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AMD Businesses Hardware

AMD Not Trying To Get Its Chips Into Low-Cost Tablets 87

jfruh (300774) writes "While Intel is going after low-end Android tablets in a big way chipmaking x86 rival AMD is taking a more judicious approach, looking to focus on the high end. 'This idea of contra revenue is foreign to us,' said AMD's CEO, referring to Intel's strategy of selling chips at a loss to boost market share. But will Intel's vast resources keep AMD in its niche?"
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AMD Not Trying To Get Its Chips Into Low-Cost Tablets

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  • 1st post (Score:1, Funny)

    by thecoolbean ( 454867 )

    from a low end tablet

  • RCA agrees (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:40AM (#46804879)

    They're making enough money on their high-end televisions. Let Sony have the low end radio market....

    • How do you expect AMD to compete on price when they no longer have fabs hence their manufacturing costs will be higher than Intel's? Especially if Intel starts dumping product. It would not be the first time.

      AMD is making enough money from consoles now that they do not need to go against them head on. I think their idea of making ARM chips for server designs is a lot more sensible than competing with the likes of Samsung or Qualcomm.

      • Even w/ their fabs, AMD was nowhere near Intel. Intel is by now 3 generations ahead of AMD in process geometry, so it wouldn't make sense for AMD to even try to compete w/ Intel on price. They are better off finding which markets they can be profitable in, and play there.

        For servers, they'd do better to look @ other established architectures, such as MIPS or SPARC, rather than ARM. Since we're not talking Windows now, but rather, either Linux or BSD, that would make a lot more sense in terms of support

      • by arfonrg ( 81735 )

        I never understood the ARM server angle.... There are plenty of existing server architectures that work fine now, why add another oddity? If the answer is: x86 is too bloated and ARM can be smaller/faster/better, I just went through sheer HELL with a set of Itanium HP severs (which were supposed to be smaller/faster/better) and it taught me to NEVER buy/recommend buying any 'minority' architecture. x86 might be inefficient but, it's supported by everything I want.

        • by turgid ( 580780 )

          I just went through sheer HELL with a set of Itanium HP severs

          Those with half a clue were predicting that 15 years ago. That's why they call it "itanic."

          • by arfonrg ( 81735 )

            Well, the CIO who decided on this was the CFO (with no IT experience) who was the acting CIO.

    • by arfonrg ( 81735 )

      +1 Insightful to parent!

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:46AM (#46804939)

    'This idea of contra revenue is foreign to us,'

    So they won't be selling weapons to Iran then

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:52AM (#46804983) Homepage

    by those selling ARM. So why should AMD compete ?

    • The low end tablet market is sewn up by those selling ARM. So why should AMD compete ?

      Because low end products have a way of supplanting high end products in time. PCs replaced most mini-computers even though initially they were inferior products. When was the last time you used a mini-computer? If AMD only competes at the high end of the market they run the risk of being slowly crushed as ARM chips become more capable over time. Intel recognizes this threat and is attempting to address it directly instead of pretending it doesn't exists. Even if they do stay at the high end of the mark

      • your anaolgy does not work. PCs and mini-computers were fundementally different, applications written for one would, generally, not work on the other. When low end tablets become more powerful: AMD has the products to just slot in and take advantage. AMD has both x86 & ARM chips -- it even has one that does both!

        The other thing to worry about is business relationships with the tablet vendors. AMD sells to many of them, so no problem there.

        No, AMD is not locking itself out of this market.

        • your anaolgy does not work. PCs and mini-computers were fundementally different, applications written for one would, generally, not work on the other.

          Same goes for PCs and tablets but that is not preventing people from shifting significant chunks of their everyday computing from their PCs to their phones and tablets. The more powerful mobile devices become, the more applications will get adapted to them and the fewer reasons people will have to stick to conventional PCs just like how companies shifted the bulk of their workloads from minis to micros as micros became both more capable and much cheaper.

          It is almost exactly the same pattern.

        • PCs and mini-computers were fundementally different, applications written for one would, generally, not work on the other.

          They are both computers and the functions they serve are no different at all That's like saying a PC and a Mac are fundamentally different because their software was incompatible. The mere fact that software written at the time for one wouldn't work on the other could not be less important. What is important is the job they did. PCs gradually took over all the jobs we once used mini-computers for and the companies that built to those products went away. DEC was bought by Compaq, etc. Companies that co

        • PCs and mini-computers were fundementally different,

          Unix users seem to disagree. Leaving aside that we spell it "fundamentally", I seem to be able to run the same software on my PC with *BSD, that I ran on my PDP11 with BSD with no significant problems. Hell, I can even read the same tapes written with tar. (I admit I have no drivers for DECtape on my PC, and my LA36 died some years ago but I am truely greatful for both "problems".)

      • I think the "it works for apple" is the new MBA group-think disease perhaps? (IE: we'll focus on the high-end, and let the peasants duke it out for the scraps). Works for a style/fashion based product, but hardware is quickly becoming a commodity, and a total race to the bottom.

        • AMD only had a profit when they started focusing on the server market. That target guided their whole designs for the K7, K8 years. This is one of the reasons why they went for x86-64 in the first place.

          Later they saw they had to compete in the low power laptop market as well and focused on that instead. It has not worked very well profit wise.

      • I still use mini computers (PDP-11) at work you insensitive clod. Though a couple run in emulation on Windows XP PC's. . .

        • by arfonrg ( 81735 )

          PDP emulated on XP? Wow, legacy on legacy. Now, you need to virtualize the XP on a Linux box and you'll be full on nerd-cool!

          • Or an RSX-11 VM on XP Mode on Windows 7.
          • There are PCI cards to replace some of the PDP I/O so the PDP emulator needs to run on the host OS. Also because of licensing it needs to run on HP hardware (since HP bought Compaq that bought DEC). The vendor now supports Windows 7 so we are working to migrate to that.

            We are more interested in keeping a stable system(and slowly make progress in migrating the application away from PDP) than making a full on nerd cool Beowulf cluster in mom's basement.

      • Intel has been placing bets in a number of mobile Linux projects for some years now - including Android, Meego, Tizen, Firefox OS, Chrome OS. They have cash to burn in competing with ARM but so far haven't emerged triumphant in anything but a niche.

        Intel's biggest enemy in consumer electronics is themself. It has maintained 2 separate product families - Atom (budget energy conscious) vs Core (performance). At what point, in competing with ARM, does Atom become good enough for all but the most high-end of wo

        • Bay Trail is growing fast. Amazon hasnt been able to keep the Bay Trail NUCs in stock for months. The Dell Venue 8 is selling so well they stopped offering discounts on it. Atom is ready for some workstation loads now. Hell I've done handbrake conversions on my Bay Trail NUC.
        • The Windows market can only diminish on the desktop. On tablets & phones, even though Windows 8 is good for it (while on Atom/Fusion), it's presence is virtually non existent.

          Just that I don't yet see Linux taking over that market. Not even Android nor ChromeOS. Maybe the BSDs, if they get a major commercial backer.

    • Because if the market for x86 is destroyed by ARM there will be no more high end x86 market. ARM would love AMD to take the sidelines and cede the market entirely. Then they'll try to sell you an ARM desktop.

      Intel is wise enough to see that they need to be a competitor now or be a has-been later. But AMD might recognize this and figure that Intel can do the hard fighting for x86 continuity and then just reap the rewards.

  • A product that can't compete without subsidies is worthless. It doesn't get you foot in the door, it just burns cash. Look at the Lenovo k900 design "win". Basically, Intel paid Lenovo to put their chips in the phone, but as soon as the subsidies ran out Lenovo switched to a Qualcomm design.

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @11:21AM (#46805885) Homepage Journal

    Okay, Intel chips tend to outperform AMD on a clock-for-clock and core-for-core basis. So Intel has the high end pretty firmly locked in.

    And Intel's going after the low end as well.

    So where does that leave AMD?

    Pretty much with whatever leavings Intel chucks their way?

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:54PM (#46806791) Journal

      Okay, Intel chips tend to outperform AMD on a clock-for-clock and core-for-core basis. So Intel has the high end pretty firmly locked in.

      Interesting to see how this changes. On straight up single threaded workloads, AMD is unlikely to pull even. However, the nanosecond latency with HSA can prove iteresting. So far about the only benchmark actually written for that architecture was the libreoffice calc one. We got to see AMDs APU destroy everything Intel has to offer on that one by a vast margin.

      Not everything will work with HSA, but far more things than GPGPU due to the low latecy and large memory space.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      To quote AMD (pdf) [corporate-ir.net] in their 2014 Q1 earnings, a couple days ago:

      We are on track to generate approximately 50% of our revenue from high-growth markets, including embedded, semi-custom, dense server, professional graphics, and Ultra Low-Power client, where we can create differentiated winning solutions by the end of 2015. (...) We used to be a business centered over one stream of revenue, one opportunity, the PC market. Now we've introduced five new ones with our traditional space; that's six key markets where we can leverage our core IP. (...) Now let's turn to our traditional businesses. In graphics, we see strong demand in the enthusiast portion of the market. Our industry-leading R7 and R9 products drove GPU revenue growth year-over-year and sequentially.

      In short, they're transforming away from their "traditional" business and of the PC market graphics revenue is going to be significant. AMDs x86 CPUs/APUs are going to be a small part of their business, there's a reason Intel is aiming all the big guns at ARM because AMD has already in their strategy decided to get out of the head-to-head competition with Intel. If you don't believe that, read the above lines again. They couldn't compete with I

  • AMD serves the desktop/server-with-big-TV-Display market very well and should not be questioned. AMD also has a respectable position in the laptop market. The devices AMD's products run in better serve the consumer. They would be well-advised to avoid supplying to tablets altogether.

    LOW-END Tablets are very slow with single-core/dual-core SOCs and I have zero patience for the 3-10 second reaction times and 2-4 minutes startup times on LOW-END Tablet GUIs. Low-end tablets also have less-power efficiency

    • AMD serves the desktop/server-with-big-TV-Display market very well and should not be questioned.

      The conventional PC market is already undergoing a substantial shake-down with people embracing smartphones and tablets in bulk. At the rate Android platforms are evolving, we are only two or three years away from the average phone and tablet being able to handle just about anything the average person might want to throw at them. For many people, current devices have already passed the good-enough milestone. In my immediate family, I am the only one who genuinely needs a PC - both of my sisters and their bo

    • Intel and Asus are launching a quad core Atom Android tablet at 7" for $150 this week.
  • Intel now has a monopoly on the general-purpose CPU market. It's Intel or nothing. Could this be a problem with regards to price, and perhaps enforced DRM (if there's no competition Intel are able to dictate what DRM goes on the CPU)?

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