back to article Rip up your AMD obits: Gaming, VR, embedded chips to lift biz out of the red by 2016, allegedly

Struggling chipmaker AMD hosted an all-day meeting in New York City on Wednesday to reassure financial analysts that its product portfolio is strong and it plans to return to growth this year. During the meeting – AMD's first in three years – CEO Lisa Su said she plans to return the company to profitability in the second half …

  1. Paul Shirley

    FX probably too late

    AMD let IPC fall so far behind Intel it's hard to believe they can catch up. Throwing more cores at FX will only help some workloads and it's a game Intel can play if they feel threatened. So far they can still beat AMD with less cores.

    FX seems destined to remain the budget option, not the higher margin line they need. By the time they ship even die hard fans will have jumped ship, whatever the price advantage.

  2. jason 7

    You can have all the wonderful chips ever designed...

    ...but unless those chips are actually ever in products people can buy off the shelf...waste of time.

    AMD keep on making nice laptop APUs but when you go to buy a laptop you'll see 57 Intel laptops covering all specs and prices. As for AMD you'll see some crappy cheapo E1 based laptop or some HP A10 monstrosity asking £800 with no SSD or HD screen.

    OEMs don't want or need AMD anymore, maybe just the GPUs as a saving grace.

    The retail industry has given up on them. But not surprising. Take Chromebooks, an AMD APU would be perfect in a Chromebook but AMD says they are not interested...or is that no one takes their calls anymore?

    Shame.

  3. ITfarmer

    AMD APUs with HSA look ground breaking

    Just been looking at getting a new machine for my parents and concluded you cant beat AMD on price performance IMHO.

    AMD APU 7800K with HSA looks potentially ground breaking.

    48 Watts TDP with built in graphics enough to reasonably power most games/media with the potential to use Graphics CPU cycles to compute standard OS tasks.

    That means I can use a mini or micro ATX case, near silent cooling, VERY low power usage and still get good performance. Small form factor lending itself to a media centre, small server or light desktop.

    Giving me an upgradable PC I can keep up to date for circa £400 - not hardwired into a fixed OS unlike some laptops & tablets but far far far superior in every way.

    So what if I5 & I7 are faster ? For most tasks including most games you just don't need nor can use the CPU cycles - far better to spend the money on Graphics Cards, Memory, SSDs, Displays and networking.

    Regardless I5 & I7 require more expensive memory, motherboards, cooling, power supplies and hence a larger case - I would have thought with the domination of ARM the writing is on the wall for high power processors.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: AMD APUs with HSA look ground breaking

      I agree. Price performance is where the AMDs still hold their own against Intel. My kids have a cheapo gaming rig that is able to deliver perfectly acceptable HD frame rates on modern games on most settings, using an overclocked (and boy can they overclock) A10. Even before we added a proper graphics card (need a way to get started without killing the 300 quid budget) we were getting fairly respectable performance just using the A10s own GPU. With a moderately good AMD card added, performance is pretty good, and that and an SSD still didn't take the total cost over 500.

    2. glussier

      Re: AMD APUs with HSA look ground breaking

      In your last paragraph, I would remove the "more expensive memory, cooling, power supplies and hence a larger case" because this is simply not true.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Faulure to understand

    FX is just a brand line. The Zen based discrete FX CPUs will be dramatically faster then ANY current CPUs and more than competitive with Intel. AMD will actually dominate once again in desktop CPU performance but don't take my word for it, wait until you see the results with your own eyes.

    Unfortunately AMD has a history of disappointing consumers in recent years. To permanently get back on track AMD and it's customers have had to endure some serious pain. That is part of the reason that AMD has not offered any new discrete desktop CPUs for several years. The name Zen was not chosen lightly for the new AMD discrete CPU/core line up. Zen was built from the ground up with the best X86 technology available and much more. It will significantly change the CPU landscape forever and for the better.

    AMD's next gen APUs after Carrizo will use Zen cores and stacked RAM along with HSA to offer unmatched APU performance in all market segments. This is one area where AMD is really a pioneer with the best products by far with more on the way.

    The doubting will be over soon. AMD is well aware they need to get their product production sorted and to stay on track with their future roadmaps. That's why AMD's painful reorganization was required.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Faulure to understand

      And the reality will be that Carrizo will get largely ignored by the OEMS and hardly get on the shelves and Zen will still come up 20% short performance wise to Intel.

      We've been here before too many times.

      If it wasn't for AMD having the PS4/One contract the banks would have called it in months ago.

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

        Re: Faulure to understand

        20%? I'm willing to bet it'll be more than that. AMD can promise what they like but have basically been nowhere on the desktop for years other than the cheap integrated CPU/GPU systems at the low end for which they're definitely worthwhile, and the fact FX chipsets support ECC.

        I see no mention of virtualisation support - an area where AMD could innovate, but it's Intel that have been driving that market. No mention of TSX. No mention of an alternative to XenGT - AMD could easily release a high end desktop or server/workstation CPU with powerful inbuilt GPU for sharing amongst VMs both for higher end graphics and compute. It's an obvious hole in Intel's lineup (Xeon's don't include an integrated GPU in most circumstances). No mention of HSA on FX processors - so it's basically a low end gimmick AMD aren't serious about.

        They're not getting used in half decent laptops or tablets - Baytrail is eating the latter market.

        Then there's the GPUs, where theoretically they're better in open source but in practice NVidia is a preferred option if you're not using NetBSD/OpenBSD/FreeBSD without a binary driver. On Windows the NVidia drivers still appear to be better and they have stereoscopic 3D built in rather than needing a third party product. NVidia supports GSync which at the moment is clearly better than AMD's alternative. Against that, there's the fact that NVidia can't be relied upon to keep any sort of openness (witness the disabling of CUDA when an AMD card is present in the same system, and the recent refusal of their non professional cards to run under hypervisors)

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: Faulure to understand

      AMD claim 40% IPC improvement. That will bring them to parity with *this years* Intel chips but a year late (at least). But AMD have consistently missed their promised IPC increase for several generations now, there's no reason to believe they'll actually hit 40%.

      The FX series just aren't credible as performance CPU's any longer. Worst of all they won't worry Intel at all so won't even function as much needed competition.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Faulure to understand

      I liked and used AMD CPUs until they came up with the single shared FPU (per pair of cores) design, which made it a non-starter for me. However, it looks like each Zen core may have two dedicated FPUs (for SMT), so it'll be interesting to see how well the Zen cores work.

      Not interested in AMD GPUs until they sort out their OpenGL drivers for Linux.

  5. Nate Amsden

    enterprise-class CPU experience

    "We're the only guys in the ARM server business that have experience delivering and supporting enterprise-class CPUs"

    How's that enterprise-class CPU business doing these days? 1.5% market share?

    I was hoping AMD would continue their high end CPU biz, but obviously the brains of that unit were gutted years ago and their road map ran dry (the bulk of my servers are still Opteron 62xx)

    For me I have no interest in ARM, but I don't run hyperscale stuff. I think ARM will (sadly?) lose out to

    Intel just like AMD did when it comes to data center stuff.

  6. joeldillon

    'Su do'? Don't you mean sudo?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Pint

      Have another look at the name of AMD's CEO, Lisa Su.

      Bravo sub-headline writer, bravo!

  7. Cuddles Silver badge

    I like the first slide

    Step 1: Make profit.

    Step 2: Profit!

    The little footnote noting that it won't actually be a profit if you count it properly is just the icing on the cake.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait and see

    There is a legitimate reason to doubt AMD's performance claims based on their past history with failed execution. Thankfully AMD fully understands that they must deliver quality products on time going forward if they want to grow their business. This is not an easy task but they have laid the ground work to achieve the required performance from their product lines. It was not without some bloodshed however.

    Zen really is an impressive CPU/core. It will be more than competitive with Intel's best when it is released. Zen+ will be even better and follow up within two years of Zen's release. There are many iterations of Zen across AMD's entire platform because the Zen core is so good by design. Using a clean sheet of paper approach has required several years to get Zen properly designed and refined for the very wide application spectrum but it is close to being ready to production bake. I'm certain that many folks will be impressed with the monumental leap AMD has made in CPU performance with Zen. It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people and it's exactly what AMD needs to get back in the game.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Wait and see

      "Zen really is an impressive CPU/core...on paper. It might be more than competitive with Intel's mid-range when it is released."

      FTFY

      C'mon man, that post reads like all the hand wringing hopeful posts I read from AMD fans 24 hours before the NDAs finished at the Bulldozer release.

      1. Roo
        Windows

        Re: Wait and see

        "C'mon man, that post reads like all the hand wringing hopeful posts I read from AMD fans 24 hours before the NDAs finished at the Bulldozer release."

        Spot on. :)

        However ...

        Granted AMD really have no credibility left, but given how heavily optimised for low-end late to market processes their gear is, their CPUs do have plenty of room for improvement. The low-latency cache caught my attention - but I would be surprised if they deliver something radically different/better than the current competition...

        That said I'll suspend my disbelief until I see some SPEC results, which is more than I did for the SPARC M7. :)

  9. Tom 13

    It seems to me AMD is sort of the Amazon of the CPU world

    Year after year after year they lose money, yet somehow they're still in business. I fondly recall them briefly flirting with challenging Intel and making CISC processors a duopoly, but it's been ages since they made a serious run at it. It would be nice to see some competition again.

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