Tag: amd

AMD updates roadmap, reveals new delays

AMD, SunnyvaleAMD has a new roadmap which sheds more light on upcoming Volcanic Islands GPUs, as well as Kaveri and Kabini based product releases, and delays.

New GPUs are coming soon. AMD will hold a launch event in roughly a month and it is widely expected to launch the new Hawaii card at the event, which will be held – in Hawaii. AMD has already announced that Kaveri products will hit the channel in mid-February 2014. They will be joined by new Kabini SKUs later on, reports Digitimes.

The new Kabini chips will enter mass production in February and they will be announced in March. It appears that this batch will be focused on desktops and big notebooks, as most of them will be quad cores with a 25W TDP. The first desktop Kabini parts were supposed to launch in the second half of 2013, but now it appears they have been pushed back to March. Last week we reported that Kabini is struggling with limited availability and the delay explains it, at least on the desktop front.

Kabini’s successor, Beema, has also been delayed. It was supposed to launch in March 2014, but now it seems it will launch in the second half of 2014 or maybe even in early 2015, which is very bad news indeed.

According to the roadmap, AMD’s FM1 and AM3 sockets will be phased out by the end of the year. In 2014 AM3+ will account for 30 percent of AMD’s desktop processor shipments, while FM2/FM2+ will account for the remaining 70 percent. Kabini will use ST3 and FS1B sockets.

Looking ahead to 2015, AMD should release Carrizo APUs based on the new Excavator architecture and Nolan should replace Beema in the low end. However, delays are possible and when it comes to AMD they are the norm, not an exception.

AMD Jaguar products still thin on ground

jaguar-peltIn late May AMD officially launched its first Jaguar-based APUs. Kabini was supposed to end up in all sorts of products, from cheap and cheerful notebooks, to AIOs and traditional desktops.

Temash is an even more frugal version of the chip, so it was intended for ultraportables, hybrids and similar form factors. Both chips arrived with much fanfare and got a lot of praise from the tech press. They are the most interesting consumer products to come out of AMD in 2013.

However, it’s been exactly three months since the launch and there really aren’t that many actual products to buy. There are some Jaguar-based notebooks and desktops in EMEA and US, but even they are available in a handful of shops, in rather limited numbers. The Acer Aspire V5, HP Pavilion Sleekbook TouchSmart 11, Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite are Temash powered ultraportables and they are readily available in most European markets, albeit in a limited number of shops. So far they appear to be the only Temash notebooks in stock in Europe.

It is even worse with Kabini. There’s the Lenovo Thinkpad E145 in two SKUs, Toshiba Satellite C70/C75 and a huge Packard Bell 17-incher, which is practically the only Kabini notebook available on the continent, at least the only one to be found in price search engines. It’s only available in two Austrian shops, which is still better than the Lenovo and Toshiba, as nobody appears to have them in stock at the moment.

Then there’s a couple of Acer SFF desktops and a Packard Bell all-in-one, and that’s about it. There’s also not a single mini-ITX board yet, which is bad news for HTPC enthusiasts and tinkerers. It also may indicate that the first batches of Kabini chips are destined solely for OEMs, but we can only speculate.

In any case three months into the launch AMD’s most promising chip of the year is very hard to come by. This is very bad news for AMD. Kabini had the potential to wipe the floor with Intel’s obsolete 32nm Atoms and it should have enjoyed a few months on the market before Intel rolls out new 22nm Bay Trail parts. Now it seems this won’t be the case. The Bay Trail launch is just a few weeks away and it is becoming apparent that AMD failed to capitalize on its lead.

AMD informed us that is has product in stock in the US and EMEA. However, volumes and the number of actual design wins remain a concern. Jaguar is an excellent product with lots of potential, but with the PC market in shambles, it might struggle to gain traction and get plenty of design wins, as vendors and disties are still sitting on heaps of unsold Cedarview and Brazos products.

AMD slashes high-end CPU, GPU prices

AMD, SunnyvaleAMD has slashed the price of its flagship FX-9590 processor from a whopping £699 to just £299. That is the new channel price, reports KitGuru. To be honest, the FX-9590 was overpriced to begin with, so the cut comes as no surprise.

On the APU front, most prices are stable. Kaveri won’t hit the channel before February 2014 and AMD probably won’t mess around with Richland pricing over the next few months.

However, AMD is expected to launch new Volcanic Islands Radeons in late September and it appears it is already thinking about clearing inventory. The sweet-spot HD 7870 GHz edition is now available for as little as €149 on the continent, which appears to be a 10 percent price cut. The HD 7770 retail price also appears to be a bit lower than a few weeks ago.

The biggest drop, however, was reserved for the speedy HD 7970, which is now available for as little as €299 in European retail/e-tail. This appears to represent a 15 percent drop and it’s probably the result of Nvidia’s recent GTX 770 launch.

AMD, Intel gain share in GPU market

graphics-cardsGPU shipments are recovering and according to Jon Peddie Research, the graphics market increased 4.6 percent last quarter, while the PC market as a whole took a 2.5 percent sequential dip. Intel and AMD upped their market share, at Nvidia’s expense, of course.

The increase in overall GPU shipments reveals that many customers are choosing to “double-attach,” or add a discrete GPU to a system with integrated graphics. This doesn’t really paint the full picture, as practically all Intel non-server chips ship with integrated graphics and the same goes for more than two thirds of AMD chips. As a result, the average PC today has 1.4 GPUs on board.

On a year-to-year basis total graphics shipments in the second quarter dropped 6.8 percent. Once again this was better than PC shipments, which slipped 11.2 percent. JPR expects the total shipments of graphics chips in 2016 to hit 319 million units and the CAGR from 2012 to 2016 now stands at -1.4 percent.

jpr-gpu-market-2q13

AMD’s overall PC graphics shipments increased 10.9 percent and the company upped its market share to 21.9 percent. However, shipments of APUs declined 9.6 percent. Shipments of APUs in notebooks increased 47.1 percent, but it should be noted that AMD’s presence in notebooks is rather limited. With that in mind all it takes to get such a high figure is a few design wins.

Intel’s desktop graphics shipments dropped 1.4 percent, but notebooks were up 12.1 percent. Intel’s overall shipments increased 6.2 percent.

Nvidia was the big loser last quarter. Its desktop discrete shipments were down 8.9 percent, while discrete mobile shipments were down 7.1 percent. It should be noted that Nvidia scored the vast majority of Haswell notebook design wins, but new notebooks aren’t exactly flying off shop shelves right now.

Although some of the numbers are encouraging, total GPU shipments were down 5.2 percent from the same quarter last year. The trend for discrete GPUs remains negative, with a CAGR to 2016 of -2.2 percent.

AMD Kaveri to hit channel in February

AMD, SunnyvaleAMD’s next-gen APU, codenamed Kaveri, won’t be coming to market this year. Although AMD plans to launch and ship the chip toward the end of the year, it won’t appear in the channel until February 2014.

Earlier this week tech site VR Zone  reported that Kaveri would be delayed, which was no surprise as few people expected it to show up this year. AMD’s roadmap indicates that the chip is indeed launching this year, but in its response AMD has now officially confirmed that availability is expected in early 2014.

Kaveri is AMD’s fourth generation mid-range APU. It will pack up to four Steamroller CPU cores and it will be the first AMD APU to feature GCN graphics. The previous two generations were 32nm parts based on Piledriver CPU cores and WLIW4-based GPUs, hence the 28nm Kaveri with a brand new CPU and GPU cobmo looks like a huge upgrade.

Mobile Kaveri chips should start shipping later in 2014, AMD said.

It should be noted that the new chips will require FM2+ compatible motherboards and the first boards were launched by Asus a few weeks ago. Although they are backwards compatible with FM2 parts, they don’t appear to be a worthwhile investment at this point. There is still plenty of time to stock up on FM2+ boards before Kaveri shows up.

PC gaming hardware bucks negative trend

gamer-sexAlthough the PC market is going through a rough patch, sales of gaming hardware seem to be weathering the storm quite well. Hardcore gamers are enthusiasts, they can’t trade in their beloved desktops for laptops, let alone tablets. Even console gaming is frowned upon in many circles.

As a result, gamers are continuing to spend and upgrade their high-end PCs. Jon Peddie Research found that sales of gaming hardware will continue to grow and at a CAGR of 3 percent over the next three years. Sales slumped this year and they are expected to hit $18.3 billion. By 2016, however, JPR reckons they will reach $20.7 billion.

Jon Peddie, President of JPR said “Not only is gaming becoming an even more important purchasing influence of PC sales due to the offloading of more basic functionality to smart devices, but we are forecasting growth in the most expensive discrete graphics products. We are also impressed with the embedded graphics offerings this generation and going forward.”

Analyst Ted Pollak also pointed out that many new games are placing increasing demands on the CPU, hence swapping out the graphics card doesn’t do the trick anymore – gamers have to upgrade their CPUs as well. In many cases this means they have to replace the motherboard as well, while investments in additional components such as faster memory and power supply units are not uncommon in such scenarios.

JPR believes that traditional PCs have an advantage in casual gaming as x86 tablets expand the market, and new powerful CPUs with built-in graphics have opened the door to the living room. Nothing can surpass PCs at this point in time because they can run ultra high resolution graphics better than any other platform. Sadly though, 4K or UHD monitors and TVs are still years away from going mainstream, as they could generate even more demand for high-end GPUs and CPUs.

However, although JPR’s forecast is good news for many vendors, we have some long-term concerns.

PC gaming doesn’t come cheap and with record youth unemployment and very little in the way of disposable income, high-end gaming PCs are simply out of reach for many potential buyers. AAA titles don’t come cheap, either. Furthermore most gamers grew up with PCs and they developed a love for tinkering and hardware at a very young age. Now that most kids’ first contact with computers comes in the form of tablets, smartphones and consoles, it will be increasingly difficult to recruit new PC gamers.

In addition, the pace of hardware development in the PC industry is slowing. While we see twofold performance improvements with each generation of ARM-based SoCs, big GPUs and CPUs used in high-end PCs simply can’t deliver such boosts and the performance difference between subsequent generations is narrowing. This trend is here to stay, due to technical limitations, but development of ARM chips is also likely to slow down, as they hit the thermal barrier. Cloud gaming and streaming are also potential threats. A few years down the road gamers might be leasing processing power and streaming games to any screen they want, which would be very bad news for some vendors. Luckily, that won’t happen anytime soon.

Channel cautious on Ivy Bridge notebooks

Intel-logoSome channel retailers are expected to switch away from Ivy Bridge based notebooks and back to the classic desktop, on the back of weak industry demand.

Plenty of channel retailers, according to Digitimes, are struggling getting rid of their Ivy Bridge notebook interviews and are taking a cautious approach to placing new orders for the classic back to school period of September and October. This is traditionally serves as a boost for notebook sales, but the economic outlook is having varied depressive effects on the industry in general.

Intel Haswell desktops could account for as much as 30 percent of all desktop shipments for the third quarter, above the 10-20 percent in notebooks, so Digitimes believes channel retailers are pinning their hopes on the former.

Ivy Bridge inventories, still reportedly high, will be the main focus for the channel – so Haswell models with touchscreen features may not be promoted until the beginning of 2014.

If correct, a way to read this is Ivy Bridge PC prices could be knocked down for the back to school period, and almost certainly will become cheaper when efforts are concentrated on Haswell next year.

Cash strapped consumers and cautious businesses may not want to upgrade to the highest end gear either, save enthusiast communities. As a result, there will be an effort to popularise low end gear, with cheaper kit coming out like Atoms in Q3 and more affordable Kabini laptops.

AMD Radeon HD 9970 in the channel soon

AMD, SunnyvaleAMD’s next generation graphics card, the Radeon HD 9970, is about to hit the channel.

According to  WCCtech, AMD’s Volcanic Islands GPU uses a new architecture making use of process enhancements and increased amount of stream processors.

It is supposed to be a lot better than the HD 7000 series but AMD has managed to keep the technical or specification details fairly quiet.

Even the name isn’t official yet, but the rumour is that AMD was going to skip the HD 8000 series branding and just go with the HD 9000 name.

The reason for this is because the AMD FX processors are also branded as FX-9000 series.

While the techies think that the cards will be a Titan killer there is some interest as to whether the graphic card will perform better than the GK110 core from NVIDIA.

The AMD Radeon HD 9970 and the rest of the HD 9000 series SKUs are reportedly launching in October 2013 or Q4 2013.  This would put the HD 9000 series cards against the GeForce 700 series cards.

NVIDIA has high hopes that its Kepler GK110 and GK104 based cards are good enough to compete against the new AMD cards and it is not releasing any new card till Q4 2013.

Mobile PC market in the doldrums

pc-sales-slumpThe mobile PC market has suffered its worst performance in 11 years, according to an IHS report.

Mobile PC shipments worldwide sank 6.9 percent compared to the first three months of the year, marking the first sequential decline since Q2 2002. Traditionally there has been growth in the second quarter, with the exception of 2002 and now, including last year where mobile PCs grabbed a 3.9 percent boost.

But analyst group IHS believes the poor results will spread beyond the second quarter. Taking the first half of 2013 overall, mobile PCs have had the worst performance since 2003 – with a 11.2 percent contraction compared to the same time last year.  This can be compared to a 41.7 percent surge as recently as 2010 to understand where the industry has found itself.

Ultrabooks have failed to woo consumers and, in the midst of global economic crisis, potential buyers are holding off on upgrading, even with price cuts and special offers from manufacturers.

“The mobile PC industry on the whole is struggling to find any momentum for growth as upheavals rock the market,” IHS compute analyst Craig Stice said. “In particular, more nimble devices like media tablets have taken over among consumers given their ease of use and unique form factor”.

IHS noted that innovation in mobile PCs has stagnated and low cost tablets have taken away further market share.

This all fits in nicely with the dominating narrative that the PC is dead, but this will not be the case. Although tablets are a far nicer experience for computing on the go or lazing around at home, it’s rather hard to get an essay done or other work finished on those devices. Instead PC makers will have to adapt and understand that the world is simply too out of pocket to justify upgrading to a new machine every couple of years. PCs have gone from being all in one devices to finding their niche in useful work or serious gaming. The rest can be done with a tablet or smartphone.

As IHS says, Intel’s Bay Trail and AMD’s Temash processors could inject some life into the market as PCs become lower cost, but higher performance and lower power. PC makers, IHS says, are “contemplating a new class of  performance PCs that would incorporate the new processors at affordable prices”.

There is still a current of hope for ultrathin devices, too, but Intel really put all its eggs in one basket when it arrogantly thought high cost Macbook Air knock-offs would fly off the shelf as the whole world got seriously more out of pocket.

“If a new low-cost PC offering strong performance can become available on the market and meet consumer expectations, then PCs could be set for more growth,” Stice said. “Not like the glory days of the 2000s, but growth nonetheless.”

Nvidia takes on AMD with game bundle

nvidia-gangnam-style-330pxNvidia has announced a game bundle for the summer season, in cooperation with Ubisoft. The Splinter Cell Blacklist promotion is clearly aimed to counter AMD’s highly successful Never Settle Reloaded bundle, but in reality both bundles are an indication that AMD and Nvidia really don’t have any truly new GPUs to offer this year.

Nvidia’s bundle will include the latest Ubisoft Splinter Cell game, Splinter Cell Blacklist, and it all cards above the GTX 660 will be eligible, including all GTX 700 series cards. Interestingly, the ultra high end GTX 690 and GTX Titan are not included in the programme, which might mean that Nvidia has something even better lined up for its flagship products, or that it feels that they don’t need any freebies to sell well.

Although the promo is kicking off now, SC Blacklist won’t launch until late August, but Nvidia will have plenty of download codes ready and waiting. The promotion is expected to last until the winter game season when it will probably be replaced by a new bundle.

In any case 2013 is shaping up to be a rough year for the PC gaming market. New consoles are on the way, while at the same time GPU makers really don’t have much to offer in terms of new hardware.

AMD thinks clock speed will sell again

Antique_Clock_FaceThis week AMD has released a 5 GHz processor into the market which puts clock speed back on the marketing ticket.

The AMD FX-9590 is based around an 8-core CPU and is being pitched as providing shedloads of gaming and multimedia performance for desktop enthusiasts.

AMD FX-9000 Series CPUs will not be sold over the counter but will go to the outfits’ system integrator partners.

Bernd Lienhard, corporate vice president and general manager, Client Products Division at AMD started the performance spin saying that the FX 5 GHz processor is an “emphatic performance statement to the most demanding gamers seeking ultra-high resolution experiences including AMD Eyefinity technology”.

AMD reminded us that it was was the first to break the 1GHz barrier in May of 2000 and suddenly we were propelled into the 1990s where AMD and Intel were telling us all that sort of stuff, all the time.

These days it is all about how much battery life and less concern about how many clock cycles you could wring out of the thing before it caught fire.

AMD system integrator Wallace Santos, CEO of MAINGEAR said that AMD was pushing the envelope when it comes to desktop capabilities and power performance.

The new 5 GHz FX-9590 and 4.7 GHz FX-9370 is based around the “Piledriver” architecture. They are unlocked for easy overclocking which means that they could be pushed much harder.

The processors feature AMD Turbo Core 3.0 technology to dynamically optimise performance across CPU cores and enable maximum computing for the most intensive workloads.

The chips will start appearing in systems this summer. Two models will be available the FX-9590 at 5 GHz Max Turbo and the X-9370 at 4.7 GHz Max Turbo.

There’s no word on how much these chips will cost but they will almost certainly only be seen in high end gaming machines.

Club 3D dumps Nvidia for AMD

club3d-logoDutch add-in-board partner Club 3D has ditched Nvidia and decided to become an AMD exclusive partner. The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since Club 3D was practically the only big AIB that did not launch Geforce 700 desktop boards last month.

The company confirmed that it is an AMD-only players in a press release late Monday. Acting CEO of Club 3D Judith Ma Tseng said Club 3D believes AMD is “uniquely positioned to deliver a complete solution concept” for its customers.

“We firmly believe that we can offer a better solution, if we proceed with AMD alone,” said Ma Tseng.

Unsurprisingly, AMD welcomed Club 3D’s turncoat antics.

“Their decision to join AMD as an exclusive hardware partner is a powerful acknowledgement of our leadership in the graphics space, and a tremendous contribution to the technical expertise in the AMD Radeon graphics ecosystem,” said Zvika Greenstein, Director of Desktop Product Management, AMD Graphics.

This isn’t the first time that an AIB has chosen to switch sides, or go exclusive. Back in 2010 XFX also ditched Nvidia and became an AMD exclusive partner. Gainward did the exact opposite, when it stopped selling Radeons to focus on Nvidia products.

However, it should be noted that all AIBs, especially smaller ones like Club 3D, are facing a lot of pressure. Sales of desktop PCs have been tumbling for years, while at the same time powerful integrated graphics are slowly killing off the high-volume, low-margin market for entry level discrete graphics.

Don’t tell AMD: Richland on sale in EU

AMD, SunnyvaleAMD is planning to introduce its next generation desktop Richland APUs tomorrow, to spice up what was a rather underwhelming showing at Computex. It has come up with a clever teaser video, in which it pits the new A10-6800K against Intel’s Core i5-3470, with and without dedicated Nvidia GT 630 graphics (spoiler alert: AMD’s new baby comes out on top).

However, although AMD has yet to introduce the new chips, most European retailers don’t seem to have gotten the memo. They are already selling them and they’re available from Scotland to Poland in dozens of shops. The prices are pretty good, too.

The range starts with the A4-4000, which is available for just £29. Of course, it’s not exactly a powerhouse, but it does have 1MB of cache, two cores clocked at 3.2GHz and Radeon HD 7480D integrated graphics with 128 shaders. The rest of the range is a bit more serious. The A6-6400K Black Edition is a dual-core clocked at 3.9GHz, with an unlocked multiplier. It’s going for £55, which isn’t bad at all.

Moving on to quad-cores, the A8-6500 is a 65W part clocked at 3.5GHz and priced at £92. It has 2x2MB of cache along with HD 8570D graphics, with 320 shaders clocked at 800MHz. The A8-6600K is a 3.8GHz quad core with the same HD 8570D graphics, clocked at 844MHz. It’s priced at £85.

The top of the range A10 parts aren’t too pricey. The A10-6700, a 3.7GHz quad core with 2x2MB of cache and a 65W TDP costs £115. It features HD 8670D graphics with 384 shaders, clocked at up to 844MHz. The A10-6800K Black Edition is a bit beefier. It’s a 100W part clocked at 4.1GHz, but it retains the same GPU, although it ships with an unlocked multiplier. Oddly enough, it costs a bit less than the 6700, and it is available, with prices starting as low as £109.

You can check out the listings here.

Dell says small is beautiful

Dell logoHardware company Dell has introduced two server products that  it claims are best of class.

It has introduced the Precision T1700 tower workstation which it is says is the smallest and lightest compared to the competition. The Intel based machines come with Nvidia or AMD graphics and has PCI x16 Gen 3 slots.  The T1700 SFF (small form factor) also has two front USB 3.0 ports.

In addition, Dell announced upgrades to its rack family – the Precision R6710 is suitable for datacenters.  It can support up to four single wide graphics card and can also support Nvidia Grid for virtualized graphics.

The R760 has 16DIMM slots, a 6GB/s LSI2308 SATA/SAS controller and uses dual Intel E5-2687W 160 watt eight core processors.

The R7610 workstation starts at $2,179, but Dell has still to price up the two T1700 workstations, available from June 4.