AMD Goes for Intel’s Budget Customers

AMD had an eventful Computex, with announcements on several fronts. The biggest takeaway: AMD is going after more budget-minded consumers while making a play to be an early adopter.

  • Ryzen 7000 CPUs
    • Integrated graphics across entire product stack
    • Support for new DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 components
  • Shift to multi-chip motherboards
  • Mendocino Zen 2 APUs

Integrating New Customers
One of the historical shortcomings of AMD’s CPU lineup has been the lack of integrated graphics support. This meant all but forfeiting the budget CPU segment (media consumers and very casual gamers) to Intel, which frequently includes integrated graphics with its CPUs. With the Ryzen 7000 series, AMD is including integrated graphics across the entire product stack in a bid to appeal to more price-sensitive customers.
But Leaving Some Behind
AMD confirmed, however, that Ryzen 7000 CPUs will only support newer DDR5 memory – not older, cheaper DDR4. This is a stark contrast to Intel’s latest 12th-gen CPUs, which support both.  AMD will have to continue producing older DDR4 products concurrently.

  • Risk: DDR5 is still more expensive and supply has been spotty
  • Reward: Leaving behind DDR4 simplifies development and production for this stack

In the short term, AMD is risking leaving behind customers not ready to shell out for DDR5 just yet, but in the long term AMD could reap the  benefits of being an early-ish adopter of the new industry standard.Motherboards Go Multi-chip
AMD 7000 series-compatible X670E and X670 motherboards will use a multi-chip design. It’s a first for consumer motherboards, with multi-chip designs being relatively rare in the industry. While not without the inherent risks and potential hiccups that come with new technology, a multi-chip solution significantly streamlines AMD’s production lines and reduces costs. 

  • Manufacturers traditionally have to produce multiple chips to support various product tiers
  • AMD’s new approach will give it the ability to scale designs up and down accordingly – all with the same chip
    • Significantly increased I/O expansion (SSDs, USB ports, etc.)
    • Improved cooling, potentially eliminating the need to buy additional cooling solutions

Art for the Middle Class
AMD announced its mobile Mendocino APUs (CPUs with integrated graphics) will be arriving in Q4. They’ll slot in on the middle and lower end of AMD’s product stack, targeting “$399 to $699 notebooks.”

  • Focused on efficiency, not performance

AMD Wants the Budget User
It may not have been the most exciting series of AMD announcements – there was no mention of its upcoming GPUs –  but these developments show that AMD is serious about taking market share from Intel in the budget space. The success of Intel’s recent 12th-gen CPUs on both pricing and raw performance clearly got AMD’s attention. AMD’s strategy to be an early adopter will undoubtedly have some growing pains, but its new multi-chip solutions will give it more headroom to aggressively price products.