Jaguar Hits the Embedded Space
It has long been known that AMD has simply not had a lot of luck going head to head against Intel in the processor market. Some years back they worked on differentiating themselves, and in so doing have been able to stay afloat through hard times. The acquisitions that AMD has made in the past decade are starting to make a difference in the company, especially now that the PC market that they have relied upon for revenue and growth opportunities is suddenly contracting. This of course puts a cramp in AMD’s style, but with better than expected results in their previous quarter, things are not nearly as dim as some would expect.
Q1 was still pretty harsh for AMD, but they maintained their marketshare in both processors and graphics chips. One area that looks to get a boost is that of embedded processors. AMD has offered embedded processors for some time, but with the way the market is heading they look to really ramp up their offerings to fit in a variety of applications and SKUs. The last generation of G-series processors were based upon the Bobcat/Brazos platform. This two chip design (APU and media hub) came in a variety of wattages with good performance from both the CPU and GPU portion. While the setup looked pretty good on paper, it was not widely implemented because of the added complexity of a two chip design plus thermal concerns vs. performance.
AMD looks to address these problems with one of their first, true SOC designs. The latest G-series SOC’s are based upon the brand new Jaguar core from AMD. Jaguar is the successor to the successful Bobcat core which is a low power, dual core processor with integrated DX11/VLIW5 based graphics. Jaguar improves performance vs. Bobcat in CPU operations between 6% to 13% when clocked identically, but because it is manufactured on a smaller process node it is able to do so without using as much power. Jaguar can come in both dual core and quad core packages. The graphics portion is based on the latest GCN architecture.
Subject: Processors | June 6, 2012 - 05:08 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Zacate, Hudson-M3L, FCH, E2-1800, E2-1200, computex, brazos 2.0, brazos, Bobcat, amd
Today AMD is officially releasing their Brazos 2.0 parts. This is a case of good news/bad news for the company. The good news is that they have an updated product that is based on their very successful Brazos 1.0 platform and that particular part has sold over 30 million units and is included in some 160 designs. The bad news is that AMD did not improve the product dramatically over what we previously had.
While Brazos will not beat these Intel offerings in pure performance, they do match up nicely in terms of price and battery life.
It is well known that AMD cancelled their original Bobcat 2.0 28 nm parts last fall (Krishna and Wichita), and instead worked on improving the fabrication of the current Brazos APUs. Little is known as to why those original 28 nm parts were cancelled, but perhaps the overriding reason is that there simply would not be enough 28 nm production through the first three quarters of 2012 to enable AMD to adequately meet demand on these parts (all the while sacrificing higher margin GPU wafer orders on the 28 nm node). We also must consider that AMD could have been counting on GLOBALFOUNDRIES to have their flavor of 28 nm HKMG process up and running, which of course at this time it is not.
These new Brazos 2.0 chips are still manufactured on TSMC’s 40 nm process, but that particular process is very mature at this time. This has allowed AMD and TSMC to squeeze every last drop of performance and efficiency out of the aging 40 nm node, and in so doing has allowed AMD a bit more headroom when it comes to the Zacate APUs that Brazos 2.0 is based off of. The two new processors are the E2-1800 and the E2-1200.
The E2-1800 is a dual core Bobcat CPU featuring an APU with 80 stream units based on the older HD 5000 series of parts. AMD has renamed the GPU to the HD 7340, though it has little in common with the GCN (Graphics Core Next) based HD 7000 graphics units. AMD increased the core CPU speed from the E-450 by 50 MHz and the GPU portion by 80 MHz. This gives the E2-1800 a core clockspeed of 1.7 GHz and the graphics runs at a brisk 680 MHz. This continues to be an 18 watt TDP part and the die size is the same 75 mm squared.
Q4-2012 In a Nutshell
Tis the reporting season. Yes, that time of year when some of the major players in the computing world get together and tell us all how well they did this past quarter. Ok, so they do not necessarily get together to announce results, but they sure time them that way. Today was AMD’s turn (and Apple’s), and the results were not nearly as positive as what Intel had to offer a few days ago.
Q4 2011 was flat in terms of revenue as compared to Q3. The company had gross revenue of $1.69 billion and had a net income loss of $177 million. That net income is not necessarily a bad result, but more on that later. Margins rose to 46%, which is still a far cry from Intel’s 65% for the past quarter. Gross revenue was up 2% from last year, which considering the marketplace and Intel’s dominance, is a solid win for AMD.
When we start talking about non-GAAP results, AMD had a net income of $138 million. The difference between those two numbers (a loss vs. a nice profit) is that the loss came from one time writeoffs. AMD has lowered its stake in GLOBALFOUNDRIES to 8.8%, and in so doing incurred a hefty charge. This is not so much money lost as it is lost value in the company.
Introduction and Specifications
AMD's Fusion technology has worked out well for the company in 2011 and many vendors have reaped the benefits by including this platform in their mini ITX motherboards and netbook offerings. Gigabyte found room in their product line to feature this chipset in its GA-E350N-USB3. We received one of these boards for review to see how it stacks up against other E-350 mini ITX boards available today.
The GA-E350N-USB3 can be purchased for around $89.99 (after mail-in rebate from Newegg) and includes an AMD dual-core E-350 1.6GHz processor with an integrated Radeon HD 6310 GPU and support for USB 3.0, SATA3, and a PCI-E x16 slot for add-on video cards or other PCI-E devices. AMD developed the Brazos platform to directly compete with Intel's Atom and NVIDIA's ION technologies for the top slot this year's netbooks, notebooks, and some entry-level desktop solutions.
Subject: Editorial | October 28, 2011 - 05:27 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Q3 2011, ontario, llano, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, bulldozer, brazos, amd
Unlike Intel, AMD was unable to report record revenues. What they were able to report was a small profit. They also were able to show some growth above that expected by most analysts, and even those in AMD. Earlier this quarter AMD warned that revenues might not be as high as expected, but in the end AMD seemed to have done ok.
The company had a gross revenue of $1.69 billion, which is well above the expected $1.66 billion many analysts were predicting. Net profit for the quarter came in at a reasonable $97 million. This is a big improvement from Q3 2010, which had a net income of -$118 million. Being positive for a quarter is a big accomplishment for AMD. Controlling costs as a fabless semiconductor company is a lot easier as compared to running multiple Fabs and researching and implementing next generation process nodes. Margins increased to 45%, but are still a far cry from the 60% plus that Intel achieves. ASPs are also down due to the large amount of low priced, 45 nm parts that AMD still sells.
The primary movers for the positive results for AMD are their lineup of APUs. The “Bobcat” based APUs have been a success for quite a few months, and with their superior performance and features as compared to the competing Intel Atom series, AMD is making a tidy sum off of them. The big winner in the APU sector is of course Llano. The uptake on this processor in the mobile space has been tremendous. AMD has seen a 35% increase in mobile sales, and when combined with the already strong Brazos/Ontario platform, AMD is finally a factor in the mobile market. The only real issue in this market that AMD is facing is that of continued poor yields on Llano processors.
Introduction and Specifications
Courtesy of ECS
ECS developed the HDC-I motherboard to take advantage of AMD's new Brazos platform that's based on the Hudson M1 chipset and their latest E-350 dual-core processor and integrated DDR3 800/1066 memory controller. The dual-core E-350 APU, which combines the CPU and GPU, brings a host of features to mini ITX enthusiasts like USB 3.0 compability, SATA 6Gb/s support, bluetooth and Radeon HD 6310 graphics and UVD 3 to play 3D Blu-ray and HD-1080P movies.
Courtesy of ECS
Another huge advantage of going with a mini ITX motherboard for your next home theater PC is the balance of computing power and power consumption that the AMD Brazos platform adds to the ECS HDC-I. The HDC-I is an energy-efficient motherboard that has integrated computing power and graphics firepower for users looking for an "all-in-one" solution for their next small form factor build.
Zotac has made a name for itself in the small form factor sector of the computer market. Their ZBOX computers are designed to use little power but have enough horsepower to drive smooth HD video playback. The new ZBOX nano AD10 series is a new line in the Zotac family that shares the media-centric traits of its predecessors. The Nano AD10 series PCs are some of the smallest the company has released, and shrinks the ZBOX form factor while packing in new home theater PC features.
Inside the tiny frame measuring 127mm x 127mm x 45mm, is a 1.8 GHz dual core AMD Brazos E-350 APU, DDR3 SO-DIMM slot, and space for a 2.5” SATA 3 (6Gbps) hard drive. Connectivity options include Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, two USB 2.0, and two USB 3.0 ports. Further, the ZBOX computer features a built in IR (infra-red) receiver and media center remote in addition to an eSATA port and a 6-in-1 media card reader. On the audio front, the media center PC supports on-board analog stereo and 7.1 channel digital audio (LPCM and Bitstream via HDMI).
There are currently two models in the AD10 series, the AD10 and the AD10 Plus. The AD10 model allows for a bit more user customization by leaving it up to the user to add their own RAM and hard drive of choice to the mini PC. The AD10 Plus on the other hand, is the same as the AD10 except for the fact that it includes a 2 GB DDR3 SO-DIMM and a 320 GB 5400 RPM hard drive. Both models come with the media center remote, USB IR receiver (in addition to the built in receiver), and VESA mount.
Media center PCs are getting smaller every day, and the new Nano AD10 series from Zotac is no different. Thanks to the APU (especially the GPU), and hardware accelerated video decoding, it will deliver plenty of horsepower for all your home theater PC needs. Unfortunately, there was no word on MSRP or availability at the time of publication. Stay tuned for an update.
Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2011 - 12:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 8, ontario, low power, hondo, brazos, APU, amd
Thanks to a leak from AMD, we have new information on their plans for tablets and ultra mobile platforms. Hondo will be a member of Brazos-T, the planned improvement to the current low power version of Brazos which goes by the name of Desna. This is not so much a new chip as a refining of Brazos and the Ontario APU, the 1GHz APU will still be made on a 40nm process and sport a DirectX 11 GPU at 276MHz also optimized for lower power consumption and heat production. The Hudson controller is also being tweaked in the same way, with the chipset's TDP sitting at 1W compared to the ~4W the APU will consume. It should be capable of playing 720p videos at that power setting, though you can expect a bit more power draw if you are streaming the movie wirelessly. You can read more about the future of the new fanless APU from AMD at The Inquirer.
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD is planning to refresh its Brazos platform in time for Microsoft's Windows 8.
AMD launched its Brazos platform last year, though actual products tipped up earlier this year featuring a dual core processor and a DirectX 11 GPU. However with Windows 8 coming out in 2012, it is a little surprising that leaked slides point to AMD planning a refresh of Brazos, codenamed Hondo. According to the slides, Hondo is designed to operate with passive cooling, and have 2W "app power" usage, about half that of the current Brazos chips."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Retailer Calls Rivals' Bluff On "HDMI Scam" @ Slashdot
- Unlicensed: Are Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player illegal? @ Ars Technica
- Facebook's 'awesome' plan to hook up with Skype? @ The Register
- Top level domain explosion could wreak MAYHEM on NET @ The Register
- Nanolayers improve performance of phase change memory @ Nanotechweb
- Imation Link Wireless Extender Review @ t-break
Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:29 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: x79, release, llano, Intel, brazos, APU, amd
DigiTimes has announced that the 32nm Llano we've all be waiting for will be arriving tomorrow with the A75 chipset in tow. A pair of A8s and a pair of A6's should be available for you over the next few weeks, with a refresh of less powerful A4 APUs set for the Fall/Winter of 2011. The last quarter will also see AMD flesh out their lineups of A8 and A6 CPUs and the first arrival of the E-series for their Brazos platform.
You'll have to wait a while longer for Scorpius, it is not scheduled to hit until the beginning of 2012, which means Intel's X79 chipset will be out along with a few new i3 and i5 models and even a new Celeron.
"CPU maker AMD is set to announce its latest 32nm A series APU codenamed Llano on June 30 with motherboard makers including Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI) all having announced products based on AMD's A75 chipset, according to sources from motherboard players.
In early July, AMD will initially supply its FM1-based A8-3850, A8-3800, A6-3650 and A6-3600 APUs with A6-3500, A4-3400, A4-3300, A8-3870, A8-3820, A6-3670 and A6-3620 APUs set for launch in the fourth quarter along with E2-3200. In September, AMD will also announce E-450 and E300 for its Brazos platform.
For the high-end Scorpius platform, AMD will announce the AM3+-based FX-8150, FX8100, FX6100 and FX4100 by the end of September with FX8170, FX8120, FX6120 and FX4140 set for the first quarter of 2012.
For chipsets, AMD will launch A75 (Hudson D3) and A55 (Hudson D2) together with its A series APU, and is set to launch a chipset codenamed Hudson D4 in February 2012.
On the other hand, Intel is also prepared to launch its high-end X79 chipset after September along with 11 upgraded CPUs including Core i5-2320, Core i3-2120T, Core i3-2130 and G540.
The sources pointed out that AMD is targeting Llano at the entry-level and mainstream markets, competing mainly against Intel's Core i3 and Pentium, while E-450 and E300 will target Intel's G440, 540 and 530 series."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Inside Google+: how the search giant plans to go social @ Ars Technica
- Office 365 goes live, gives SMBs a taste of the enterprise @ Ars Technica
- Google in preemptive strike on Microsoft Office 365 @ The Register
- McAfee to wipe mess off .xxx pr0n sites @ The Register
- Surprising Power Consumption Of Ubuntu 11.04 vs. Windows 7 @ Phoronix
- Lowepro LP34711-0AM Black Ridge 10 Camera Case @ Rbmods
- Custom Firmware Alternatives For Your Wireless Router @ TechSpot
- Sapphire Office Visit - X79 Revealed @ Ninjalane
- SkyMall’s Most Bizarre Products – Part 13 @ Hardware Secrets
- 5 Ways OS X Lion Will Increase Productivity @ Techware Labs
- Win a Dell XPS Laptop with Overclock3D & Dell Outlet
Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2011 - 11:27 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: acer, amd, desna, bobcat core, APU, AMD z-series, brazos
AMD's C-series and E-series of APUs have been selling quickly, with an estimated 1/2 million processors sold already to tablet and SFF PC builders and putting plenty of pressure on Intel's Atom+ION lineup. AMD has made themselves so popular by providing better performance at a lower TDP and power draw, mostly because of the age of the Oak Trail based CULVs, once Huron River arrives we may see that change drastically.
Now we learn that Acer has orders in for 80K of the new dual core 1GHz APU, with a TDP of 5.9W. Obviously AMD and the OEMs purchasing the chips are intending these for tablets and SFF PCs running Windows. There will be no need to wait for Win8's ARM architecture support if you are looking to run a Win7 ultramobile PC right now. ARM, Tegra and even Intel's announced Moorestown pull less power and are more appropriate for smart phones, so don't expect to be seeing Desna in that particular form factor.
"Acer has recently placed orders for 80,000 Z series APUs from AMD for use in tablet PCs, targeting the enterprise market, according to sources from upstream component makers. However, both Acer and AMD did not confirm the orders.
In addition to Acer, Micro-Star International (MSI) is also developing tablet PC models using AMD's APU.
Since Google Android 3.0 currently still has issues which need to be resolved, while the next-generation Android operating system codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich will not appear until the end of 2011, some tablet PC vendors have decided to launch Windows 7-based tablet PCs targeting the enterprise market to maintain their shipments.
Since Intel's Oak Trail-based Atom processor is higher in both price and power consumption, several notebook vendors have already started considering AMD's platform. In addition to Acer and MSI, some vendors have also started inquiring about AMD's Z series APU.
AMD's Z series APU is produced through Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) 40nm process and is already shipping, targeting the Windows-based tablet PC market, noted the sources adding that they expect shipments of Z series APUs to reach at least 500,000 units in the second half of 2011, creating strong pressure on Intel's Oak Trail processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel starts talking about 8nm node @ SemiAccurate
- iCloud without Apple: your platform-agnostic alternatives @ Ars Technica
- Ex-Google engineer dubs Goofrastructure 'truly obsolete' @ The Register
- Canon REALiS SX80 Mark II Review @ TechReviewSource
- Wii U Specification Rumours @ XSreviews
- Computex 2011 recap: Intel Z68 motherboard dominates but AMD Bulldozer missing @ The Inquirer