Print 53 comment(s) - last by foolsgambit11.. on Sep 11 at 3:54 PM

AMD is aiming for markets looking for more performance than the Intel Atom

AMD is hard at work introducing new processors to try to capture market share from Intel. Earlier this week, slides showing some new AMD processors coming this year surfaced. Among the new processors on the slide was a line AMD is calling Ultra-Value Client (UVC).

The UVC processors will be available through OEMs only. More information on the line of UVC processors has now surfaced at The new slides show that the UVC processors are intended to allow OEMs to produce new computers in form factors optimized for emerging markets and basic PC usage.

AMD does specify that the UVC products are aimed at more than the netbook market and can deliver traditional PC performance. The UVC processors are intended to be paired with AMD's 690 and 740 chipsets for high-quality visuals.

All UVC parts will use AMD's standard socket AM2 and S1g1 notebook infrastructures. The UVC processors include the AMD Athlon X2 3250e with a 22W TDP and operating at 1.5GHz. It features a 1MB L2 cache and is planned to be available in Q4 2008.

The AMD Athlon 2650e has a 15W TDP and operates at 1.6GHz with 512KB cache. The 2650e is available now. According to AMD slides, it is positioning both the Athlon X2 3250e and Athlon 2650e above the Intel Atom DT 230 processor in performance.

These processors may become attractive to netbook makers looking for an alternative to Intel's Atom parts because of the current shortages of Atom parts from Intel. It is important to note that the AMD processors use more power than Intel's Atom. AMD is betting some users and OEMs will be willing to sacrifice battery life for improved performance.

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RE: Rock Atom
By kontorotsui on 9/10/2008 1:34:46 PM , Rating: 2
In another decade, large, high-power desktops are going to almost entirely defunct.

A very good match for the "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers".

RE: Rock Atom
By masher2 on 9/10/2008 1:43:22 PM , Rating: 5
It's diametrically opposed, actually. Watson, who made that statement, couldn't conceive of large-scale changes to the computer market; he believed the paradigm of large, high-powered machines he was familiar with would persist forever.

What I'm saying is the trend that began in Watson's time will continue. Computers will get faster, smaller, and more ubiquitous. In another 10 or 15 years at most, no one is going to use a large dedicated desktop box consuming hundreds of watts just to pull email and browse the web. Atom-sized and smaller CPUs are going to be the real growth market of the next 30 years.

RE: Rock Atom
By strikeback03 on 9/10/2008 2:06:28 PM , Rating: 2
So what are those of us who actually have real work to do going to use? Processing Farms? It is unlikely even in 10 years that laptops will be able to offer as much performance for the price as desktops will. They certainly don't right now.

For those who only need to read email and browse the web though I imagine small low-powered systems will replace current budget desktops. Now that many TVs are a decent resolution I can see either an internal processor or a small attached box serving the web functionality which is all some need from a computer.

RE: Rock Atom
By masher2 on 9/10/2008 5:10:15 PM , Rating: 3
> "So what are those of us who actually have real work to do going to use?"

How do you define "real work"? Back in the 80s, I did computational fluid dynamic simulations on computers with 1% the horsepower of the Atom. Large corporations ran their entire firm on systems with less power.

In a couple die shrinks (say 5 years) the Atom will be more powerful than any CPU available today. If you're doing real work today, you can do that same work even faster on that new Atom.

That's the real message here. If you're doing protein folding, or graphical rendering, you can still use thousands of times your current horsepower.. But for most other tasks, CPU's are already as fast as necessary. The Atom might feel a bit underpowered today. . . but the Atom of tomorrow will be faster than the supercomputer of today.

Now of course there's always future software. AI applications that will answer our questions before we ask them, neural networks that will do everything but (and sometimes including) take out our trash for us. There will always be a market for chips as fast as we can build them. But the growth market will be in ubiquitous computing. . . putting processing power in everything from sneakers to sweaters to toothbrushes to labels on cans.

RE: Rock Atom
By omnicronx on 9/10/2008 5:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
The in order Atom will not be the processor of tomorrow, but I totally agree with the idea that large desktops will be obsolete. In 10 years, whomever controls the 'UVC' market will control the processor market.

RE: Rock Atom
By MonkeyPaw on 9/10/2008 8:09:27 PM , Rating: 3
In a couple die shrinks (say 5 years) the Atom will be more powerful than any CPU available today. If you're doing real work today, you can do that same work even faster on that new Atom.

The thing is, in 5 years, nodes will be small enough to put the OoO back into Atom and still keep the low TDP. More clock speed won't be necessary if they add more IPC. In 2 node changes, a dual core OoO Atom should be possible, and it just might even be a SOC, complete with IMC, GPU, and SB. I'd imagine AMD will have something similar in Fusion by then as well. Atom is what it is because of today's limits.

RE: Rock Atom
By vic5014 on 9/11/2008 2:18:01 AM , Rating: 2
you're absolutely right. processor power has increased tremendously and there's no obvious reason for that trend not to continue. plus people have done amazing things on what we would now consider ridiculously low amounts of computer horsepower. the old story about the entire apollo program being run on less aggregate computing power than a modern calculator comes to mind and the computers they used were some of the best and most expensive available at the time.

RE: Rock Atom
By mindless1 on 9/10/2008 7:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's not hard at all to imagine laptops offering the same performance per dollar if only you accept a maximum thermal design power that can be reasonably cooled in a laptop form factor.

Otherwise, molding plastic and a reduction in metal, more integrated mainboards in laptops all add up to eventual lower cost vs a desktop. Remember a laptop also includes the pointing device and monitor if we're making a price comparison.

Most people really won't need aa new system ever other year in 10 years time. Even today the majority of people I talk to that have a computer failure are only interested in having the same box running again for the lowest cost and least amount of time possible.

The power users here? A tiny minority. Many people who buy a computer today will want to be using the same one in 10 years because they don't game, render, because today's systems can do Blu-Ray if set up properly and handle more applications with gigabytes of memory than people can reasonably keep track of.

The above was only a consideration of traditional client systems, there's still going to be a push for more powerful workstations and servers.

RE: Rock Atom
By RjBass on 9/10/2008 3:45:04 PM , Rating: 1
I fully agree with you here.

However, as has been shown through history, there will always be a market for high powered, high yielding computers. The computers we use today are faster and better then the super computers from 12 years ago. If it still takes a thousand watt PSU to run a system that can breaks the petaflop barrier in 4 to 8 years then you know some Hummer loving, Crysis 10.2 playing geek is going to want it.

RE: Rock Atom
By foolsgambit11 on 9/11/2008 3:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
If it still takes a thousand watt PSU....
Unfortunately, we'll be lucky if it only takes a thousand watt PSU. The best systems of ten years ago got by on less than half that. And the GPU market hasn't really jumped into the performance per watt competition yet. If the GPU makers make substantial progress in the FPS/W arena, we probably won't see desktop power requirements jump much. But the only thing keeping GPUs from sucking more and more power are engineering hurdles, it would seem. They do get pretty good returns for that extra wattage, though.

RE: Rock Atom
By Proteusza on 9/11/2008 5:29:44 AM , Rating: 2
I do think you are somewhat right, but I think in the immediate future, what we will see is further market segmentation between gaming or workstation CPUs, server CPUs, and laptop/desktop CPUs.

As I see it, no one really needs a 3.0GHz hyper threaded quad core to use Microsoft Word, so Intel and AMD will keep value processor lines to be used for business and basic home customers. Atom is possibly the first processor that can be used on a desktop or laptop, and yet was designed from the ground up not to be powerful but to be cheap and power efficient. Right now, home desktop machines typically carry mainstream CPUs, but in the future, they will have what are currently termed lower power or ultra value client CPUs - there simply wont be a need for anything more.

That wont mitigate the need for powerful CPUs in some situations, and you may even find server CPUs merging with workstation/gaming CPUs in order to reduce the number of discrete SKUs.

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