AMD failed to provide 'Llano' chip for Apple's MacBook Air because of faulty parts

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Comments

  • lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,102member
    AMD had their chance. Sounds like they had problems AND missed Apple's schedule anyhow.



    So the headline is academic.



    They've got it all on to overturn Intel who have their OWN fabs. I didn't think it was a great idea to spin off/sell their own fabs. It appeared to help them hold their own in the K7/8(?) 'glory' years where they stuck it to the P4 etc.



    Intel hasn't really given them any obvious 'open goals' as they did with the huge long pipeline 'netburst' (was it?) architecture.



    Since the Core/Core2/i7 they've basically steamrolled and bitch slapped AMD around.



    I used to have an 'Athlon' PC during the dark years as a PC user (no. It wasn't fun. I hated Windows with a passion.) It was ok. It ran hot. Noisy with the fans. I even had the box upgraded with another CPU/gpu. They offer good value chips that perform well for the money.



    Even with 8 cores vs Intel's 4 they aren't really in it. With Piledriver they may pull even or get close. But Intel have Ivy bridge. 10-20% ahead, running cooler and Intel are beginning to improve the discreet graphics. About time, eh?



    What's alarming is (or not) is that AMD have signalled that they're entering the mobile space as in ultra mobile. (What took them so long? They've been bleeding money in a 'losing' desktop war with Intel.) I guess it broadens AMD's portfolio to help them reach other income/revenue streams. We'll see how they square upto ARM/Intel and the rest. Certainly the GPUs around someone else's cpu cores might be interesting.



    But I hope it doesn't signal a throwing in of the towel vs Intel on the desktop...with us left with a monopolist who feels no competitive pressure. That's not in customer's interests at all.



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • tipootipoo Posts: 577member
    The money isn't in the top 5% of processors anymore though, AMD finally realized this after years of getting stomped. They said they would focus on low power draw parts more now, which again tides well with a future Macbook Air, if they get their fabrication process in order. I think as complicated as it is they should switch to TMSC instead of GloFo, the former has working 28nm fabs, the latter still struggles with 32. The half cycle shrinks would also help not directly go head to head with Intel like they want too, ie they would be at 28, then after a while Intel would be at 22, so it would be a bit like Nintendo's strategy with launching an early half-cycle product with the Wii U. By not competing directly they can fill in the gaps better, as they obviously won't catch up in raw performance any time soon.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,727member
    The problem being software and the OS's interaction with the hardware.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post


    wizard69,



    i have an i7 macbook air.

    if it came with an AMD chip, what would be the differences, especially cpu vs cpu, GPU vs GPU? what about battery?



    Intels CPU will perform better there is no doubt about that. However the difference isn't as significant as some think. The big win for AMD is the GPU and the features it supports. Battery wise the AMD chip does very well.

    Quote:

    would it also be possible that in order for apple to better differentiate the airs, we could've seen a 8gb ram air?



    regards.



    More RAM in an AIR is like more SSD storage. It is an issue of space and the next technology cycle.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    It is no accident that Mac OS 10.8 will struggle on Intel integrated GPU and that is if it is allowed to run there at all.



    Says who? How about some evidence?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post


    well.. is it me or it sounds as a nice choice (and vs intel)?

    battery life would also be much higher right?



    what are the disadvantages/problems?



    Battery life would be slightly better, but keep in mind that you still have to power the display and backlight, RAM, storage device, and so on. So even if AMD's chip had half the power consumption, the effect on battery life would be only somewhere in the 5-15% range.



    The disadvantages would be:

    - Lower CPU performance (and in spite of what the AMD fans will tell you, unless you're a heavy game player, the CPU is still used far more than the GPU).

    - Availability - AMD would take time to ramp up

    - Multiple suppliers. Apple's not going to switch all their products to AMD so they would have multiple suppliers which creates supply chain issues as well as reducing their leverage.

    - Risk. Switching CPU suppliers entails risk which requires that the benefits be sufficient enough to justify the risk.



    Frankly, unless Intel messes up or AMD comes up with an incredible breakthrough which catapults them to the front, I don't see Apple switching to AMD any time soon.
  • runner7775runner7775 Posts: 61member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post


    Well, that's what AMD gets for spinning off their Fab arm a few years back just to save a buck. This is what, the third chip in a row they've had these sorts of issues with? Easier to keep quality control in check when your product is manufactured under your own roof.



    No one owns their own fabs anymore. Intel is one of the last to still own them. Using the phrase "just to save a buck" is a bit disingenuous since fabs are ridiculously expensive.
  • ilogicilogic Posts: 298member
    sucks because I'm tired of Intel. Go ARM! (Hurry)
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,727member
    However the balance of the reporting I'm seeing indicates that AMD does have a very good laptop processor in Llano. For many users it is a far better choice than anything Intel is selling.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nicolbolas View Post


    Looking at anandtech's review of the original llano high end APU, it power consumption In mins per whr, it beats most sandy bridge laptops at a Less mature 32-nm process.



    For certain workloads Llano provides a far superior performance profile.

    Quote:

    Now, with apple doing better drivers for battery than windows etc, etc it would probably get best for its tpd.



    It isn't Apples style but it would be nice to provide users a choice.

    Quote:

    What is really impressive is how fast the 18-watt APU counting its low power consumption... Beat 32nm mature tech on 40nm node.



    Many people mis the importance of the GPU in modern PC hardware. it will only become more significant in the future as Apple leverages the GPU more.

    Quote:

    I imagine you would get drastically better battery life; already is 20-80ish% better than ulv i7 and i3 with optimus. For slightly reduced CPU power, which can be countered by graphics acceleration makes up for it(?).



    For the vast majority of users these days the GPU is more important than the CPU.

    Quote:

    Now if trinity is what AMD says it will. Be--A8-3500 or greater performance at 17 watts (still quad core) that would great (if in MBA, sadly AMD timetable probably not with apples D



    I did this all from iPhone, between 0230 and 0315, so I hope I go everything typed right etc.



    AMD only problem is that they lag Intel. This likely keep them out of the AIR as the chip simply wasn't ready for Apple. It is interesting though that rumors indicate that Intel has delayed some of their lower power Ivy Bridge processors. Maybe the shoe is on the other foot now.
  • sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


    Apple is twice burned, thrice shy with CPU manufacturers. First Motorola, then IBM failed to ramp up PowerPC clock speeds and also failed to fix hardware bugs in their chips. AMD probably would have made all kinds of excuses for low yields, poor reliability, etc. Apple doesn't need to hear that all over again.



    Well, they're smarter now. Hence ARM, not Atom/Etc. Hence Intel still, until anyone can do better.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Gotta get that manufacturing process down AMD.



    It's really bizzare. In the case of AMD, was it TSMC or Global Foundries that messed up? Because TSMC has had a horrible time.



    As for ATI/AMD, the graphics drivers issue has bugged them for almost a decade now. Either real or imagined.



    In any case for the next 3 years it doesn't look like AMD can offer anything significant for Apple, not in the volume that they need, and with Intel Integrated Graphics finally not worthless, game over AMD, except for the budget PC space. The AMD CPUs of the past year also haven't really made a dent in the Intel juggernaut, as far as I can see.



    ARM is the future. By 2016, I seriously would have a hard time thinking ARM would be used in anything less than 50% of all laptops and tablets.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,727member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Says who? How about some evidence?



    It isn't like Apple is keeping secrets here. Future Mac OS releases will be accelerated via OpenCL and a stronger reliance upon other GPU features.

    Quote:





    Battery life would be slightly better, but keep in mind that you still have to power the display and backlight, RAM, storage device, and so on. So even if AMD's chip had half the power consumption, the effect on battery life would be only somewhere in the 5-15% range.



    The differences in power draw between the current Intel and AMD solutions is rather shocking, at times 20 watts different.



    Quote:

    The disadvantages would be:

    - Lower CPU performance (and in spite of what the AMD fans will tell you, unless you're a heavy game player, the CPU is still used far more than the GPU).



    This simply isn't true anymore. Users are far mor likely to be using software. Or media that can leverage the GPU than at any time in the past. While there are certainly cases where the processor shortcomings will be noticeable it is no longer a main stream problem.

    Quote:

    - Availability - AMD would take time to ramp up



    They have publicly admitted to problems executing and it does look like they have that issue licked. At this point there is a surplus of CPU production capacity so it isn't a problem now.

    Quote:

    - Multiple suppliers. Apple's not going to switch all their products to AMD so they would have multiple suppliers which creates supply chain issues as well as reducing their leverage.



    Apple is actually getting to the point where they are straining their suppliers so like it or not they need alternatives. Intel isn't a problem in this regard yet but there is clearly other issues that seem to be harming the Apple/Intel relationship.

    Quote:

    - Risk. Switching CPU suppliers entails risk which requires that the benefits be sufficient enough to justify the risk.



    True, but there is also risk in having to many eggs in one basket. In this regard I really don't think Apple and Intel are on the same wavelength. If you look at what Apple is doing with Mac OS you will see that AMD is a better fit, almost as if they have a common long term vision.

    Quote:

    Frankly, unless Intel messes up or AMD comes up with an incredible breakthrough which catapults them to the front, I don't see Apple switching to AMD any time soon.



    The problem here is that you don't see Llano as the success it is. Yes it is late but it is also a very good notebook solution.
  • sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Many people mis the importance of the GPU in modern PC hardware. it will only become more significant in the future as Apple leverages the GPU more.



    For the vast majority of users these days the GPU is more important than the CPU.



    That's what we've been promised for about a decade now, and it really hasn't come to light. Intel HD graphics with Core i5 or better provides enough CPU and GPU power to do decent 2D apps in OS X for the next 3 years at least.



    Not to mention the iPad's 2D composite engine on a ridiculously measly GPU bests what Flash could ever achieve (yes, because of how Flash is designed, but that's my point)... I've been waiting for something special to happen on my 9400M and now 320M, and the best I've got so far is that OpenCL "Galaxies" demo. Some of the effects in iPhoto that use the GPU actually might be slower than doing them in CPU on a fast Core i5.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    It is interesting though that rumors indicate that Intel has delayed some of their lower power Ivy Bridge processors. Maybe the shoe is on the other foot now.



    It could be Intel continuing to make big money on Sandy Bridge, there's nothing that comes close in volume, performance, etc in the whole.



    I feel that they're taking their time to get the most out of Ivy Bridge, and plan it perfectly to hit up the next cycle of CPU purchasing. Whatever problems their facing, they are still the kings of fabs for that level of chip complexity. They literally have no competitors in that space. Samsung, TSMC, Global Foundries... I don't see coming close in the next few years.



    And I think Intel's escape valve is ARM... In several years when they see Intel desktop/laptop CPUs starting to go south fast, they'll probably become really good ARM fabricators at some pretty insane nodes (10nm or less?)
  • nicolbolasnicolbolas Posts: 254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post


    As for ATI/AMD, the graphics drivers issue has bugged them for almost a decade now. Either real or imagined.



    because intel's drivers are great...?
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    It isn't like Apple is keeping secrets here. Future Mac OS releases will be accelerated via OpenCL and a stronger reliance upon other GPU features.



    Undoubtedly true. But your statement that I asked for evidence for was:

    Quote:

    It is no accident that Mac OS 10.8 will struggle on Intel integrated GPU and that is if it is allowed to run there at all.



    So please provide evidence that 10.8 will struggle on an Intel integrated GPU and that it may not be allowed to run on an integrated Intel GPU at all. 10.8 is already in a lot of hands and there are no reports at all backing your assertion.



    Bottom line is that your affection for AMD is causing you to make statements that are absolutely false - and you therefore have no credibility.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    How does Thunderbolt work without Intel CPU?
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,402member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    How does Thunderbolt work without Intel CPU?



    It doesn't. That's why I just don't buy any of these AMD rumors.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,727member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Undoubtedly true. But your statement that I asked for evidence for was:





    So please provide evidence that 10.8 will struggle on an Intel integrated GPU and that it may not be allowed to run on an integrated Intel GPU at all. 10.8 is already in a lot of hands and there are no reports at all backing your assertion.



    Apple has been fairly clear that what 10.8 will run on is in flux. However even if they get 10.8 to run on Intel integrated graphics you will not be getting all the acceleration that they are working into 10.8. This shouldn't surprise anybody because of the limited capability in these graphic systems.

    Quote:

    Bottom line is that your affection for AMD is causing you to make statements that are absolutely false - and you therefore have no credibility.



    I would really appreciate it if you would retract that. AMD doesn't even come into the equation when it comes to Intel integrated graphics in 10.8. There is really little to discuss here as the old Intel GPUs don't support the features needed to leverage the chip. I'm not even sure why you are arguing the point.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,727member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    It doesn't. That's why I just don't buy any of these AMD rumors.



    In fact I'd go so far as to say that it has to work on other hardware. Do you really think Apple would invest in TB if it didn't have a play for its embedded ARM chips?
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    In fact I'd go so far as to say that it has to work on other hardware. Do you really think Apple would invest in TB if it didn't have a play for its embedded ARM chips?



    I don't follow. TB is on Macs and Macs are Intel. So far every requirement for TB has to have an Intel chip in the mix.
  • joe the dragonjoe the dragon Posts: 66member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


    Apple is twice burned, thrice shy with CPU manufacturers. First Motorola, then IBM failed to ramp up PowerPC clock speeds and also failed to fix hardware bugs in their chips. AMD probably would have made all kinds of excuses for low yields, poor reliability, etc. Apple doesn't need to hear that all over again.



    switching from amd to intel is free (other then needed chipset drivers)
  • joe the dragonjoe the dragon Posts: 66member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    How does Thunderbolt work without Intel CPU?



    How does Thunderbolt work with a pci-e video card? On a desktop?



    Why are there no DATA only Thunderbolt cards? or Thunderbolt data cards that can take DP in?
  • backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    In fact I'd go so far as to say that it has to work on other hardware. Do you really think Apple would invest in TB if it didn't have a play for its embedded ARM chips?



    That's an interesting point you bring up.



    Maybe that's why Apple can't use use TB in its iDevices that run on ARM cpus. Maybe the iPhone and iPad will get Atom cpus when they are fabbed at the 22 nm process node. It sounds crazy but from what I've read, Atom at 22 nm will be a real competitor to ARM cpus. If Intel use their process advantage against ARM they may be able make cpus that ARM can't match in terms of performance and low power consumption.



    Its easy to right off Intel in this area as they haven't done anything special so far. But they could be about to change.
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