Is AMD Preparing To Shift Focus Away From The Desktop?

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Holly Golightly

Oh no... Less competition is always a terrible thing. Gosh, I hope that they at least consider to still make more x86 processors in the future. Bull Dozer is a great alternative. However, what AMD is doing is a wise (and I must admit) a brilliant decision. The future definitely seems mobile. I love my gaming rig. No mobile tablet/netbook/laptop can take away my love for my desktop! There are still plenty of advantages for desktops that AMD can market. I know that tablets are now selling more than desktops... But I do not care about them. Plenty of money for just 1 brand. So it is bad all around. My advice for AMD is to continue to make processors and graphic cards for the desktop platform while also competing in new markets such as smartphones and tablets.

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bpstone

Advanced Micro Devices is going where it believes money to be made is. A for-profit business must make money to survive. Whether or not it is a wise decision remains to be seen.

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CatherineMcClarey

One thing I noticed while comparison-shopping for AMD A-series-powered laptops in the Black Friday ads was how many A-series-powered desktops were also in the electronics store ads -- and with the roomier quarters of a desktop tower case, it would be a piece of cake to add a dedicated graphics card as well (something most A-series-powered laptops make do without).  For gamers on a budget (like me), both desktops & laptops with AMD A-series APUs allow a lot more gaming "bang for the buck" than Intel-based rigs at the same price point.

As to the various desktop computers in our house (not quite 1 in each room, but we're getting close!), we have a mix of AMD & Intel-powered machines -- but all with some sort of dedicated graphics card included (a must when everyone in the family plays computer games).  We've never been that brand-loyal one way or the other about it -- as long as any machine we brought home could play computer games.  The 2-year-old HP desktop computer I'm typing at right now has an AMD Phenom II X4 CPU, and an ATI Radeon HD 4350 graphics card with 512MB dedicated graphics RAM.  It's been able to handle all the games I've thrown at it so far (although Might & Magic Heroes VI is making it stutter a bit).

Anyway, I sure hope AMD doesn't give up on the desktop market, because we budget gamers still buy desktop computers, too!

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barto

I understand what you are saying, but the AMD "bang-for-buck" idea doesn't really apply anymore. I totally agree that AMD did have cheaper processors for their performance at one time, but Intel's Sandy Bridge processors really eliminated that. Both AMD's APU and Intel SB offer graphics based on the cpu die with specific motherboards. I could take Intel's top of the line i7  (or any SB for that matter) and drop it in a H67 motherboard. It will do the exact the same as AMD's APU (performance will vary).

 

Now I don't want you to think that I'm an Intel fanboy. I like Intel but I also know that without AMD, Intel will make crappy processors. Everyone always said that AMD has the best bang for buck until now. Intel said, "that's enough of that" and now AMD is backed into a corner. It's almost like a game of Chess with these guys. Sadly, the Bulldozer chip wasn't what everyone was hoping for. AMD better pick up the slack. 

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limitbreaker

you can't even compare the amd APU with intels sandy bridge GPU. One has a slow cpu with a strong GPU and the other has a fast CPU with a GPU barely better than a chipset onboard gpu.

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praack

AMD just finished a bit executive shakeup, a release of a first gen CPU that was being hyped to be better than it was (yes I was really dissapointed too).

Now they have foundry and redisign issues as they move to Taiwan semi from Global

I am afraid what we are seeing is the results of a boardroom that has bled a lot of brainpower and is lacking direction.

Oh and did anyone notice that AMD Insight has shut down - meaning that AMD does not want to get input from the community anymore?

Bulldozer quads and 6 cores seem to be doing better than the octa - so maybe they should push them until they get then next release out.

But I am worried we may see a panic move into the tablet space and the end of AMD

 

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Jormungandr

sorry for double post... site bugged out on me.

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Jormungandr

The entire industry is shifting to low-power devices.  Laptops are already on the way out in favor of tablets (not netbooks) and before long even the PC will be going out.  Its a simple fact that the x86's days are numbered.  Everything I'm seeing all over the computer industry today screams "TABLETS ARE THE FUTURE."

But then... Gene Rodenberry was saying that in the 1960s.  So that's not really news.  It's just been a matter of developing the technologies that would make tablets feasible.  With the advent of multi-touch displays, low-power led screens, wireless internet via cellphone, low-power/high-performance CPUS, cloud data storage, cloud processing, and other such technologies that day is here.

Take a good hard look at the interface in Windows 8 and tell me its not made for tablets.  Look at Ubuntu's new UI and even Gnome 3.  Take a good hard look at the architectures Windows 8 will support.  Take a walk around your local electronics store and count how many keyboard and speaker peripherals there are for iPads and Xooms.

AMD is doing the smart thing.  They are refocusing their interest where every one knows the market will be going only they are trying to get there before their main competitor.  It worked well for them with 64 bit processing... why not the move to tablet-tech?  And they are a juggernaut compared to the existing companies in the space.  If they can manage to make a competitive product they will have no problem bringing the rest of their power to bear on the market and slicing themselves out a nice big piece of the pie.

But make no mistake Intel isn't far behind.  As I said: the x86 architecture has no place in this new world of tablets and smartphones.  It just wasn't designed for it.  Intel has got the memo... there can be no doubt of that.  But like always they are going to let other companies test the waters and watch what mistakes they make first.  Then come in behind them and try to clean house.  Whether or not they succeed is, perhaps, still up in the air.

But for now... it's the end of the PC as we know it and me any my smart phone are feeling just fine.

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roleki

Fill out a 1040 on a tablet, then come back to me with your thoughts on the future of the PC.

Fact is, the x86-compatible PC will never cease to exist, no matter how many consumers buy into the tablet fad.  For all their convenience as an entertainment device, there's a reason that 80% of tablet software is fart apps.  They're just not that useful as a productivity tool, no matter how many commercials Apple runs where an ARTISTE is painting a landscape on their iPad. 

As far as what you are seeing with Windows 8, that is a tic in the evolution of the superior iTunes/App store approach to content delivery and management - your tablet will allow you to take a subset of your media, data and programs, with a tangent link to a PC 'mothership' where DRM and full-function editing tools will live.

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I Jedi

I've got to give Jormugandr kudos for one part, Roleki. As time progresses onward, tablets and laptops are going to cost a lot less. There may come a time when a laptop has the same potential as a PC does for the same dollar value, even though I doubt it will happen; however, I still think that at the end of the day, productivity is going to be where you go to a PC for. Voice recognition and typing is going to have to sincerely be damn near spotless for a tablet to have efficiency to get task done in replacing a modern desktop keyboard.

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I Jedi

In my opinion, your assumption is that everyone is going to want a tablet, I think this is wrong. While I cannot dispute that the industry is moving towards small form factor like tablets, the PC is probably going to hold its own for a very long time. There are four major things that I think will continue to hinder small form factors, such as smartphones, laptops and tablets.

1. In most cases, small form factor machines are not built with upgrading in mind. What you see is usually what you get. True, you could potentially solder a more advanced Intel processor in place of an older one in a laptop, but the average consumer doesn't have that know how or precision to do it. With a PC, it's pretty much like legos, you snap it in. And I would surmise that the cost to have a technician store solder a whole new processor on a laptop, make sure it works properly, would probably ring up at least a couple hundred bucks. Next, everyone knows you can upgrade your RAM, but this is only a temporary stop gap measure, as applications become more demanding for processing power, not just address space.

2. The viability of a PC versus a small form factor is definitely huge. Without the ability to upgrade hardware on a laptop as easily as a PC, you usually have to buy a whole new laptop just because of one thing, say processing power; therefore, the longevity of a PC, which if selected correctly, can be upgradeable for years and continue offering superior performance for 3x as long as a small form factor can.

3. In my opinion, small form factors are potentially going to limit software developers. Like we've seen with the console systems, consumers aren't going to be willing to ditch their laptops just to have the greatest and newest thing. That ultimately means that software makers are hampered from what they can do, as they always have to keep in mind what the market currently has. You will always have laptop enthusiast, who buy the latest and greatest $3000 dollar laptop, but the average consumer won't stand for that. This ties into the fact that if the dollar amount for hardware on a laptop is higher than that of a PC, you're going to see slower progress in consumers buying a new laptop.

4. Usability is quite possibly the most important contributor to why the PC is not going to demise anytime soon. Again, the sheer processing power I can get out of a desktop processor, with a dedicated video card (not a cut down GPU chip), and ability to upgrade that system down the road will soon not see the end of businesses and enthusiast preferring a PC over a small form factor. Not to mention that its a lot easier for a business to have a laptop stolen or misplaced than it is for a stationary PC to go missing or be stolen in an office.

Yes, yes, we hear these articles all the time. In fact, I read an article the other night where clearly the author was totally anti-PC and for smaller form factors. According to her, the industry was pushing past a huge, old system (PC) and moving forward with better alternatives that suite the market. I can't deny her point that the average consumer wants a laptop, and that's fine, but please stop masquerading that the PC is about to be toppled to anyone who believes so. The idea that we'll all be sitting in our homes in 10 years time using laptops and tablets is ridicilous. I don't want to spend two hours writing 10 paragraphs on a tablet for what could be done on a PC in a few minutes. Efficiency and power is for the PC.

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AnglicDemon00

In a sense that what will be next mainstream thing will be tablets, if Smartphones don't outpower those in a couple of years. Through from what I am seeing, PC's ( as far as what we consider PC's, God knows the PC's of today won't be the same as PC's decade or so from now) are going back to how they started, which is a niche market both within consumers, and buisness ( For buisness it will happen much, depending on how technology changes.) In that those of us who need the power and performence of a PC will have access to them. 

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stradric

That would be a disappointment.  I haven't purchased Intel or Nvidia hardware in over a decade.  It's been AMD/ATI all the way, and I've been pretty pleased (and saved quite a bit of cash).  I can't afford to upgrade to Intel hardware and frankly I don't think the performance difference is worth the extra cost.  Say it ain't so, AMD.

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bpstone

For some that may stand true. I'm not a loyalist to any brand myself. Those needing an above average graphical workstation often go with Intel CPUs. Take the brands out of the picture. Build or buy a system based on your personal needs plus budget to last the next three years ahead and you're doing perfectly alright in my opinion. ^_^)

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I Jedi

What an totally alienate their PC community? I sincerely doubt it. It's definitely a good point you've made, and I can definitely see where you're coming from. I think AMD should focus its efforts on netbooks, etc, as I think it can make a huge impact, but I also don't believe AMD is going to throw it in against Intel. Not when they're the second largest badass in processors.

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Supall

I think we may be reading too much into this.  Maybe I'm wrong, but perhaps AMD is focusing on Laptops/Ultrabooks/Netbooks by utilizing its APU technology, which has shown to be very effective in creating media-centered, lower-powered computers, which is the focus of the average consumer.  Perhaps AMD's focus isn't sheer power, but efficiency in cheaper products.

And it isn't like AMD refocusing its CPU is going to bring it down.  It is still doing very well in the graphics department and has recently released AMD-branded memory sticks that will help it market a particular platform (which the average consumer will be more than happy to go with).

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