When Intel unveiled its new line of 2nd Generation Intel Core processors (née Sandy Bridge) at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, Chipzilla's prime rival AMD felt a level of happiness akin to that of a certain tasty bivalve.
"We were pleasantly surprised at CES," the general manager of AMD's product group Rick Bergman told analysts and reporters during a conference call after his company announced its latest financial results.
"Prior to CES there were claims of discrete-level graphics performance and that type of capability. Obviously, as the details were unrolled and real benchmarks were run on real applications, [Intel's new chip line] fell well short of what we would offer in discrete graphics capabilities."
Bergman also thanked Intel for emphasizing their new chips' graphics and video capabilities. "The market is telling us – and even our competitor was stating – how important graphics and video is now for consumers," he said.
Echoing what an Intel spokesman told The Reg at CES about a "phenomenal experience" being the key to consumer success, Bergman continued: "That's really what all of us consumers care about, that video or graphics display. So we're not wavering from that message – that is, when you buy a new notebook or desktop, that should be top priority on your list: your experience."
From Bergman's point of view, it seems, Intel is doing some of AMD's marketing for them. "We're thrilled about the increased attention towards the GPU and video capabilities of PCs," he said. "Because at the end of the day, AMD wins whether it's a Fusion processor or a discrete GPU."
Bergman and his boss, chief financial officer and interim chief executive Thomas Seifert, were both bullish – to use Seifert's term – on AMD's upcoming Fusion processor for desktops and performance notebooks, Llano.
"As we look forward with Llano," Bergman said, "we're real excited, because our value proposition will really shine through. We'll show the world what GPU performance and capabilities mean with Llano, and it will be much higher performance than what you're seeing out there from our competition in that area."
Seifert agreed. "I think you can...hear the excitement we feel for [Llano] and the momentum we have generated. So we feel confident to gain significant market share in this segment with this platform."
To Seifert as well, it's all about "experience", not feeds and speeds. "We are moving into an environment where people do not buy processor frequency anymore, but look at what capability the products deliver. I think we have demonstrated now with our launch of the Brazos platform at CES what kind of a experience we can deliver in this form factor – and we are really looking forward to the Llano launch in summer."
As GPUs migrate onto the same silicon alongside CPU cores, the sharp dividing line between the two begins to blur – but the GPU brings with it the harsh compeition that has always characterized the graphics arena.
"I've been in the GPU business for a long time," Bergman said, "and there's always a tough, competitive market."
However, like his boss, Bergman is confident. "I don't think anybody is better positioned than we are in the GPU market," he said. ®