In looking at the actual numbers it is fairly evident that AMD’s APUs (Llano) which combines good power efficiency and great graphical performance was the key to this jump. We have seen what Llano can do in a notebook that costs less than $200 for a 15-inch screen. This type of price point is going to see these grabbed up by many who are looking to get a solid product for a small price. When it comes to the more demanding desktop market AMD is still hovering around 43% share there, but many analysts expect this to shrink as AMD shifts focus to mobile and server products.
The introduction of Intel’s third generation Ivy Bridge CPU will not affect AMD’s mobile sales as much as many might have thought. Although the CPU is considerably more powerful than Llano or Trinity the graphical performance is not at the same level. One of the driving factors for Llano and Trinity is the growing number of young adults that want to game on their laptops as well as on their desktops. To get a good gaming platform running an Intel CPU you will need to have discrete graphics which drive the price up. To a teenager or a parent looking to get something for their kids the thought of a $200-300 15-inch laptop that can fit the bill is very attractive (I know I bought one for one of my kids).
Still Intel has a good market with their Atom CPUs and is sure to pull in new sales with Ivy Bridge so we imagine the current quarter’s results will look different. What we are looking at though is what results we will see when Windows 8 launches. We know that the x86 ultrabook, tablet and hybrid market will boom. This is very evident from the list of things people say they want from Windows 8. The question is, who’s x86 CPU will be under the screen in many of these products. Right now Microsoft wants to push out at least 32 new tablets by mid-2013. AMD has a big opportunity here with Windows 8 coming as Trinity could do very well with tablets in the 10-13-inch range with resolutions of 1366x768 and higher.
Intel’s Ivy Bridge may have improved the performance of the IGP, but it still cannot match the graphical performance of Llano or Trinity. Where Intel will pull in the numbers are for the semi-professional and professional users that need that extra power to run their applications. I know we are looking for something in the 13-inch range with better than 1366x768 resolution to run Photoshop and Premiere Pro; two programs that we use on the road quite a bit. This is the market that is up for grabs when Windows 8 hits this year (the x86 multi-function tablet market). We will see who gets it.
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