AMD’s Stopgap

A week or two ago, AMD launched the Bristol Ridge line of 7th generation APUs (CPU + GPU on one chip), their last new chips before a completely new architecture called Zen arrives in Q1 2017. As usual, Anandtech has done their usual strong reporting, detailing everything that’s gone on with the APUs and their performance. Unfortunately, AMD’s processors remain where they have done ever since the disastrous launch of the Bulldozer CPU line – far behind Intel. The best APU here competes with Intel’s i3 (low end) lineup. And loses. Graphics, Bristol Ridge wins, but the gaming market that does not purchase a discrete GPU is vanishingly small, and the preceding six generations of AMD APUs has shown us that the market is simply not very interested in chips with those characteristics. Especially when the power efficiency is such that AMD cannot even compete with Intel’s Ultrabook initiative.

AMD will continue to remain Intel’s less capable little brother for the foreseeable future (Zen will close the gap strongly, but still fall behind on single-threaded performance, which is still the single strongest indicator of general performance). One can only hope that the convergence of processors will push Intel into making a change greater than a simple year over year improvement.

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