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AMD trims its losses and Microsoft shores up its gains

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) announced its earnings report late yesterday, as did the world's largest operating system maker, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

I. Microsoft Gets Boost From Deferred Revenue

Both companies beat analyst estimates.

Despite slowing PC sales and criticisms about its design direction with Windows 8, Microsoft drew revenue of $20.5B USD in its fiscal third quarter -- up from $17.4B USD in 2012's fiscal Q3.  Windows revenue was essentially flat, but was up 23 percent with the inclusion of deferred Windows 8 upgrade income.

Microsoft made $6.06B USD in profit.  While the revenue was roughly in line with a Financial Times survey of 23 analysts, the profit was a bit of a surprise: the surveyed analysts only expected $5.7B USD in profit.

Steve Ballmer w Windows 8
Microsoft posted a bigger-than-expected profit on the back of Windows 8 upgrade revenue.
[Image Source: AFP]

Despite controversy over DRM, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 continues to be a strong revenue driver as part of The Entertainment and Devices Division.  Microsoft is looking ahead to Windows 8.1 (codenamed "Windows Blue") and Windows Phone 8.1, which will launch later this year.

II. AMD: Lower Losses, Big Console Design Wins

AMD saw revenue sag to $1.09B USD, down from $1.59B USD a year before.  But it further trimmed its operating loss to $146M USD, down from a whopping $473M USD in 2012.  That loss was significantly smaller than the $202M USD analysts expected it to post.

Rory Read, AMD president and new CEO comments, "Our first quarter results reflect our disciplined operational execution in a difficult market environment.  We have largely completed our restructuring and are now focused on delivering a powerful set of new products that will accelerate our business in 2013. We will continue to diversify our portfolio and attack high-growth markets like dense server, ultra low-power client, embedded and semi-custom solutions to create the foundation for sustainable financial returns."

AMD cut nearly 30 percent of its engineering staff in late 2012.  But it also hired on some engineers with mobile experience to boost its prospective entry into the tablet or smartphone space.  AMD has started shipping Richland CPU+GPU chips, which fall in AMD's A-Series branding.

Looking ahead in the longer term, AMD is plotting a switch to ARM Holdings Plc.'s (LON:ARM) proprietary CPU architecture.  In the meantime AMD looks to have strong upcoming sources of revenue thanks to design wins on the PS4 console from Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) which uses AMD GPUs and CPUs, and Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 720, which is expected to use an AMD CPU.   There's currently an AMD 550 MHz Radeon "Latte" GPU aboard Nintendo Comp., Ltd.'s (TYO:7974popular Wii U.

Sources: Microsoft, FT [analyst estimates; MSFT], AMD, FT [analyst estimates; AMD]

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Good for AMD
By Ammohunt on 4/19/2013 12:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
Glad they can stay afloat. i recently converted from being a long time intel fan to AMD on my gaming rig since i saw no benefit in paying a premium for an intel processor vs AMD's offering since even the slowest AMD cpu's are more that enough to drive current games with a decent GPU(converting from Nvidia to AMD as well to benefit from unified drivers). lets hope they can diversify their business more as i see it consoles are an eventual dead end for gaming.

RE: Good for AMD
By txDrum on 4/19/2013 2:14:13 PM , Rating: 2
Eh. AMD really no longer represents the value prospect for gaming. The FX-8350 performs similarly to the half-as-expensive i3-3220(3320 now? or something). Some games are better, some are worse. Sure, you can overclock the hell out of a 4300 and get arguably better performance, but you're sacrificing heat, noise, and power.

The slowest AMD Cpu's are mostly more than enough to drive current games. Things like Starcraft II would cry at an AMD cpu though. The single core performance just isn't there. Here:

They don't do terribly, and sure the frames are high enough, but the FX-4300 doesn't do well enough to justify its equivalent price to an i3-3220 (which is now performing slightly better cause they ship with higher clocks now). That, plus more expensive motherboards and fewer features on said motherboards, plus power, means that you aren't gaining much value.

Piledriver DOES have some real, tangible applications that it excels in. Gaming just isn't one of them. I do hope that somebody gives Intel competition some day though, even if it is just in value. Trinity is already a very good budget platform, if it was just a little bit better generation over generation versus intel, it could be fantastic for the low end market.

RE: Good for AMD
By Ammohunt on 4/19/2013 3:37:22 PM , Rating: 1
RE: Good for AMD
By txDrum on 4/19/2013 4:53:52 PM , Rating: 2
Oh god not this video. I saw that when it came out.

God forbid one random youtube video that goes against everything we've ever seen including websites like Anandtech prove AMD right. Vague, video tests? Better testing methodology please. Airflow, case, etc. It was by no means a terrible test but there are so many flaws and discrepancies in his testing alone, let alone when comparing it to everybody elses.

First flag: Benchmarking crysis (metro? don't remember) with a 7870 on 1080P. That's a GPU bound scenario, folks.

See this post on that video if you want to see why he's an idiot:

Basic quote from that link: "3770 > 8350 at 1080p, yet 3770 < 8350 at 1440p. Uh, changing resolutions changes the workload on the GPU, not the CPU.
3770 > 3570 by huge margin without streaming, despite only 100 MHz / 2MB L3 / HT difference (and HT being irrelevant here). We all know 100 MHz won't make that kind of change, for processors running 3+ GHz, and if 2MB extra L3 and/or HT were somehow so important—they're not—then one would expect the 3820 to do a lot better despite being SB-E instead of IVB."

That reviewer did something wrong. You don't get different FPS in cpu bound scenarios by changing the resolution. The very definition of changing the resolution puts more/less load on the GPU, not the CPU.

RE: Good for AMD
By tecknurd on 4/23/2013 7:09:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Benchmarking a CPU with gaming does not make sense to me. Gaming is more for benchmarking GPU. To benchmark a CPU, include file compression, 3D rendering using ray tracers, video encoding just to name a few.

The only times when a CPU is bounded in games is when the game have to provide AI to many bots in the game. Other times is when the game requires more vertex shaders than the video card supports.

RE: Good for AMD
By stickmansam on 4/20/2013 1:35:53 AM , Rating: 2
Here are some benchies of recent games though that show AMD doing pretty good.

The FX6300 pretty much matches the i3 3220 in perf but can OC if you want to and in newer games, it will seriously beat the i3

The FX6300 is at $130 while the i3 3220 hovers at about $120
The i3 3240 is about $130+

RE: Good for AMD
By txDrum on 4/20/2013 3:02:25 AM , Rating: 1
Well its 140$ although it is on sale.

With the fact that decent AMD motherboards cost more (iirc) and the insane power draw by an FX 6300 coming into play though, you're almost always better off spending the extra ~80$ upfront, making at least half of it back over 2 years (or less, depending on how much you use your comp and how much electricity costs in your area) and reaping nearly 2x performance benefits in some places.

Ivy bridge is overclocking to 5Ghz on 1.2-1.3V with Intels latest samples. On air. If haswell is even remotely as good, even without the slight IPC gain, it's going to continue to stomp AMD into the water. When an extra 50% money gains you 100+% performance, AMD is in trouble. Especially because Haswell will further expand on that power gap.

RE: Good for AMD
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/20/2013 7:28:18 AM , Rating: 2
With the fact that decent AMD motherboards cost more

RE: Good for AMD
By StormyKnight on 4/20/2013 1:56:43 AM , Rating: 2
I whole-heartedly disagree. I've been an AMD fanboy for years. I waited patiently for Bulldozer to hit since it was promised they would have i5 performance at basically celeron pricing. But when that silicon hit the streets, boy was that ever a total failure. The only Intel chips that it came close to were the i3s and even they bested Bulldozer in several benchmarks. I jumped ship right then and built my first Intel-based rig. An i5-2500K system with a safe overclock from 3.3GHz to 4.46GHz just using fans. You just can't beat that.

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