AMD lost $590 million in the first quarter, but showed better-than-expected revenue and officials are optimistic about the upcoming launch of its Trinity APUs.
Advanced Micro Devices officials say
they are ready to give Intel and its upcoming "Ivy Bridge" chips some
competition, with systems powered by their own "Trinity" processors
going on sale this quarter.
The Trinity accelerated processing
units (APUs) are the next generation of mainstream desktop and notebook chips,
and will follow the current "Llano" A-series processors. The Llano
chipsamong the first wave of Fusion APUs with integrated high-end graphics
capabilitieswere introduced last year and were among the fastest selling in
company history, according to AMD officials.
The Trinity chips will "improve on
virtually every aspect" of the current APUs, with greater performance,
better power efficiency and graphics, and a 50 percent improvement in
performance-per-watt, according to AMD CEO Rory Read.
Systems powered by Trinity chips will
begin appearing this quarter, and there are a record number of system designs
in the pipeline, Read said during an April 19 conference call with analysts and
journalists as he announced the company's first-quarter financial numbers.
AMD lost $590 million during the
quarter, thanks in large part to a $703 million charge related to its decision
to shed its remaining interest in chip manufacturer Globalfoundries
. Also during
the quarter, AMD closed on its $334 million deal to buy microserver maker SeaMicro
. However, the revenue
of $1.59 billionthough less than the $1.61 billion it generated in the first
quarter of 2011was higher than expected, and the company expects revenue to
grow another 3 percent in the second quarter.
The Trinity chips will compete with
Intel's Ivy Bridge processors, the first of which are expected to hit the
market this month. Intel executives are counting on the Ivy Bridge chips to
fuel rapid growth in Ultrabooks, the very thin and light notebooks that the
company has been championing for almost a year.
However, Read said during the
conference call that with Trinity, AMD expects to be a player in the same
marketAMD executives refer to such systems as "ultrathins"
and to beat
Intel on pricing. Currently, Ultrabooks powered by Intel's "Sandy Bridge"
architecture are selling for anywhere from $800 to more than $1,000, though
with Ivy Bridge, Intel officials are expecting Ultrabook prices to continue
dropping. However, AMD executives expect ultrathins powered by Trinity to run
in the $500 range. AMD-based systems will be available for everyone, not only
the "small percentage" of people who can afford high-cost notebooks.
AMD this quarter also will release "Brazos
2.0," the next generation of its C- and E-series APUs for low-power
laptops. Read said the first release of Brazos helped fuel the company's growth
not only in low-power, lost-cost notebooks, but also in emerging markets.
On the server side, Read said the
company's Opteron chips, based on the Bulldozer architecture, are continuing to
see steady adoption, and that in the first quarter, Bulldozer-based Opterons
accounted for more than half of all the server chips sold. Last month Intel
unveiled its latest Xeon chips, dubbed "Romley." The Xeon E5-2600
processors are designed for such
uses as analytics and cloud computing.
In addition, he touted the acquisition
of SeaMicro, which Read said will make the company a larger player in the
rapidly expanding cloud data center market. The deal also dealt a blow to
Intel, which had been working closely with SeaMicro in developing low-power,
high-density systems. SeaMicro several years ago began selling its microservers
powered by Intel's Atom chips, and earlier this year unveiled a microserver
running a Xeon chip from Intel.