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AMD Considers Dropping Low-end Discrete Graphics

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • utengineer
    I was under the impression all AMD discrete graphics cards were low-end. Razz!
    Reply
  • DjEaZy
    ... so? no IGP for intel based desktop systems or laptops... just from nVidia... for now...
    Reply
  • jonpaul37
    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.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    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.
    Reply
  • mliska1
    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.
    Reply
  • iwantamd7970
    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.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    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!
    Reply
  • Shin-san
    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.
    Reply
  • schmich
    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.
    Reply
  • Soma42
    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.

    Reply