AMD is playing the timing game very well. While NVIDIA ultimately outdid it in performance, AMD arrived first to market and capitalized by months of unchallenged domination.
Likewise in the ultra-mobile ("ultrabooks", "ultrathins", or whatever silly moniker you choose to throw at them) category, AMD is getting the jump on rival Intel timing wise.
Intel's ultrabook charge will be led by Ivy Bridge, but OEMs aren't expected to ship those ultrabooks until June. By contrast, AMD reported today that it has been shipping OEMs Brazos 2.0 and Trinity accelerated processing units. Phil Hughes, AMD's senior PR manager writes:
Stay tuned: “Trinity” and “Brazos 2.0” systems will be available globally soon!
Prices on OEM partners' sweet Trinity-packing ultrathins are expected to be under $500 USD, versus the $800 to $1,000 USD most Ivy Bridge ultrabooks will cost.
This means that AMD will likely enjoy two months of unchallenged system-on-a-chip dominance. If the new chips are anything like the last generation, they will fall well below the price of Intel's current offerings Sandy Bridge, while offering superior integrated graphics.
The new chips will pack a graphics core that blends elements of the Radeon 6000 and 7000 series, for much improved DirectX 11 performance. At the same time Brazos 2.0 packs more powerful enhanced Bobcat cores, while the Llano replacement, Trinity, packs Piledriver cores -- an improved version of the Bulldozer core.
It would not be surprising to see Ivy Bridge best Trinity on a graphics front and the power efficiency front as well, but AMD may yet stay competitive on a pricing basis. In the meantime, it can enjoy a couple months of dominance.
Intel's approach still feels like something is missing. There's a high-end chip (Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge) and a low-end chip (Atom), but no mid-range chip. By contrast AMD delivers a low-to-mid end chip (Brazos 2.0) and a solid mid-range chip (Trinity). Pricing wise and performance wise, AMD is targeting the middle -- a sweet spot Intel has thus far been neglecting.
The millions of APUs sold in 2011 speak to the wisdom of this approach and have been the salvation of AMD amid slumping server/desktop CPU sales.