Recently, AMD showed off its plans for its Fiji based graphics products, among which was Project Quantum – a small form factor PC that packs not one, but two Fiji graphics processors. Since the announcement, KitGuru picked up on something, noticing that the system packs an Intel Core i7-4790K "Devil's Canyon" CPU. We hardly need to point out that it is rather intriguing to see AMD use its largest competitor's CPU in its own product, when AMD is a CPU maker itself.
Though anxious to just jump on the bandwagon and write a quick news post, we took a moment and contacted a couple guys within AMD. They confirmed that Project Quantum uses an Intel CPU, and they explained why:
We have Quantum designs that feature both AMD and Intel processors, so we can fully address the entire market. I'm sure you've heard AMD leaders speak before about how we're driving growth in the company and our key businesses, and that one of the key strategies we have for doing that is listening to customers. You may have heard at the recent AMD financial analyst day that Lisa Su described Job #1 as "Build Great Products." In the case of buyers for systems like Project Quantum, there is a clear preference for choice; they're not interested in a narrow range of computing solutions - they want to pick and choose the balance of components that they want, that are hand-tailored in a world of off-the-rack-suits. With a product as compelling as R9 Fury, we are extremely pleased to enable as much success as we can. There is a range of technology options for CPU in Project Quantum… but the real star is Radeon Fury.
It is clear then that AMD is using Intel processors in its Project Quantum because that's what people want, and that makes perfect sense. It's no secret that AMD's CPUs in the high-end aren't quite up to par with Intel's, and on top of that, in a small form factor such as Project Quantum, you'll want the highest performance per watt in order to squeeze as much performance as possible out of the limited cooling capacity. Heck, if it were to only come with AMD CPU options, we reckon it probably wouldn't sell all that well, so we doff our caps to AMD for swallowing its own pride and building what customers want.
Even so, let's not rule out the possibility of a Project Quantum system with an AMD chip that will perform admirably just yet. A couple weeks back, AMD unveiled the first details on its new Zen x86 cores, which offer a completely new core design, will use the much more energy efficient FinFET technology, and promises to offer a respectable 40 percent increase in IPC over today's Excavator cores. The first units with Zen cores are expected to hit in 2016 (but we don't know exactly when). We're speculating here, but perhaps we'll be seeing them in a second revision of Project Quantum.
In the meantime, sit tight, because our review of the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X is forthcoming.