Does AMD Stand a Chance Against Intel's Cherry Trail?

With new evidence confirming the existence and potentially imminent launch of Cherry Trail-M/D, AMD's position in the PC market could weaken further.

Mar 13, 2014 at 7:30PM

At Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) investor meeting, CFO Stacy Smith was keen to highlight the cost savings in the low-end PC space in moving from its Bay Trail-M/D products to the Celeron version of its Broxton system-on-chip, which was designed primarily for smartphones and tablets. Indeed, according to the following graphic, the cost reduction from the current-generation Bay Trail-M/D to Broxton, a 2015 product, is on the order of 37%.

Cost

(Source: Intel)

What about Cherry Trail?
The above chart has Intel moving from the 22-nanometer Bay Trail to the 14-nanometer Broxton, completely skipping over Cherry Trail, the successor to Bay Trail in tablets, shown in Intel's most recent mobile roadmap.

Roadmap

(Source: Intel)

It's understandable that Intel would skip doing a Cherry Trail-based smartphone chip as the company attempts to accelerate to leadership with Broxton. But it has always been odd that Intel had implied that it would be skipping over Cherry Trail for low-end notebook and desktop PCs. After all, Cherry Trail – from some of the leaked specifications thus far – seems like it would be a more-than-potent successor to Intel's current Bay Trail-M/D lines for low-end notebooks and desktops, respectively. It turns out that the company is indeed bringing out Cherry Trail-M/D.

The evidence is crystal clear
A website known as Zauba allows users to track products that are imported into and exported out of India. In doing a search for anything related to a potential Cherry Trail-M/D part, the following came up:

Zauba

(Source: Zauba)

It looks as though Intel has every intention of bringing to market a 14-nanometer, Cherry Trail-based line of low-end PC processors. This is great news for Intel and its PC margins, as these chips should be extremely small and cheap to make. Unfortunately, it's not so fantastic news for Intel's weaker rival, Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), particularly as Cherry Trail will not just be cheap to make, but will be extremely low-power and feature a significantly overhauled graphics engine.

AMD is stuck
Today, AMD competes at the low end against Intel's Bay Trail-M/D with a part known as Kabini. This is a 28-nanometer SoC based on the Jaguar CPU core and AMD's in-house Radeon graphics IP. While it offers higher graphics performance than Intel's part -- and roughly equivalent CPU performance -- it consumes a lot more power. In addition, Intel is building these chips on 22-nanometer manufacturing plants that have been paid for by the company's Ivy Bridge and Haswell generation of PC processors. AMD, on the other hand, needs to hand the foundry margin over to Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM), which impacts its ability to engage in a price war profitably with Intel.

When Intel moves to 14-nanometer, the chipmaker will have roughly a two-generation manufacturing lead. That means Intel will be able to pack far more features into far less of a die area than AMD can at 28nm. Further, Intel's Cherry Trail is likely to neutralize or perhaps even reverse the graphics advantage that AMD currently enjoys, but it will be able to do so in a much tighter power envelope. It's just not a pretty situation for AMD, which makes it difficult to believe in an AMD share-maintenance story, let alone a share-growth story in PCs.

Foolish bottom line
AMD is doing the best it can, but the deck really is stacked against the company. With Intel aggressively fighting with Bay Trail-M/D today and with plans to transition to Cherry Trail-M/D presumably by the holiday season, can AMD's much-hyped Beema/Mullins really stand a chance? 

An Internet revolution is upon us. Are you set to profit?
Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom. Or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer Amazon.com in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play" and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lockstep with its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers