Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE: AMD) has had possibly one of the roughest couple of years that a company can have and still be functional. Serious underperformance of the last two top-end CPU cores – “Bulldozer” and “Piledriver” – versus Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s Sandy Bridge derivatives has seriously degraded market share in the personal computing space due to real-world single-threaded performance among other issues. Only in the low-power, low-cost (and therefore low-margin) business could Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) compete with anything Intel had to offer. Its Brazos E-series APU’s built on the 40nm ‘Bobcat’ core were head and shoulders above anything Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) could muster from its aging Atom line. And it’s there where the hopes of AMD’s resurrection will be placed.
The release of the new ‘Jaguar’ core-based Kabini and Temash SoC’s have the tech community begrudgingly admitting that AMD’s longer game of integrating the CPU with the GPU and focusing on usable performance over raw power may have been the right path to take. Kabini is aimed at a thermal design power (TDP) of 15-25W and the ultrathin notebook markets, while Temash will be offered in the 3-5.9W TPD range and is targeting tablets and hybrid-performance tablet designs like the current Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface Pro, which houses a 17W Intel Core-i5 CPU and HD4000 GPU.
The HD 4000 barely competes in basic functions with AMD’s last-generation VLIW-5 GPU’s, no less the new GCN 2.0 cores that are a part of Kabini, Temash and the upcoming Kaveri. The HD 4600 in all its variants will cut the gap between Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) and Intel, but it will not close it sufficiently, and then Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) will take Kabini/Temash down to the new 20nm process from Global Foundries and simply destroy Intel’s low power offerings on price, wafer density and, most importantly, performance.
Don’t think it’s possible? The latest numbers we’ve seen have a 5.9W quad-core Temash outperforms a 17W Core i-3 Sandy Bridge in Cinebench R11.5, a benchmark usually very favorable to Intel’s single-threaded performance at 1.4GHz for both CPU’s. Temash did this at one-third the power draw with a chip 30% smaller. Frankly, this is close to disruptive chip technology as it is capable of bringing x86 power and compatibility realistically into the range of mobile and ultra-mobile devices like smartphones.
Even more impressive for Temash is its TurboDock ability, which allows a 3.6W tablet, depending on the cooling configuration chosen by the OEM, to open up the TDP envelope and run with fan cooling up to 17W, creating a truly best of both worlds option for the hybrid market. AMD showed off reference designs at the Mobile World Congress from all three major Taiwanese ODMs: Compal, Quanta and Wistron. For the first time in a while Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) is ready with the right product at the right point in time and the OEM/supply chain relationships in place to credibly supply the market.