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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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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.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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