Is AMD slimming down for a date with Apple?

Is AMD slimming down for a date with Apple?

Summary: Did Intel just become a one-night-stand? Are Apple and AMD headed to the altar?


Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

The recent layoffs at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) have me scratching my head. With revenue and profit growing, why is AMD laying off more people?

AMD was slowly being smothered by Intel's revenue-capping onslaught which was exposed by the New York Attorney General's lawsuit (PDF). Now that AMD is recovering (courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission's consent decree) why is it trying to lose a few more pounds? (Word is that AMD is shedding a lot of non-engineering staff.)

In 2010, it was reported that Apple was testing AMD processors in the MacBook Air. Curiously, just one year later, Intel announced a $300 Million dollar fund to help unleash an army of clones to compete with the MacBook Air. (Here's the video of Intel CEO Paul Otellini's announcement.) ZDnet UK's Jack Schofield concludes that Intel is going after the Air.

They represent Intel's attempt to take ultraportables similar to the latest versions of Apple's MacBook Air and make them mass market.

Is Intel jealously smacking its runaway bride (Apple)?

Could Apple be cozying up to AMD?

In his biography by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs compared Intel to a steamship noting that its graphics suck. Page 493:

We tried to help Intel, but they don't listen much. We've been telling them for years that their graphics suck... They wanted this big joint project to do chips for future iPhones. There were two reasons we didn't go with them. One was that they are just really slow. They're like a steamship...Second is that we just didn't want to teach them everything, which they could go and sell to our competitors.

What if Steve wanted to move beyond "steamship" innovation and sucky graphics?

Steve had the foresight to see that if Apple acquired AMD it would get a treasure chest of patents which would help it defend against future lawsuits (like the recent case with S3).

Most importantly, Apple would get AMD's engineering team, which has historically innovated quite well despite a limited R&D budget resulting from very limited market access due to Intel’s unusual practices. (Dell alone reportedly received $6 billion from Intel between 2002 and 2007 to not buy AMD chips. Sometimes those payments exceeded Dell’s profits.)

To hear Anton Shilov tell it, Apple's chip design team will never stack up to Intel.

Apple has never attempted to develop its own central processing units and used off-the-shelf chips for many reasons, the main of which is state-of-the-art technologies required for competitive microprocessors along with experience, patent portfolio and so on.

What do you think?

Related: Did AMD take a bite out of Intel's forbidden Apple?

[image: Maximum PC]

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Intel, Mobility, Networking, Processors

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  • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

    Apple went intel, I stopped buying intel. If AMD partners with AMD then that will in fact give 100% credit to every statement about apple I have ever said that people don't get.<br>I have said that since around 2000 with apple's switch to intel that the only real difference with the exception of EFI is in the software. Every sucker in the world in the world that bought a MAC really bought a PC in Mac Dressing and running OSX. That apple gives the appearence they are better by saying We can run windows and you cant run osx. I have been a fan of AMD for years. I was about to buy a new 6 or 8 core FX (from a phenom 9500) until now. If AMD gets in bed with apple, I wont buy another AMD product again and will go back to Intel.<br><br>Then it really will be like I said, every moron in the world that bought a Mac just bought a PC for tripple the cost that the same hardware running windows really cost's and they did so with a smile and excitement like fire was just invented.
    • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

      @Nate_K [quote]Then it really will be like I said, every moron in the world that bought a Mac just bought a PC for tripple the cost that the same hardware running windows really cost's and they did so with a smile and excitement like fire was just invented.[/quote]<br><br>Please show me where every Mac costs 3x more than every Windows machine of comparable specs. Problem is you can't. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc. all sell computers as expensive and more expensive than a Mac. Cause every time I do the math on a $1-2k computer the Mac is at most $100-200 more expensive. Which is nowhere 3x as expensive.<br><br>And your anger at Apple for selling "expensive" computers should also be directed to those Windows vendors because they also sell expensive computers that are not that much "better" than their $3-500 junk.<br><br>IOW: STFU cause you have no clue.
      • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

        @itguy10 They used to be 2x-3x the price.. not anymore. Now, they are somewhat reasonably priced and have been for about a year.
      • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

        [quote]Now, they are somewhat reasonably priced and have been for about a year.[/quote]

        More than a year. Since 2002 when I got my first iMac and it was actually cheaper than a name brand PC with the bells and whistles.
      • Not quite $100-200


        As I write this on my MacBook Pro, I am struck by two things about your post. First is the Apple tinted lens of reality that you live in, and second is your boorish nature in which you launch a personal attack at someone with which you disagree (STFU, you have no clue; really mature and adult). Great to think on Veterans Day that soldiers dies for your right to disagree in such an UN-gentlemanly manner. While Nate was a tad off on his math; he was still correct in that Macs do cost quite a bit more for an equal or even better equipped PC. I do not see the world as PC vs. Mac; I work on Windows 7 at work and have 3 Macs at home, all of which I am quite happy with and have my own reasons behind my purchases. That being said, none of tech products that I buy define me or a source that I gather my self worth from. Below you can see that HP offers very nice options that are cheaper and better speced. On the Envy; Apple does not even offer a true hybrid drive and the Envy offers double the memory at 16GBs of Ram and the price was still way cheaper. When comparing the HP DM4X vs. the 13" MacBook Pro; notice that the it has a full 1GB Discrete Graphics Card (not the integrate Intel option), it also offers a 750GB HD that is much faster at 7200 RPM. One last thing that really disappoints me about Apple, is the Apple care protection plan. HP, along with most major PC vendors offer accidental damage protection as standard with their protection plans. Apple has started offering on the iPhone; hopefully it will make it's way to the Mac.
      • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

        @itguy10 You have no clue. He was right, Apple does overprice 5 year old technologies. Why shouldn't people bash a company that doesn't use the web standards (Flash), don't use current technologies (USB) and claim to be invulnerable from malware? They may not have said it, but they sure as **** implied it.
        PS, Apple doesn't make any new technologies. They are like TDK of the tech world, they don't make anything, they just make it easier for stupid people to use.
      • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

        @itguy10 : No, you are wrong. I've been a Mac person since even before 1984 with a friend's Apple II (computer pre-Mac). Apple Macintosh units (tech and released various shaped models) were at least 3x more to purchase. Without going into a 4 or 5 page rant, I purchased a Mac SE/30 (look it up on Google) six months after it was released for the 2nd hand price of $4200 (new was $6000.). Still works if anyone is interested in a Museum piece. In fact I still use the keyboard ADB-adapted to USB and I've never had any AND I DO MEAN ANY problems of keys sticking or whatever. And no, it never went through any other owner than myself. Watch, next week it'll start acting up. Current Mac is a 2002 Quicksilver w/10.4.11. Didn't want to go intel since forever. Hell, I was ecstatic when I could divert processing power for 'multi-tasking'! People today take it all now for granted. I heard Apple may go into the home television screen market and they needed to have supply secured (plus wanted to get graphic problem solved and never having to deal with that issue ever again).
      • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

        @itguy10 The cheapest Macbook Pro is $1199 and it only sports an Intel Core i5, 4GB, and the cheap HD 3000 graphics. Go to Best Buy and you'll find the same base specs on PC's starting at $449!. If that isn't 2-3X then I don't know what you are referring to. Even the comparable i7 machines from Apple start at $ i7-based PC can be purchased for as little as $799! (and you're not stuck with a tiny 13" screen!)
      • Here's one for you.



        Cheapest iMac (Intel i5 2.5GHz quad-core CPU; 4GB RAM; 500GB hard drive; 21.5" LED monitor; AMD Radeon 6750M video card, 512MB GDR5 memory) costs $1,199. Next-size up (2.7GHz quad-core i5, 1TB hard drive, AMD 6770M video) goes up to $1,499.

        Package deal on Gateway DX4860-UB33P (Intel i5 3GHz quad-core CPU; 4GB RAM; 1TB hard drive; 23" LED monitor; built-in Intel graphics) and XFX Radeon 6770 HD video card (1GB GDR5 memory) cost $780 and $125 each, for a total price of $905.

        The Gateway option gives you a faster processor, larger monitor, double the hard drive space, & double the video memory, while saving you $294 (making the iMac 32.49% more expensive). Even with the "upgraded" iMac, the Gateway option still gives you a faster processor and double the video memory, while saving you $594 (making the iMac 65.64% more expensive).

        So, straight from both Apple & a vendor's websites, the Apple product with *inferior* hardware costs over 50% more than a competitor's equipment.
      • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

        @itguy10 The issue is that on the Windows side you have a much lower price entry point. Cheapest Mac laptop is $1000. You can get a very decent netbook for $300. If all you need a laptop for is emailing, web browsing, Office, etc., paying $1000 for a Macbook Air is overkill.

        A few months ago, a friend of mine bought an Acer 11" netbook with AMD dual core, 4gb ram, and 320gb hd at Costco for $279 plus tax and he's very happy with it. He's not a heavy duty user in terms of apps, but he does use Office to develop his lesson plans for the week. He's a teacher. And the cool thing about Costco is that you have 90 days to return the item if you don't like it.
      • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

        @itguy10 I recently used a 13.3" 2011 MacBook Pro with i7 CPU|Intel HD Graphics 3000 (NO discrete graphics card) and 4GB RAM. This ran me $1,499.99 for which I got no productivity software and few worthwhile apps. So before my 45 day return limit was reached, I returned it and went back to Windows and got a Dell XPS 17.3" with quad-core i7, 8GB RAM, 3GB Nvidia Graphics card with 3D 1920x1080 WLED screen (the most beautiful screen I've ever used BTW), BluRay, Microsoft Office, and too much more to mention, all for the same price $1,499.99. I got nearly twice the computer for the same price. It may not equate to Apple being 2x-3x expensive, but overall, I can actually get things done and multitask without the fan sounding like it's about to burn out the way it does on the recent MacBook Pro's at clearly inequivalent price points for what is provided in the purchase. To meet the minimum specs including screen size, my only option with Apple is spending a MINIMUM of $2,499.99, which does not yield an equivalent amount of RAM. My finding in benchmarks that detect CPU and RAM usage in resource intensive software applications in side-by-side comparison on Mac OS X 10.7.x Lion vs Windows 7 is that Mac OS X uses MORE RAM than Windows 7, that includes SAFARI smh. For Apple's MacBook Pro's, not only are you paying more for at least a similarly capable but lesser configuration, but you're also getting a less-optimized operating system. As an Apple computer, my Dell XPS 17.3" 3D configuration would sell for well over $3,000. In my opinion, Apple is at least 75% more expensive, producing little justification in terms of hardware and performance for the price points it sells the MacBook Air and Pro product lines. 75% is a generous estimation, as I've gone through bearing the initial cost of buying a MacBook and having to purchase apps (iWork/MS Office/etc) for Lion because there isn't much functionality out of the box. Even with those app purchases, the experience in using Mac OS X is a butchered mess in comparison to Windows 7. Say what you will about error messages on Windows, but there are many errors with Mac OS X, too, and they're not that far off in behavior or disruption from Windows. Apple makes nice hardware, but that's before you turn it on and actually try to get actual things done. It's not very good at multitasking for the cost, and in comparison to Windows computers that can be had at the same cost, Apple doesn't offer much other than a big a$$ piece of aluminum with a loud a$$ fan. Sorry, that doesn't make the premium price "worth it," especially when you have to pay extra up front for assistance, otherwise, Apple Care won't even take your call. When they did take my call on using friend's account, they made me feel it was my fault that Lion screwed up WiFi when nothing else in my home had a problem retaining WiFi. There could be a book written both ways about why people should pay for Apple or why people should pay for Windows. Overall, it should come down to the biggest bang for the buck. Apple's only bang is the hardware, but by the time the unboxing is completed, their guns are empty and the Mac OS X experience degrades from there, especially when it burns in your mind that you spent all that money for little else than a pretty paper weight. With each of the last two OS upgrades/updates from Microsoft (Windows 7 and Windows 7 SP1), the hardware I've used for those updates behaved and performed better with no changes to the hardware configuration. For the update from Leopard to Lion, Mac OS X took a steaming pi$$ on all that screams "work smarter, not harder." I can't write a check for that, especially one that's nearly double the cost what I can get for a maximum of the same headache for a Windows 7 machine.
    • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

      When Apple made the jump to Intel several years ago, I really thought back then they should have partnered with AMD. I'm sure they had their reason to go with Intel. We'll see what happes as all of this is more rumors and heresy.<br><br>As for Nate_K's comment the only moron is you! What mac cost triple the cost of the same hardware running windows? I'd love to see that. The Mac system (hardware, software and design) is far superior than anything coming out of Dell, HP, Lenovo or any other Windows PC manufacturer. Clearly you haven't used a Mac and have no idea what you are talking about.
      • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

        @Masari.Jones The notion of Mac hardware being "far superior" is a blatant exageration. I was quite willing to concede that Nate_K was out to lunch with his cost comments (and his anger), but the fact is, one can buy a comparable PC (in turns of specs and quality) to a Mac. The fact is, it won't save you much money.

        However, if fancy industrial design doesn't do anything for you (you don't need sleek, slim, light-weight etc", then you can buy a LOT more PC for your money. It all depends on what you want. I would recommend a Mac for my mother-in-law (and I like her greatly), but not for my father-in-law (who is a project consultant).
    • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?


      So, you already refuse to buy Intel, and you now refuse to buy AMD. Hmmm, I think you can still get an abacus cheap...
  • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

    I think that if Apple were to switch to AMD, a lot of manufacturers would follow(as they did with the Radeon switch). A lot of people have the misconception that Macs are somehow the best because they are the most expensive, so they look at all the hardware contained within them as "godlike". If enough manufacturers were to begin using AMD once again, the market would probably go 50-50 again rather than the pitiful balance its in now (about 20-80). AMD has always been better at what they do, but with nobody to sell to, you cant possibly make a competitive CPU. Im surprised their CPUs have done this well, with intel limiting their OEM sales to like 10% of what they used to be, according to that lawsuit.

    It may not seem like that big of a deal to buy an AMD CPU, but when you think about it, not only are you giving AMD a sale, but you are taking one from Intel, and thats where it counts. Another prevented purchase from intel means another small bribe they now will not be able to pay.
    • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

      @Tylemagne: The story noted "Dell alone reportedly received $6 billion from Intel between 2002 and 2007 to not buy AMD chips. Sometimes those payments exceeded Dell???s profits."

      You know, if companies weren't receiving these payoffs NOT to buy and use AMD cpus/chipsets, we might see a different landscape where AMD's market share was much higher. These big payouts by Intel looks like anticompetitive behavior to me. Wasn't (Isn't) there a lawsuit pending against Intel for his behavior? If not, there should be. Maybe Intel should keep some of that money and use it to improve/overhaul their graphics systems.
      • Intel like MS are monopolies we could do without

        Innovation would increase. Case in point AMD, with 10% of the budget they have kept up and at times surpassed Intel in capabilities.<br><br>For over ten years and over 100K computers, Intel didn't benefit from any purchase decision I was involved with. It was easy to disqualify them, based on their actions, that are well known today. <br><br>Many here, like I, will not consider Intel on principle. A similar sentiment has cost MS a lot of market share. I wish the same would happen with Intel. <br><br>Apple for the same reason is a no-no on my book, not interested in monopolistic behavior. Though, Apple-AMD does make sense and would definitely give Apple an edge. The problem with a decision like this one, has to do with ARM processors. ARM architecture is the future because of the implied efficiency and optimized design (less cycles to complete a task, less pipeline utilization, means less energy used). If AMD would have gone down this road four years ago, Intel would now be an after thought.<br><br>To Intel.. I will never buy, recommend or allow if possible the purchase of an Intel powered Android device (for that matter any other OS with Intel inside). An Apple device with AMD inside on the other hand would be welcomed.
  • Interesting premise

    Would make sense - AMD makes some of the best CPUs and GPU's. Apple likes to control the whole widget. So it would make sense to buy or partner with them.

    Also interesting to read how Intel bulled the OEM's about AMD over the years. Yet another reason I hate them. I love my Macs despite Intel Inside and really don't like that they have an Intel chip in them. But I'll never go to the other options (Windows or Linux) so I deal.
  • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?

    Perhaps AMD is more agreeable to Apple engineer suggestions. If they get a non-compete agreement in place, I see it as win-win for everyone but INTEL.
    • RE: Is AMD slimming down for a date With Apple?


      Like Microsoft, anything bad for Intel is great for us consumers and the tech industry in general.