AMD Demonstrates Bulldozer CPU, Ships Fusion APUs

Analysts appear cautiously optimistic about AMD after the company demos its Bulldozer CPU and Fusion APU technologies.

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices has demonstrated its CPU and GPU computing technologies on a single die and processor design, with planned OEM system availability in early 2011. The company's Fusion Accelerated Processing Units, currently shipping to OEMs and coming to market in 2011, are built from DirectX 11-capable GPU technology and either low-power or high-performance multicore x86 CPU technology, and are designed to improve today's Internet, video processing and playback, and gaming (client and online) experiences.
A Deutsche Bank analyst's note said the company's Analyst Day again demonstrated the new approach at AMD, and said AMD management is "clearly focused" on improving profitability and returns to shareholders. However, Deutsche Bank analysts noted they remain skeptical of AMD's ability to grow meaningful market share over the long term, although they also said they believe AMD can be a more profitable company even in the absence of market share gains and lower discrete GPU attach rates by focusing on growing in new market segments.
"AMD Fusion products represent the biggest advancement in processor technology since the industry's switch to multicore designs," said Nathan Brookwood, research fellow at Insight 64. "Fusion enables a quantum increase in the performance of entry-level and mainstream processors, and helps software developers enrich their offerings in ways that would previously have been hard to imagine. These enhanced applications, in turn, will give the PC industry tools to tap into new opportunities that only the latest GPU technology can provide."
AMD also announced several updates to its 2012 road maps, including "Krishna" and "Wichita", two- and four-core 28-nm APUs based on the next-generation sub-1-watt "Bobcat" CPU cores and a DirectX 11-capable GPU, designed for the tablet, notebook, HD netbook and desktop form factors; "Trinity", a 32-nm APU based on AMD's next-generation "Bulldozer" CPU cores and a DirectX 11-capable GPU, designed for mainstream and high-performance desktops and notebooks; and "Komodo," a 32-nm CPU featuring up to 10 AMD "Bulldozer" CPU cores designed for high-performance and enthusiast desktops.
In addition, AMD offered updates on "Terramar" and "Sepang," two new 32-nm CPUs for the server market based on its Bulldozer CPU core. Targeted for the enterprise, mainstream market Terramar will scale up to 20 cores while Sepang is designed for the cost-optimized, energy-efficient market and will scale up to 10 CPU cores.
"AMD's business model has consistently delivered operating profits this year, while the strength of our platform offerings drove continued expansion of our customer base," said Dirk Meyer, AMD president and CEO. "The industry is at an inflection point, with users demanding technology that is more immersive and interactive. With our upcoming AMD Fusion APUs combining our DirectX 11-capable graphics processors and next-generation microprocessors on a single chip, we are poised to lead the industry's next computing era with richer, more vivid digital experiences."
An analyst note from securities and investment banking group Jefferies & Co. was also cautiously optimistic about the company in the wake of AMD's announcements. "We do recognize AMD has made substantial improvements to its profitability and capital structure, and that its APU strategy offers compelling differentiation, but we continue to wait for better indications of success with its new products before getting more constructive," the research note concluded.