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AMD thinks things will turn around in the second half of 2009

AMD has posted its financial information for Q2 2009 and has reported yet another loss. The silver lining to the quarterly loss cloud is that the financials showed some improvement over the previous quarter. AMD also remains optimistic about Q3 and the rest of 2009.

AMD will be releasing new platforms before the end of the year that the chipmaker hopes will help turn its fortunes around. The company will be releasing its new Opteron processor servers, a market that AMD is still very competitive in, and will releases new notebook platforms.

According to EWeek, CEO Dirk Meyer notes that AMD worked on controlling costs in the first half of 2009 and that the cost controlling methods are expected to pay dividends in the second half of the year. Perhaps the largest of those cost-controlling methods was the spinoff of AMD's foundry operations into an independent company.

Meyer said during a call with financial analysts, "With a strong flow of new products and a leaner cost structure, coupled with assumption of modest seasonal growth, we are positioned for a stronger financial performance in the second half of this year."

Among the new platforms for notebooks that AMD intends to let loose onto the market in Q3 2009 are the Tigris platform for mainstream notebooks and an unnamed platform that is aimed at thin and light notebooks.

AMD reported a loss of $330 million for Q2 2009 amounting to $0.49 per share with revenue for the quarter of $1.18 billion. Analysts on Wall Street had predicted a loss for AMD of $0.47 per share with revenue of $1.13 billion. Despite the loss for the quarter, the numbers AMD posted looked better compared to a year ago.

Analyst John Spooner told eWeek, "The chip maker, like its rival Intel, showed sequential improvement in revenue," Spooner wrote. "Unit shipments fared reasonably well, with some improvement in the server space. Thus there are signs that point to AMD's business improving and the company marching toward its goal of becoming profitable (at least on a quarterly operating basis) in the second half of the year."

AMD rival Intel did well for the quarter until the massive EU fine was deducted making for $398 million loss.

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By Ranari on 7/22/2009 11:04:01 AM , Rating: 5
I always cringe when I see AMD post their numbers. I want them to succeed. I want them to innovate. I want them to compete. I think we all know what a market is like with Intel always dominating, because we've all experienced it before during the P4 era.

But, I do have to give it to Intel. They are hammering AMD simply because they make a better product.

RE: Eeep
By tviceman on 7/22/2009 11:20:24 AM , Rating: 5
Intel's best high end dominates AMD's best high end.

HOWEVER - If I were building a system right now for < $1,000, I'd personally choose to build an AMD system with a phenom 2 x4 processor. The potential money savings with and AMD processor and motherboard can be used towards a better GPU, more memory, or an SSD.

RE: Eeep
By IlllI on 7/22/2009 11:43:11 AM , Rating: 1
even though they are cheaper, some of their chips like phenomII are the same size, or maybe even bigger than the one from intel. i read something from anandtech a few months back about size vs price. intel has the edge in the size category, so can fit more chips on a wafer than amd can

RE: Eeep
By omnicronx on 7/22/2009 12:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
Both Intel and AMD are now on the 45nm process (for the Phenom 2 at least), and have been since the beginning of the year.

RE: Eeep
By Sazar on 7/22/2009 1:05:40 PM , Rating: 1
I believe he was referring to the diameter of the wafer's said chips are being procured from. You are correct about the process size but Intel uses larger wafers and therefore is able to get more chips per wafer than AMD, assuming that the yields are similar.

I believe Intel has been using 300mm for a while and is working on a 450mm wafer. I am not sure if AMD has moved to 300mm yet, but I do know they were on the 8" platters before and were planning on making the switch.

RE: Eeep
By ClownPuncher on 7/22/2009 1:17:45 PM , Rating: 1
AMD moved to 300mm wafers somewhere in 2005 iirc.

RE: Eeep
By erikejw on 7/23/2009 10:00:04 AM , Rating: 1
The Anandtech size thingy was about die size and transistors.
Intel get more performance from a same size silicon size or smaller one and therefore have lower productions costs per chip compared to AMD so if the price was the same for the CPUs Intel would still have a higher bottom line.

RE: Eeep
By monomer on 7/22/2009 1:08:00 PM , Rating: 3
The OP is referring to which shows that the Phenom II 940 has a die size of 258 mm2, while the roughly comparable C2Q Q9400 has a die size of 164 mm2. So for processors sitting in the same price/performance bracket, AMD is using over 50% more silicon than Intel, even though both are on the 45 nm process.

The picture is a little better for the Phenom I 955, which has the same die size as the 940 at 258 mm2, while the comparable C2Q Q9550 has a die size of 214 mm2, so AMD is using only about 20% more silicon than Intel.

RE: Eeep
By IlllI on 7/22/2009 4:51:50 PM , Rating: 3
yes, thank you. thats the thing i was referring to. i just couldn't remember which article it was from

RE: Eeep
By ClownPuncher on 7/22/2009 1:12:23 PM , Rating: 4
PII x4 955 die size - 258mm squared - 758 million transistors
I7 920 die size - 263mm squared - 731 million transistors

The 955 is a smaller chip with more transistors. Both processes(955 and i920) are mature enough to have good yeild ratios. Both are good processors as well.

RE: Eeep
By Lifted on 7/22/2009 3:10:02 PM , Rating: 1
Can't really compare Phenom II to an I7. Different league performance wise. More comparable to the Core 2 Quad series which are a bit smaller.

RE: Eeep
By hyvonen on 7/22/2009 4:09:35 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, except that i7 920 is a much better CPU. From that Anandtech article:

Unless you’re running applications that are very well optimized for Intel’s architectures, the Phenom II X4 955 is faster than the Core 2 Quad Q9550. Compared to the Core i7-920, it loses hands down although the chip does come close in some games.

Don't compare apples to oranges, dear sir.

Bottom line: gross margins directly point to the CPU_value/manufacturing_cost ratio, and Intel's is much higher.

RE: Eeep
By ClownPuncher on 7/22/2009 5:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
Apples to oranges? More like tasty apples with really tasty apples. Analogies aren't hard.

The discussion wasn't about which was better, it was about which makes more money per sq mm. All I did was list how big the "mid range - high end" entry from each company was. They are both close to the same price, and close to the same size.

We already know the i7 920 is faster, now we move on to other aspects of the industry for our discussion...

RE: Eeep
By AlexWade on 7/22/2009 1:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't the Phenom series have L3 cache? That would explain the larger die size.

RE: Eeep
By Motoman on 7/22/2009 11:43:11 AM , Rating: 3
Yup. The balance swings back and forth...the way AMD caught Intel with their pants down in the Athlon era was pretty awesome. AMD's current offerings are pretty good choices, when comparing price-for-performance. I would naturally love to see them take the all-out performance crown again at some point, but the fact of the matter is that vendors make very little sales, and very little profit, from "halo" items...the vast majority of revenue comes from mainstream parts, and AMD is looking really good there.

RE: Eeep
By hyvonen on 7/22/2009 4:13:03 PM , Rating: 1
Correction: in mainstream parts, AMD is looking good for the consumer, but really really bad for AMD. Sure, you can sell chips if you cut price, but how do you make profits then?

End game is near; Clarkdale/Arrandale will be unleashed soon, and cost savings from 32nm will pound AMD to oblivion.

RE: Eeep
By Motoman on 7/22/2009 5:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, we've all heard the oblivion part before.

AMD needs to get enough marketshare to actually generate net profit by gaining volume. They aren't selling enough volume to cover their costs at this point...and they can't raise prices, because Intel doesn't have to and they have to remain competitive from a price/performance standpoint. The need for marketshare is what's driving AMD, and gaining marketshare will grant them the opportunity to become profitable.

RE: Eeep
By hyvonen on 7/22/2009 11:20:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say market share is almost a pointless metric, since either party can manipulate it simply by changing prices. But, whoever has the best product, as measured by performance/cost (NOT performance/price), controls the game.

Right now it's Intel, and has been since Conroe was released. This, together with very high volumes, has given Intel enough cash to extend its performance/cost lead (through more design and technology R&D). I don't see how AMD could possibly break this vicious cycle.

RE: Eeep
By Operandi on 7/23/2009 12:55:59 AM , Rating: 3
Intel would have to make a mistake (like the P4), become complacent, or AMD would have to have a major break through to have a chance at really breaking that cycle. Most likely they would need a combination of both.

Athlon and Athlon64 were great but AMD missed their chance and failed to answer Core2. Only now with the PhenII do we really have a strong competitor but much of the damage has already been done and AMD has a lot of catching up to do.

Hopefully they can do it, PhenII is a great CPU but AMD needs to consistently and continually improve. they don't have the resources to pull of PhenI and easily recover from it.

RE: Eeep
By Targon on 7/23/2009 7:45:14 AM , Rating: 2
People point to an Intel roadmap and assume that AMD is stagnant and not working on their own developments. People continually assume that Intel will be the first to get to a new manufacturing process node as well, and for the new node to operate well. The problem is that things don't always work out the way people expect.

People looked at the original Phenom, saw it wasn't competitive, and saw AMD fading away due to not having a competitive product in really any price range. The Phenom 2 came out, and poof, AMD could at least compete again. And, people did not expect the Phenom 2 to be able to scale upwards quickly enough to stay in the game.

I am not saying that Intel won't have a better part, or that it won't be faster or anything like that. I am just saying that there have been many times when people have said that the new Intel chip would kill AMD, and yet, AMD has come up with new chips and has found a way to survive.

Intel does not have a great track record for real innovation outside of making better CPUs. The integrated memory controller, x86-64 aka AMD64 instruction set, HyperTransport(point to point bus design implemented with the K8 to allow the CPU to talk directly to other processors or even other devices). These all came from AMD, and it took until the i7 before the integrated memory controller and point to point bus were finally adopted by Intel.

When has Intel really come out with anything REALLY different? Oh, HyperThreading...that is the only CPU technology that is really innovative besides improvements in their CPU designs which is why Intel has the faster chips these days. Virtualization came from both AMD and Intel, so I wouldn't say that either company had the lead there.

The key is, AMD looks at performance from a total platform perspective, and Intel looks at it from the individual component perspective. From time to time, AMD comes back with something that really kicks butt as a result.

Now, if you look at it, Intel has a big hole in their product lines for where they compete. Intel can't make a decent graphics chip. They keep claiming that they are going to, but they just can't do it. Year after year, Intel releases new graphics for their chipsets(not standalone video cards), and each time, people look at what they have made, and find it years behind the Geforce and Radeon products in terms of features and performance.

If NVIDIA fails, AMD would be in the position to cripple Intel in those markets where graphics performance is considered important, and it isn't just gaming computers either.

RE: Eeep
By TomZ on 7/22/2009 11:45:03 AM , Rating: 4
I think you're missing the point. Because AMD has inferior products, they are forced to sell them at lower price points in order to still sell them at all. This pricing eliminates the possibility of AMD earning a profit because of their relatively high cost structure.

So what you describe is fine from a short-term individual consumer perspective, but it is very bad for AMD, because it is only a matter of time before they "crack." They can't keep posting quarterly losses - it will eventually catch up with them. And when it does, that means bankruptcy for AMD. And maybe that forces them to exit the CPU market, which leaves it all for Intel - very bad for everyone (but Intel).

RE: Eeep
By Targon on 7/22/2009 11:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
The problem here is that while AMD may not be competing against the highest end of the Intel product line, the Phenom 2 line is decent for the money.

Basically, if you compare Porsche to Ford, Ford looks really bad, but Ford sells in high volumes, so it balances out a bit. AMD is a platform company, they not only produce CPUs, but also makes GPUs which put Intel to shame. Now, I have to ask, if AMD makes inferior products, why do you think they are selling well in the low to mid range these days?

You also need to look at what has been going on in the overall marketplace. Have you noticed that the economy is in a tailspin? Now, if AMD can hold steady, or even gain a bit compared to last year with how bad the economy is, and how many people are out of work, that is a good sign overall.

Now, take a look back at what AMD has done over the past ten years. Athlon came along, and beat out the Pentium 3 to reach the 1GHz mark first. In fact, the Athlon was so much better than the Pentium 3 that Intel was forced to drop the Pentium 3 and switch to the Netburst design with the Pentium 4.

So, Intel was able to scale the Pentium 4 up, and suddenly, AMD comes out with an on-die memory controller, and the K8 beats out the Pentium 4 for YEARS before Intel came back with the Core line of processors.

It should be noted that most of the claims of unfair business practices stem from these two periods. When AMD had the better product, Intel resorted to unfair business practices which are the subject of the ongoing legal battles between AMD and Intel.

So, Intel has had the lead for a while yet, but then AMD released the Phenom 2 line. Now, Intel is still out in front, but price/performance on the Phenom 2 line is competitive with what Intel has(I have not checked the results of the Intel price cuts yet, but up until at least a few days ago, a Phenom 2 955 was a good buy for the money, and the platform as a whole is competitive when it comes to price).

Now, it should be noted that AMD has been using things like a point to point bus and an integrated memory controller to help performance from a total system platform point of view. Yes, Intel has more resources to throw at any problem, but why is it that Intel has been following the system architecture changes that AMD has come up with, rather than releasing anything really new themselves(except new CPU designs)?

AMD really could return to profitability quickly once the economy starts to turn around. Most small businesses would rather use $350 workstations than more expensive workstations where they can, and do you REALLY see a lot of $350 workstations that are Intel based that are not complete garbage?

RE: Eeep
By hyvonen on 7/23/2009 4:45:18 AM , Rating: 2
Let me point out again that it's not price/performance that matters, but cost/performance. As long as AMD keeps making chips that perform as well as Intel's counterpart, but are bigger AND are built on a lower-yielding process, they can't expect to make enough profits to compete with Intel. And the situation is going to get even worse for AMD when 32nm Clarkdale chips come out.

Consumers only see the price/performance of AMD chips being "competitive" with Intel's, but the real story is in the profit margins.

RE: Eeep
By AntiM on 7/22/2009 11:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. It would be nice for them to at least stay in business and keep the pressure on Intel and Nvidia. I think they'll pull through and show a modest profit one of these days.

RE: Eeep
By psonice on 7/22/2009 11:51:23 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know if it's just 'better product'. Microsoft won a lot of wars without 'better product' and got spanked for it afterwards (although I'm not sure they care so much when the competition is no longer around...) and now intel are being fined €1bn for the same kind of anti-competitive behaviour.

Perhaps if AMD had had more of a chance a few years back, they'd have put a lot more money into R+D and had much more competitive products now?

That said, AMD hasn't made a profit for most of its life, and it seems to be doing OK. I don't get how that works (or why a non-profitable company can keep getting hold of more cash to keep running), but perhaps it'll just continue losing money and raising cash to compensate?

RE: Eeep
By amanojaku on 7/22/2009 12:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if it's just 'better product'. Microsoft won a lot of wars without 'better product'
I agree. I buy AMD exclusively, because in MY opinion AMD makes a better product than Intel. My AMD CPUs are cheaper and use less power than comparative Intel parts, while providing all the performance I need. On the other hand, if I were an extreme user I would most likely be using Intel. "Better" is a matter of opinion based on your wants and needs. I said the same things about UNIX vs. Windows (I love AIX and Solaris,) RISC vs. CISC (Power6 is awesome, and I miss the Alpha,) and Token Ring vs. Ethernet (half duplex sucked.) Funny thing is, it's usually the easier and cheaper solution that wins out, no matter how crappy it turns out to be.

Perhaps if AMD had had more of a chance a few years back, they'd have put a lot more money into R+D and had much more competitive products now?

As time goes on, however, even the crappy solution matures and gets better. Windows continues to dominate UNIX. RISC is all but dead. Ethernet killed off token ring years ago. This is also the case with AMD. Remember how sh1tty the K5 was? Then the K6 came out and helped AMD gain a little respect? Then K7 (the Athlon) came out and we sh1t our pants; it was that good. AMD has done a remarkable job (TLB bug notwithstanding) improving and updating the Athlon despite its financial woes and Intel's anti-competitive acts. I don't see any sings of AMD at Intel's throat, however.

That said, AMD hasn't made a profit for most of its life, and it seems to be doing OK. I don't get how that works (or why a non-profitable company can keep getting hold of more cash to keep running), but perhaps it'll just continue losing money and raising cash to compensate?
AMD is a public company, so it gets public funding and bank loans. A CEO's job is to court business and funding (hence all the greasy charm) so cash obtained through sales is only part of the incoming flow. The ATI acquisition, while costly, is turning out to be a good move for them, too. They probably make more money off of GPUs than they do CPUs!

RE: Eeep
By TomZ on 7/22/2009 2:45:30 PM , Rating: 4
I agree. I buy AMD exclusively, because in MY opinion AMD makes a better product than Intel.
Maybe you prefer AMD processors for whatever reason, but that's not because they make a better product. Even a casual glance at benchmarks proves that.
AMD is a public company, so it gets public funding and bank loans. A CEO's job is to court business and funding (hence all the greasy charm) so cash obtained through sales is only part of the incoming flow.
That's also a crappy way of running a company - kind of a downward spiral. Getting loans and raising capital to meet short-term obligations or to fund growth are good, but borrowing money to fund a long series of quarterly losses is a bad thing.

RE: Eeep
By smackababy on 7/22/2009 3:27:57 PM , Rating: 3
AMD could try and switch from a public company to a nonprofit one. They have the numbers of years of operation in the red to show they have no profitability anymore.

RE: Eeep
By ipay on 7/22/2009 3:48:56 PM , Rating: 2
hahaha, burn!

RE: Eeep
By ICE1966 on 7/22/2009 3:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you prefer AMD processors for whatever reason, but that's not because they make a better product. Even a casual glance at benchmarks proves that.

Its very easy to say that this company or that company makes a better product, but to say its because it is proven in benchmarks is a little narrow in thinking, IMHO. I use AMD pruducts simply because I like them. I have used Intel in the past and there is nothing wrong with thier processors. I have a current AMD box that runs everything I throw at it including audio and mep encoding duties. I could have spent more money and built an even faster machine, but I did not need it, just as most people do not need what they have. I use my AMD machine to play game on and it runs great. So what if someone with an i7 turns a few more frames with thier machine, who cares except someone who needs bragging rights because they feel insecure about themselves. you know the kind, they want to say my box can score this or that when it really does not matter. I have the financial means to build whatever I want to build, and I chose AMD. they make very good processors, just as Intel does. people need to get off this high horse and throw these synthetic benchmarks out the door. Its real time, real world performance that matters.

RE: Eeep
By TomZ on 7/22/2009 4:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
Nice rationalization there. It sounds like you have a strong case of Core i7 envy. :o)

RE: Eeep
By clairvoyant129 on 7/22/2009 8:22:07 PM , Rating: 3
"i7 pushes out few more frames"? The low end i7 totally demolishes any high end PIIs. They aren't even in the same league... even the much slower C2Qs are faster than PIIs clock for clock. You also made a comment saying AMD uses less power than comparable Intel CPUs for the performance it gives. At the same power envelope, Intel CPUs give better performance than AMD. Which sites were you looking at to reach those conclusions? lol?

And talking about e-peen... just because people want better performance or have money to spend, its bragging? So everyone should be like you and buy underperforming CPUs?

RE: Eeep
By themaster08 on 7/22/2009 9:06:46 PM , Rating: 3
who cares except someone who needs bragging rights because they feel insecure about themselves

Seriously, is that the only reason you think that people buy high-end Intel processors?

AMD's original Phenom processors were a complete flop, and the best available came in at 2.6GHz with a TDP of 140w (which soon dropped to 125w in later models). On top of that, this still wasn't enough to beat even the lower end of the Intel Core 2 Quad's, namely the Q6600 (which has a TDP of 95w).

It was only up until the release of the Phenom II line of processors that choosing Intel was more or less a no-brainer in the mid-range segment of the market. Unless, of course, you're a fanboy.

I find that some people who purchase AMD processors always find a way to criticise those who purchase higher-end Intel processors regardless of their reasoning, as though they have to justify their purchase.

They throw the "real world performance" card at them, probably because it makes them feel better. But I fail to understand how you can do so without trying both sets of processors. It seems to be the only half-baked criticism of Intel processors nowadays.

Buying mid-range/high-end Intel processors isn't necessarily about "bragging rights", at least it's not to the vast majority. It's about getting the best for your money, and Intel seemed to fit the bill much more than AMD in the mid-range market up until very recently.

If people wish to buy high-end processors, then that's their right. Do not criticise people for their purchases.

RE: Eeep
By phazers on 7/22/2009 4:02:42 PM , Rating: 3
The ATI acquisition, while costly, is turning out to be a good move for them, too. They probably make more money off of GPUs than they do CPUs!

Only if you're counting negatively :D. If you look at AMD's quarterly report, graphics lost $12M. In fact, every quarter has been a loser except for one, where they made $1M profit. Considering the interest on the $5.4B ATI acquisition debt, they'd have to make a sales profit of around $100M per quarter just to break even, IIRC.

RE: Eeep
By themaster08 on 7/22/2009 8:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
My AMD CPUs are cheaper and use less power than comparative Intel parts

I think you need to stop comparing power consumption from Athlon's and Pentium 4's and begin to do some research on power consumption of Core 2 vs. Phenom/X2.

You'll see that Intel always comes out on top compared to their AMD equivalents when it comes to power consumption. Even AMD's supposed "energy efficient" models with low TDP's have a hard time besting Intel's processors for energy efficiency.

RE: Eeep
By hyvonen on 7/23/2009 4:51:46 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, and don't forget the total amount of energy (kWh etc.); Intel's CPUs complete the job faster, and switch to idle quicker, saving power.

Too many reviews are focused on power consumption at full load... It's better to run at double the power if you can finish the job three times faster.

RE: Eeep
By themaster08 on 7/23/2009 6:43:50 AM , Rating: 2

Also, too many people also focus on TDP, which hardly tells the whole story. Albeit, Intel counterparts almost always have lower TDP's (excluding AMD energy efficient models).

Furthermore, we get people like the OP who blatantly haven't done their research on power consumption since the P4/Athlon days, or have done no research and just read what AMD themselves have had to say.

After all, what better place to compare energy efficiency of AMD processors to Intel processors, than on AMD's website?

RE: Eeep
By Regs on 7/22/2009 4:26:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just because a monopoly is the industry does not mean they don't have to adhere to the laws of supply and demand. For MS to sell more OS software, the need to decrease the unit price for each. While doing so, they also need to keep the cost per unit down to maximize profit. This includes keeping fixed costs to a minimum (economics of scale), and while variable costs increase as the rate of production increases, they also can't produce more than needed because of the law of diminishing returns. The profit maximization sweet spot for a monopoly firm is when marginal cost = marginal revenue.

RE: Eeep
By TomZ on 7/22/2009 4:52:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're missing a key point. Companies are trying to maximize total profit. In other words, they really don't care at the end of the day about their total sales/volume - total profit is what matters.

And because of this, if Intel finds itself in a monopoly situation, then it will likely find that point of maximal total profit by increasing prices, which will as you correctly point out, cause a decrease in demand.

The net effect is that Intel makes a lot of money and we all pay more in the end. In other words, the monopoly gives Intel the ability to set prices to whatever it wants. This is the main reason to try to avoid having monopolies in the first place - because it breaks the free market.

AMD mid-range products
By themaster08 on 7/22/2009 11:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
When I build/buy my computers, like many people I know, I usually go for mid-range/high-end components which will allow me to get several years good use out of before building/buying a new system. The brand name of the chip is completely immaterial to me. I want to get the best for my money.

Because of this, I bought an Intel Core 2 Quad processor with my last build around 2 years ago. This was when AMD didn't even have a quad-core processor available.

It seems to me that ever since the release of the Core 2 architecture, AMD processors have only been an appealing choice when it comes to the lower-end of the market. I've always found AMD to be unprecidented in price/performance of the low-end segment. But I find that a larger percentage of people tend to be in the mid-range market, because like me, they wish to get several years out of their system, so ultimately, AMD did not look like a good choice at the time.

With the Phenom II line of processors, AMD look like a very appealing option when it comes to the mid-range section of the market. If I was to build a computer right now I would give the Phenom II lineup serious consideration.

Appealing to the mid-range segment again is what is helping AMD out of the mess they were in with the original Phenom processors.

RE: AMD mid-range products
By smackababy on 7/22/2009 3:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
What AMD really needs right now is something that runs great in lowpowered netbooks. An Atom killer would almost be as big of a game changer as Conroe was for them a few years back.

RE: AMD mid-range products
By phazers on 7/22/2009 4:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
What AMD really needs right now is something that runs great in lowpowered netbooks. An Atom killer would almost be as big of a game changer as Conroe was for them a few years back.

And you can thank the dearly-departed Hector Ruinz for canceling just such a potential product - Bobcat. AMD has lost years of competitiveness with that short-sighted stunt.

RE: AMD mid-range products
By TomZ on 7/22/2009 4:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how AMD could really afford to branch into a new market low-end netbook processors when they are falling short with their core product. Maybe Ruiz was right?!?

I would personally be more interested in a different approach to attacking Atom: Suppose ARM was able to convince (e.g., pay) Microsoft to support Windows on some of the higher-end ARM application processors? They could really give Intel a run for its money. After all, the only advantage that X86/X64 has is that it runs Windows. Take that away, and the processors are forced to compete on their own merits.

RE: AMD mid-range products
By GodisanAtheist on 7/22/2009 6:04:32 PM , Rating: 2
There is no Business Bible that says you can't branch out into a growing market because your core market is stagnating. In fact, that sounds like a good recipe for year to year losses...

AMD has almost no presence in the laptop market, so what would they have to lose from offering up a competitor to the Atom? Unlike Intel, who fears the Atom will cannibalize their high-margin laptop offerings and thus places ridiculous limitations on the platform, AMD would come no strings attached.

Actual competition in the netbook market @_@ more money for AMD and some uniquely spec'd netbooks! Everyone wins! Except Hector. Hector can burn.

RE: AMD mid-range products
By rippleyaliens on 7/22/2009 6:59:29 PM , Rating: 2
AMD, lost my business on just 1 act.. When AMD was spanking Intel, AMD kept their prices INFLATED, and didn't offer anything new for years. (Athlon Days) .. Once Intel released the Core2 architecture, AMD has been playing catchup, and loosing.. Sure AMD on a $$ scale is a good fit, When comparing the sub $150 cpu, amd just ROCKS.. BUT $151 and above, amd is playing catchup, and loosing. AND Fellow techies,, remember this. a $400 system is just to turn on, and do some basic stuff.. $1000 is still a sweet spot for a computer. Not even counting games, and such.

AMD rode that Athlon for years.. no innovation, gouging prices, no discounts, nada.. INTEL even with the core 2, EVERY SINGLE FEBRUARY, you could count on INTEL like Clock work to discount their cpu's... AMD does it out of desperation, Intel does it out of their business model.. LOVE/HATE INTEL, you have to give it to them, they innovate, and innovate.. Some products are horrible, some just ROCK, but they are a Solid business, and releasing new stuff, CONSTANTLY, not when it needs to make $$$

In 2 years, AMD will prob have the big dog cpu, but until then, PURE Techies, the ones that have a need for SPEED, will go with whats the fastest, not name brand.. AMD Fanatics remind me of CAR fanatics,,loyal to 1 brand, yet that brand cares less if ya buy theirs or not.

RE: AMD mid-range products
By Targon on 7/23/2009 7:25:58 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think you understand the expenses that come from continually having to do research and development to release faster products every few months. If the cost of manufacturing plus R&D costs is less than the amount that a company can bring in, the company loses money.

Now, these days, we are very familiar with cheap chips being everywhere. The cost of manufacturing has dropped due to process improvements, and the fact that AMD has to keep prices low to be competitive with Intel is the ONLY reason why we see cheap chips. It makes NO sense to sell the fastest performing chip on the market for less than the cost your competitors are selling their chips. Keeping the prices reasonable is one thing, but making them cheap only works if you can sell enough volume to make a good profit.

Now, Intel has the manufacturing capacity so they can make many more chips than AMD, but Intel was illegally reducing or keeping AMD chips from being used or supported back when AMD really had a better product. This means that even if AMD had the manufacturing capacity to satisfy demand back when they were in the lead, Intel was there forcing computer makers not to sell too many systems with an AMD processor for risk of being cut off from supplies of Intel products. With fewer sales, AMD would also be forced to aim for higher margins on the chips they COULD sell(due to demand).

I remember the days leading up to the release of the original Athlon. Asus wanted to support the new chip, but was concerned that Intel might cut them off. Asus was selling their first AMD based motherboard in a plain OEM style box with no art and no hype surrounding the product as a result. There was demand, and the K7M was well received, but it still was subject to being unadvertised by Asus to try and avoid getting cut off from Intel. Why should a motherboard manufacturer be afraid of releasing a motherboard under a lot of hype(the way any new product normally would be)?

So, prices were higher back was EXPECTED for the highest performing product to be at least as expensive as the competition is selling it's products. AMD has switched tactics since those days to sell in volume because AMD now has the ability to make enough chips to satisfy the demand.

Have you ever heard of Intel dropping prices on the high end parts, except when AMD has a competitive part that forces them to?

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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