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AMD's Rory Read Says; "There’s enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today" So You Do Not Need More

by on20 May 2012 7003 times

Rory-01Although we reported on this last year it seems that AMD is intent on reminding all of us about their new strategy. In comments to BloombergBusinessweek CEO Rory Read has made the comment that AMD will no longer compete head to head with Intel in the CPU market. This time Read qualifies his comment with a statement that is sure to be put in the same category of Bill Gates’ famous (although misattributed) “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”

The problem with Read’s quote is that this was will be attributed to him and can be linked to an article. Bill Gates reportedly said that at a lecture in 1981. This was a time when video and audio recording technology made it too expensive for many journalists, students and other attendees to properly capture the event. I can remember attending events in 1988-1989 and even then there was little in the way of video or audio recording. Rory Read’s quote, “There’s enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today”, is sure to be one that people remember.

He does try to qualify it by claiming that more and more computing is moving into the cloud. However, Read is being incredibly shortsighted here. The numbers actually show a tendency of consumers to be concerned about putting their information in cloud services. With the increase in breaches, laws like CISPA, Google and Facebook privacy concerns and more the average consumer is starting to think twice about allowing all of their eggs to be in someone else’s basket.

As for businesses there is the little snag that many currently outdated laws (HIPA, SOX) are being updated with particular focus on the cloud. The new changes are going to force service providers to increase security, manage data differently and more. All of this will push prices up significantly. This will mean a move back to internal servers and IT staff as these are actually less expensive and can be applied toward tax liability over their depreciated life. (Cloud services are not so tax forgiving).

Read feels that AMD needs to move to a more graphical focus. Again citing the cloud he feels that the processing power is not important, but the ability to produce stunning graphics is. He feels that the cloud will do the adding up and your CPU should just get on with the display features. Well, Mr. Read here again we have to disagree with you, nVidia, Citrix, LucidLogix and many others have found ways to stream gaming content in the cloud to a user device that does not require a powerful GPU.

At CES we watched as Lucid streamed Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 to a Tegra 2 Based Transformer Tablet at 1280x768 with all the eye candy on without any skipped frames. So here again the information is somewhat short sighted. The ability to stream HD graphics is something that many companies already have in play (Citrix has HDX). Most of the work has been focused on the lack of graphical performance and not the presence of it.

So what we see here is really little more than a plug for Trinity (which Read does go on about) which has roughly 50% of its power devoted to graphics. Now as CEO for AMD, Read should be pushing his product, but he needs to also remember who he is pushing to. AMD once brushed off the enthusiast market (when they inked a deal with Dell) and it hurt their sales in the long run. It also is important to note that AMD had a different story to tell when they launched their latest FX CPUs, and they certainly do not tell their enterprise customers that they do not need more processing power. Read might try to spin this shift as tailoring their products to users “needs” but in the end AMD cannot get by with the same type of focus that Apple uses. X86/64 PC buyers do not like being limited and more often than not like to decide what level of computing power they need.

AMD has the talent to make faster and more powerful CPUs, but right now they lack the funds to properly devote to the R&D needed to compete. Thier lack of their own foundry operations is also a hindrance. AMD has bought out thier commitment with Global Foundries, but although they are now free to use whoever they want that does not mean they are going to get more favorable terms or even better prodction rates. So instead they are relying on the area they do have a siginificant advantage in; graphics. The problem is that this will only get them so far and has a limited vertical climb. AMD can nibble away at the value and entry level space, but when it comes to higher spaces in the market the APU will not be able to gain much of a foothold.

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Last modified on 20 May 2012
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