Amidst shrinking marketshare in the x86 market, AMD's heading into 2012 with questions about its next moves. The company has confirmed it won't be exiting the x86 market, but it is trying to move out of the "AMD versus Intel" mindset by following industry trends towards lower-power processors and the cloud. We'll be keeping track of every step in AMD's next evolution right here.
Oct 17, 2013
AMD is profitable again. After over a year of substantial losses, the chipmaker managed to pull in a profit of $48 million for the third quarter of 2013, on an improved $1.46 billion in revenue. Needless to say, that's very good news for the troubled company, which lost $29 million last quarter and lost $131 million this time last year. But it may not be enough good news given how AMD made that money: the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game consoles.Read Article >
Still, it looks like AMD is on the road to recovery, and might have bought itself time to execute its plans: more semicustom chips, some ARM-based server and embedded chips, and ways to leverage its wins in the game consoles space into wins for its PC graphics chips as well.
Jul 19, 2013
AMD was in deep trouble, but the chipmaker appears to be clawing its way out of the hole. The company reported its Q2 2013 earnings today, and it's losing quite a bit less money than it did in previous quarters. While AMD lost a tremendous $473 million in Q4 2012, the company's losses narrowed to $98 million in Q1 2013, and today the company reported an operating loss of just $29 million on $1.16 billion in revenue.Read Article >
Jun 21, 2013
Sony and Microsoft will be duking out the next console war for years to come, but there's one company that wins no matter what: chipmaker AMD, which managed to put processors in every new console, including the Nintendo Wii U, the PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One. If you buy any new game console this holiday, you'll be helping to fill AMD's depleted coffers — but AMD's sweep could have far more significance than that. The company's dominance in next-gen consoles could actually make PC gaming more relevant than it's been in ages.Read Article >
Jun 18, 2013Read Article >
AMD is finally set to release an all-ARM processor next year, but rather than a low-power chip made for smartphones and tablets, "Seattle" is a 64-bit processor intended for use in servers. The American chipmaker, which has been Intel's understudy in the x86 market for decades, previously announced it would integrate ARM into its processors, and has already done so with an x86-ARM hybrid chip meant for the "embedded " market. "Seattle," however, represents the first time the company has moved away from x86 entirely for a processor. It's set to debut in 2014.
Jun 5, 2013Read Article >
Though AMD's processors are making their way into both Microsoft and Sony's next-generation video game consoles, the company's chips have largely been stuck inside of Windows machines. It's been an intentional strategy of AMD's to focus heavily on Windows, but it looks like the company's waning market position may have dictated otherwise. "We are very committed to Windows 8 … but we also see a market for Android and Chrome developing as well," Lisa Su, a senior vice president at AMD, told PCWorld.
May 23, 2013
AMD boasted that its Z-60 Hondo chip would bring Call of Duty to thin tablets, and its boasts were for naught, but it looks like the company's latest processor core is going to see a lot of use in the next generation of cheap laptops. Today, AMD has revealed its basic performance claims for its Jaguar core, the same one that's reportedly built into the chips in both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The resulting Temash and Kabini APUs could finally have the combination of performance and battery life you'd need in an inexpensive Windows 8 tablet or laptop.Read Article >
While some of AMD's charts are a little misleading out of context, this one is fairly straightforward: AMD claims that its low-power Temash system-on-chip simultaneously manages to have double the performance in 3DMark11, a graphical benchmark, and a sizable bump in PCMark7, an all-purpose benchmark... with only half the power at its disposal. At just 3.9 watts, there should be little trouble putting a dual-core 1GHz A4-1200 into a completely fanless tablet, and you can probably expect eight-watt, quad-core A6-1450 (which can boost to 1.4GHz) to fit in very thin laptops indeed.
Feb 21, 2013
We still have absolutely no idea what the PlayStation 4 looks like, but we're getting a better picture of what's within: Sony's just released a list of tech specs for the console. Confirming months of rumors, the PS4 will primarily have AMD silicon inside, in the form of a "single-chip custom processor" with eight AMD Jaguar CPU cores, and a next-gen Radeon graphics engine capable of 1.84 teraflops of performance.Read Article >
Here's the full spec sheet:
Jan 22, 2013
AMD is hiring two senior engineers who previously worked at the company earlier in their careers before heading to rivals. Wayne Meretsky, a technical lead for Mac OS at Apple before joining AMD in 1999, returned to AMD once again in December after a stint at a robotics company and other roles. Reuters reports that Charles Matar is also returning to AMD as vice president of System-on-Chip Development following his departure from Qualcomm.Read Article >
The two hires, described by AMD as an effort to expand into new markets, come shortly after former Apple chip designer Jim Keller joined AMD as chief architect in August last year. AMD has been losing money, struggling to get its chips into PCs, and two rounds of layoffs saw the company let key execs go over the past year or so. The company is restructuring with hopes to save $20 million in Q4 and $190 million in 2013, but it continues to face stiff competition in a period of PC industry decline.
Nov 28, 2012
It's not surprising in the least that AMD is in trouble, but if any doubts remained, this week's news that the chipmaker will sell its Austin, Texas campus and lease it back to raise cash should be a clear indicator. According to the Austin American-Statesman, AMD is in the planning stages of making a deal that would see its massive 58-acre Lone Star Campus — opened in 2008 — sold for an expected $150 to $200 million. The company would then sign a deal to lease back the space, which it built for an estimated $270 million, for 12 to 15 years, liquidizing some of its real estate assets and adding to its dwindling reserves of cash.Read Article >
Such a deal was previously rumored by Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh, and AMD spokesman Drew Prairie told Reuters that the company's Silicon Valley headquarters and another building in Toronto were sold and leased back in the past. Prairie also confirmed that AMD is moving to sell the Austin campus, telling Reuters that "There are favorable economic conditions in the part of Austin where the campus is located... Contingent on finding an investor who wants to do a multiyear lease-back, it's a good opportunity for us to unlock the value of the real estate to fund operations."
Nov 15, 2012
There's blood in the water, and the sharks are circling around. AMD is in trouble, to the point where buyout rumors sound credible even when they turn out to be false. AMD's having trouble putting its processors into computers people want to buy. The company's losing money and some key personnel are abandoning ship. Under new management and after two rounds of layoffs, the stock price is practically as low as it's ever been, except once in late 2008 when the company was struggling to rid itself of tremendous debt amid the global recession.Read Article >
It wasn't always this way.
Nov 13, 2012
Earlier today we reported that AMD was considering an outright sale following its disappointing Q3 results last month. Well, CEO Rory Read quickly responded to the rumors with an internal email reinforcing the company's earlier official statement, saying "let me personally reinforce to you: we are not actively pursuing the sale of AMD or any of our significant assets. It's full steam ahead with our strategy … we absolutely are on the right path."Read Article >
A likely reason the buyout rumor could not have been true to begin with comes courtesy of Seeking Alpha. AMD Vice President Lisa Su engaged in a major stock transaction in the days preceding the rumor, which, if she knew the company was exploring a sale, would amount to insider trading. The full text of Read's memo is below:
Nov 13, 2012
AMD's woes are continuing today with news that the company has hired JP Morgan Chase to explore its options — one of which is a sale of the company. Reuters cited three sources "familiar with the situation" who say that a complete sale of the company is not a priority. Instead, other options like selling of its portfolio of patents may be more likely.Read Article >
AMD has long been in a battle with Intel for desktop and laptop processor dominance, but with the rise of mobile computing and the ARM chips that power them, AMD has suffered greatly. Last month the company confirmed that it planned to lay off 15 percent of its workforce, and earnings have consistently been disappointing, with the company pulling in 25 percent less revenue year-over-year in the third quarter.
Oct 18, 2012
We'd heard AMD would have bad news this quarter, and here it is: a quarterly loss of $157 million, revenues down 10 percent, and a 15 percent workforce reduction. Today, AMD reported Q3 2012 revenue of $1.27 billion, a 10 percent decrease since last quarter and 25 percent since this time last year.Read Article >
As a result, AMD's announcing a restructuring plan today, letting go of approximately 15 percent of the company's workforce this quarter. That should translate to about 1,700 fewer employees, as the company employed 11,813 workers as of September. Last November, the company laid off 1,400 employees, and has lost many executives as of late. AMD CFO Thomas Seifert departed just last month. The company says it hopes to save $20 million in Q4 and $190 million in 2013 due to the restructuring.
Oct 13, 2012Read Article >
Yesterday, AMD admitted that sales are going down. Today, multiple sources are reporting that the chip company is planning mass layoffs of as many as 3,500 workers. CNET, All Things D, Bloomberg and Reuters all cite anonymous sources who say that the company will announce layoffs soon, though certain anonymous individuals disagree on the number. Some say the company will let go of at least 10 percent, and up to 20 percent of staffers, and others say 30 percent layoffs have been discussed. The company reported headcount of 11,737 employees as of June, so you can do the math. Sources say AMD will likely announce the layoffs next week.
Oct 9, 2012
When Windows 8 and Windows RT arrive on October 26th, there's going to be a practically unprecedented array of devices to consider, each with their own tradeoffs in performance and battery life. If you're interested in tablet computing, three stand out, though. ARM chips like Nvidia's Tegra 3 will bring flashy Windows RT designs to the fore like the Microsoft Surface and the Asus Vivo Tab RT, while Intel's Clover Trail Atom chip will try to do the same for Windows 8 with a whole host of new modular slates. What's the third, you ask? AMD's Hondo processor. Today, AMD is formally announcing its Z-60 "Hondo" APU, which has a rather different claim to fame. AMD claims that the Z-60's integrated Radeon HD 6250 graphics have five to six times the performance of Intel's last-gen Atom chips, such that a Z-60 system can play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at 1024 x 768 resolution at 30 frames per second.Read Article >
The secret is the strategy: shrink, rather than grow. While Intel's Clover Trail is a more powerful version of its Medfield smartphone silicon, AMD's Hondo is a more power-efficient version of its low-end laptop processor. Just like the AMD C-60 "Ontario" processor you'd find in netbooks last year, the Z-60 is a dual-core 1GHz chip with 80 graphics cores for light video and gaming duties. But, at a comparatively power-efficient 4.5W TDP (compared to the C-60's 9W TDP) it requires even less cooling. Still, it may trail behind Intel a bit: Intel's promising 8.5mm thin tablets, while AMD is targeting a more conservative 10mm at present.
Oct 6, 2012
AMD has posted a video on its YouTube account that points to a hardware announcement on October 9th. Titled TECHnically Beyond Explanation, the clip is a parody of supernatural reality shows like Ghost Hunters. Set in an AMD test facility, it follows two "adventurers" that discover a mysterious laptop inside an old tower PC (something we've seen AMD do before). The pair are dumbfounded to find that "it's cold," and then the theatrics step up a notch. One of the adventurers proclaims "it's been mutated!" before her colleague says "it's not a laptop!" The video ends with a message telling you to check AMD's YouTube page on October 9th where, presumably, the mystery will be solved.Read Article >
Aside from a very silly trailer, what do we have here? The "it's cold" mention seems to imply that AMD will be utilizing a low-power chip — perhaps its Hondo APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) that's scheduled for a 2012 release. The Hondo promises to be a power-efficient chip with an onboard GPU that supports DirectX 11. Even more intriguing than the processor is the form factor of the "mutated" device: when one of the actors opens the hinge, there seems to be a screen where the keyboard should be. Is AMD about to show off a dual-screen device? Or is it simply a tablet inside an empty laptop inside an empty PC tower? We'll find out this Tuesday.
Sep 27, 2012
The release of a new version of Windows always brings about a major upgrade cycle for the PC industry, transforming it in its wake. But Windows 8 looks set to bring about even more dramatic change than usual: a new touch-centric user interface, a deluge of new device sizes and shapes, and, for the first time ever, support for ARM processors make the newest Windows the most revolutionary update that Microsoft has ever attempted. This, says AMD's Leslie Sobon, can only be a good thing for underdogs like her company.Read Article >
Describing the recent history of the PC processor market as "a juggernaut situation" — where Intel's sheer size and scale allow it to maintain an unassailable lead every year — AMD's Corporate VP for the Desktop Product Line welcomes the "chaos" and unpredictability that Windows 8 brings. Come October 26th, we still won't know the best form factor for using the new operating system and there will still be questions about the advantage of using an ARM processor over the legacy-friendly x86 options from Intel and AMD. Contrast that with prior Windows launches, where a "Compatible With" sticker and the latest benchmarks were usually enough for Intel to comfortably keep its market lead.
Aug 1, 2012
AMD has recently lost some prime talent, but now a long-departed chip industry veteran is returning to head its processor group. Jim Keller designed chips for AMD over a decade ago, but he's spent the last several years working as chief architect at Broadcom and — most recently — director of platform architecture at Apple, where he helped lead development of the A4 and A5 system-on-chip used in iOS devices and the Apple TV. Now that he's come back to AMD, Keller will be serving as corporate vice president and chief architect of AMD's microprocessor cores.Read Article >
Although Keller's hire is a bright spot, AMD was decimated back in December, with VP of strategy Patrick Moorhead and Product Director Carrell Killebrew among the departures. Only a week ago, the man responsible for brokering deals between AMD and console makers left for rival Nvidia. Keller will be working under CTO Mark Papermaster, himself a former Apple employee who left in 2010.
Jul 24, 2012
You've probably never heard the name Bob Feldstein, but Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft surely have. He was the vice president of strategic development at AMD, and according to our sources, he brokered the deals that will see the next Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii U all use AMD hardware. He was vice president of engineering at ATI before it got acquired by AMD, and oversaw the Xbox 360's Xenos GPU and the original Wii's Hollywood GPU, among other things. Of the previous console generation, only the PS3, with its Nvidia-powered RSX, had a GPU designed by a rival firm.Read Article >
Why bring that up today? Because after nearly two decades working for Team Red, Feldstein has moved to that rival firm: Nvidia.
Jul 19, 2012
This quarter, AMD isn't alone in feeling a financial burn, but it does have profit to report: In the company's Q2 earnings report, the chipmaker reported a net income of just $37 million, down from $92 million last quarter and $61 million a year ago. Revenues came to $1.41 billion, compared to $1.57 billion this time last year, and $1.59 billion last quarter, down 11 percent sequentially. If that 11 percent sounds familiar, that's because AMD already announced the decline in a preliminary earnings report just nine days ago, likely in an attempt to soften the blow. Even a little profit is better than none, though: last quarter, the company lost $590 million, mostly due to write-offs. We're listening to the investor call right now, and will let you know if Rory Read and company announce anything more interesting.Read Article >
Update: Why are AMD's revenues declining? On the investor call, CEO Rory Read had a lengthy, candid explanation. The company blames weak sales of the current-gen Llano processors. Apparently, there's a huge surplus of those chips, and it's doubtful that sales will increase when Trinity hits gains wide availability in Q3. Senior VP Lisa Su says AMD will "run with both products for some time in the channel" which doesn't bode well for Llano sales. Regarding the Llano overstock, CEO Rory Read says "we'll work through that in the next two quarters" and that the company will "execute inventory burn-off," which could mean processor discounts into the holiday season.
Jul 10, 2012Read Article >
AMD has announced its preliminary results for the second quarter of the year, and things aren't looking good, with revenue expected to drop by approximately 11 percent sequentially. The news comes after AMD reported a $590 million net loss in the first quarter of the year, at which point it forecasted an increase of three percent sequentially for Q2, "plus or minus three percent." The company cites both "softer-than-expected" sales in China and Europe as well as a "weaker consumer buying environment" as reasons for the drop. According to a Bloomberg survey, the 11 percent decrease would amount to approximately $1.41 billion in revenue, which would be a drop from last quarter's $1.59 billion. AMD will be reporting its full second quarter results later this month on July 19th.
Jun 14, 2012
AMD is to include ARM Cortex-A5 CPUs inside its x86 APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) starting from next year. AMD's APUs currently consist of an x86-based processor and an integrated GPU, but the chip maker is to add an ARM CPU as well in order to support advanced security functions.Read Article >
AMD will integrate ARM cores into a select few products at first and will eventually incorporate the chips into all of its APUs. The Cortex-A5 won't be used to run user-focused applications, but instead will take advantage of ARM's TrustZone security feature. TrustZone is already implemented in ARM SoCs, so AMD is buying into a widely-supported standard rather than developing a costly hardware security platform of its own. Intel's security platform, the Trusted Execution Technology, is not part of the x86 specification, so isn't covered by AMD's x86 license.
Jun 13, 2012
"Think about the mountain," says AMD's John Taylor. He's talking about ultrabooks. "As you get up to $799, $899, $999, you've got 50 SKUs sitting up here, at this place. They're going to fall off." He shapes his fingers into a pyramid, so I can visualize the metaphor.Read Article >
The fact that Intel has over 110 design wins for its proprietary laptop platform doesn't seem to phase AMD's director of product marketing very much. In his estimation, Intel's ultrabook initiative isn't just driving quality, it's forcing a homogenization of the laptop market that might leave their manufacturers out in the cold. "There's not room on the shelf to differentiate 50 Intel ultrabooks, particularly if they're called Intel ultrabooks," he says, and I start to wonder if he might have a point.
Jun 6, 2012
Welcome to Computex 2012, the coming-out party for Intel's Ivy Bridge CPU refresh and Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. The two halves of an irresistible hardware-software combination that has dominated the PC world for so long that it has its own nickname — Wintel — came together in Taipei this week to once again reaffirm their supremacy. And AMD just stood on the sidelines, watching and scratching its head.Read Article >
Think about all the marquee devices launched by the likes of Acer and Asus at this show — were any of them AMD-based? The day-zero media blitz from the local Taiwanese vendors and their international competitors was almost exclusively Intel-powered, and where it wasn't, it was because ARM-based processors were starting to encroach upon traditional x86 markets. AMD was a total absentee.
Jun 6, 2012Read Article >
The E-Series APUs will appear in $599 ultra-thin laptops and will be optimized for HTML5 (and therefore Windows 8 Metro apps). AMD claims the new chips will be good for up to 11 hours of usage and says they will last up to 90 minutes longer than comparable Intel chips when web browsing or using flash. You can expect to find the Brazos 2.0 APUs in products from Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba later this year.