A couple of days ago we published an article on the state of AMD and what their immediate (next 18 months) looked like. In that article we looked at the state that AMD is in right now with what they have on the table…. It seems that a few readers did not like what we had to say. Oddly enough, yesterday a number of articles popped up on the internet that supported much of what we had to say including many of the time lines (14nm by Q3 2016 etc.) Let’s take a look at some of the information out there.
In the last couple of months we have talked a lot about AMD and the direction they are trying to move to. Most of what we have reported is not good news and centers on the fact that AMD’s R&D/production budget is dwindling to the point where they cannot push multiple projects at one time. They have had to consolidate their efforts to the point that they do not really have products to bring to market to make them more money. An example of this is the lack of a new GPU for the normal launch cycles. AMD does have some products in the pipeline, but these might not be enough to win them back any marketshare from Intel or NVIDIA.
Although you would not think it possible, AMD is still having issues that stem back from their purchase of ATi all those years ago. As most of you are sick of hearing the details of that acquisition and the gradual fall out we will not bore you here. What we will talk about are some of the issues that AMD now faces and what they mean for the consumer and AMD themselves.
We have talked about some of the challenges that AMD is facing due to poor sales (and bad leadership), but many of these challenges have not been as evident as what is happening in the GPU world. Although we have talked a little bit about AMD’s next generation cards from the top of the heap, we have not really looked at what is happening with the rest of the line.
Some GPU news comes today from the AMD camp where we are hearing rumors that AMD’s Radeon 390X might ship with 8GB of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). Now this sounds great when you take into account the fact that HBM has some serious muscle behind it (128GBps per memory chip). AMD could technically leapfrog nVidia’s new monster the GeForce Titian X with 12GB of memory onboard. The problem is that some of the information that is floating around does not seem to add up.
It seems that the little “error” that was made when listing the specifications of NVIDIA’s GTX970 it getting ugly. A Law firm in Alabama has taken a single complaint and request for monetary compensation and pulled it into a full blown class action law suit against both NVIDIA and Gigabyte. For those of you that have been living under a rock for the last couple of months, where is a summary of the issue.
CES 2015 Las Vegas, NV Diamond Suite at the Mirage
When we stopped by Diamond at the Mirage we expected to see some pretty cool stuff including one or two new graphics cards. However, there were no graphics cards to be seen in the suite at all. We were told that this was because AMD had nothing new to show and Diamond did not see any reason to show products that were already well known. That did not mean that things were boring, instead we saw some pretty cool devices that, while not the most exciting, really did make a lot of sense.
CES 2015 – Las Vegas NV
At the Consumer Electronics Show, nVidia showed off something that was interesting, but also confusing: The Tegra X1. This is a Maxwell based version of the Tegra that sports 256 Maxwell GPU cores, an 8-core 64-Bit CPU and is capable of pushing 4k 60Hz 10-Bit video in either H.265 or VP9. This new member of the Tegra family was hailed by nVidia CEO Jen-sun Huang as the first mobile superchip for its expected performance. Of course nVidia has always like to use the term “super” when talking about new products. I can remember them trying to coin the term Super Phone when Tegra 2 hit the market.
If you were to look back over the years and pick one seriously mismanaged tech company it would probably be AMD. Even going back into the K6 days we find that AMD just did not know what it wanted to do or what direction it intended to go. The marketing message was confused both internally and to the market as a whole. This confusion hit “Office Space” like proportions in the late 90’s when it was rumored that there were more managers and project leaders than they were actual people doing the work.
When I first started covering the computer world the most common resolution was 640x680 with the hard core gamers getting 800x600. The dream of the day, which some called the golden age of gaming, was 1600x1200 with around 30Fps. Now the dream is “photo realistic” resolutions without the need for heavy anti-aliasing and texture filtering. Even in the mobile world this is becoming a bigger issue with retina displays on the Apple side of the world and 3 and 4k screens on the PC side.