Last week we looked at the financial results for AMD which reported a fairly positive financial outlook. Even though the company was still losing money, they had managed to bring loses under control and investors were most likely hoping Q4 2008, or Q1 2009 would see the chip maker return to profit. These hopes are slowing being dashed by new market share numbers which according to Mercury Research saw AMD’s total share drop to 17.7 percent. This is a drop from 18.8 percent in the second quarter, and a huge plunge from 25.3 percent they enjoyed in the fourth quarter of 2006.
According to Mercury a large contributor to AMD’s drop is the shift from desktop processors to mobile. For the first time, shipments of mobile parts have exceeded their desktop counterparts in the CPU market. A market where Intel is extremely dominate. AMD drastically needs to improve innovation in the laptop arena if it is to slow Intel who is posting record breaking revenues. The processor market on a whole grew 13.3 percent and according to researchers, seems to be somewhat immune to the chaos in the financial markets. AMD managed to bring about a modest increase in the server and notebook markets but this is more the result of the market growth rather than share gains. AMD’s stock price has dropped to $3.03 in afterhours trading, down from its 52 week high of $13.80.
Do you think AMD can bounce back? Hit the jump and let us know.
Out with the old and in with the new. That's what Intel's doing with its Xeon server line of processors, as the chip maker announced in a product change notification (PCN) to customers that it plans to phase out 31 different retail boxed dual- and quad-core Xeons built around the Core architecture on a 65nm manufacturing process as it transitions to 45nm.
Specifically, six Woodcrest dual-core Xeons (5120, 5150, LV5148, 5110, 5130, 5140, 5160) and nine Cloverton quad-core Xeons (E5310, E5320, L5320, E5335, L5335, E5345, X5365, X5355) are getting the axe, in addition to variations in each lineup to bring the total up to 31, TGDaily reports.
Once supply of the boxed versions run out, customers will no longer be able to order the 65nm chips though tray units will still be made available, albeit with a shorter warranty through the reseller and without a bundled heatsink/fan.
Rumor has it that Intel will finally launch its Core i7 platform on November 17, just under a month from now, with a handful of processors clocked from 2.66GHz (Core i7-920) on up to 3.2GHz (Core i7-965XE). That date can't come quick enough for enthusiasts who have patiently put off building a new PC or upgrading an existing one. But if you're also waiting for a mobile version of Intel's new architecture, get cozy because it might be awhile.
Codenamed Clarksfield, Intel says the mobile version won't even go into production until the second half of 2009, and it's anyone's guess as to how long after that the chips will be made available commercially. The news doesn't come as a total surprise, however, as Clarksfield will be a main component in the next version of Intel's Centrino platform, keeping in mind that Centrino 2 is barely out of the silicon womb.
AMD posted better-than-expected earnings on Thursday and proved to its chief rival Intel that they may be down, but not out. The company which has been losing money for some time now managed to make a respectable 13 cents per share which far outstripped analyst expectations of a 39 cent loss. This is good news for AMD, but the semi conductor giant isn’t out of hot water just yet. The company still posted a $67 million dollar loss, though when you compare this to the $396 million it shed in the same quarter last year it suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.
Not surprisingly, sales and margins improved mostly on the back of its graphics chip division which has made significant gains in market share at the expensive of Nvidia. Revenues rose to $1.78 billion again pulling ahead of analyst expectations of a meager $1.48 billion. AMD has stated that it expects fourth quarter earnings to be flat, and given its current processor lineup vs. Intel, not losing any further market share will indeed be a challenge. The recent announcement that will split the company in two won’t take effect until year end. AMD stock is currently trading at $4.21 down almost 50% since the beginning of the year.
On the desktop front, quad-core processors continue to drop in price and it might not be long before dual-core chips get cast aside in the same manner single-core CPUs have been. But in the mobile world, it's another story. Dual-core computing is still where it's at and that doesn't appear to be changing in the next few months.
Citing un-named sources among mother makers, DigiTimes says Intel plans to launch five low wattage processors intended for notebooks on December 28, and only one of them is a quad-core chip. Intel's Core 2 Duo T9800 (2.93GHz, 6MB, 35W) , P9600 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 25W), T9550 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 35W), and T8700 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 25W) are set to debut to at $530, $348, $316, and $241 respectively in thousand-unit trays. Intel will also release a Core 2 Quad Q9000 (2GHz, 6MB, 45W) for $348 (also in thousand-unit trays).
At least one other processor will see a price reduction as a result of the new chips. The P8600 - Intel's current flagship Core 2 Duo CPU - will drop from $241 to $209 in January of 2009.
The wait is almost over for anyone who has been anticipating Intel's upcoming processor lineup based on the Nehalem architecture. Citing un-named "industry sources," TGDaily says the new processors will launch on November 17, a little over one month from now. That won't be a paper launch either, as Intel CEO Paul Otellini said during the company's Q3 quarter conference call that Core i7 processors have already begun shipping.
While nothing is yet official, rumors regarding the three desktop processors expected to make the initial Core i7 debut remain unchanged from earlier speculation. These include the Core i7-965XE clocked at 3.2GHz, Core i7-940 clocked at 2.93GHz, and Core i7-920 clocked at 2.66GHz. According to those same sources, pricing in thousand tray quantities will be set at $999, $562, and $284 for the 965XE, 940, and 920 respectively.
Also coinciding with the desktop parts, Intel is expected to release high-performance server chips codenamed Nehalem-EP.
AMD earlier this week announced plans to split into separate design and manufacturing companies. As part of the split, AMD will retain 44.4 percent ownership in the spinoff of its manufacturing plant - temporarily called The Foundry - with the Abu Dhabi government-formed Advanced Technology Investment Company owning the rest.
Just hours after the announcement was made, Intel said it was investigating whether or not the new company violates a chip licensing agreement it has with AMD. Under terms of the original agreement, AMD has been allowed to use Intel's x86 chip instruction set in exchange for paying Intel a royalty. According to AMD, nothing has changed that would invalidate the cross-licensing.
"We are completely confident the structure of this transaction takes into account our cross-license agreements," Phil Hughes, and AMD spokesman, wrote in an email. "Rest assured - we plan to continue respecting Intel's intellectual property rights, just as we expect them to respect ours."
Not all financial experts agree with AMD's assessment. Hans Mosesmann, a financial analyst with Raymond James, believes AMD probably is violating the cross-license agreement, but doesn't necessarily believe Intel would turn it into a legal matter. Instead, Mosesmann writes that Intel may choose to use it as leverage to "entice AMD to drop the anti-trust suits against Intel in return for this altruistic gesture."
Power users have been chomping at the bit in anticipation of Intel's upcoming Core i7 platform, and some sites have already begun cashing in through pre-order sales. But as is often the case, being first means you'll likely pay the most.
Most of the pre-order parts are being found overseas, such as the MSI X58 Platinum motherbaord that was recently listed for over $300, or the MSI Eclipse spotted selling for as much as $413.
And it's not just MSI. As Fudzilla discovered, the Asus P6T Deluxe (the same board spotted with a warning label cautioning against running RAM voltage higher than 1.65V or risk damaging the CPU) was seen selling for $444. That's still cheaper than the Asus P6T Deluxe "OC Palm Edition," which at least one vendor had on pre-order for a staggering $492.
On the processor front, Canadian e-tailer PCVOnline is taking pre-orders on the Core i7 920 (2.66GHz), 940 (2.93GHz) and 965 Extreme Edition (3.2GHz) for $340, $650, and $1100 respectively. These aren't quite as overpriced as the above motherboards, as official bulk pricing is expected to set at $284, $562, and $999 respectively.
Anyone out there willing to pay pre-order pricing for day 1 bragging rights?
AMD, once on top of the world with its Athlon 64 lineup, has been hit hard by Intel ever since the rival chip maker abandoned its infatuation with Netburst and began pushing its Core architecture to much fanfare. Phenom hasn't been the phenomenal success AMD had hoped it would be, and it appears the company has finally reached a crossroads for future operations.
Rather than continue on with business as usual, AMD has chosen another path, one in which the chip maker will be split into two companies, with one staying focused on designing processors and the other setting its sights on manufacturing them. Giving the separated companies a boost, AMD says it will receive at least $6 billion from two Abu Dhabi investment firms, which will mostly go towards financing a new chip factory near Albany and to upgrade the company's Fab in Dresden, Germany.
AMD will own 44 percent of the new entity, which will temporarily be known as the Foundry Company, with the Abu Dhabi government formed Advanced Technology Investment Company owning the rest. ATIC will invest $2.1 billion in the venture right way, with $3.6 billion to $6 billion to be injected later on.
"We generally believe this deal is a game changer for the industry," said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chief executive of Mubadala. "It's bold, and I think it's smart."
AMD's Dirk Meyer agrees, saying the split will make AMD a financially stronger company. And there's no doubt AMD could use financial relief, who at last count reported it carried a $5.3 billion debt while maintaining only $1.6 billion in cash.
Could this be the boost AMD needs to finally go toe-to-toe with Intel, or is this the beginning of the end? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Intel's upcoming Core i7 platform may throw a curveball to anyone swinging sticks of high performance DDR memory. According to news and rumor site The Inquirer, running memory voltage any higher than a modest 1.65V on an X58-based motherboard outfitted with a Core i7 processor could damage the CPU.
The limitation came to light thanks to an admin on the XFastest forums who posted pictures of the unreleased Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard in retail trim. A closeup of the DIMM slots reveals a warning label which states "According to Intel CPU SPEC, DIMMs with voltage setting over 1.65V may damage the CPU permanently. We recommend you install the DIMMs with the voltage setting below 1.65V.
If true (and The Inq claims Asus has confirmed the limitation), it would mean that several of today's high end DDR3 memory could potentially be rendered useless on the new platform. It's not uncommon for RAM manufacturers to require higher voltages at stock settings, and even many DDR3-1333 kits call for more than 1.65V. Apparently the problem lies with having the CPU and memory voltages on the Core i7 platform run synchronously. That's a major bummer for anyone who may have tried to future-proof their current build, but if you haven't jumped on the DDR3 bandwagon yet, expect to see appropriately spec'd kits start to surface with the Core i7 platform in mind. In the meantime, buyer beware.