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The inability of Advanced Micro Devices to address the rapidly growing market of smartphones and media tablets due to the lack of ARM-based solutions in its portfolio amid inability to design a leading-edge high-end x86 central processing unit may lead to sinking into irrelevancy, according to a semiconductor market analyst. Without competitive chips the company will be unable to meet its financial goals going forward.

"We maintain our view that AMD is being structurally squeezed by poor competitive positioning and longstanding operational struggles. AMD is on the verge of sinking into irrelevancy as ARM-based competitors gain share in low-end computing and Intel extends its advantages in performance and manufacturing,” wrote Daniel Berenbaum, an analyst with MKM Partners, reports Forbes.

AMD is concentrating around the so-called x86 everywhere strategy that dictates the company to tailor x86 architecture for all types of devices, from handsets to high-end servers. Even though the absolute majority of ultra-portable devices are powered by chips with ARM architecture due to its dramatically lower power requirements, AMD asserts that ARM is incapable of reaching performance levels of x86. At the same time, the company is risking to miss the smartphone/media tablet bandwagon as it is only beginning to design x86 chips for the latter and even has no plans for the former.

The company's latest high-performance x86 processor micro-architecture code-named Bulldozer failed to outperform Intel Corp.'s latest Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" chips in client applications, which naturally rises concerns about AMD's ability to score lucrative design wins with its latest FX-series central processing units. Moreover, if AMD's chips fail to outperform Intel's products in server applications as well, the company may not be able to regain the high-margin server market share.

One of the company's pearls is its ATI graphics processor design unit that manages to introduce competitive solutions. In fact, AMD is one of the two remaining developers of discrete graphics chips for personal computers with about 50% market share. The company can integrate its latest graphics technologies into Fusion accelerated processing units with its latest x86 Bulldozer cores to provide a decent mainstream offering. Unfortunately, AMD has been plagued by product delays for many years now and while analyst are confident in AMD's technologies, they do not believe in consistent execution.

"It’s difficult to remember the last product AMD launched on time, and it is now evident that, even aside from manufacturing challenges with partner GlobalFoundries, AMD’s technology roadmap is severely lagging. Third-party reviews indicate that the performance of new products based on the Bulldozer architecture is disappointing – this means that AMD will likely remain a bystander in the ongoing data center build cycle (which has accrued significant benefit to Intel), and will now also miss a window to compete in consumer PCs," added Mr. Berenbaum.

Tags: AMD, ARM, x86, Opteronm Bulldozer, Orochi, Zambezi, Piledriver, Steamroller, Excavator

Discussion

Comments currently: 15
Discussion started: 10/14/11 06:18:16 AM
Latest comment: 10/18/11 05:17:04 AM
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1. 
If this is true, it is a sad, sad day for both AMD and Intel fans. AMD fans lose their favourite company, and Intel fans will be stuck with an Intel monopoly and ridiculous prices.

On the other hand, maybe a new technological challenger to Intel is just what we need to usher into new designs and new era of computing. Maybe we will move away from multi-core to single core systems running at 20+ ghz. Who knows what clever minds can come up with?
3 0 [Posted by: crointel  | Date: 10/14/11 06:18:16 AM]
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More than 20GHz? Let's assume 20GHz. In one cycle, light in a vacuum can only travel 15mm.

Do you understand the implications of that? That's without any real world limitations, like wire resistance. 20GHz is not practical in a sensible CPU.
1 1 [Posted by: DavidC2  | Date: 10/14/11 07:59:06 AM]
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With Silicon Germanium in CPUs, back in 2001 Intel and IBM both exceeded 300GHz with air cooling solution and 500+GHz with more extreme cooling solutions. Problem is that everything else in your system would bottleneck and make the performance advantage of such a chip minor in comparison to what it can really do.
2 0 [Posted by: amdme127  | Date: 10/14/11 10:56:05 AM]
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thats a single transistor (based on exotic semiconductors like diamond (2Thrz can be theoretical archived) and for david. i believe that you can have higher frequencies because the signal will travel the first cycle 15mm than the next signal comes but it can never catch up whit the previous one. the problem would be crosstalk etc.
0 0 [Posted by: massau  | Date: 10/14/11 11:34:23 AM]
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show the post
0 3 [Posted by: dukie_bref  | Date: 10/14/11 05:59:46 PM]
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2. 
Another positve, upbeat well researched article by Xbits to spread FUD regarding AMD, or maybe just FUD. Do ya see a pattern here? The good news is the InHell fanbois have been attacking AMD for over 35 years and AMD continues to deliver products that consumers desire aka Llano, Zambezi and Opterons - ALL of which AMD can not produce fast enough to meet demand. Cray got the first 10,000 Opterons for Supercomputer use. That speaks volumes about the Bulldozer architecture used in Opterons.
5 5 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 10/14/11 09:01:50 AM]
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Totally agree. This article is stupid for the reasons of:

1. ARM isn't profitable
2. ARM isn't going to beat Intel in performance anytime soon
3. AMD is quite competitive in desktops and servers using x86, they don't have to "win".
4. AMD's laptops piss all over Intel's (I have a SNB and a Llano, ask me which I prefer).
5. Diversifying one's products costs a lot of money

Maybe if we had fewer analysts, traders, executives, lawyers and businessmen, and more engineers, scientists and programmers, perhaps we would live in some futuristic Utopian society, instead of the giant race to the bottom that we're in now.
3 2 [Posted by: dukie_bref  | Date: 10/14/11 03:47:02 PM]
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3. 
this article seems to be from arm with some bitter of failed deal to get amd onboard using arm's IP. complain all it can. amd doesn't care about it at all. amd only need to do what it is doing best in x86 and not arm type chip. let arm go flirt with other chip makers.amd nor intel care about arm's IP. arm just have to do by itself. arm seems to get on with mobile devices but arm is losing at desktop and server devices. arm beware amd and intel might just take over mobile as well.
2 0 [Posted by: idonotknow  | Date: 10/15/11 11:28:51 AM]
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4. 
This analyst don't know what he is talking about. My magic 8-ball is much better than him. Why does he still have job?
1 0 [Posted by: goury  | Date: 10/16/11 06:26:35 AM]
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5. 
Release Trinity ASAPthat's is the only way to make AMD competitive. Don't wait for Ivy bridge, do it now.
0 0 [Posted by: pogsnet  | Date: 10/16/11 09:56:40 PM]
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6. 
Analyst: AMD is on the verge of sinking into irrelevancy
Is that one of those analysts who predicted AMD shares @12$/share just a couple months back?

BD has no chances in server market because none of Heads of IT being in their right mind is going to put his credibility on table for purchasing the chip which has gotten such awful reviews. Yes,yes, these are for desktops but it changes nothing because the same Orochi die is inside server and desktop parts.

Only Cray may buy a couple of tens thanks to upgrade parts in his old SLAs.

BTW, i'm even no sure that this 16c monster is capable to outperform two-years old Xeons w/ 6c/12t in most of cases.
1 2 [Posted by: Azazel  | Date: 10/16/11 10:32:27 PM]
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"Yes,yes, these are for desktops but it changes nothing because the same Orochi die is inside server and desktop parts."


except of course that it changes EVERYTHING as the benchmarks that BD does do well in are exactly what a server workload looks like.
heavily threaded applications are precisely what BD is good at, and where HT is more a hindrance then a help.
and that's what servers do most of the time.

no head of IT worth his salt would look at anything other then what the new servers will be used for. he couldn't give a shit about games or that POS superPI.

server bulldozers are already on backorder
1 2 [Posted by: Countess  | Date: 10/17/11 05:57:03 AM]
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7. 
AMD does not have the money to fund the huge R and D necessary to compete. Their market cap is 3.5 billion and almost half of that is securing debt. By comparison Nvidia is 9 billion with no debt, almost all just dedicated to graphics. Intel is 122 billion with little debt. AMD'S competitors can afford to hire the best people and more of them. In the server market (under 8%) and in the pro graphics market (under 15%) AMD is almost extinct.
0 0 [Posted by: beck2448  | Date: 10/18/11 03:33:50 AM]
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8. 
if AND ONLY IF arm can show a sign of DESKTOP and SERVER operation systems (windows, linux, etc) will AMD or INTEL look at ARM in an eye half closed. we know win8 will be running with arm cpu. but that is too small a piece of the pie from other x86 OS out there.if ARM is serious enough than make it's CPU be able to run linux. just both desktop and server versions of UBUNTU is enough for ARM to compete with AMD and INTEL.

i know i'm selfish there about Linux because the last several years i had been using Ubuntu much more often than windows. both os and apps are free no need to spend thousands for office suite, os, and other applications. if and only if i bought a hardware that only work with windows than i will reboot to windows otherwise i'm in Linux only. most of the time that i'm out to windows is for playing World of Warcraft. i know wow can be running in Ubuntu but it's not that hard just to reboot in less than 30 seconds.

ARM go with linux and i might just be the first batch of customers. more will show up i'm sure.
0 1 [Posted by: idonotknow  | Date: 10/18/11 05:17:04 AM]
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