PCSTATS has witnessed enough tech companies re-branding themselves over the years to know better than to
spill pixels talking about this transient subject.... And yet, the state of
the computer industry today is such that any tech company without solid branding is likely not going
to exist in 2014. There's no point in sugar coating it, desktops are facing
the end of the line, tablets have become commoditized content consumption devices and
Microsoft Windows 8
caused coincided with a 20% drop in notebook sales .
The new AMD branding is pretty
straightforward; AMD 'Vision' has been retired and in it's place is renewed
focus on AMD's corporate logo. To differentiate between product tiers, AMD
is falling back to the tried and true method of using alphanumeric numbers
- A10 is best, A8 is good, A6 is mainstream and A4 is lower end.
Here's how it all fits together:
Without trying to be overly harsh, at times I forget AMD
is even involved with the notebook market on anything other than a
graphics level -- Intel is just so pervasive... But then I remember an AMD notebook
here and there; a red Ferrari styled laptop form Acer that traveled with me
to CES a few years back and served it's duty extremely well...
or an entry level notebook PCSTATS tested that exceed expectations. AMD notebooks may not be
abundant, but they're out there.
I like to think I'm pretty brand
agnostic, but when it comes time to buy laptops for sales people or
disposable Dell's for
the staff, I have to admit in these situations I've
never considered any notebook that wasn't running an Intel chip. I suppose it's a
question of picking the hardware I expect to create the least amount of
tech support issues in its lifetime. Colleagues I've asked, who work in much larger
IT departments, share similar views - it's a long held stance that AMD constantly
has had to battle against.
With the 'Richland' mobile APU platform AMD is pushing forward
a good market strategy, albeit one built around CPU architecture that is
not a whole lot different than the previous 'Trinity' platform. Software optimizations aside,
the quad-core 3.5GHz AMD A10-5750M and 3.1GHz A8-5550M, dual-core 3.5GHz AMD A6-5350M and 3.3GHz A4-5150M processors
are essentially clocked a bit faster. In the A10-5750M's case, the APU now
supports faster RAM, DDR3-1866 memory to be exact. All four launch processors feature faster clocked
Radeon HD 8000-series IGPs, but again these are simply faster clocked graphics cores than
the previous iteration shipped with.
Improved power management is wonderful, but as
AMD is working with preexisting architecture the tech commentator in me has to
wonder why these aspects were not implemented the first time around? Was it too
hard to roll out, or is there just not that much to talk about
with the 'Richland' mobile APUs?
Either way you slice it, AMD seems to be headed
on the right track. Whether the 'Richland' APU will secure AMD the necessary
inroads in the notebook space is yet to be seen, but as an indication
of what the desktop APUs will provide this launch reveals interesting insights into the direction
mainstream desktop computing is headed.