Can consoles save AMD?

Discussion in 'AMD x86 CPUs and chipsets' started by Lordz, May 24, 2013.

  1. Lordz

    Lordz Member

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    Now that is confirmed AMD are supplying the chips for XBOX PS4 and Wii U is this likely to be enough of a growth for them to survive?
    Things have been looking pretty bleak for everyone's favorite underdog lately but maybe this is a turning point?
     
  2. power

    power Member

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    why would it?

    They already build GPUs for Nintendo and Microsoft.
     
  3. richan3185

    richan3185 Member

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    Different.

    They license a design for Wii / U / 360 GPU getting only a tiny amount of the selling cost. The manufacture (through TSMC and IBM/GF Fab4) both the SoC's for the X1 and PS4. Expect an order of magnitude change in the revenue from doing this. i.e. instead of $5 / console, expect $50...according to the consensus.

    It seems their expectation to get a very large chunk of their revenue from semi-custom designs will come true very quickly. Either way they are looking at getting at least an additional ~20M chips / year at a minimum.
     
  4. Pemalite

    Pemalite Member

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    Console chips though are generally low margin business for the likes of AMD/nVidia/IBM et all.
    Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo bargain for the lowest possible price to be more competitive with each other and sell the machines for less of a loss.

    In AMD's case though, any profit they can make is valuable profit at this point in time!
     
  5. wraith666

    wraith666 Member

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    Doubt it. They will be supported by the console makers for sure. Making a decent profit though? Unlikely. Intel has already branched out to mobile devices etc. to minimise the impact of the market shifting. AMD however have seemingly missed the boat.
     
  6. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    I think it's a big win for the company, but won't necessarily translate into significant $$$, simply because the volume and margin's won't be there in comparison to their regular CPU/APU sales. (except perhaps in the months after launch)

    The knock-on effect of having the two major players committed to their hardware on core devices though, could be another story.. Defiantly something you want on your CV
     
  7. ledhead900

    ledhead900 Member

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    I wish but sad truth is no and supported statements by the others here so I don't need to cover them.

    What is a concern is that Intel has a strong dominance and if continues its going to lead to fewer price drops and a more steady price increase for the newer chips simply because it has no other manufacture that can compete with its efficiency and clocks. You just have to take a look at how AMD slaps more cores on the chip while still being swept away by the Intel quad budget line.

    This is what worry's me AMD need to do something and fast.
     
  8. mtma

    mtma Member

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    It's a revenue stream, and given they have pins in all three products would make it a fairly reliable one. Although there's some development costs up front, the fact that consoles largely remain the same for the entirety of their market life makes it a good one to have.

    They're not going to bounce back overnight no matter what, but these sorts of things are what allows them to stick around a bit longer and have a chance at doing it when a better opportunity shows itself.
     
  9. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    Intel certainly has faster CPUs, but that isn't the only thing that matters. Years ago, ARM realised that "highest performance" isn't as attractive as "adequate performance plus handy features plus low cost". The result is that ARM chips completely dominate the mobile and tablet scene. They're fast enough for their intended roles, and because ARM hasn't aimed for outright performance they've been able to offer very low power consumption and a bunch of useful peripherals (GPU, USB, DSP, etc) integrated into the CPU.


    In the previous generation of consoles, Microsoft and Sony took the "highest performance at any cost" approach. Nintendo took the "adequate performance, low cost, handy features" approach. The result was a huge win for Nintendo.

    In this generation Sony and Microsoft have followed Nintendo's lead. Sticking with a mid-range x86 system means they can offer cheaper consoles with better reliability and better games (because developers spend more time writing games and less time trying to deal with a bizarre CPU).

    As it turns out, AMD has also taken this approach, and that's won them a pretty decent pair of contracts. Sony and MS probably would have preferred Intel as a supplier (less likely to hit manufacturing or financial issues) but the fact is that Intel's focus on maximum performance has made their CPUs unsuitable.


    In short, I think that AMD's producing just about the right products. The problem is that consumers take ages to accept any new way of thinking. For an earlier example, see the vast number of people insisting on a hot, slow, expensive Pentium 4 Prescott or Pentium-D when the Athlon64 and Athlon64 X2 were far better options. As a result, people continue to buy a quad-core i5 system with a mid-range gaming video card so they can check their emails and watch kittens doing funny things on YouTube. Luckily for AMD, MS and Sony are somewhat more logical in their approach.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
  10. killerant

    killerant Member

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    Well cash flow for the company, even minimal, is good.

    Also, since next gen consoles are running an x86 amd 8 cores, its means that games will benefit from amd's architecture on pc too (hopefully) so amd might have the upper hand in performance with steamroller, esp considering that haswell is only power improvements over ivy, and the fx-8350 was only slightly below ivy in current gen games.

    tl;dr maybe, just maybe ;)
     
  11. Garido

    Garido Member

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    One thing that troubles AMD is they use a third party to manufacture their products. Intel on the other hand control all of their manufacturing (CPU wise). If AMD have issues, how can they consistently supply console makers on consignment. We're not talking 1 console here but quite a variety.


    This is why Intel has consistently held an edge over AMD (running costs and supply to manufacture).
     
  12. gregpolk

    gregpolk Member

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    If I were AMD I'd use the PS4 and XB1 as part of their marketing. Point out that the same hardware powering all the best looking most amazingest games that you're seeing advertised on TV can be yours in an affordable home computer or laptop. It could help for AMD to be a brand that regular folk actually recognise. I can't see their brand recognition being anywhere near the level of Intels, but xbox and playstation certainly are.

    The sales of the chips en masse obviously helps them a lot. But I think the marketing potential of tapping into their brand recognition is more helpful.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  13. Pieface

    Pieface Member

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    Just a thought, with all console games being written for AMD hardware would that not translate to better performance on AMD hardware in PCs? So instead of games for intel and/or nvidia they'd be tailored to run better on AMD parts. Even if it isn't completely true the marketing potential is there.
     
  14. power

    power Member

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    Doesn't help now, 360 is amd. Ps3 proprietary. Nvidia works with developers closer than amd though.
     
  15. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    The AMD(Ati) GPU in the 360 bares very little resemblence to current GPU's.. Even at the time it was highly customised vs the desktop "counterpart" (which shipped much later, i.e HD2900). Same applies to the DX-like (but not direct x) API that it runs.. So any optimisations were still very specific to the architecture, and the API.

    The Xbox one on the other hand runs a DX 11.1 CGN based GPU, and a much closer to windows OS (Windows Kernel I believe?) , so the chances of optimisation's reaking benefits for desktop based hardware are a lot higher.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  16. vid_ghost

    vid_ghost Member

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    MS and SONY went for the MOST performance they could get today with off the shelf PC parts for the power limit they had!
    First off an APU with an 8core CPU + GCN GPU was offering the MOST amount of performance to power usage.
    Remember that these new consoles use almost the exact same amount of power as the old X360, PS3 but are 8-16 times faster.
    Nothing from Intel + GPU could have come close to this level of performance while staying in the PS3, X360 power bracket.
    The only option was AMD... nothing else out at the moment can come close.

    And 1 chip do it all CPU/GPU is so much more efficient then a 2 chip solution. Intel Atom was just not good enough and intel/Nvidia had no GPU that could touch the 1,152 GCN IGP cores and stay inside the power limit.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  17. OP
    OP
    Lordz

    Lordz Member

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    Its looking like a far more interesting and colorful future at AMD now than it did 1 year ago, Even if it still ends in the company collapsing at least they have more time to try :)
     
  18. Annihilator69

    Annihilator69 Member

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    I think the Dresden factory was pretty much at some point an AMD only plant.
    Don't think hey will have too much issues.
     
  19. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    That can be a disadvantage, but it can also be an advantage. AMD's production will probably be spread over many several different companies in several different countries. Very little chance of them all having trouble at the same time, and very little chance of them all running out of manufacturing capacity at the same time.

    Is it really a "power limit"? I mean, the PS2 pulled about 80W for the original and about 50W for the slim model. Sony saw no problem with increasing that to over 200W for the original PS3 and about 70W for the latest models. Is there any rule that says they have to remain within the power envelope of the previous model?

    I see your point regarding power, but I would have thought that both manufacturers would have just developed a better cooling system if they thought there was an overall advantage to the faster hardware.
     
  20. AEKaBeer

    AEKaBeer Member

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    Here are a couple of Anandtech links that should give us an idea of the Kabini (jaguar) cpu performance, quad A4 5000 not an octo part but the same architecture as what we'll see in these new consoles.

    Kabini Review

    CPU performance comparison
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013

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