Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 24th Jan 2010 12:32 UTC
AMD AMD has reached profitability for the first time in three years during the fourth quarter of 2009, benefiting from a legal settlement with Intel and a change in its business model. The company reported net income of USD 1.18 billion during the quarter that ended on Dec. 26, an improvement over the loss of USD 1.44 billion it reported in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company reported diluted earnings per share of USD 1.52.
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AMD as a competitor to Intel and Nvidia
by psychicist on Mon 25th Jan 2010 20:48 UTC
psychicist
Member since:
2007-01-27

Sometimes I ask myself if the portrayal of AMD as a competitor to Intel isn't an overly simplistic one. AMD is often depicted as David and Intel as Goliath, but I think that is too much of a simplification and particularly in 2009 incorrect. When I have a choice I buy AMD processors and not only because they are necessarily faster but also because AMD's system architecture was better until Intel released Core i7 with its QPI interconnect and Intel tends to scrap basic features (such as hardware-assisted virtualisation extensions) from their low-end models that even AMD's cheapest processors contain.

The processor is also only just part of the system and I care more about the whole system than just the individual parts. AMD's onboard graphics are much more powerful and nowadays after the release of open source Xorg drivers less cumbersome to use than Intel's. With the latter you would probably have to add a graphics adapter to get acceptable performance for anything more graphics intensive than what the basic onboard GPU could handle.

Then there is the other company which is often seen as a competitor to Intel and AMD, Nvidia. I think depicting them as a or the sole competitor in the graphics field is also a mischaracterisation of how that market has evolved for the past few years. After being cornered by both other companies, Nvidia has made the bold move of taking matters into its own hands and developing the Tegra 1 and 2 platforms. Those can be produced at low cost and sold in high volumes with reasonable margins and I don't see anything from either Intel or AMD to compete there.

Finally I would like to say that I don't see AMD as the main competitor to Intel anymore. Compared to other semiconductor companies selling ARM SoCs it's relatively small and it really only plays in the x86 space (servers, desktops and laptops), which seems to become less relevant during the next few years. I would say AMD had better license the ARMv7 architecture and flood the market with cheap chips in order to battle Intel and Nvidia. That looks like a more future-proof strategy to me than constantly having to chase Intel in the x86 market, which is a race it can only lose so that even when it temporarily manages to get an advantage that can only be considered a Pyrrhic victory at most.

Edited 2010-01-25 20:51 UTC

Reply Score: 3