RealTime IT News

AMD's New Notebook/Video 'Vision'

ALAMEDA, Calif. – Advanced Micro Devices picked quite a unique place to introduce its new graphics strategy: in the hanger of the retired aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet. The ship, rich with history in war and in recovering the Apollo 11 astronauts, was decommissioned before AMD even opened for business and now serves as a floating museum.

One of AMD's points in the presentation was that our way of buying is somewhat antiquated too, particularly for consumers, and that's something AMD (NYSE: AMD) wants to change.

"The speed of the processor is no longer defining their experience as a user. What defines their experience is what they see and feel. They don't know hyperthreading from hyperbole and they don't care about gigahertz any more," Nigel Dessau, chief marketing officer for AMD, told the crowd gathered below deck.

"The only things we can talk about are things with numbers. This is a way for retailers to say to a person 'what do you want to do with a PC?' and help them make an informed buying decision."

AMD VISION is a new tagging system that focuses on the visual experience of the PC and replaces 220 old different configurations and badges that AMD previously used, Dessau said.

With its 2006 blockbuster purchase of ATI Technologies, AMD now has motherboard chipsets and graphics chips all under one umbrella, and offers the three as a one-stop shopping package to computer makers.

Basic, Premium, Ultimate and Black

This led to many different logos for different types of CPUs, chipsets and graphics configurations. Raised to the power of three for all-AMD configurations, it got downright confusing. Rather than hundreds of configurations based on speeds and feeds, AMD will introduce VISION along with Windows 7 computers on October 22, with four different ranks: Basic, Premium, Ultimate, and Black. They all scale up based on performance and intended usage.

The Black edition, like AMD's Black edition processors, will be for the hardcore tweakers who like to overclock their systems and otherwise modify them in ways most users wouldn't think of doing. AMD has a page, called Which VISION?, that will guide customers in making a buying decision.

The catch is that it applies only in an all-AMD system. It won't apply to a mixed system that might feature an nVidia (NAQSDAQ: NVDA) graphics card paired with an AMD CPU or an Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) CPU with ATI graphics card.

A change in how PCs are sold is long overdue, said Jon Peddie, president and founder of Jon Peddie Research. "The notion of consumers not caring about Gigahertz is true. We've run these surveys ourselves and asked questions like that, and those aren't the things most consumers look for," he told InternetNews.com.

JPR surveys found one in three or even as few as one in four respondents were interested and tuned into things like cores and clocks. "So you have to ask, 66 percent to 75 percent of buyers don't care about megahertz, why are we spending all this time talking about megahertz? It's been a legacy thing we've just drug along with us with us without examining why we're doing this," he said.

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