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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.

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