Wednesday, 30 November 2011 22:42

Is an x86 SoC AMD's next move?

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Rory-01It looks like AMD might be taking a leaf out of HP’s book. According to a report from ZDNet Asia AMD will begin to shift its focus away from the desktop to the server side where the margins are much higher per unit. This latest news plays into some additional rumblings that AMD is getting out of the x86 market (which is not true at all). We have already told you that AMD is planning to shift its consumer line up toward the mobile market where AMD feels they have an advantage over Intel and the Atom.

This new direction is being spearheaded by new AMD CEO Rory Reed who pushed the lower power mobile market and “slates” while at Lenovo.  Now at AMD Reed is attempting to re-invent the company to meet the demand that the market will have for tablets. To do this they will (according to information we have heard) invest in their existing APU designs and possibly incorporate some of that technology into an SoC similar to nVidia’s Tegra.  The problem is that AMD will be changing one rival for another. Right now nVidia has a considerable lead in the SoC market, at least in terms of an ARM based SoC. If AMD is able to build an x86 compatible SoC with low power and the graphical performance we have seen from Llano, then they could potentially have a game changer.

The question is, does AMD have the money to pull this off? We suspect that they do not and they are fully aware of this fact. We have seen some extremely drastic cost cutting measures lately all of which could be intended to get money to the R&D guys so they can build something to compete in the tablet space. We know that it can be a serious money maker, just look at nVidia. However, getting this off the ground will not be cheap and the first year could potentially put AMD in financial jeopardy if they do not get some early design wins.

We would expect to see more moves to bring in a higher return on investment as well as a few more cost cutting measures before we find out if our suspicions are right or not. Another potential piece to the puzzle would be to hear rumblings of AMD working with Microsoft more closely on Windows 8 Development or AMD possibly acquiring the licensing to develop an ARM based CPU.

We will keep our eyes and ears open for more confirmation on this as well as continue to bug the right people to see if we can dig anything else up on this new direction for AMD. The one thing we can be very confident of is that AMD will not be leaving either the x86 or the GPU market any time in the near future, they will probably just begin to devote less time to the consumer market and try to find ways to reorganize their incoming revenue so that they can properly fix their CPU line up and then allow it to trickle down to the desktop, just like they did with the Opteron.

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Read 4503 times Last modified on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 22:52

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