Technologizer posts about AMD

Think that Ultrabooks–which generally go from $900 to $1400–are too pricey? AMD wants to bring the price down to $800, says Digitimes’ Monica Chen. (Machines based on its chips will have to be called something other than “Ultrabooks,” though–that’s Intel’s moniker.)

Posted by Harry at 8:10 am

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AMD Goes the Open Route With HD3D

By  |  Posted at 7:01 pm on Thursday, October 21, 2010

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AMD thinks the best way to assemble a stereoscopic 3D PC gaming rig is to pick all the parts yourself.

To that end, the chipmaker is launching HD3D, an answer to NVidia’s 3D Vision technology that takes an open approach to software and hardware support. AMD already supports 3D in some of its graphics cards, but HD3D is more of a philosophy for how AMD will treat the technology. And for the most part, that philosophy comes down to the kind of glasses you’ll use.

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Forget the iPods and Apple TV; David Pogue has the best news I’ve heard all week: Starting next year, AMD will make the stickers it slaps on laptop palm rests considerably less annoying to remove. They’ll peel off easily and leave no sticky gunk behind. Maybe other companies will follow suit, or better yet, get rid of those ugly advertisements altogether.

Posted by Jared at 1:40 pm


New HP Notebooks: Envy Updates, Posher Pavilions, AMD (Almost) Everywhere

By  |  Posted at 12:56 pm on Wednesday, May 5, 2010


HP announced scads of new notebooks today. I’m not going to try and cover every detail on every model. But here are a few notes on items I found interesting. (I was briefed by the company and saw the new systems in person.)

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AMD CPUs inside Apple computers? I’ll believe it when I see it. Even if the two companies are talking, it doesn’t mean much. (Wouldn’t Apple be nuts not to explore its processor options from time to time, especially when it’s negotiating future plans with Intel?) I’d love to see it happen, though–if nothing else it would be an entertaining news story to cover…

Posted by Harry at 10:49 am


The FTC Sues Intel

By  |  Posted at 1:21 pm on Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Last month, Intel and AMD settled their differences with an agreement that ended the long-running legal battle between the world’s largest CPU maker and its much smaller rival. Today, Intel is in hot water with an organization far more powerful than AMD: the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is suing the company, accusing it of abusing its dominating market position to stifle competion. And the most interesting parts of the FTC’s list of complaints involve not CPUs but GPUs. Which is not a market that Intel controls in the least–Nvidia and AMD dominate discrete graphics, and Intel was recently forced to indefinitely delay its Larrabee GPU.  But the FTC says that Intel makes it difficult for PC manufacturers to choose Nvidia or AMD graphics options by charging them higher prices for CPUs than if they opt for Intel’s less powerful integrated graphics.

Here’s Intel’s response to the suit, in which it says it was on the verge of a settlement with the FTC, and that it’s the victim of a rush to judgment.

I don’t know enough about the backstory to have an opinion of the specifics of the FTC’s charges, and I like free markets more than government interference, but this I know: Consumers benefit when there are multiple healthy competitors in a category. If PC manufacturers make technology decisions based primarily on fear of Intel–which is what the FTC claims–it’s not good for anybody except Intel.

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Intel and AMD Declare a Truce of Sorts

By  |  Posted at 9:55 am on Thursday, November 12, 2009


Intel and AMDOne of the longest-running, fiercest battles in tech isn’t exactly ending–but it’s sure entering a new phase. Today, Intel and AMD announced that they’ve reached a settlement that ends their legal wrangling (most notably AMD’s lawsuit against Intel for monopoly abuse), establishes a patent cross-licensing agreement, sets ground rules for how Intel can compete with AMD, and puts $1.25 billion of Intel’s money in AMD’s pockets.

The agreement doesn’t end legal action against Intel by government officials, such as the EU’s $1.45 billion fine for abusive business practices (which Intel is appealing) or New York State’s recently-filed lawsuit.

For consumers, the major question about the settlement is pretty simple: Does it increase the likelihood of healthy competition between Intel and AMD, thereby driving greater chip innovation and lower prices so that we get the most PC possible for our money? We’ll see. But it’s fascinating to look at what Intel has agreed to refrain from doing, as reported by Cnet:

• Offering inducements to customers in exchange for their agreement to buy all of their microprocessor needs from Intel, whether on a geographic, market segment, or any other basis

• Offering inducements to customers in exchange for their agreement to limit or delay their purchase of microprocessors from AMD, whether on a geographic, market segment, or any other basis

• Offering inducements to customers in exchange for their agreement to limit their engagement with AMD or their promotion or distribution of products containing AMD microprocessors, whether on a geographic, channel, market segment, or any other basis

• Offering inducements to customers in exchange for their agreement to abstain from or delay their participation in AMD product launches, announcements, advertising, or other promotional activities

• Offering inducements to customers or others to delay or forebear in the development or release of computer systems or platforms containing AMD microprocessors, whether on a geographic, market segment, or any other basis

• Offering inducements to retailers or distributors to limit or delay their purchase or distribution of computer systems or platforms containing AMD microprocessors, whether on a geographic, market segment, or any other basis

• Withholding any benefit or threatening retaliation against anyone for their refusal to enter into a prohibited arrangement such as the ones listed above.

Basically, Intel’s agreeing not to take actions that would shut AMD out of dealing with major PC companies entirely, or hobble it so severely that it might as well be shut out. Sounds good to me. I wanna have the opportunity to choose between PCs based on a variety of processors from multiple companies.

Ultimately, AMD has always fared best when its portfolio of chips has been at its strongest in comparison to Intel’s offerings. Today’s agreement won’t have any immediate effect on its product lineup, of course. But if it increases the chances that a great AMD chip will get a great response from the industry, it would be…great.

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AMD Keeps It Simple. Very Simple.

By  |  Posted at 7:41 am on Thursday, September 10, 2009


For as long as I can remember, AMD has been trying to convince the world to worry less about specsmanship when thinking about the CPUs inside PCs. It’s often had a point, such as when it argued that processor clockspeeds were a lousy way to judge a chip’s performance. (It largely won that war when Intel deemphasized clockspeeds in its marketing, although I have a sneaking suspicion that consumers still use them as a primary means of comparing processors.)

Now AMD is making a dramatic bid to simplify branding of its CPUs down to the bare essentials. In fact, rather than emphasizing specific CPUs at all, it will focus on three levels of performance:

AMD Vision

PCs with Vision technology are basic machines designed for Web browsing, music listening, and the like. Ones with Vision Premium are potent enough to handle video and audio conversion well, as well as gaming. And Vision Ultimate indicates that a PC is well suited to video recording, audio editing, advanced photo editing, and the like.

Beyond the fancy stickers, there are two simple ideas here: AMD is emphasizing media applications (which makes sense, since video and audio-related performance is the main reason to worry about what chip you get at all) and is giving consumers the classic choice between good, better, and best. (However, it plans to introduce Vision Black, a sort of “bester” designation aimed at gamers and enthusiasts, early next year.)

Intel, meanwhile, is trying to simplify performance comparisons, too–but its menu of choices is broader and more complicated, and it’s not always easy to figure out how everything relates. Which brings up an issue with Vision that’s out of AMD’s control: The most important CPU comparisons are those you make between processors from competing companies, and it isn’t obvious how the three Vision options map to Intel’s chip family.

I’m sure that serious tech enthusiasts will squawk that AMD is dumbing things down too much (and the company does say that it’ll use more traditional, meaty technical facts to market its chips and technology for that crowd). But when I think about how I buy PCs these days, the Vision distinctions would probably do the trick. There was a time when I dithered over whether I needed a CPU with a math coprocessor, and got excited over stuff like MMX extensions. Today, I mostly want a general idea of whether the processor will be potent enough for the tasks I’m likely to throw at it. And once I’ve plunked down my money for a computer, I tend to forget what’s inside.

How much time do you spend thinking about CPUs these days?


Your Questions, AMD’s Answers

By  |  Posted at 9:37 am on Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Technologizer;s Q&A[A NOTE FROM HARRY: Here's the inaugural edition of a new feature: Technologizer Q&A. We'll give you the opportunity to pose questions to interesting technology companies. First up is chipmaker AMD--many thanks to VP of Advanced Marketing Pat Moorhead for answering these queries.

Got nominations for other companies you'd like answers from? Let me know--I'm lining up subjects for future installments.]

Fernando Garcia asks:

I have always asked the following question. Why is it that AMD will not step up advertising? A good 70% of the consumer public,still does not know what AMD is. I used to work for Best Buy and on the average day, one out of eight persons I would speak to knew what AMD was. Whenever I asked a customer  about processors automatically they would say Intel.

Pat answers:

Simply taking out more advertising does not guarantee a product’s success. I think the best way to answer that is AMD chooses to focus differently. We first focus on making our customers and their channel partners successful by investing in them, not leveraging off their brandsby sandwiching them between AMD logos. We want to invest in our customers’ success. For those people who are specifically focused on the “processor,” we have very high awareness and market directly to end user groups. These include but are not limited to enthusiasts, gamers, DIYers, Fortune 1000 and government decision makers, etc.

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Last Call: Got Any Questions for AMD?

By  |  Posted at 11:14 am on Tuesday, June 9, 2009


AMD LogoTechnologizer is launching a series in which we’ll let readers pose questions to tech companies, and AMD was nice enough to volunteer to be the first organization to field your queries. Got any questions about the company, its products, the chip industry, or tech in general? Ask away in comments on this post by the end of day on Wednesday. Then look for AMD’s answers soon.

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Got a Question for AMD? Ask It Here. We’ll Get You an Answer.

By  |  Posted at 1:29 pm on Friday, May 22, 2009


AMD LogoI’m happy to announce that we’re cooking up a new Technologizer feature that will let members of the Technologizer community pose questions to tech companies–and I’m equally happy to report that the first company that’s agreed to field your queries is chipmaker AMD.

If you’ve got a question for AMD–about its products, the state of the chip race, the future of computing, or anything else–please post it as a comment here. We’ll collect the questions you post and publish a story soon with answers.

Also welcome: nominations for other companies who you’d like to have the chance to shoot questions at.

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Why Your Notebook Battery Life Never Quite Seems Equal to the Claims

By  |  Posted at 9:06 am on Wednesday, April 1, 2009


[A NOTE FROM HARRY: Please welcome Patrick Moorhead of AMD to Technologizer's roster of contributors. He'll be writing both topics relating to his day job and others that simply stem from his experiences as a gadget enthusiast.]

Do you ever feel like the actual battery life on your notebook never quite equals the information that appears in promotional material? For example, you may see “up to five hours,” but actually get about half that.  Well, you aren’t alone.  I hear it all the time, and if you do a quick Twitter search on the topic, you’ll see lots of discussion.

I can assure you that no devious plot exists to mislead you. It really comes down to a few simple factors.

#1: Measurements are best case: Like a car’s “highway miles per gallon” which gauges the best case (cruising at a sustained speed for an extended period without stop-and-go driving), notebook battery life is typically based on MobileMark 2007. This benchmark primarily measures battery life while the notebook is doing nothing–not even wirelessly connecting to the Internet. A “city-driving” equivalent of notebook battery life doesn’t exist…yet.

#2: Different strokes for different folks: We all use notebooks differently, and therefore will see different battery durations.  Some watch HD web videos on YouTube, some may just do email, and some play more games than others. all of which will mean varying battery life.  You can see this data from AMD here that shows the phenomenon.  (Disclosure: I work for AMD) This also shows that battery life varies depending on the combination of components inside a machine.

#3: Battery life varies over time: The longer you own your notebook, use it, charge, and recharge, over and over again, the more the battery loses its effectiveness.  So theoretically, your longest battery life will be on the first day you crack open the packaging.  See all the people selling new batteries for old notebooks?  Some even say that battery life is variable with heat.

So what should you do?

  • Grade battery life on a curve–let’s say, 60% of the claimed performance. If the label says 10 hours, my guess is it’s probably only about 6 hours in real use.
  • Ask your retailer and systems providers to provide the “city miles per gallon,” or, using the tried and tested cellphone analogy, “talk-time.” They all have Web sites–and when all else fails, you can ask them over Twitter.

I may have not added back 40% of your battery life, but hopefully you know why you only get 60% of it!

Pat Moorhead is Vice President of Advanced Marketing at AMD. You can find him on his AMD blog, Twitter, FriendFeed, and LinkedIn. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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AMD to Split Itself in Two

By  |  Posted at 9:34 am on Monday, March 2, 2009

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amdsplitThe chipmaker is hoping splitting itself up is what it needs to compete with Intel. While the original announcement of the breakup happened in October, the actual breakup occurred today. The larger of the two would still be AMD, which would retain about 14,000 employees, and would be charged with design and marketing.

Manufacturing of the chips would be the responsibity of the temporarily named Foundry Co. 3,000 of AMD’s employees would transition there. AMD would have a 50 percent stake in the new company. Most importantly, the company would no longer have any debt.

That has been assumed by the Abu Dhabi government in return for a large stake in Foundry. Intel should be a bit worried: now debtless, AMD will have a much easier time in taking the chipmaker head-on.

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Today’s Financial Results Mixed

By  |  Posted at 2:52 pm on Thursday, January 22, 2009

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Okay, so I can’t be 100 percent negative about this economy all the time. Besides Microsoft’s poor results and resulting job cuts which Harry covered this morning, other big name tech companies also reported results today.

googlelogoGoogle’s results were quite respectable: $4.22 billion in revenue and earnings of $5.10 per share. This beat Wall Street expectations, who were looking for $4.12 billion and $4.96 respectively. How many times these days do you hear about a company beating The Street lately? Not much.

It’s advertising business, essentially the core of Google’s revenues, actually increased ever so slightly which came as a surprise to many. In a weakening ad market, it was expected that the so called “cost per click” would decrease during the quarter.

Employees will be happy: Google is launching a program for “underwater” stock options — where the cost of the option is higher than the current stock price — for new options that will be priced at the share price at close on March 2.

amdlogoBut don’t get too excited. AMD rains on our parade with results that come in below what Wall Street was expecting. The chipmaker was already struggling, so this hits doubly hard.

The company lost $1.424 billion on revenues of $1.162 billion, which means that its losses outpaced revenues. However, lets be far to AMD: this included $996 million in one-time charges, including $684 in impairment charges related to its buy of ATI.

Still, taking all that out, the company lost about 68 cents a share, considerably worse than the Wall Street predictions of 54 cents. AMD doesn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel yet: it warns that Q1 could even be worse.

Nokia logoNokia joined the bad news bandwagon too, posting sales of 12.67 billion euros, down a staggering 20 percent year-over-year. Worse yet the company sees a 10 percent drop in handset sales in 2009 over the year previous.

That’s Nokia’s bread and butter, so essentially expect a full year of financial bad news out of the Finnish phone manufacturer. CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo seems concerned, saying “in recent weeks, the macroeconomic environment has deteriorated rapidly,” and the company is taking steps to insulate itself.

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