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AMD Considers Dropping Low-end Discrete Graphics

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 47 comments

No need for any of that with integrated graphics, says AMD.

AMD's release of Llano signaled a new level of graphical performance for the entry-level and mainstream computing market.

Computers built around AMD's latest Fusion chips all come with decent GPU functionality that's integrated right into the same CPU package. No longer would system builders need to factor in an additional entry-level video card for some World of Warcraft action, which is a win-win situation for both the vendor and consumer.

Of course, AMD also makes video cards, and this new processor package innovation could mean that demand for its more modest discrete entries will fall as a result of the more capable Fusion chips.

For that reason, AMD is considering the removal of its low-end discrete graphics products.

Speaking about its low-end offerings, interim chief executive Thomam Seifert told analysts and investors that "parts of this business will be cannibalised and the low-end discrete GPUs will be replaced with Fusion-type products," according to Tech Radar.

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  • 29 Hide
    velocityg4 , August 8, 2011 1:54 PM
    Maybe they should just stop offering several generations of GPU's concurrently. People whom don't know better don't know which cheap card to pick up or will buy a 6450 thinking it's better than a 5770.
  • 26 Hide
    jonpaul37 , August 8, 2011 1:53 PM
    I believe this is a good move, though, they may want to wait a little while before doing so, perhaps like a year or so to let the dust settle with Fusion.
  • 15 Hide
    mliska1 , August 8, 2011 1:57 PM
    Their lowest card should at least be equal to their llano IGP in order to put one in for crossfire; in this case, they should still be sells stuff around HD 6570 level. They should probably also do low-end stuff for at least one more cycle for the people who still have older desktops (AM2/AM3/LGA 775/LGA 1156) and want to upgrade their video. As these older computers fade away I can definitely see them ending the lower end cards.
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    jonpaul37 , August 8, 2011 1:53 PM
    I believe this is a good move, though, they may want to wait a little while before doing so, perhaps like a year or so to let the dust settle with Fusion.
  • 29 Hide
    velocityg4 , August 8, 2011 1:54 PM
    Maybe they should just stop offering several generations of GPU's concurrently. People whom don't know better don't know which cheap card to pick up or will buy a 6450 thinking it's better than a 5770.
  • 15 Hide
    mliska1 , August 8, 2011 1:57 PM
    Their lowest card should at least be equal to their llano IGP in order to put one in for crossfire; in this case, they should still be sells stuff around HD 6570 level. They should probably also do low-end stuff for at least one more cycle for the people who still have older desktops (AM2/AM3/LGA 775/LGA 1156) and want to upgrade their video. As these older computers fade away I can definitely see them ending the lower end cards.
  • 6 Hide
    iwantamd7970 , August 8, 2011 2:12 PM
    It makes no sense in my opinion to continue with low-end cards. The market for such cards is so small that it becomes a liability.

    With IGPs you can satisfy the mainstream consumer. What's left? High performance computing. Optimizing discrete cards for HPC is ideal. It's this polarization of the markets that will occur.
  • 14 Hide
    Yuka , August 8, 2011 2:20 PM
    mliska1Their lowest card should at least be equal to their llano IGP in order to put one in for crossfire; in this case, they should still be sells stuff around HD 6570 level. They should probably also do low-end stuff for at least one more cycle for the people who still have older desktops (AM2/AM3/LGA 775/LGA 1156) and want to upgrade their video. As these older computers fade away I can definitely see them ending the lower end cards.


    I just got an A8-3850 and it's quite on par with a 6570 (just make sure u pair it with 1.6Ghz+ ram). So AMD's right on this one IMO. Also, think about it, they'll just focus on using the die space of the northbridge for more features instead of the IGP. More PCIe lanes would be very very welcome in the near future designs using (hopefully) 45nm or lower. Now that they got Fusion right, they need to shift a little more effort into creating a good partner for it: RAM + NB.

    Cheers!
  • 11 Hide
    Shin-san , August 8, 2011 2:29 PM
    They should keep a low-end, but I feel that they shouldn't go overboard with the amount of models. Really, I didn't see much of a point going from a Radeon 4200 to anything below a 4650. In fact, they should just use a mid-range chip from the last generation and save development money. Also, integrated Intel GPU is catching up to AMD/nVidia lower-end models, so there might not be a point 2-5 years from now.

    I do like having the low-end option for AMD and nVidia graphics simply because it's handy. There's been times where the onboard graphics chip is acting up, and I just want the advantages that AMD and nVidia offer over whatever I had onboard. Sometimes the discete card will have things that the onboard chip couldn't provide.
  • 6 Hide
    schmich , August 8, 2011 2:35 PM
    Don't fusion chips lack Eyefinity though? What would be awesome is more compability with the hybrid crossfire. So we can buy a fusion chip and put in a decently beefy GPU in it if wanted. At the moment even the dual-graphics with fusion is pretty bad for gaming.

    Edit: TH. When you require us to login when trying to post a comment the comment freaking disappears. It logs in, refreshes the page, the comment is gone AND is not posted. That and your image module makes me think we are still in the late 90s.
  • 3 Hide
    Soma42 , August 8, 2011 2:40 PM
    Llano was a bit of a disappointment, but showed great potential in the APU concept.

    If Bulldozer lives up to all the hype then I think Trinity will be an amazing product in 2012 or whenever it releases. AMD would be competing with itself it continued its line of entry-level discrete cards, so it makes total sense from a business perspective.

  • 2 Hide
    jecastej , August 8, 2011 2:40 PM
    I think this is a logical move from AMD right now but in the next cycles the next segment from low end graphic cards (that is still low-meddle?) could end up becoming a new low end cheaper model. I don't know if I said it right, but I think in the next cycle(s), maybe as soon as next year the cheapest graphic cards available are going to be replaced by new more powerful models and this will naturally create a "new" low end segment.

    In the end wait for one or two more cycles (maybe it could take longer depending on demand) and a new entry level segment will be available with the entry level cards from past cycles. The next move for GC makers AKA Nvidia and AMD will be to recycle those models in new packages with new names.
  • 1 Hide
    mosu , August 8, 2011 2:51 PM
    I think it would be a big mistake, leaving the low level market for Nvidia to pick without effort.Actual high end motherboards will run for at least five years from now in a second hand market, because not everybody works for big bucks and can afford latest tech, plus it would make a very little difference between an A3850 and a Phenom II Quad.Another reason would be poor video quality on Intel and Nvidia boards.
  • 2 Hide
    runswindows95 , August 8, 2011 2:56 PM
    I agree with both velocityg4 and Shin-san. There is always a market for low-end graphics card. Mostly, they are great for installing into a system where the integrated card failed, or just to add some features current IGP's lack. I do also agree with AMD offering only a few models instead of so many. If anything, don't release so many low-end models. Also, maybe wait till the current generation stock becomes low before shipping out the next generation.
  • 2 Hide
    ratman6161 , August 8, 2011 3:42 PM
    Basically they have already done this.

    See: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,2964-7.html

    If you look in the AMD column, there are no current generation cards below the 6450 which seems to me to be about what you get with the current fusion cp's. And the 6450 is the only thing below the 6570. nVidia still has two variants of the GT440, and the GT 430 that stack up lower than the 6570 and GT 520 that comes out below a 6450. But the current generation discrete cards that fall below the level of the AMD onboard graphics is already pretty much gone.
  • 0 Hide
    ratman6161 , August 8, 2011 3:49 PM
    PS: If you have an Intel based system with HD2000 or HD3000 I still think there is room for cards like the 6450 which are an upgrade compared to HD3000. Also, with a Z68 chipset (such as my Asrock Z68 Pro 3) you can use both the onboard graphics and an add in card at the same time. I'm using this to do a three monitor configuration with two monitors connected to my GTS 450 and the third connected to the HD3000. I could do 4 monitors this way by using two with the HD3000. So someone who did not care about gaming but wanted to have up to 4 monitors with an Intel based system, could use a Z68 chipset with an el-cheapo addin card that supported multiple monitors. So there is still room for those cheap cards.

    Then again, as someone already mentioned, they don't have to make a special card for that. You can just pick up a couple of generation old clunker for cheap and use that.
  • 6 Hide
    gto127 , August 8, 2011 4:06 PM
    I think they should keep at least 1 real low end model just for people like me that repair PC's. I always try & use ATI as replacements for defective vid cars since they are reliable. Some of the higher end video cards aren't suitable as replacements for older PC's since they use too much power for the older PC's supply in many cases.
  • -7 Hide
    verbalizer , August 8, 2011 4:31 PM
    it's their own doing, their own fault, just a matter of time..
  • 1 Hide
    BluntObjection , August 8, 2011 4:35 PM
    Only goes to show how strong the tablet and smart phone market is. Get rid of low end discrete graphics and favor their APUs, smart move by AMD.
  • 2 Hide
    spookie , August 8, 2011 4:36 PM
    That is a great idea. It will help them cut costs and help focus on making better CPUs
  • 8 Hide
    NuclearShadow , August 8, 2011 4:40 PM
    I would say AMD is making the right choice however they need to handle this matter extremely delicately. They need to inform the consumer of their intentions and make this wide spread knowledge by the time they start this plan. Secondly they need to phase low end cards out slowly. Not everyone currently owns a Llano therefor those with older rigs that desire a cheap GPU upgrade will not have to go straight to Nvidia. Directing sales to a big competitor is not a good idea. Once a large portion of PC users have switched to a CPU with GPU functions then its time to stop making low end GPU's.
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