AMD Taking On Intel With APU Processors
To explain the relationship AMD and Intel share, their income statements say it all. AMD’s 2010 year end revenue was $1.65 billion. Intel’s was $11.45 billion. Yet AMD’s products continue to be very competitive CPU alternatives. Through their history of pricing, Intel’s chips were always more expensive per GHz. Even today they still reflect the same price patterns. An entry level Intel quad core processor goes for $180. AMD’s entry-level quad core runs for $100. Thats a huge gap between two products that perform similar functions. Except for the fact that AMD has greatly improved on integrated graphics. For that $100 you get four cores, and an entry-level video card. Intel also has their own integrated graphics processor (IGP) but we all know it can’t handle Crysis.
Typically AMD chips under-perform when stood up against Intel. But benchmarks don’t always explain the whole processing experience. AMDs chips aren’t ever slow or incapable of handling any processing needs that you would perform on an Intel chip. There was a time when AMD trumped Intel with its processors. Intel was seriously behind in its innovation process on their early Pentium dual core architecture. Those were the days when most gamers opted for an Athalon X2. However, with the recent turn of events Intel is churning out the most impressive processors seen to date. AMD has been playing catch up for some time now. Rumor has it, they are lining up a bunch of well spec’d processors to compete against Intel’s i7. You can also expect it to be competitively priced. But for now I’m going to discuss AMDs APU series which focuses on improved integrated graphics and affordability.
AMD gave a new name to a new line of processors called Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). It implies a dedicated GPU is on the same die as the CPU. This saves the need for having to install a dedicated video card. It’s impressive how they managed to squeeze two normally distinct hardware parts onto one super tiny square resembling an elevator button! The implications of an APU pave the way to extremely capable and affordable home theatre PCs. For $140, you get AMD’s A8-3850 with four cores running at 2.9GHz and a full 6550 video card configured with 400 Shader processors running at 600MHz. To fully appreciate what you’re getting here, take the two cards offered below and over the 6550.
|HD 6450||$45 – $60|
|HD 6570||$70 – $80|
*based off Newegg.com
We can safely assume that a 6550 would cost around $60 – 70$. And yes it is also safe to assume that it can play Crysis.
With applications becoming more multi-threaded, multiple cores are becoming more useful to have. Audio, Visual, and Photo work shops all perform better on multiple cores. Video games and Web browsing are becoming more responsive to having more than two cores. 4 or 5 years ago, people stuck with their single core processors instead because multi-threaded computing wasn’t as optimized as today’s computing. So it wasn’t beneficial to own a dual core processor. Times have changed. It is evident that even the tablet world benefits from multi-core processors. If you’ve been waiting on owning a quad-core processor because you were patiently waiting for price drops, then this is the perfect time to buy. Four cores have never been so inexpensive and better yet, never have been packed with so much hardware into one regular sized elevator button… I mean chip.
Also supplementary information on why multi-cored processors are useful! Link