Home / Component / CPU / So where is AMD Fusion hiding? The search begins.

So where is AMD Fusion hiding? The search begins.

It has been 5 years and a global saturation programme to convince us that the “Future is Fusion”.  Now the product has launched, where is it hiding?  KitGuru dons a safari costume, picks up a set of high-powered binoculars and goes in search of AMD Fusion.

In contrast to the red-hot launch of Intel’s all-conquering Sandy Bridge line-up, are we experiencing the damp squib of Cold Fusion from AMD?

Life is all about contrasts. Black and white, up and down, everywhere and nowhere. Our universe is full of these pairings. When two launches happen at the same time, it automatically raises questions of comparison. The most recent launches are Sandy Bridge from Intel and Fusion from AMD. They have been as different as night and day. Can you guess which one’s which?

Intel First
The launch of Intel’s 2nd generation Core family of processors exploded, globally, on 3rd January 2011. Because of substantial inventory challenges, Intel only launched 4 processors (2300, 2400, 2500 and 2600) and the actual focus for reviews was on the 2500k and 2600k. If you search Google for “Core i5 2500” and limit the date range from 1st to 2nd January, you get around 250,000 hits.   Looking at that list, almost immediately you can tell that the principal results all centre on amazing reviews for the product in question. Simple enough. From this massive search, you can see that Zardon’s expert analysis for KitGuru sits at position 4. Nice.

Now for AMD
We asked 3 people involved in the IT industry if they knew when AMD Fusion was going to launch. None of them could tell us. When we told them that it had already happened, they were surprised. From what KitGuru can gather, the extraordinarily low profile launch was scheduled for 22nd January 2011. Following the same rule as we did with Intel, we checked Google for “AMD Fusion E-240” from 21st to 22nd January 2011. We get just over 9,000 results back and none of the entries on the first page appear to be a review.

Dividing 250,000 by 9,500 we can see that the latest Intel middle-of-the-road-processor picked up 26 times more coverage than AMD Fusion on its launch day. It’s only one calculation, but it’s a significant one.

KitGuru read the AMD Fusion page quite a few times to try and understand what this 'APU' thing was. Nothing useful here. Maybe if you go up and down several links it will become more obvious. Maybe.

Globally, Intel probably sells up to 6 times more processors than AMD.

For Intel, the Core i5 2500 is an evolution of an earlier product – it sits in the middle of a long list of Core processors and is by no means ‘exceptional’. Intel only started to really speak about it a few months before launch, it won’t be the biggest seller for Intel in 2011, not by a very l-o-n-g way and it is certainly not being labelled as “Intel’s future”.

In comparison, AMD Fusion has been pushed to the press and public since AMD bought ATI 5 years ago. Every email sent by an AMD employee, for several years, has been rubber stamped with “The Future is Fusion”.

Summer 2006 - a dream is born
Dirk Meyer's marketing slides prepared the world for AMD Fusion in 2008. Or, maybe, 2009.

To all intents and purposes, AMD fusion IS the hook on which AMD is hanging its future. And it has been for many years. It’s an attempt to create a new class of product and, through that, to create new markets.

Dirk Meyer and his team had promised AMD Fusion in everything from iPads to super computers by 2009. It surely has a strong future, but only if consumers 'buy into it'

While Intel’s Sandy Bridge set forums alight across the globe, no one seems to be speaking about AMD’s actual Fusion processor.

We’ll get another chance to see how important Fusion has been to the press and public at the start of February. When the new magazines come out, we can all check how many front covers include a shot of AMD Fusion with a headline like “The future’s bright, the future’s AMD Fusion”. Or similar. KitGuru’s gut feeling says “None”, but we stand to be corrected.

Without help from the original Apu, would APU get any hits at all?

Is awareness important?
The bible was quite clear about coveting your neighbour’s stuff. Even if you go back several thousand years, everyone understood that humans have a natural tendency to scan other options and build desire. We start to covet by seeing things that we think are cool/desirable. If a company launches a product successfully, then there is so much hype surrounding it that selling becomes the easiest thing in the world.

AMD is not Apple, discuss
Classic example is the iPad. Roll the clock back almost one year and Steve Jobs began selling these simple products into the UK. Now, at the start of 2011, the entire market has been forced to wrap itself around touch screen computing and many analysts are predicting that more than 2.5 million of these will be sold in the UK this year. Other than OS, there’s nothing in the iPad that AMD could not have made. It’s all within the CPU giant’s grasp. So why is Apple being touted as the world’s first $1 Trillion company and AMD’s MarCap is around $5.7 Billion?
Apple has a culture of creating new classes of products – of being able to step out of the box, see what it is that consumers will really go for, and then build that product with available technology.

In short (rhyme): Apple is the king, of marketing.

Intel trails some distance behind Apple in terms of cool, but it’s processors drive around 4 out of 5 of the world’s computers and in term of performance, nothing else comes close. KitGuru understands the lure of performance. No matter how big/ugly/expensive the car – if it can post a speed record, then we still want to rub up and down on it.

No matter how ugly, if it is fast - then you WILL want to touch it

There’s no easy way to quantify how far ahead Intel is, compared to AMD, in terms of marketing – but having analysed the publicly available data for 2500/E-240 (above), we can ask the question “Is Intel’s marketing 26x more powerful than AMD’s ?”.

Intel’s latest product launch scored almost 26x the coverage of the AMD Fusion product. Looking at Yahoo Finance, we see that the MarCap for Intel is over 22x bigger. Is it the case that Intel’s marketing is 26x more powerful or is this all a function of available funding?  Anyone working for AMD who’s not sure, might want to watch this video on Youtube. It shows just how much money you need to spend if you want to capture the imagination of an entire planet.

In a short while, KitGuru Labs will unveil the definitive article on AMD Fusion. We’ll strip it open, turn on the harshest lights and tell you if it has a hope in hell of wresting any market share away from Intel.

Who knows, maybe it’s being hidden by AMD’s marketing teams because it is so bad. Let’s find out.

KitGuru says: We believe that a strong AMD is vital to the market. With Intel cutting back on overclocking options on its new Core range, AMD should be ready to step up with new CPUs and re-capture enthusiast market share. AMD Fusion promised to create a new class of product, which spurred Intel into action with Larrabee. The GTX460 and 560 are only as good as they are, because Radeon keeps on pushing GeForce. Competition is GREAT for customers, but if AMD wants to join the Fortune 500 any time soon, then it needs to step up its game and convince us, Steve Jobs style, that the Future is Fusion.

Comments below or in the KitGuru forum.

Check Also

Report claims Intel’s 10nm Cannon Lake rollout may have been pushed back further

While Intel is still planning to roll out 14nm+ processors for the desktop market, the …

  • Ben

    Yeah I agree, the coverage has been bollocks all round.

  • Tony

    Wow, I just saw the massive article you posted, off to read it now. never even knew it was out.

  • nEd

    What a mess, out on 22nd january and no one I know who is into tech even knows its out. nice job

  • Frankie Delma

    Maybe they know its not that good?

  • Tech Head

    Did you read the review here Frankie? Its actually better than I thought it would be. AMD aren’t known for low power drain solutions, and this looks better than ATOM.

  • P1n3apqlExpr3ss

    Why the E-240 in particular? All the focus ive seen has been on the E-350, even then it gets 14800 hits in the time frame you mentioned. So really more like 17x the hype/marketing with SB

  • Grump642

    I have seen several stories on the E240 and the E350. HP makes the DM1z using the e350. Reviews are very good. Sony has a 11.6″ with the E350 coming out next month.

  • Tim O’Theos

    It seems that I am among the few who kept his eye on AMD’s Fusion strategy, and am excited by their products, especially the Zacate E350. What I am especially annoyed with AMD is their inability to push past the hype that accompanied Intel’s SandyBrige. AMD has begun a new era with an architecture that leapfrogs the competition and yet not much has been published. Is it because of AMD’s poor marketing? An inability to garner enough support from the media to publicise the product? I, for one, am going to switch all my PCs over to the new Fusion APUs when it rolls out because it makes a lot of sense to get so much more power out of the platform at a lower price and at insanely lower power consumption levels! For an office of 10 PCs running the simplest E350 miniATX systems, the savings are really significant and should warrant enough carbon credits. It would also save on precious desktop space. I really think AMD should buckle up and hire the right publicists to market this platform, because it really can give great value to everyone and every business.

  • ET

    When I search Google for “core i5 2300” from January 1 to 2, I get around 700 hits. When I search for “AMD E-350” from January 20 to 21, I get 10,700 hits. Clearly AMD’s marketing is over 15 times better than Intel’s.

    In short, yet another sensationalist item from Jules. Not saying that there isn’t a grain of truth to the problem. Seems that not many units made their way to reviewers, and those that did came pretty late. But the twist Jules put on the issue moves the discussion off trying to understand the issues and into trying to understand what he is smoking.

  • Ravi

    AMDs marketing is NOT good. everyone and their uncle had Sandybridge. The launch was great. you couldnt escape it. This fusion thing I didnt hear anything about until I read a few things here. And I was waiting for months after seeing the videos here last year. Product seems good, but ill be surprised if 10% of the enthusiast audience actually knows it out.

    I haven’t been counting stuff on google, but I can say this, AMD need to sort it out.

  • jules

    Why did we pick those two particular search terms?
    Well. it’s based on the kind of sampling that each company engaged in.
    We haven’t heard of sites that were sourced anything apart from 2500 and 2600 chips for the Intel launch.
    With AMD, we checked the processor that we’d been sampled, because that is obviously part of the marketing push.
    I guess you need to trust us when we make that kind of comparison, it’s not picked at random. It is a reflection of the kind of energy we feel from each side.
    Fingers crossed, we want AMD to do better. As we said, competition is good.

  • Jules – Phil from AMD PR here. You need to check your facts or better yet, please reach out to myself or anyone on the AMD PR team. Our Fusion APUs launched on January 4. Here’s the press release: http://www.amd.com/us/press-releases/Pages/amd-fusion-apu-era-2011jan04.aspx

    There have been a number of reviews on Fusion-based systems such as the HP DM1z and AnandTech just posted their review of the E-350 on Friday.

    Btw, here is the link to AMD media contacts should you need them for future reference:

  • Faith

    @Tim: From what we can tell, Fusion II will arrive really soon and will be significantly better.

    @P1n3apqlExpr3ss: Just went with what we had been sampled. The ratio will vary, but underlying issues remain the same.

    @Tony: “Never knew it was out” is kind of where we started with this. The Sandy Bridge kit’s everywhere, but Fusion’s hard to find. Given how cheap the Fusion stuff is to make – and how good it is – you would have expected ‘blanket coverage’. When you have a win and it’s cheap, why not just ‘go for it’ in a big way?

    Last thought for now: If AMD pushed the Fusion launch as hard as Intel pushed the Centrino, how much bigger would AMD become in just 12 months?

  • Barron

    AMD dose not have the budget to Market like Intel Does. Therefore AMD products are cheaper, as it spends less money on marketing.

  • Frugger

    Not sure what AMD Phil is on about. one of the biggest AMD products in recent years, if not the last decade and its ok cause we have a review on Anandtech (which is tech for kids) and a few reviews of hewlett packard systems. Seriously?

    If that is deemed acceptable then it just shows the bad state internally of AMD drive.

  • faith

    @Phil: Will reply to you off line

    @Barron: We looked at that, but do not feel that the argument holds water. If the Fusion boards were horrendously expensive, maybe something like a 6990, then we could understand then holding back. This is not a cost issue. Nor, from speaking with AMD’s partners, is it a supply issue. Frankly, we’re a little puzzled

  • Rob S.

    It seems to me that AMD is not going for the enthusiast market with this round of fusion anyway – they are going for the average consumer who just wants something that works. Given the amount of companies who have fusion products lined up, fusion _will_ be getting into homes, whether people initially take notice or not.