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Chief executive officer of Advanced Micro Devices believes that lower cost of the company's A-series "Trinity" accelerated processing units will help it to steal a lot of notebook market share from Intel Corp., which is pushing relatively expensive ultrabooks. The firm believes that it does not need high-end client chips in the light of the fact that that the cloud computing is emerging.

"I think we come in and steal the bacon around the whole thin-and-light movement and capture a significant portion of the opportunity there. [...] That [performance client computing] era is done. There is enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today," said Rory Read, chief executive officer of AMD, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

The head of AMD was referring to the fact that A-series Fusion "Trinity" APUs is behind Intel's Core i-series "Ivy Bridge" chips in terms of general-purpose performance, but is ahead when it comes to graphics processing performance.


What should be kept in mind is that high-performance in the cloud means high-performance server processors. Since technologies used to create high-performance chips are used both for central processing units for datacenters and for microprocessors aimed at client PCs, it is impossible to supply high-end server CPUs and sell low-performance client chips: either both types show decent performance or both do not. Nowadays AMD's highest-performance FX-series microprocessors are behind of Intel's performance-mainstream Core i7-3000-series chips across the board.

Mr. Read claims that instead of boosting general-purpose performance of client CPUs, AMD needs to integrate as many functions as possible into its microprocessors, something that makers of ARM-based system-on-chips do.

Tags: AMD, Trinity, Fusion, 32nm, Radeon, Intel, Core, Ivy Bridge, Opteron, Xeon


Comments currently: 33
Discussion started: 05/17/12 09:17:30 AM
Latest comment: 08/29/12 11:28:15 AM
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I totally agree with him in his point that "AMD needs to integrate as many functions as possible into its microprocessors". I'm very keen to see the whole functionality of southbridge chipset being integrated into the APU die. Nevertheless, the single and multi thread performance of the CPU side has to be improved to keep up with the increasing software demand for general-purpose computation power and remain competitive with intel's solutions.
2 2 [Posted by: texasti  | Date: 05/17/12 09:17:30 AM]

"The firm believes that it does not need high-end client chips in the light of the fact that that the cloud computing is emerging." - And I must agree, I have just bought a cheap Chinese android tablet, installed on it VNC viewer and now it's quite cool to write programs in VB.NET, or use it for DB administration.
You don't need a powerful mobile computer, you just need something that is enough and has long battery life.
1 2 [Posted by: knedle  | Date: 05/17/12 09:55:52 AM]
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It's not an either/or proposition. I agree that power-sipping portables with integrated Radeon cores is the way to go for the tablet/thin & light laptop/htpc segments, but for desktop CPUs and server CPUs in more demanding processor roles, AMD does need to put out competitive x86 CPUs or become irrelevant. It's up to them.

If they really believe fusion is the way forward, then they need to dedicate the money they're not spending on R&D for top-tier x86 performance on actually writing the OpenCL code needed by software developers to easily integrate that functionality for AMD CPUs/APUs. They can't just say it's possible, and leave it to the software developers to figure out how to do it, or they won't bother. AMD needs to be MUCH more aggressive about ensuring that a game or application program detects an AMD CPU/APU/AMD graphics card and installs the optimized code to accelerate that program for that hardware.
0 0 [Posted by: anubis44  | Date: 05/28/12 07:48:48 AM]

show the post
1 6 [Posted by: Azazel  | Date: 05/17/12 10:10:46 AM]
- collapse thread

because computers today have so much wasted power in the GPU if you don't use it for gaming or other GPU related tasks.

I could love to have my laptop to use every available horsepower it got, no matter the maker of cpu/gpu combo.
0 1 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 05/17/12 11:24:10 AM]
Actually this is one of the reasons I bought a Brazos based EEE and frankly I love it. the non GPU heavy tasks I have don't need a lot of power, web browsing, editing multitracks (not adding effects of course, simply checking levels and making sure they came out alright) and working on word docs. But the nice thing about the brazos chips is when i want to watch movies or Internet TV that GPU takes most of the load and the smaller CPU gives me great battery life. i went from less than 4 hours on my big 17 incher to over 6 watching video and over 7 doing basic web tasks, and the 12 inch weighs half as much and is easy to carry.

All in all I can see what they are going for and for many people like me it works whereas the Atom units simply were too slow graphics wise.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 05/28/12 08:34:01 PM]
GPU lag is much more frequently experienced and noticeable than CPU lag. The average load on all notebooks running at this moment is close to zero.
2 1 [Posted by: grundfunk  | Date: 05/17/12 11:28:27 AM]
OpenCL uses the hundreds/thousands of ALU processing units to simultaneously process large amounts of parallelizable data. i.e. music, image, computations, etc. CPU's are not designed for massive threading, and they will choke the system right away.

OpenCL is designed for heterogenous computing and the next generation of APU's will be a new form of processors that can handle large amounts of serial, parallel vector/scalar data. There will not be a CPU or GPU anymore. It will be the ultimate processor that will handle vector/scalar data.

The latter does not mean discrete GPUs are history, since they will be needed. Though, the new generation of processors can handle any kind of data by itself without having to send/receive data through the bus.

Whoever designs a native CPU/GPU hybrid processor will have the best competing technology, and AMD has an advantage with the APU's. Intel does not have high performance GPU's, but it is caching up. Some with misleading advertisings, for the naive buyers, and some with actual technology like Ivy Bridge gpu's.
1 1 [Posted by: scoob  | Date: 05/17/12 11:37:20 AM]
This guy is the worst CEO AMD has ever had. He is turning AMD into a 2nd tier budget brand. The only bright star remaining is their HD7800/7900 series. Bulldozer is a completely fail and Trinity's GPU didn't live up to expectations. Battery life still trails Intel and GPU performance loses to budget Kepler GT630M.

Once Read took the CEO post, he stated on many occasions that he wants to target emerging and low-cost market segments, not enthusiasts. Since that point in time, I lost all hope that AMD's CPU division will be competitive in the next 10 years.
2 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/19/12 09:03:14 AM]
Worse than Ruiz? The current situation AMD is in, is because of Ruiz. Sanders gave them the edge in processor performance (there's always quite a lag), Ruiz did very little to advance that, and now they're screwed with obsolete designs, and no fabs to build them in, so they lose any synergy of building to their own fab process. Ruiz seriously damaged the company, and this new clown has to work with what he has, and he has very little in the way of CPU technology. What can he say? CPU power is very important. Oh by the way, we don't have much of that. He has inferior CPUs to work with, so naturally he downplays the importance of them.
0 0 [Posted by: TA152H  | Date: 05/19/12 03:25:20 PM]
Ya, I agree with you. I may have been harsh. I am just frustrated after owning Athlon XP and X2 that I no longer have a choice for performance based AMD CPU on the desktop. You are right that he came in when AMD was already in trouble. At the same time what he is doing now is repositioning AMD into low-end segments and I am not a fan of that either. Also, he is the one who oversaw the pricing on Bulldozer and huge price increases with HD7000 series. The launch pricing for FX8120 and esp. FX8150 was outrageous!
3 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/19/12 08:29:45 PM]

AMD is definitely on the right track IMO and sales of their APUs confirm this. Trinity most definitely will steal Intel's Ultra-Expensive-Book's lunch.

Even with the bribe money Intel has been paying, sales suck on Ultrabooks. Trinity is good for consumers and more than what 90% of mainstream laptop users need or desire. Ultrathins are going to be very profitable for AMD.
5 5 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 05/17/12 01:07:08 PM]
- collapse thread

What makes you think that 90% of mainstream consumers wouldn't be willing to pay a $200-400 price premium for a laptop that fits their criteria of good battery life, thin form factor, high quality materials, nice screen?

Their best shot with this strategy is to target countries with lower income levels and emerging markets. It will be very hard to gain traction in US/Canada where most consumers in the Ultrabook segment would rather pay more $ for a nicer laptop that they'll use for 3-4 years than cheap out and get a crappy $400-500 laptop that's "good enough." The whole point of Ultrabooks is to deliver a more premium laptop experience, not a budget laptop experience. Perhaps in 4-5 years most Ultrabooks will cost just $400-500 and has magnesium/carbon fibre bodies, but not today.

As it stands, Trinity's CPU performance is still slow and battery life is behind:

Furthermore, budget laptops don't have SSDs that Ultrabooks have. This will hurt the overall user experience.

More and more people who go to college realize their computer will serve them for 4 years. Professionals wouldn't be caught dead with a cheap looking laptop with a crappy screen. Most of these customers would rather get a decent laptop for $700-1,500 than a cheap crappy laptop for $400-500. The $700 Intel laptop will also entitle them to a FREE Xbox 360 that they can sell, making the Intel laptop just as cheap, despite offering superior CPU performance and battery life.

Free Xbox with a $600 laptop in Canada and $700 laptop in US:

The Trinity A10-4600M GPU is laughable for games as it can't even play Diablo 3 smoothly at 1080P (sure it's better than HD4000 but that doesn't say much). http://www.notebookcheck....-Benchmarked.74918.0.html

The fact of the matter Trinity APU still falls way short of the performance compared to even GT630M:

Soon there will be plenty of Intel laptops for $700-800 with fast i5 CPUs, superior battery life and GT630M/640M Kepler GPUs. Most consumers will go that route, except for countries where income is low and in cases where such laptops are unaffordable.

Also, Ultrabooks currently represent an upper mid-range to high-end segment of the market, where the target consumers are paying for thin form factor, battery life and high quality materials. AMD currently doesn't have a single win in this area from any major manufacturer.

Instead this is the type of laptops they are putting their APUs in - $400-500 level:

I think you are confused about what the Ultrabook segment is and what consumers it's meant to target. At this time Ultrabooks are not $400-600 budget laptops with plastic casing. Therefore, Trinity does not directly compete with them. If AMD gets some design wins, and introduces more quality laptops, then they might start competing.

The reason Trinity will succeed is because it will target the budget $400-600 market segment. In terms of performance and battery life the Intel + Kepler combination is far superior in every way imaginable for most consumers, but of course it will cost more $. AMD has found a market segment that Intel doesn't care to occupy since the margins are too low in this space. Basically AMD has chosen to go after a niche segment - budget laptops. It is a smart strategy since Intel is more focused on the mid-range and high-end markets.

To state that Trinity will steal "Intel's Ultrabook" lunch is like stating that Honda Civic will steal BMW M3's lunch. They are competing in entirely different price segments targeting entirely different consumer income levels. When AMD has Ultrathin laptops for $800-1,300 that can compare to Asus X32UVD, HP Spectre, MacBook Air, Samsung Series 9, Lenovo U300, Lenovo X1 Carbon, then you can start making that statement. Until then Trinity is for budget laptop segment.
3 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/19/12 08:19:46 AM]

I don't see the wisdom of this. If you go for minimum performance someone will do it cheaper, probably some third world company. And GPU also will hit a ceiling for laptops as well. Lowballers are not going to make much money.

And if computation is happening in the cloud but AMD is uncompetitive in the server area they can be shut out of there as well. They need to get their act together in the server area. That means they need more powerful CPUs.

This is the way I see it: Intel made a more powerful CPU, AMD correctly realized it needed a faster chip to compete, it made what it thought was going to be a fast chip, it was slow (partly OS at fault but only partly), so they say "Oh, CPU? Who needs CPU". Stupid! You are a CPU company, fix the blasted thing before you fall even further behind. Going on a fantasy sidetrack is an Ostrich move.

Bandwidth may be improving for mobile devises but I suspect there will be a limit. There has got to be a saturation point. There is just no substitute for processing on the device. Sure, lots of things can be done by cloud but if some things can't and if you have the choice of buying one that can do the other things as well, which one do you buy?

Do you think robots, such as automated cars, when they really arrive, will be run by cloud? I doubt it, they would have to be able to run when there is no connection, that means on-board processing. And they would need to navigate and process sensor the way I would do it.

And when cloud companies start to gouge people we are not going to be very happy. Think about it. If one company makes the CPUs for clouds (servers), what is to stop them from giving one cloud company a deal on the chips in exchange for exclusivity, and presenting everyone else with a high cost. That allows this privileged cloud company to out compete and they buy up all the others. Then the primary CPU company can raise the cost of CPUs. The cloud company would not mind, it has a monopoly and can pass the increased cost onto the consumer and a little extra as well because they have an excuse.

I am not saying this will happen but to avoid it we may need some government intervention.

Really, Intel, Microsoft and some other large companies such as cell phone companies, oil companies, and banks should have been broken up decades ago...and we are all worse off because of it. Things are getting worse because voters have been fooled into thinking all regulation is bad. Obviously, that is nuts...but not obvious to enough apparently. Apparently, not enough people have had enough economics to realize the misfortune of monopoly and near monopoly of sectors of the economy for the society so burdened.

The cheapest 8-core Sandy Bridge Xeon is at best $1100. And about 2 grand and up for anything with reasonable clock speed. And that is not even Ivy Bridge yet. Where is AMD? Sleeping! Wake-up or go the way of the Dodo!
0 2 [Posted by: mindbreaker  | Date: 05/17/12 07:32:06 PM]
- collapse thread

Wake-up or go the way of the Dodo!

AMD will go the way of the Dodo when Intel adds ECC to its consumer-level processors :D

Of course, that's just my point of view - I have recently decided that my data is very important to me and my next system will be with ECC memory which excludes Intel since I cannot pay for server-grade gear. ECC may not be the majority's concern (but it should be!) but it comes to illustrate a point about Intel's marketing policy. Whereas AMD's CPU within the same generation differ only in speed Intel will cut various features. A typical example is virtualization where for some time it was almost impossible to know in advance whether a particular Intel chip supports it or not. Now it's the AVX where some SB chips support it and others don't which delays the adoption of said feature by software developers. Wherever Intel has had significant market dominance the rate of CPU innovation had slowed down because Intel segregates the market so it can milk the most out of it. Want virtualization? - "Well," says Intel, "all our processors have it. But it's only activated in the more expensive ones." Fuck that!

I'm not saying that AMD will be any different should they ever come to dominate the CPU market. But for the time being they are the good guys, the underdogs, the David fighting the Goliath. And my next CPU will be AMD because it's the only one that offers the features that I need. Plus I'll feel good about my purchase. If I buy Intel, I'll feel like a whore.
0 2 [Posted by: kokara4a  | Date: 05/17/12 11:36:59 PM]
Price is the achilles heel of the intelligent dinosaur. Smaller/cheaper is the way out. The sky is not falling, my friend. By the way, what is your CPU right now?
0 0 [Posted by: grundfunk  | Date: 05/18/12 01:46:24 AM]
"Things are getting worse because voters have been fooled into thinking all regulation is bad"
Ironically we only have this issue BECAUSE of regulation. Specifically government mandated monopolies granted via patents.

Remember transmeta?
And nVidia said they wanted to build an x86 CPU and could do a good job of it (so they say) but are not legally allowed to.

Rather then breaking those companies up, revoke their patents. (and while you are at it, revoke 99%+ of patents)
0 2 [Posted by: taltamir  | Date: 05/18/12 02:19:28 AM]

Amd-s piledriver core is good and if they enchant multitrading they have chance. Half die size of Trinity is empty! A piledriver module is smaller then Intel's core.
Intel's gpu is as good as Trinitys per a die size. All that about gpu and agpu computing is mistake. Amd and Intel shud insted upgrade they alu units for much bigger performance (4x). Loongson did this with 2x256 alu units per core. Its much more power efficient this way and moch more easy for programmers.
A 8 module fx with dtp of 130 W without gpu shud be a good thing.
0 0 [Posted by: Zola  | Date: 05/18/12 05:20:02 AM]

your avg consumor couldn't tell a diff in performance between a Core i7 Ivy Bridge and a Core 2 Duo Quad, because most consumors don't uses their pc's for anything beyond surfing the net and watchign vidoes and doing word processing. What your avg consumor does know is batteyr life and that is the key for all mobile devices.
2 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 05/18/12 05:48:43 AM]
- collapse thread

And Trinity/Llano meets all of mainstream consumers needs for hundreds of dollars less than Intel so AMD's Ultrathins will definitely steal Ultrabooks lunch.
4 6 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 05/18/12 06:05:21 AM]

Intel will just reduce their margins. Agree that more fully integrated SoCs are the way to go for mobility though.
0 0 [Posted by: hahnchen  | Date: 05/18/12 06:27:41 AM]

Whenever some idiot says laptops or chips have enough power they are living in denial. There is an inexorable march towards much more complex apps and chips that are exponentially more powerful than todays. This would be like saying: all 27 color TVs are good enough. An incredibly stupid statement.
3 2 [Posted by: beck2448  | Date: 05/18/12 08:02:32 AM]
- collapse thread

I am not convinced either way, but it seems odd to me that AMD now believes that the market wants or is fine with stagnated performance on the CPU front. There is only a small class of appications in the consumer space that can benefit from GPGPU, the CPU is still the central component for most serial tasks.
4 0 [Posted by: jumpingjack  | Date: 05/19/12 01:47:42 AM]
He is basically saying they are not going to fight for mainstream or high-end CPU markets anymore. This is why many people have left AMD because they don't agree with Read's strategy to dumb down AMD's CPU division.

The only way this strategy will work is if they have substantially better battery life or significantly underprice Intel. Right now more people are willing to buy nicer quality laptops now, not plastic / cheap looking laptops. And battery wise, Trinity still loses.
4 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/19/12 08:15:05 AM]

Actually most mainstream consumers could not care less what APU/CPU is in their machine. The only folks leaving AMD are those who feel they need the highest performing CPU and are willing to pay a premium for this. That would be desktop enthusiasts only. The rest of the market which = 90+% of PC sales, buys whatever makes them happy and that is based on actual system performance and VALUE.

Few consumers are willing to be financially exploited by Intel when they can get the same performance from AMD for hundreds less be it laptop, desktop or server. As Intel has learned the hard way they literally can NOT buy Ultrabook sales even with all the bribe money they have been paying OEM's to lower the retail price.

Rory is absolutely correct that AMD Ultrathins costing hundreds less than Intel Ultrabooks will steal Intel's lunch. People who vote with their wallet which are the majority of consumers simply refuse to be exploited by Intel.

As every Trinity laptop review shows, AMD has what mainstream consumers desire and Intel is on the losing end of the deal even with Ivy Bridge as it cost hundreds more and delivers less of a user experience in mainstream apps.

For those who haven't figured it out yet - with an APU, CPU performance is not 100% isolated from GPU performance. In fact Trinity is better in actual use than synthetic benches show because the benches measure individual CPU performance and not real performance. In addition few people other than enthusiasts are willing to pay for over-priced top of the heap laptop, desktop or server CPUs because they are a poor value and just an ego trip. No one is complaining about the performance of Llano or Trinity powered laptops because they deliver everything mainstream consumers want and need.

Personally I could not care less what people buy but the facts are AMD is definitely the leader in laptop performance for the masses with Trinity as they were with Llano. Being a fanbois or twisting the facts to support your belief doesn't change reality or mainstream consumer's desire for value.

The real money for a mfg. is made on the masses. AMD is focused on them at the moment which they should be. As AMD continues to make more money, increase it's resources and take market share from Intel, it will start to offer desktop and server APUs that do it all and at more affordable prices than discrete CPU/GPU systems. Over-priced discrete CPUs will be left primarily for those folks with more money than good judgment.
3 1 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 05/19/12 11:22:17 AM]

all your performance issues are belong to us !

We aren't IN the cloud, we ARE the cloud........
always have been, always will be, so just stfu & be happy

WE alone control your computing life, so again, just stfu & get over yourself !
0 1 [Posted by: bowwowman  | Date: 05/19/12 04:06:46 PM]

"That [performance client computing] era is done. There is enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today," said Rory Read, chief executive officer of AMD"

That is just something the slow power hogs say to make themselves feel better.
1 0 [Posted by: GreenChile  | Date: 05/20/12 03:18:38 PM]
- collapse thread

You don't hear consumers complaining about Llano or Trinity performance but you do about Sandy Bride laptop chips which can't run video. Ivy Bridge HD 4000 laptop chippies are almost able to catch up to Llano in graphics - when Intel's drivers actually work.

Just as most consumers do not need the fastest desktop or server CPU, laptop consumers don't need the fast CPU performance because any on the current laptop APUs will do anything mainstream consumers desire without issues. In fact some reviewers of Trinity laptops admitted that they could not really tell the diff in performance between a 45w Ivy Bridge and a 35w Trinity laptop - in actual use.

Harping on CPU beformance is a waste of time when consumers get a better user experience and value with Llano or Trinity over Intel powered laptops. For those few people who run benches all day for amusement (sic), or those with some specific application that requires the maximum CPU performance possible in an APU but little to no GPU performance, there is the over-priced Intel SB or IB. For the rest of the world there is Llano and Trinity and that's a good thing.

There is no financial exploitation of consumers on Llano or Trinity powered laptops, just good performance and value.

You can hate the message and the messenger but it don't change reality.
2 2 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 05/20/12 09:06:17 PM]

High-Performance chips (CPU)are small part of market.I do not know how much it would be profitable for AMD.AMD already make high perfomance chip on gpu market it is better than Intel well known fact.So if you compare Ivy and Buldozer I generation diffrence is 15-20 % with better mutlithreading solution on AMD CPUs.I hope that piledriver fix that.
0 1 [Posted by: Blackcode  | Date: 05/21/12 04:20:12 AM]


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