back to article AMD targets tablets and cloudbooks in Intel showdown

Devices that combine the power of a notebook with features of a tablet were one of the themes of last week's gadget-fest, Computex 2011 in Taiwan. Intel is pushing its new "ultrabook" concept, and the stage is set for the mobile PC market to split into three emerging form factors: touchscreen tablets; a new wave of more …


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  1. Robert E A Harvey

    Now, then..

    What was it intel said about ending price cutting?

  2. Paul Shirley

    CPU only part of AMD's lead here

    AMD were already in a good position with the Fusion APU's compared to Intel, only now waking up to the inability of Atom to deliver in this sector.

    AMD actually have a bigger advantage here though, they have stronger GPU tech and have been successfully embedding powerful implementations for a long time now. Intel continue to demonstrate complete incompetence with GPU's. 'Ultrabook's will need to compete with the strong media and gaming performance of pads to create a new niche, Intel have no viable solution for that.

    One option available is supplementing or replacing x86 cores in Fusion with ARM. That would still leave AMD owning most of the silicon on the die. Almost all Intel's value is the x86 core (no one willingly chooses an Intel GPU) so its not as attractive an option. AMD have more choices here -> can adapt faster.

    Stocked with popcorn while I watch Intel panic...

    1. Ilgaz

      Their GPU department needs a huge PR campaign

      I have seen Intel GPU on a Macbook only and Intel Mini first generation.

      It was basically a horrible experience. You should have seen the face of Macbook owner when he launched a direct3d game on bootcamp (os x was already unsupported) and see the amazing value of 1 fps. Yes, ONE fps!

      I won't touch anything and won't let others unless Intel has fired all those guys responsible for shipping that scandal GMA series and convinced Apple to put them on Macs.

      If I told you "no hardware T&L support", would you believe? 3dfx was still in business when nvidia introduced that feature. It is _that_ old.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      AMD divested their Arm expertise some years back which puts it in the strange position of actually being more wedded to x86 than even Intel (who, IIRC has an Arm license and Itanium).

      I think an Arm option for AMD would be great, but it looks like Nvidia have the whole Arm+advancedGPU market to themselves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I still keep my HP NC4010 and MacBook G4 in use for this exact reason - they have discrete non-Intel graphics. As a result they are still usable now with the HP 6 years old and the MacBook 9 (not with Windows or MacOSX). Compared to them your average corporate laptop with a GMA is a horrible slouch even if it is carrying anything short of the last generation of Core/Ivy/SandyBridge inside.

      2. Giles Jones Gold badge

        GMA was fine for non-gamers

        Those GMA chipsets are only really bad if you play games.

        The GMA based Macbook could still play HD video better than a high end Sony Vaio when tested on the Gadget Show.

        1. Ilgaz

          OS X uses almost all GPU features

          OS X Desktop uses almost all 3d features of the GPU using OpenGL. No hardware t&l? No cover flow on iTunes. Ask first gen Mac Mini Intel owners how they felt when G4 Mini with a real GPU (ati 9xxx) could do it.

        2. msroadkill

          if thats brazos vs current similar intel offerings, thats not what I heard.

          GMA? not sure? but if thats brazos vs current similar intel offerings, thats not what I heard. Yes, the x86 benchys are worse, but the overall user experience is way better.

    3. msroadkill

      good thinking

      "supplementing or replacing x86 cores in Fusion with ARM. That would still leave AMD owning most of the silicon on the die. Almost all Intel's value is the x86 core (no one willingly chooses an Intel GPU) so its not as attractive an option. AMD have more choices here -> can adapt faster."

      good thinking - x86 drinks power i hear. Dont abandon it, but use it as little as possible.

      My posts elsewhere here, fancy similar logic for servers. AMD cloud servers w/ 2 x cpu & 8 x gpu on 1 die, running open cl for the grunt jobs. The x86 cores act as traffic policemen & run legacy code.

      Power is a big problem for these farms. A new approach is needed.

  3. Snobol4
    Thumb Up

    What AMD is shipping now:- <6W TDP Dual core HD6000 series DX11 APU

    What is missing here is reference to what AMD has shipping now - a dual core 1GHz APU complete with integrated HD6000 series DX11/OpenGL 4.1 graphics and a UVD3 multimedia engine - all for less than 6W TDP!

    That's Atom territory for TDP but with far superior graphics and out-of-order execution CPU cores.

    Clearly this may still not be a low enough TDP for tablets, but certainly makes for nicely performing products with long battery life for anything bigger.

    As usual there seems to be too much talk of what is coming next, not enough about what is actually shipping now - a common fault with us techies?

    The fact is the new Bobcat core architecture wedded to latest generation ATI/AMD GPU architecture already makes for a very nice product. The gradual move in emphasis away from raw CPU grunt to GPU hardware acceleration of common parallel processing tasks (which, after all, is where most performance is really needed) is already starting to favour AMD with their superior GPU technology. Anyone who has seen a die shot of the Onatrio/Zacate won't fail to be impressed by the fact that two thirds of the die is actually GPU - and the total die size is less than an Atom. That demonstrates a much better balance of resources in today's world.

    As I see it AMD is already on a role with this APU stuff, not something that is vaguely out there in the future.

    1. msroadkill

      brazos is 40nm - ok but not great - same as amd GPUs, about to go 28nm - brazos next?

      brazos is 40nm - ok but not great - same as amd GPUs, about to go 28nm - brazos next?

  4. xj25vm

    Redefining trends

    It is rather amusing how everybody is in a rush to define the next generation of portable device - trying to see what will catch on and what will fall down the drain of the history. Yet, very few seem to bother on improving on what was already promising and (almost) delivering not long ago. The netbook was a wildly popular product. But then various actors on the scene got worried that it might just start eating into their more expensive lines. So they did all they could to make it less useful and capable. MS imposed all sorts of restrictions on who could install XP on them and under which specific (crippled) set of hardware spec. Intel imposed other restrictions on OEM's as to what other hardware could go with the Atoms they were supplying. And so the saga continues. They strangled the platform in order for it not to compete with their other products - and now they are investing millions (billions?) in trying to invent other products because netbooks don't sell that well.

    How about:

    1. Give netbooks a reasonable resolution - 1300x700 or thereabouts. I've worked on the rare small machine with this resolution - and they are incredibly usable.

    2. Pack as much battery life in the damn things as possible. There use to be netbooks out there with 9 cell batteries - now everything is on 3 cell and 6 cell. If the current 6 cells can stretch to (theoretical) 12 haours - a 9 cell should be a heck of a mobile little machine.

    3. Equip them with integrated 3g - for pete sake. There initially were few netbooks with 3g onboard - then you could not buy any model with it inside. Who killed it? Was there really no interest from people?a Everybody preferred a dongle sticking out on the side? Oh - and don't charge a fortune for this extra - while you are at it.

    4. Make the processor and anything else on the platform consume a lot less during idle. It is one of the key disadvantages of x86 processors - they are not good at idle-ing from an energy point of view. Work on that - instead of diddling with marketing terms.

    And there you are - you would end up with a truly useful machine - without re-inventing the wheel.

  5. msroadkill

    general amd stuff

    I just bought AMD shares, minutes before reading this.

    intelligent story & comments.

    "vital that Intel and AMD make the shift, tapping into their entrenched positions in PCs, while refusing to be dragged down by the legacy."

    well put. Odd for me to a bit negative, but amd especially so cos of their discrete gpuS. Fusion will slaughter the low end gpu business.

    We all seem agreed on the merits of fusion, now if only AMD could do decent cloud servers. Thats where the money is.

    How about a dual cpuS w/ 8 gpuS fused in, running open gl server apps.

    As another said, brazos is a good product and selling now. Its 40nm, same as the discrete gpuS, which are due to shift to 28nm (brazos next?).

    Hope it wasnt here I read it, but they got ~124 design wins for brazos & 145 for llano. Sounds impressive anyway.

    AMD dont care much about the market, the real action is stealing share from intel, or new value conscious markets (india/china etc)

    I read 400 smart phones or 120 tablets = 1 new server on the cloud.

    Also good money in emerging markets tho, & AMD can kick ass.

    Just a guess, but a hybrid lap/desk top llano which can handle a few hours of power outtage may sell well in 3rd world etc.

    SB seems foolish to me. Who would want a grunt CPU & crap integrated graphics? Those guys go the discrete route.Hope I dont sound a shill. Just sayin

  6. msroadkill

    hope its ok to link - v on topic

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