Tag: fusion

Sandisk pushes faster into the enterprise

Sandisk FusionMemory company Sandisk said it has released the next generation of its Fusion ioMemory PCIe application accelerators which it claims will “dramatically” improve performance and is aimed at data centres.

The accelrators use Sandisk NAND flash and virtual storage layer (VSL) acceleration sotware will give a four times price performance improvement and is 61 percent cheaper than its previous family of products.

The aim of the family is to reduce the length of time and the infrastructure needed to suck out data out of conventional legacy hard drive based storage systems, Sandisk claimed.

Sandisk claims that by implementing its Fusion cards, enterprises can cut the time needed to run database reports by as much as sven times or more.

The family of products includes the SX350 and SX300 series which have capacities from 1.25TB to 6.4TB 0 aimed at virtualisation, databases, business intelligence and real tme financial workloads.

Uts PX600 series ranges from 1TB to 5.2YB, while its Mezzanine series in incorporated on HP Gen 9 and Gen 8 blade servers.

The portfolio is available for enterprises to sample, said Sandisk.

Why does everyone want to buy AMD?

If you read the financial press you might be surprised to learn that AMD is about to be bought by every company under the sun.

So far the outfit has been considered by pundits to be bought by Apple, Dell, Qualcomm and Intel using some fairly bizarre reasoning.

Take for example the “Intel plans to buy AMD” rumour. Given that this would be subject to all sorts of antitrust actions, you have to question how this one came into being.

The logic is based on a fallacy. Since the world is moving to mobile, x86 chips are less important and as a result antitrust regulators are not going to care any more that Intel would have a monopoly of making these.

However, antitrust regulators are concerned about competition and giving one manufacturer total control of a market, no matter how narrow, is going to set writs flying.

To buy AMD, Intel would have to act fast. AMD’s share price is growing thanks to its gains in consoles and low-power computers.

The other consideration is what Intel would have to gain from buying its rival. The only thing AMD has which Intel lacks is the considerable graphics know-how of AMD’s ATI business. Although Chipzilla’s graphics knowledge is building, it is still a long way behind AMD on that score. However, it is a lot better at integrating that knowledge into a single chip.

This becomes important as the next trend in PC building is towards integrated chips and graphics cores.

But this problem might be solved not by Intel buying AMD, but something no less radical – AMD and Intel could actually bury the hatchet and team up.

This would mean the sharing of technology which both need but would stop short of an antitrust writ landing on anyone’s door. While it would appear that such a deal would favour the much bigger Intel, in fact it would also assist AMD assert itself in the market and take the pressure off Chipzilla from regulators.

If the future really is mobile chips, then the loss of market share in this arena is less important, but the access to better graphics technology is a worthy pay off. Besides, the spin off technology might also help Intel and AMD match ARM in the mobile market.

But it is about as likely to happen as it was that the Nazis would team up with Stalin to defeat the US during World War II.

The Apple rumour is even weirder. The idea is that Apple could immediately move from Intel chips in its Macs to similar AMD processors, and, under its roof, Apple could tailor-make the processors to best fit its needs.

Somehow these rumours are also tied to Apple wanting to drop Samsung as its chipmaker. Buying AMD would not help it resolve that problem – AMD has not manufactured chips for a long time. Even if buying AMD would give Apple the ability to create better chips, it would still have to come up with a way of building them. Besides, Apple does have enough inhouse chipmaking ability to adapt ARM designs at the moment and there are also rumours that it will let its PC business quietly die off.

Again, the only reason why Apple would want AMD is that it would gain control of AMD/ATI’s graphics products. But at the moment ATI technology is not the flavour of the month at Cupertino. While Apple might want AMD graphics processors in the near future, it is more likely to be happy with the way things are between the two.

If Apple bought AMD it would get back its former chief CPU architect Jim Keller, who left for AMD earlier this year, as he is known for his work as A4/A5 designer and K8 lead architect at Apple. On the downside it would also get back senior vice president of devices hardware engineering at Apple, Mark Papermaster, who Apple probably would not want back.

The Qualcomm rumour is silly. An ARM fabless chipmaker buying a x86 fabless chipmaker makes sense only if it were buying a market leader in the x86 market.

However, AMD owns 10,525 approved patents and a sizable share of TSMC’s 28 nm production capacity that Qualcomm needs. Like the other rumours Qualcomm would benefit from AMD’s graphics know-how. Qualcomm owns AMD’s former Imageon technology but it could do with some more.

AMD’s former CTO, Eric Demers, who now works for Qualcomm, would find himself in charge of his former company.

While the combined outfits could provide some good engineering products, there are few compelling business reasons for such a deal to take place.

Dell can be ruled out because it lacks the money and has other problems.

Based on this, all these rumours can be safely ignored for now. What is likely to happen is that AMD will end up with closer ties with one of the companies which is rumoured to buy it and from a practical point of view there will be nothing to see here, so move on please. 

AMD set to unlock Radeon HD's potential

AMD is finally getting around to actually using some of the technology which is under the bonnet of its Radeon HD.

While Fusion accelerated processing units have featured advanced graphics cores for years, it had been constrained by poor memory bandwidth.

X-bit thinks that the next-generation high-performance APU, code-named Kaveri, will feature a 128-bit GDDR5 memory controller which will sort this out completely.

Apparently the AMD Fusion A-series APU will feature up to four Steamroller high-performance x86 general-purpose cores as well as GCN architecture-based AMD Radeon HD 7000 graphics engine.

This is not bad in itself, but the 128-bit memory controller, which will support both DDR3 as well as GDDR5 memory, should give the chip some real bite.

X-bit said that if the rumours are true then it enables very high performance of integrated graphics sub-system for all-in-one and mobile systems.

However, there are some problems with GDDR5 memory. It needs a point-to-point interconnection and the maximum capacity of today’s GDDR5 chips is 2Gb (256MB).

The interconnection problem means that AMD A-series Kaveri APUs with GDDR5 memory will need to be soldered to mainboards which kills off any possible upgrades. The maximum capacity issue means that AMD Kaveri-based system will be equipped with a maximum of 4GB of GDDR5 which is not enough for modern general purpose PCs, or AMD and its partners will have to wait till 4Gb GDDR5 chips arrive.

AMD will probably release its Kaveri APUs in late 2013. So far it is keeping quiet about the rumours. 

Lack of leadership leaving GlobalFoundries in a mess

According to anonymous murmurs in the chip industry, the situation for GlobalFoundries continues to look grim with rumours of discontent among disparate staff, with poor leadership affecting chip production.

GloFo has been having big trouble at 32nm and 28nm production with both using problematic gate first processing. This is being compounded by a split in production between two processes, an old AMD one and an IBM one, which has left a can of worms open on the table.

Trying to debug two processes is causing serious headaches, and a lack of cooperation between Dresden and the US bases is throwing the company even deeper into the mire.

It looks like it could be a few years before AMD’s production arm spinoff is truly counted among the major players in the industry.

A sore lack of cohesion is being blamed on a lack of quality leadership which could get the firm powering forward.

With some quality chips at its disposal this is likely to affect AMD too. Bulldozer is a good chip with plenty of raw performance, while Fusion should be dominating at low power applications, but production problems have ruined competitiveness.

Rumours persist that AMD will totally walk from GlobalFoundries.

Intel Atoms get HD ability

Chipzilla has finally produced an Atom chip that can run HD video.

For months Intel has not had an answer to AMD’s Fusion series netbook processor because its’ Atom can’t manage graphics particularly well.

Now after months of promises, the Atom N2600 and the N2800 are in the shops and it means that Intel netbook users can finally see high definition videos on the Internet.

The chips are included in the range of ‘Cedar Trail’ Atom chips and they look a lot like the low-power Fusion chips.

They can support for full HD1080p HDMI video and work on 10 hours of battery life. The main difference is that while the Fusion chips are manufactured on the 40 nanometer scale, the new Atom chips will be built on the 32 nm scale. This should help cut power consumption.

While the new Atoms are built on the NM-10 chip layout, they will have a more powerful GMA 3600 or 3650 graphics core.

Intel says that the new chips, which will hit the shops early in 2012 will support wireless transmission of video and music, to help connect monitors and speakers. 

HP shareholders putting on the pressure

There are signs that HP’s beleaguered shareholders are starting to wield their clout at the maker of expensive printer ink.

After being treated very badly by HP, and having to watch as the Board paid out huge wodges of cash to the CEOs it fired, it seems shareholders are giving the outfit a Chinese burn and forcing them to listen.

One of the demands of shareholders is that the outfit stops wasting money to make CEOs go away when they are surplus to requirements.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that their pleas have been heard and if current HP CEO Meg Whitman is given her marching orders she will not get the same over-the-top severance package received by Mark Hurd and Leo Apotheker.

HP’s board has changed its executive severance policy and decided that suits terminated without cause will forfeit restricted shares or options that aren’t vested at the time they leave the company.

While the sacked suits will still be eligible for annual bonuses, they won’t be getting any one-time bonuses. Executives will get a series of payments, rather than a lump sum. If you do a Mark Hurd and shack up with HP’s worst enemy, Oracle, you will be judged the weakest link and get nothing.

Hurd received a package in the $40 million range and HP agreed to pay his insurance for 18 months. Apotheker collected about $10 million for his less-than-a-year’s work, and also got to keep 156,000 restricted shares of stock.

What is telling is that the Board never thought to do any of this in the first place. It had given the thumbs up to at least two contracts that certainly did not give shareholder’s value for money. With HP’s shareprice suffering, it is clear that many investors are voting against the board with their feet. 

AMD turns in a profit for Q3

Chip company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) turned in a profit for its third financial quarter, mirroring to some extent the success of X86 leader Intel last week.

The Sunnyvale company said that it had revenues of $1.69 billion and made a net profit of $97 million on gross margins of 45 percent.

During the quarter, AMD did particularly well with its Fusion chips, showing a 60 percent increase compared to its second quarter.

Rory Read, the newly fledged CEO of AMD, said that even though there were supply constraints on its Fusion chips, emerging markets including China and India helped it to gain notebook shares.

Sales of server chips appear not to be as healthy as they might be, but average selling prices (ASPs) increased compared to the last quarter. Desktop sales weren’t particularly strong.

AMD said that its Interlagos Opteron chips started shipping in its third quarter and that it had a number of wins in supercomputer installations in Germany, in the UK, in Switzerland and in the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Laboratory.

HP releases Fusion laptops

One of the more dynamic things that HP’s action man Leo Apotheker decided before he was fired was to sign up his outfit to be one of the early adopters of AMD’s Fusion.

Given the mixed reviews that Fusion has received, all stating that the chip is not as bleeding edge as many would have liked, it is starting to look like it is all another exciting decision from Apotheker.

Apotheker wanted HP to dump its PC business and become exactly like his former business software outfit SAP, which was so interesting and exciting that no one was really sure what it did.

HP has announced it will begin offering Pavilion laptops with AMD’s newest Fusion APUs, and the big idea is that it will provide punters with an inexpensive desktop replacement that could compete with the performance of Intel’s processors. Although the early indications are that it isn’t.

PCMag pointed out that the new HP Pavilion dv6-6145dx contains the AMD A8 APU, but the performance is lacklustre, and the price isn’t that much cheaper and the battery life is a bit short.

The best that can be said about it is that while it may not match the raw processing power of an Intel system, the HP dv6-6145dx will still handle most user’s needs and be quite good at gaming.

Observers think that the Fusion range will not get interesting until next year and until then it would seem that HP has ended up with a gizmo which is as thrilling as its former CEO. 

AMD shows off its 28nm GPU

Showgoers at AMD’s Fusion 2011 show were wowed by AMD showing off its next generation graphics processor, based on 28nm process technology.

Corporate Vice President and General Manager of AMD’s Graphics Division, Matt Skynner, showed off the new chip as part of his keynote titled, “Enabling the Best Visual Experience.” Skynner demonstrated a notebook-based version of AMD’s 28nm next-generation graphics processor having little trouble with Bioware’s role-playing title, Dragon Age 2.

Skynner said that the outfit’s transition to the 28nm process node, coupled with new innovations in the underlying graphics architecture, is already generating excitement among the ODM community.

There were very few technical specifications for what Skynner showed off. AMD is betting the farm on its Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). This mirrors Intel’s own strategy of killing off discrete graphic’s cards in favour of hybrid GPU/CPU units.

So far the hybrid chips have only been able to provide fairly basic graphics and have been damaging AMD’s budget GPU range.

Ye Booke of Ah-Em-De


The book of Ah-Em-De Chap XIV. The LORD bringeth plagues upon Ah-Em-De 1. Then the LORD said to TechEye, “Go to Ah-Em-De and say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: thou art been naughty in my sight for though hast consorted with the people of the desert to making thine chips. 2. “If you do not buck thine ideas up I will cast out your Chief Executive into the wilderness or at least cause him to createth his own start-up.” 3. And the LORD did cause the board of Ah-Em-De to row with its Chief Executive for not making piles of dosh from mobile chips and did cast him out in the wilderness where he created his own start-up. 4. And the people of Ah-Em-De were wroth for they had not a leader, and troubled times were upon them. But still they refused to buck their ideas up and carried on sinning against common sense. 5. Then the LORD said to TechEye: “Tell unto Ah-Em-De that I shall bring a curse upon them and that there will be an exodus of staff from the company unless it pulleths it finger.” 6. But Lo, Ah-Em-De hardened its heart and listened not unto TechEye. And behold, there was a mass exodus of talent from Ah-Em-De . And it was said, of those days, that he who had buried his talent in the ground, did lift it out, clean out his desk and bugger off with it. 7. And Ah-Em-De searched for replacements to these people, but found them not. It tried to encourage those to dig up their talent and let it shine amongst them, but the workers were having it not. 8. But still Ah-Em-De failed to listen and the LORD hardened their hearts so that they would not see the doom that was before them. 9. They said unto TechEye: “Hath we not placed our faith in the chips called Fusion? For shall they not cause our share price to rise and the fatted calve to lay with the badger?” 10. Then the LORD said to TechEye: “Tell the people of Ah-Em-De that they have been found naughty in my sight and I shall curse the Chips called Fusion and there shall be a plague of bugs upon it, and these shall create great delays. 11. “But on that day I will deal differently with the land of In-Tel, where my people live; no swarms of bugs will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land.” 12. And the LORD did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into the Fusion chips, yea and into the Fabs throughout the desert peoples. And Fusion was delayed by the bugs. The factory of the desert people in the German lands were unable to supply the 32-nanometer “Llano” Fusion APUs and delayed shipments of the 12- to 16-core Opteron 6200 Series “Interlagos” chips. 13. But still the heart of Ah-Em-De was hardened and they would not pulleth the finger. And then they appointed Rory Read from the land of Lenovo to be their King. And they did praise him for his ability to grow revenue and income at Lenovo while keeping control of margin. 14. Then the LORD said to TechEye, “Go to Ah-Em-De and say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: thou art been naughty in my sight and still not sorted thine-selves out. Therefore I shall curse thee so that your shares shall go down even unto the bowels of the Earth.” 15. But the heart of Ah-Em-De was still holding onto the chips called Fusion and believed TechEye not. And they saith that the shares shall remaineth as strong as an ox which partaketh of the Red Bull. 16. And Lo did the LORD bringeth down the share price of Ah-Em-De so fast that its ears poppeth. And Ah-Em-De did downgrade its outlook. Yea, doom was predicted on the downgraded outlook. 17. Analysts and investors did gather together stones and sharp objects to hurl at Ah-Em-De. Some analysts spake and said that Ah-Em-De still has strengths despite the recent problems, but it still needed to pulleth finger, least the share price falleth further. 18. But the world waited for Ah-Em-De to change its mind. And still it did not.

Ye Booke of Ah-Em-De