An expensive failure to launch; Llano's fine

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2017 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: llano, amd


Having spoken with representative from AMD, we can confirm those in the comments were correct and that "the settlememt is coming from our insurance carrier....So there is no financial impact to AMD."  

Good news for AMD and enthusiasts!


Those indignant souls for whom the recent issues with Vega's launch represent the worst thing to happen ever in the history of the world may be somewhat discombobulated to learn that worse happened a mere eight years ago.  It was a heady time for AMD, three years previous to these events they had just purchased ATI and were excited about the growth potential offered from having two types of products.  Bright minds at AMD realized there was a different potential for growth; synergistic in nature.   Why limit yourself to just selling GPUs and CPUs when you could combine the two in a silicon version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?  Thus was born Llano, a chip touted to rival Sandy Bridge in computational power with an APU more powerful than any which had existed before.

Things did not go according to plan.

The launch of Llano was delayed several times and when it finally arrived in 2011, two years after the initially planned release date, it did not outperform Sandy Bridge as advertised.  Instead the A8-3850 could mostly hold its own against the Core i3-2100 in multi-threaded tasks but fell far behind in single threaded performance.  This was a major issue as there were even less applications taking advantage of multithreaded processors than there are today. 

The graphics portion of the chip was very impressive, offering the first APU which you could actually use to game and watch HD video; perhaps not Crysis but certainly many online games were well within Llano's grasp.  This was not enough to save Llano in the marketplace and set the stage for the following years in which AMD has struggled.

Today we learn of the final penalty AMD must endure as a result of Llano, a $29.5 million payout to anyone who purchased AMD shares between April 4, 2011 and October 18, 2012.  This is not the best timing for AMD to dig into their pockets, their budget is already stretched and we would all prefer to see that money going into R&D for their next generation of products.  However, the lawsuit is no longer hanging over their heads and they can now budget for the coming quarters without having an unknown expense in the ledgers.

Hopefully AMD's fortune will reverse in the near future, as Threadripper, Epyc and Vega all show very good signs compared to the state of AMD six years ago.

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"Advanced Micro Devices has agreed to pay out $29.5m to settle a class action lawsuit its shareholders filed after the disastrous Llano chip rollout."

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August 29, 2017 | 02:26 PM - Posted by Just an Nvidia User (not verified)

I thought AMD are the good guys. Settling a lawsuit isn't that sort of admitting guilt. At least that was where fingers were pointed with gtx 970 ramgate. They got off cheap.

August 29, 2017 | 04:38 PM - Posted by Just an Nvidia User (not verified)

Seems like it is only an offer by AMD's insurance company and if it is accepted AMD can continue to deny it has done anything wrong. That s the actual stipulation. Wow.

August 29, 2017 | 02:39 PM - Posted by Rocky1234 (not verified)

Liano CPU was ok I know someone that is still using one of those CPU's it is over clocked to 3.5Ghz and serves them fine for their daily needs. Was it as fast as a Sandy Bridge no of coarse not and anyone that was expecting that was standing way to close to the hype train. It performs good for what it is. My friend plays online games with it like Guild wars 1 & 2 with a Radeon HD 7790 graphics card and gets a good game experience from it.

August 29, 2017 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Mr.Gold (not verified)

Still have a llano laptop from 2011, flawless for the past 7 years.
It actually got better as I see all 4 core running most often then not nowadays.

The TDP (35w) was actually amazing for a true quad core + decent gaming GPU at the time.

The part that surprised me , yes its more bulky, but I prefer that laptop over my broadwell i5 laptop. llano just doesn't run as hot or loud.

I think Apple considered AMD APU, but GlobalFoundry (AMD exclusive fab by contract) could not manufacture this part in volume or "correctly. and AMD didn't have the right to go to TSMC. AMD was screwed more then twice over by those guys.

August 29, 2017 | 05:57 PM - Posted by serpico (not verified)

yeah, I have similar experience but with Llano's smaller cousin Brazos. I really wanted a netbook when they came out but the atom was just terrible performance. Brazos amd e350 was everything I wanted. Power efficient, faster than atom, and had graphics that allowed me to play lot of my games at lowest settings. Lenovo x120e was a really nice laptop for my needs.

Then they started stuffing the amd e350 into full-sized laptops and desktops. This simply cemented everyones throught process "amd=poor performance". It's too bad, I thought the amd e350 was better than the intel atoms of that time in pretty much every way.

August 29, 2017 | 03:09 PM - Posted by Random Random (not verified)

This is not the best timing for AMD to dig into their pockets, their budget is already stretched and we would all prefer to see that money going into R&D for their next generation of products.

The 29 million will be paid out by AMDs insurance company, and not AMD itself.

August 29, 2017 | 03:41 PM - Posted by InsurenceComesOnHandyAtTimes (not verified)

AMD's rolling in Epyc revenues and their Management better come clean on their Custom ARMv8A ISA running K12 project's fate or there will be some SEC troubles come 2018!

So Keller was also working on a Custom ARMv8A ISA running design that shared a lot of Zen DNA, but instead of running the x86 ISA, the K12 was engneered to run the ARMv8A RISC ISA.

AMD's stock at one time was in the high 90's dollar range on CPU sales alone and AMD had a sizable share of the server market with it's Opteron/X86 server/workstation SKUs, and that stock price included no GPU sales as AMD had yet to purchase ATI.

I'm not seeing K12/custom ARM on any of AMD's newer roadmaps but AMD's SEC requirements will forbid AMD killing the project without any 10k statment information to that effect, or there can be more fines.

Now if the FTC can just crack down on all this Reviewer Maual nonsense and make that illegial also with big fines! Ditto for any Review Sample strings attatched that prevents the consumer's from getting fair and balanced reviews on the products tested! Including an FTC required transparicy statment from all the review sites about any ad revenues or pronitional agreements that pose conflict of intrests among the technology "Press" and the companies whose products are being reviwed!

Sure AMD is insured for those types of Management/Marketing "errors" and Fines need to be paid and stockholders compensated.

September 1, 2017 | 03:15 PM - Posted by Mr.Gold (not verified)

note: Adjusted by share outstanding, AMD was $22 a share in 2000 tech bubble.

On that note, Intel hit $75 in the 2000 bubble. and they sold a fraction of the portfolio of product they do now.

For review sample, its disclosed, and its a choice.
The only thing that could trigger a class action is if company pay reviewers under the table to create false data.
But frankly thats insane as the data is so easily duplicated.

Also any consumer can return the product if it doesn't perform as advertised.

Frankly, most review sites seem to be the one publishing bias, not the company that provide free samples.

August 29, 2017 | 03:50 PM - Posted by Joseph Taylor (not verified)

Jeremy it was covered by insurance so it has no effect on the operations of the company other than probably higher future insurance premiums.

August 29, 2017 | 04:13 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

No idea how that sort of thing works, IANAL.

August 29, 2017 | 04:14 PM - Posted by John H (not verified)

This type of bad press still depresses the stock price which affects the leadership and investors..

August 29, 2017 | 04:52 PM - Posted by GamersNarrowMindsNot (not verified)

Not really that happened on someone else's watch, Investors can't be that dumb it's not like they are gamers in their moms' basements'!

The days of consumer sales adversely affecting AMD's stock value are drawing to a close as the Epyc sales float the business to new highs in the professional markets!

AMD had a stock vales in the 90+ dollar range when AMD was a CPU only company(Opteron Server revenues mostly) long before they purchased ATI. So look for those Zen/Epyc paired with Vega Micor-Arch based Radeon Pro WX 9100 and Radeon Instinct MI25 SKUs to get AMD's stock vales beyond the Opteron CPU only revenue years. AMD is going up big time when those Epyc large revenue quarters start coming in!

AMD's Epyc servers and Professional GPU SKUs are winning sales in the ASIA markets with Baidu(MI25/other AMD SKUs), and others in the far east makets.

August 29, 2017 | 04:13 PM - Posted by John H (not verified)

Gotta love how you can invest in high (risk) technology and still sue if you don't make money off of it..

August 29, 2017 | 06:33 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

I think you are missing the point. AMD made misleading statements which caused people to invest and lose money. You cant do that. Just like Enron cant legally come out and say "invest in our stock because we made a huge profit" when they actually lost money.

August 29, 2017 | 10:44 PM - Posted by hood6558 (not verified)

That business about outperforming Sandy Bridge was a huge lie, no wait, AMD spin makes it "an unfortunate miscommunication". This could also be seen as an SEC violation, manipulating stock sales and price through fraudulent means, because your stock price will increase after any such claim becomes public knowledge, and the claim was blatantly false, therefore fraudulent.

September 1, 2017 | 03:33 PM - Posted by Mr.Gold (not verified)

In some situation it did. llano GPU was pretty good at the time.

But pure single core was poor. But it did great on apps like 3d rendering because it had 4 full core.

August 29, 2017 | 10:34 PM - Posted by CDK (not verified)

I was a big AMD & ATI fan for many years. Until around the time AMD purchased ATI. That's when quality control and their product lines turned to dog s***. I have been building systems for 25+ years and over the past decade have had more AMD CPU's & GPU's outright die or fail either by DOA or after a few short years. 5 dead proc's in 10 years is ridiculous. 7 AMD graphics cards as well in 10 years (although all were manufactured by other companies). In the approx 40+ systems i've built only AMD products were dead on arrival or died prematurely. I'm not an Intel or nvidia fanboy at all but AMD quality control has been horrible. Hope it changes very soon because they need to survive and WE need a company that compete with the juggernauts.

September 1, 2017 | 03:27 PM - Posted by Mr.Gold (not verified)

I have the opposite experience.

Never had any ATI/AMD product fail me to date.
No Intel problem either.

But I stopped buying nvidia around 2009. multiple laptop, and GPU failed in a year or two. 3 laptops, 2 GPU, 1 motherboard.

I know a friend that by nvidia exclusively and only had one card die early.

I have not build 40+ system, but around 20+

My Athlon X2 from 2007 is still running strong 24/7 , beside the nvidia motherboard flacking out. (video out is corrupted, ethernet dead)
llano laptop from 2010 also used almost daily, smooth, quiet, not heat even while gaming.
Same with my 2007 Q6600 PC, still running strong. But the GTX 8880GTS died years ago, and was replaced with a 7970. So far so good.

AMD / ATI as been 100% rock solid for me since the mid 90s

September 3, 2017 | 04:19 PM - Posted by serpico (not verified)

yeah, that was probably during the whole nvidia 7000 8000 series leadless solder problems right? They don't have that problem. I haven't had too much trouble with either one except for thta whole solder fiasco

August 29, 2017 | 11:54 PM - Posted by CNote

I still have an HP with an A6 3600... utter crap

August 30, 2017 | 12:47 AM - Posted by Power (not verified)

Llano multimedia performance was worse then Sandy Bridge.
If Zen APU will not support VP9 profile 2 in hardware it will fail as well.

August 30, 2017 | 11:10 AM - Posted by TrollFinder (not verified)

A quick check of my Newegg order history shows I built a system in 2011 using an Athlon II X2 270 3.8GHz. I must not have cared for Llano either. Ooh, and I had paired it with an XFX AMD Radeon HD 6850.

Parts for my Ryzen build should be delivered today, now if only the Vega 56 were widely available and with an open fan design from a partner company. AMD4LIFE!

September 1, 2017 | 03:19 PM - Posted by Mr.Gold (not verified)

I guess I'm "alone" but I built a system with an Asus Stryx and another with a reference RX 480.

Because I keep my PC case close, I prefer the reference card.

I think on an open bench I would pick the Stryx.

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