Where does Intel's Haswell leave AMD?

Where does Intel's Haswell leave AMD?

Summary: Is there still room for a second player in the processor market? Actually, there is, especially if AMD is willing to leverage its considerable background in GPUs.

TOPICS: Processors

Intel's new Haswell processors have been dominating the tech news for the past few days. The new silicon changes the playing field by integrating the CPU and GPU into an energy-efficient package that allows OEMs to build notebooks, tablets, and ultrabooks that will offer consumers better battery life.

But where does the Haswell refresh leave AMD? Is there still room for a second player in the processor market?

First, let's examine what Haswell brings to the table. According to Intel, Haswell's unique selling point is lower power consumption. This improvement benefits the PC landscape across the board:

  • It allows desktops to run cooler and more efficiently, reducing power bills and increasing reliability.

  • It means a lower cooling bill and increased reliability for servers (Intel launched one Haswell processor aimed at servers; the 13W TDP, 1.1GHz Xeon E3-1220LV3.

  • It offers increased battery life for portable devices.

While all three are important, it is the increased battery life that Intel is pushing hardest. After all, PC sales are in the gutter as people choose to spend their money on post-PC devices.

This is where Intel feels the money is.

So, more performance for less power consumption. That sounds like a massive win for Intel and game over for AMD, right?

Not really.

The problem with Haswell is that while it is streets ahead of anything that AMD has to offer, this next-generation silicon comes with a considerable price tag attached. As I reported yesterday, Haswell processors are expensive.

The Core i7-4650U (2.9GHz base, 3.3GHz turbo, 4MB cache) and the Core i5-4350U (2.6GHz base, 2.9GHz turbo, 3MB cache) are priced at $454 and $342, respectively, for a tray of 1,000 processors. Compare these to the equivalent previous-generation Ivy Bridge parts, the Core i7-3687U and the Core i5-3437U, which are priced at $346 and $250, respectively.

It's clear that Intel is milking the battery benefits for all they are worth, and perhaps beyond.

So as far as piece goes, AMD has an advantage over Intel.

But AMD has another advantage, and that's in the form of gaming.

Gamers on the whole seem unimpressed by the Haswell update, because it focuses too much on power saving and not enough on power. Also, the new processors need a new socket, which means anyone upgrading needs to swap out their CPU and motherboard. Hardcore gamers are waiting patiently — and hopefully — for AMD to release its Steamroller CPUs, which are due out later this year.

So that's another score for AMD.

AMD has, since it acquired ATI back in 2006, considerable in-house GPU know-how. Intel, on the other hand, has been promising great things from its GPUs for a long time now, but has always ended up over-promising and under-delivering.

While Intel is making promising noises with respect to the GPU built into Haswell silicon, it's too early to say whether it delivers the goods. AMD, on the other hand, has a good track record when it comes to delivering good GPU power.

So that's another win for AMD.

Then there being inside the PS4, Xbox One, and Nindendo Wii U.

Three wins in one.

So, while things are certainly not good for AMD right now — and haven’t been for some time — there's still plenty of room in the processor ecosystem.

Topic: Processors

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  • Well Said

    People are crazy to get new advanced APU s most of Intel users turn on AMD APU s ... they have better platform with suitable amount to spend more on other computer devices . what we do mostly is simple applications and both Intel and AMD done very well so why spend more to get Intel Processor with crapy GPU inside while AMD APU s prove to be superior in all like 1080P gaming are possible on AMD 3rd Gen APU s so this is a huge success of AMD ...
    • its true

      Haswell is nothing more than catch up. Their Intel integrated GPU's are so inferior its incredible.
    • Umm

      Why would I want to buy an APU to play games at low framerates on low res? Id rather pony up the extra money and get a faster intel processor with dedicated graphics and play games right. I might get an APU so my grandma can play 3d mah-jong, but anybody who is serious about gaming isn't going to be doing it on an APU.
      • The 10% don't matter..

        ..when it comes to anybody who is serious about gaming. And even that's divided to include PC enthusiasts/overclockers who aren't necessarily a PC gamer. A bit of a surprise there but true. Not to mention specific genre fans' division. I'm into RPGs but the other guy might prefer FPS and he's the one who's gonna need the raw processing firepower more than half the time.

        It's the other 90% of all PC users that matters more in this discussion's angle and in practice whichever they go for as long as it's these newer gen Intel or AMD chips, overall it's overpowered for all intents and purposes.

        PC sales has stagnated precisely because people don't see the ROI based on their usage patterns and early Win 8's hardware slightly high cost of entry didn't help the cause either.

        And cost for end users' buddy are AMD's forte.
        • The AMD fanbois don't look at total costs.

          It turns out that unless you upgrade every other cycle, if you're a serious gamer then you'll spend more on electricity *just to run the computer* than you will on the processor. If you tabulate the difference between the AMD and Intel processor's power consumption, you will find as my brother-in-law did that the lifetime cost of ownership of an Intel machine is quite a bit less than that of an AMD machine.
          Jacob VanWagoner
      • High speed Intel Cpu ?

        AMD APU s work better than Intel with dedicated graphics ... coz AMD use less power even in Crossfire mode Dual Graphics Enabled .. and give excellent performance so if you dont care about electricity might be Intel is good for you to spend extra money on Intel CPU with Radeon or Nvidia chip ... AMD APU s work better coz they are SoC solutions system on chip computer industry getting more and more micro so think about it to stay with intel who dependent on dedicated gpu and nothing good without it ... or with new 3rd Gen APU s and upcoming with HSA Heterogeneous System Architecture ... AMD Future is good and better than Intel ...
        • Its True

          AMD more future proof.mostly epic game are running on ARM Devices that give an advantages CPU +GPU
  • Intel is smart enough to ignore the gamers and go

    for mass market. First they had their integrated graphics which allowed OEMs to avoid external graphics on the low end. Now they have iris which will let OEMs avoid external graphics for 80% of where they've still been adding them. This is very bad news for NVIDIA and AMD. In their next rev they'll probably take away another 80% of what remains after haswell. It's a very smart play and yes that means the has well price replaces the current core i CPU and NVIDIA price for a huge % of systems
    Johnny Vegas
    • No?

      First of all its not major power savings.. Second of all their GPU's are crap and largely unsupported. So it doesnt really replace discrete GPU's in any situations.... They are just so slow....
    • Desktop users don't care so much about power consumption

      As long as the power supply keeps up, who cares?

      Portable devices will still belong to the ever more powerful Atom line. Those are the thrifty ones that compete with ARM.

      What the Core CPUs need to do is Transcode/encode/decode video faster. QuickSync is a good start. CUDA transcoding has been a joke and NVENC support seems non existent. Only Intel seems to have a chance at integrating some real drivers into Windows for GPU transcoding. We certainly don't need more hp to run Word. AMD processors always just seem slugish despite the optimistic ratings. I'll pass and stay with Intel.
      • Where do people come up with this crap

        "AMD processors always seem sluggish. I'll stick with Intel"

      • Seem Sluggish?

        Everything is about power consumption today. Everything is going low power, full efficiency. Atom's will not compete with ARM. Nobody wants x86 on mobile. All mobile software and OS's are coded for ARM. x86 is a totally diff arch that uses higher power components. Intei's failure to make low power chips and failure to make a competitive graphics architecture will be their downfall. They only know one thing and its single thread performance. Well that was rage back in the days, and now its become irrelevant. Transcode/encode/decode video is a waste of time. APU's can destroy them at it because of their OpenCL and other GPUCompute acceleration for tasks such as that. So really what is all that CPU power used for these days? Considering that your Windows/Linux UI is HW accel, Browsers are GPU accelerated, games are GPU accelerated, video playback is GPU accelerated, audio and video transcoding is GPU accelerated.. So what does that really leave for CPU's? Physically opening the program? Or Microsoft word... lol..
        • Its True

          I agree with you...
        • I...do NOT agree.

          " Intei's failure to make low power chips and failure to make a competitive graphics architecture will be their downfall. They only know one thing and its single thread performance. Well that was rage back in the days, and now its become irrelevant."

          Even games use at most 4 cores and still 1 intel core vs 1amd core, intel wins on raw performance, and performance per watt. Hopefully Steamroller will prove more competitive. Single thread performance... importance is decreasing I'll agree, but that day is far from over.

          Hate to sound as fanboyish as you do (you do sir... just sayin) but having good embedded graphics hasn't done a whole lot for AMD so far as market share, I wish it had. The basic idea of a heterogeneous core is IMHO a good one, but I imagine ( I don't know, maybe you can correct me) that the coders and/or compilers just can't fully utilize what is there yet... and it will take a long time before they do. http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2011/10/can-amd-survive-bulldozers-disappointing-debut/3/
          ^citation on that claim.

          But reiterating, I fail to see how being slower to get good GPU performance embedded in the CPU is doing anything to slow intel.

          Now not having low power chips that perform well enough (per watt or just... aren't too slow) Yeah, I'll grant that. They are behind in the same way MS is with the tablets and ultra low power form-factors.

          But if you think amd can pull out of this tailspin they are in, you would have to be deluded to think that the much better funded and more advanced fab holding Intel corp cant catch up.

          "Where does it leave the CPU? "
          Surely you don't believe that 53% of amd's chip is "wasted" on CPU space to merely "open Microsoft word"!! (though I do recall reading that Nvidea eventually plans to eat the CPU and make it part of the GPU core.... perhaps...just like AMD... you are a bit ahead of the times)

          And am I the only one that finds it funny that your avatar is the laughing man....and your last word in the post is "lol" ? I am? well... i ....sigh...
      • You are trolling so much

        Hmm.....AMD + Nvidia are the world GPU maker...Intel in GPU department are full of gimmick even with their new flagship HD 4000.Only HD 4000 support OpenCL in their system?AMD + Nvidia already introduce several years OpenCL + CUDA in their system with more advanced transcoding 3D games , video editing and watching movies.AMD lagging in gaming hmm....GPU +CPU excellent graphics and video transcoding even amd APU can beat intel i3 gaming performance.
  • Intel Haswell reported "hotter and slower than expected"

    PCPro UK reported today that OEMs are complaining that Intel Haswells are operating hotter and slower than the early samples they received.

    Please go to Anandtech CPU forum and examine all the Intel Haswell complaints from heat to crippled CPU features.
  • Nothing is going to change.

    I don't think the Haswell platform is going to change the PC market situation. AMD will have to show really big improvements in Kaveri if they want to stay relevant. The Intel Silvermont chips will not find footing in the market. Kabini and Temash are better performers at the expense of some battery life. The price premium is ridiculous but AMD has never had attractive devices that can compete with the Intel designs. I am going to still root for AMD and hope that the Kaveri chips are not going to embarrass. The GCN IGP better perform as well as a mid-level graphics card making them the better solutions overall for cheap laptops. Things will be interesting but I don't think Intel will see the profit margins they saw a year or two back.
    • I've never seen a more relevant name....

      ....than Idiot 101.

      You don't have a very good memory if you think that AMD hardware has never exceeded Intel's performance specs.
      • that was a long time ago dude

        Last time AMD really trounced intel was Thunderbird....and it was glorious. Every since Intel regained its sanity is dropped netburst its been slowly pulling ahead of AMD. Its my great hope steamroller closes the gap and the next gen after even gives intel a run for its money.... its a great hope but I dont know how realistic it is...
  • Lmfao? Is the author of this whole blog a troll?

    have you never seen an APU in your life? Intel is playing catch up here.... Their low power Server CPU's are behind that of AMD's Opterons aswell as their integrated graphics being vastly inferior to AMD's Radeon HD Cores especially with the new GCN Architecture that AMD has been using. Everyone has been making so much news about nothing. Haswell is no milestone, like I stated before its simply an attempt to catch up to AMD in things like power consumption, fast integrated GPU's and low power server CPU's...