Can Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Outflank Intel With This Low-Cost Platform?

AMD just launched a processor meant for easy upgrades at a low total system cost -- a market that Intel largely ignores.

Mar 6, 2014 at 4:26PM

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) missed the boat on the tablet and smartphone revolution. That fact is not up for debate. But the microprocessor designer may have found a new lease on life in traditional PC systems -- aimed at emerging markets.

AMD just announced a new platform that's shooting straight for that specific market. The AM1 platform gives a new home on the desktop to AMD's laptop chips, developed under the Kabini code name.


AMD is reaching out to developing markets with desktop-format Kabini chips. Image source: AMD.

AM1 promises to put Kabini's very capable all-in-one feature set in a socketed format, giving cost-conscious users both respectable power and a path to future upgrades. Laptop chips typically come soldered to the motherboard, leaving little room for low-cost partial system upgrades.

That's exactly the tune that AMD is singing about this new product. AM1 provides "a multitude of options for consumers and system builders looking for upgradeability packed into an extremely affordable solution," says AMD's client business VP Bernd Lienhard.

Shooting brand new products right into the low-cost market segment is not a new strategy for AMD. The company has a history of undercutting arch rival Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) in terms of raw pricing, as the larger company generally prefers to just let older products slide down and fill cost-sensitive market needs.

One crucial aspect of the AM1 launch is that AMD's hardware partners are expected to build motherboards with:

  • low cost, of course

  • established industry standards like micro-ATX formats

  • support for newer standards like USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s

Put these details together, and you should be able to pair your new system with a largely obsolete case and power supply, do it cheaply, and still get access to newer technologies. It's a shake-and-bake system with a huge flexibility factor.

Maybe that's what it takes to build market interest in emerging economies like the BRIC bloc, Latin America, and Africa. If so, then AMD is onto something with this AM1 launch.

Mind you, it's not a safe bet. AMD has been down the low-cost road before with some success, but the company still holds a minuscule market share next to gargantuan Intel -- in every segment that matters. Even if the AM1 low-cost strategy plays out as planned, the company stands on a brittle fundamental platform, and is only suitable for speculative investing.

In other words, don't back up the truck to load up on AMD, and only invest money you could afford to lose.

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Anders Bylund owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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