rory Read said AMD is working to be a company that "consistently delivers on its commitments."

It looks as though the company has a bit of work left to do.

AMD aired its earnings for (calendar) Q4 2011 late Tuesday and the result was a clear miss.  Versus much of the rest of 2011 [1][2][3], where it posted profits, Q4 saw a $177M USD net loss when the results were adjusted to the general acceptable accounting practices (GAAP), the U.S. accounting standard.

Revenue stayed constant from Q3 2011 at $1.69B USD.  This is a fairly substantial miss from the analyst consensus earnings target of $1.71B USD [source].

Aside from a slightly depressed gross margin (down 1 percent), the net loss comes largely due to a set of charges (losses).  AMD took a $209M USD impairment charge on its investment in the GlobalFoundries chip fab, a $24M USD payment to GlobalFoundries charge, and a $98M USD general restructuring charge.  AMD began laying off some employees in Nov. 2011.

AMD warns that the situation will get worse, with weakening demand expected for H1 2012.  It's predicting$1.56B USD in Q1 2012 revenue.  Previously, analyst targets had hovered around $1.7B USD, but they've since been adjusted down to a slightly more optimistic $1.59B USD.

The chipmaker saw graphics revenue dip 10 percent, with mobile GPU sales down.  This dip may be compensated in H1 2011 by the official availability of the Radeon 7000 HD series (codenamed Southern Islands).  In the good news department, AMD's "computing solutions" department surged 7 percent in sales, keeping revenue steady from Q3 2011.  AMD says its server and chipset sales have improved.

Trinity in the wild
Picture top to bottom: Brazos, the Fusion APU Trinity (middle), and the Southern Islands GPU TahitiTrinity and Tahiti are expected to launch in 2012 and give a boost to AMD's revenue
(Trinity's on-die GPU is partially derived Tahiti).  [Image is property of DailyTech/Jason Mick]

In total, AMD made a net income (annual profit) of $491M USD in 2011, up modestly from 2010, a critical turnaround year for the firm.

Looking ahead AMD's gloomy forecast is definitely cause for caution.  However, substantial excitement is surrounding AMD's next-generation ultrathin-geared "Fusion" accelerated processing units (APUs).  

AMD is looking to stay aggressive with pricing, allowing for sub-$500 ultrathin laptops.  Assuming AMD can keep its volume of the new chips high, it could see strong sales based on this attractive price point.  AMD is confident that its APUs will beat similar Intel Corp. (INTCIvy Bridge system-on-a-chip designs in price, battery life, and graphics, though it concedes that Ivy Bridge will likely have more computing power.

AMD shares were puzzling trading 2.6 percent higher, despite the earnings miss and despite the general market being down about a quarter of a percent.

Sources: AMD, FT [analyst predictions]

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AMD's biggest problem is GloFo and TSMC
By Beenthere on 1/25/2012 7:20:16 PM , Rating: 4
Both fabs have cost AMD dearly in 2011. At least the two seem to have resolved some of their production issues so AMD can sell more APUs, FX and Opteron CPUs and 7900 series GPUs.

With the world wide economic meltdown in full swing with no end in sight, it's going to be a few more years before most companies see a brighter landscape, unless of course you have an illegally gotten market monopoly.

RE: AMD's biggest problem is GloFo and TSMC
By RadnorHarkonnen on 1/26/12, Rating: 0
RE: AMD's biggest problem is GloFo and TSMC
By ilt24 on 1/26/2012 2:56:57 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, that is why they got sued in japan, EU and settled with AMD in the US....

For activities that happened years ago....and even while that was happening AMD was able to gain market share when they had the better product. More recently times have been tough for AMD because they have fallen behind both in their cpu core and in the manufacturing process they get to use. if you think they make up for it with their GPU fine, but for now the market doesn't agree.

RE: AMD's biggest problem is GloFo and TSMC
By liem107 on 1/26/2012 4:14:43 PM , Rating: 4
Maybe it also means that if they were not pushed down by unfair competition, they would have had more market shares and more revenues.... which also means they would have had more budget for R&D and therefore would have been able deliver new achitectures quicker thanks to larger engineering ressources.... etccc(how late were Fusion and bulldozer??).
If you use a knife during a UFC fight, it doesn't matter if the referee tells you drop it ..... once you have already critically injured your opponent.

RE: AMD's biggest problem is GloFo and TSMC
By someguy123 on 1/26/2012 6:35:05 PM , Rating: 1
I think people see their suits without looking at what they were actually sued for. Intel was/is sued for giving bulk rebates on their chips to OEMs, if they were willing to dedicate to intel. In a regularly competitive atmosphere this would be seen as normal incentive (become our dealer and get things wholesale), but obviously intel had substantially higher marketshare, which caused antitrust issues. They deserve the fine, but it's not as malicious as people make it sound when they claim intel bought out people to stop buying AMD products.

RE: AMD's biggest problem is GloFo and TSMC
By HrilL on 1/26/2012 7:46:48 PM , Rating: 3
From what I've read some Dell execs got payoffs as well from Intel. Maybe in in cash but other items... Intel had the worse processors from 1997-2006 the K6-2 through the Athlon 64 X2 and AMD was hardly able to gain any market share. Let’s get some facts out of the way. AMD was the first to break 1ghz, 2ghz, the first to have true dual core CPUs, and 64Bit support. Intel had to play catch up to AMD for pretty much every milestone. Had the market not been controlled by them illegally AMD would be a lot better off now days and would have a lot larger chunk of market share today.

They also would have been profitable and wouldn't have had to sell off their foundry and get bailed out by the Arabs...

By Reclaimer77 on 1/26/2012 8:06:09 PM , Rating: 2
Had the market not been controlled by them illegally AMD would be a lot better off now days and would have a lot larger chunk of market share today.

That's a lie. You're leaving out a major factor. AMD could barely produce enough chips to meet the demand they had. If they somehow got more market share, they wouldn't be able to sell more chips anyway.

You're all grossly overstating the effect of Intel's practices on AMD. Claiming AMD would be a giant today if not for whatever is a fantasy.

By someguy123 on 1/26/2012 8:49:00 PM , Rating: 1
none of that was ever substantiated. the only thing that was proven was that dell took the rebates and did not purchase AMD chips.

Also the things you've listed weren't really all that ground breaking. The initial batch of p4s for example were at higher frequencies, but much slower due to netburst. frequency of chips doesn't really matter if the IPC was as low as netburst chips. Also during that period intel actually had better performing chips thanks to northwood bringing the clocks up. I don't know why people keep assuming that those chips weren't comparable simply because of willamette. As for the dual cpu and 64bit support, amd's single package designs were lower performing, and at the time 64bit for consumer products was pretty arbitrary with the way x64 adoption was going. Not that I don't support switching to 64, but getting it out the door wasn't really heavy incentive compared to windows implementing full x64 builds with vista/w7.

RE: AMD's biggest problem is GloFo and TSMC
By cruisin3style on 1/26/2012 6:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason intel is the beast it is today is because of its unfair business practices.

AMD would be a bigger player if they hadn't been squeezed out by Intel's shady dealings.

AMD could be a lot more competitive otherwise...and guess who we have to thank for intel's cutting edge cpu performance of today: AMD and their Athlon CPUs from the early or mid 2000s

By someguy123 on 1/26/2012 6:57:29 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't really make any sense because the willamette architecture came out around that time TB was introduced and failed to even live up to the p3. Intel was basically running its ticktock and threw it out the door before it was ready. Shift to northwood and up and intel had comparable products, though the marketing damage already done by willamette. Ever since conroe there hasn't been a competitive AMD chip in performance, though they price them accordingly and maintain good price/performance.

By Skywalker123 on 2/19/2012 10:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
Beenthere has never had an original thought in his head. He's an idiot

By Lucfx on 1/27/2012 5:00:32 AM , Rating: 2
That's why the sell of their fabs was their biggest mistake.
AMD can design great CPUs, but with manufacturing issues from GLOFO they are useless.
What if GLOFO will stick to 32 and 28nm longer than AMD would want and need? They already reduced the investment plan for 2012.

Did anyone else here miss the boat?
By Mathos on 1/26/2012 1:38:20 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like I'm seeing several people here that seem to have missed the boat on the fact that AMD is no longer trying to compete with Intel. I believe they stated this a few months ago?

And as far as a lower profit, and Market share, I'm going to go with most likely poor yields at both GloFo and TSMC. As, spent wafers cost money, regardless of the number of working chips that come out of said wafer. And when the price margin is already pretty tight on said chips, well.. I'm just amazed they've been able to push Super strained SOI this far without needing to add HK/MG's yet, though it's becoming obvious they need to. My concern is that since glofo isn't part of AMD anymore, that they don't have access to that tech from IBM, or even Intel.

By melgross on 1/26/2012 1:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
Well, just recently AMD said that they didn't consider Intel to be a competitor.

Who are they kidding?

RE: Did anyone else here miss the boat?
By someguy123 on 1/26/2012 2:18:23 AM , Rating: 2
Saying they're not trying to compete is meaningless when intel is clearly trying to compete. the hd3k is still not up to par, but it's vastly improved compared to intel's old gma. Saying that they're moving to APU driven devices was basically a marketing stunt for the poor IPC of bulldozer.

RE: Did anyone else here miss the boat?
By silverblue on 1/27/2012 8:16:33 AM , Rating: 1
I keep wondering about the Intel compiler fiasco. Apparently, it's still crippling performance for non-Intel CPUs (yes, even now). Yet, if this compiler isn't that widespread, it won't completely explain poor AMD performance, though even if it was, AMD aren't looking very likely to bitch about it. So, in general, what "performance" we're currently seeing is likely the best we're going to get with Zambezi on Windows.

If the Intel compiler was everywhere and AMD were to bring out a superior CPU, it'd have to be bloody powerful to overcome such a handicap. All speculation, though.

By someguy123 on 1/27/2012 4:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
The issue with intel's compiler was that the SSE optimizations had to be validated against every competitor's cpu. If they just ran optimized code path with its compiler regardless of cpu you'd run into errors. It's doubtful that the software side of things are still seeing problems. Microsoft for example recently released a scheduler update to boost bulldozer performance, which doesn't necessarily improve intel processors. windows 8 also has an improved scheduler in the works.

By silverblue on 1/27/2012 8:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
AMD have been using HKMG since the launch of the first Llano APUs.

i love marketing
By the_count on 1/25/2012 5:50:50 PM , Rating: 3
"[AMD]consistently delivers on its commitments."

that's a good one.
maybe we should ask Cray what they have to say to that.

By StormyKnight on 1/25/2012 10:01:17 PM , Rating: 2
I think the fact that Bulldozer fell well short of expectations (matching or exceeding Intel's i-7 cores) helped to contribute to such low numbers. Zambezi is more a competitor for the i5 at best. Performance claims were, IMHO overly exaggerated. I had been holding out on my new build for bulldozer. When I saw the benchmarks, I knew my wait was in vain. I have built nothing but AMD boxes since 1997. I have now jumped ship and have gone Intel. Being an AMD fanboy, this was somewhat of a painful decision. The i5-2500K is my next CPU. As a consolation I will have a Radeon HD6950 as my graphics solution. AMD can't just compete on price anymore. They need a top performing CPU. It won't be long before Intel starts going after the low end where AMD is fattest. Then, AMD will be truly sunk.

Fire the board, hire Dirk Meyer
By wordsworm on 1/26/2012 12:34:05 AM , Rating: 2
I said it before when they tossed him aside: it's too soon, they'll regret it.

By anactoraaron on 1/25/12, Rating: -1
By someguy123 on 1/25/2012 6:15:29 PM , Rating: 2
Llano can actually play skyrim relatively well at 720p. Obviously it's not full size discrete performance but it's playable on medium, which is similar in settings scaled to consoles. It's not bad at all for portable device gaming.

For desktops, and now in powerdraw (thanks to lower node/finfet) it's not all that appealing anymore, though. Bulldozer is very far behind in IPC even with the scheduler improvements, and 32nm atom's complete TDP with chipset is already damn low at 3.5w. properly implemented finfet on a 22nm could give intel a processor competitive with ARM while still retaining x86.

AMD may be the ones who purchased ATi, but it seems like ATi will be what keeps them in business.

By bug77 on 1/25/2012 6:22:21 PM , Rating: 2
Llano can actually play skyrim relatively well at 720p. Obviously it's not full size discrete performance but it's playable on medium, which is similar in settings scaled to consoles. It's not bad at all for portable device gaming.

Which Llano? Llano for desktops has a GPU that tops out at 600MHz. Llano for mobile tops out at 444MHz. Maybe the desktop variant can handle Sjyrim at 720p medium settings, but that wouldn't qualify as portable gaming.
I used to be an AMD only guy, but since Conroe I can't justify spending my cash on anything they have to offer.

By someguy123 on 1/25/2012 7:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
There are some videos on youtube with people playing it on the a6. not sure how the clock speeds work on the cpu but they're labeled 2.3/1.4ghz on amd's specsheets, so I'm assuming they turbo? the videos I've found claim overclocks to 2.5ghz, so I'd say the a8s would run them similarly at stock speeds.

seems to work out alright considering it's a portable single package, if not the most fluid experience.

By MGSsancho on 1/25/2012 11:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
If portable gaming is as important as you keep bringing up them there are various solutions from many vendors that will be happy to provide you with as much of a gaming experience as you are willing to pay for. Right tool for the right job. Do not complain when a $400 laptop can not play the latest and greatest settings maxed out or even on medium. Purchase a bigger machine (heck even an $800 laptop will go far with skyrim let-alone a $1500 one) if you that is all you care about (I assume that is all you care about since you keep harping on that lone factor). There are many options when purchasing a laptop; aesthetics, weight, size, heat, noise, CPu power, GPU power, joules power, screen attributes, keyboard layout, auxiliary ports and finally craftsmanship. These can be grouped together but honestly if you are going to use a platform based around an entry level CPU then the workload should reflect it.

Lastly, the most intelligent thing you have added to this thread is
...since Conroe I can't justify spending my cash on anything they have to offer.
Perhaps in the type of computing you personally do for most of your time Intel is the best solution and you should follow your own advice and stick with Intel solutions. :)

By Iaiken on 1/25/2012 6:24:26 PM , Rating: 5
Computing power is a MAJOR factor in buying ANY computer

Maybe for you...

I wrote a paper on the idea of "good enough" computing back in 2001. What I and others predicted has largely come true for the everyday consumer. Smartphones and tablets aren't power houses, but they are "good enough" and pretty soon there will be more of them out there than traditional computers. My parents most recent computer is a Zotac that piggybacks on their old LCD monitor and they absolutely love the stupid thing.

This may come as a shock to you, but most people aren't PC enthusiasts or PC gamers. Walk up to any random adult and ask them about Skyrim and you will likely get "Sky what?" as a response.

All most people need is thus:

- Internet Access
- Word processing (usually via the internet now)
- Capable of streaming/displaying HD video
- An OS that doesn't frustrate them
- All for $500 please

The reasons tablets are such a hit is that they are "good enough" at all of what most people want a computer to do.

By someguy123 on 1/25/2012 7:24:29 PM , Rating: 2
The public may not need that much in advancement, but that just puts amd in an even worse position. You can get most of the stuff you've listed without a decent APU at all. It pretty much exists for portable gaming.

Since the public only requires so much from its computers, AMD needs to get the enthusiasts, or the low power draw markets, otherwise the public is not going to care and will just get what's available in the shop, which is usually intel. It doesn't really have a competitive CPU except for integer crunching, and intel is much further along with reducing draw on their low powered chips. It needs llano for its cpu segment to survive.

By anactoraaron on 1/25/2012 7:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
Okay. So let those people buy celerons/atoms and E series AMD based laptops. This article specifically mentioned AMD and the ways they can compete vs. Ivy Bridge in the desktop and mobile space. Sure it doesn't matter if any PC can play any game, so why not just stick to the 4500HD integrated graphics from 3 years ago then? Those same people aren't trying to watch blu-rays either. The 4500HD will be "good enough" for them. I'm sure people from your list will be just happy with that and can pick up a T series core 2 on ebay for cheap.

My comment was written in the context of AMD competing with Intel for this coming generation of processors. Not in regards to what is good enough. To each his own.

By anactoraaron on 1/25/2012 8:07:03 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a case in point to my original post:

My dad (who I would call the average person when it comes to computers) isn't happy with his PC anymore after upgrading to Windows 7 only because his WEI for gaming graphics is a 3.0. I would think the "average" person knows enough to check the WEI of any computer they are looking at when at Best Buy (aka Worst Buy).

At my local Best Buy they have an E-450 based AMD machine for 349. RIGHT NEXT TO IT is a 399 intel second gen core i3. Sure you can have "good enough" but when you are looking at WEI side by side and you see 3.4 for the AMD and 6.2 for the Intel it's still an obvious choice. Even the average joe knows 6 is better than 3. For 50 bucks more I still think the choice is an easy one for the average person. And even if graphics, battery life and everything else is equal the CPU score will stand out to "average people."

BTW I'm really happy the industry didn't decide to settle for what was "good enough" back alllll the waaay back in 2001. It's called progress, and it's a good thing.

By silverblue on 1/27/2012 8:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
That's an interesting sales pitch, the WEI. I know it's not a complete indicator of performance (and certainly doesn't take battery life into it), but I think it would be remarkably forthcoming to have that visible. The average person probably doesn't consider the WEI though - they go off buzzwords and added extras in my experience. I've never seen the WEI advertised.

Still, for the knowledgeable, $50 is nothing for a much faster CPU, but only if you're happy for the lower battery life and worse GPU.

By frozentundra123456 on 1/25/2012 7:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
I like how AMD fans excuse AMDs cpu shortcomings with "good enough" but endlessly criticize Intels graphics.
Apparently the "good enough" justification applies only to AMD. For the uses listed, I would contend that SB graphics are "good enough" and Ivy bridge will be considerably better. But I never hear an AMD fan say: AMDs graphics are better, but Intels are "good enough".

By StevoLincolnite on 1/25/2012 11:22:15 PM , Rating: 4
I like how AMD fans excuse AMDs cpu shortcomings with "good enough" but endlessly criticize Intels graphics.

Because it's just not performance that is being criticized.
It's the drivers to, Intel's graphics drivers have been woeful in the past.
I remember when the Intel x3100 was released, it took Intel many many months just to enable TnL and even longer to add Shader Model 3 and Direct X 10 support.

Then Intel went with a profiling system in regards to TnL support because some games/applications performed better with it some performed better with it being software accelerated.

Don't get me started on how Intel has a compatibility list for games... At-least with AMD or nVidia you can feel confident in launching any game and have it actually rendered correctly with out strange artifacts or slow-down where there shouldn't be slow-down because a game decides to use a 2D overlay for it's interface.

Intel Graphics may be "good enough" for the average joe, but when they decide to download and install an obscure casual game to play and find it will not work properly... Well, they are left in the lurch pretty much.

By Reclaimer77 on 1/25/2012 11:43:17 PM , Rating: 1
Intel's graphics drivers have been woeful in the past.

LOL And ATI's weren't? More double standards.

By MastermindX on 1/26/2012 1:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
I never hear an AMD fan say: AMDs graphics are better, but Intels are "good enough"

I don't know about them, but as for me...

I can't remember the last time my CPU was a bottleneck in my system. The GPU on the other hand...

By Reclaimer77 on 1/25/2012 9:15:47 PM , Rating: 1
I wrote a paper on the idea of "good enough" computing back in 2001. What I and others predicted has largely come true for the everyday consumer. Smartphones and tablets aren't power houses

Compared to anything on the market in 2001 they sure as hell are lol.

By Aloonatic on 1/26/2012 3:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
Agree with the "good enough" point, in as much as that 's what many people need, and recognise that too. I don't think that many people could argue with it.

The problem is, AMD aren't the only manufacturers of processors in this bracket.

Intel make the best processors, and they also make good enough processors that compete at a similar price point to AMD, so is it any wonder that people see that brand and want to go with it, at whatever level they can afford?

AMD don't offer much at the top end for people to aspire to, or it be associated with. People will often prefer to by a cheap version of a performance brand rather than one that has just become about being "good enough" and that alone. And sales people will always find selling a performance brand easer too, and want to focus there.

Unless AMD really go for the good enough thing and market it very cleverly, rather than hoping that people will really work this out themselves and/or the big PC retailers and manufacturers will do it for them, things are only going to continue to get worse for AMD.

By cruisin3style on 1/25/2012 11:54:31 PM , Rating: 1
APU graphics performance just isn't there yet to do any real gaming with to be taken seriously (so you can run skyrim on low at 800x600 @ 30fps... who cares?)

You don't seem to have a firm grasp on AMD's APU performance...

By ballist1x on 1/26/2012 5:34:19 AM , Rating: 2
Once you have enough computing power to run web browsers, videos and office etc, then what more does 90% of the consumer computing population actually need?

Now they are just giving us enough power in smaller and smaller form factors.

To the average user it makes virtually no difference if they had a I3, I5 etc...Even an AMD if they have little money.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

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