The Great Chip Wars, as we’ve come to know them, ended this week — courtesy of a new marketing campaign from Advanced Micro Devices.
AMD has decided to sell its products under the Vision banner, a slogan that emphasizes the strengths of its graphics chip instead of promoting the abilities of its CPUs, or traditional workhorse chips. PC makers and retailers will promote three flavors of AMD-based computers, called See, Share and Create models.
The See computers are your basic PCs that can handle everyday tasks. The Share computers add features like high-definition video playback and the ability to work with large media files. The Create computers cater to folks who actually want to make movies or edit photos on a large scale.
In the good-old days, AMD, like Intel, talked more about the raw horsepower of its mainstream chips. Famously, the companies would one-up each other from month to month by raising the speeds of their processors.
AMD has more or less thrown in the towel on slugging it out with Intel on the mainstream chips, at least when it comes to talking directly with consumers. Now, the company is all about hawking the graphics chips it acquired when AMD bought ATI.
It’s an understandable approach for AMD since the company has struggled to keep pace with the Intel juggernaut on mainstream chips. In addition, Intel is still in the midst of building its own standalone graphics chips, so AMD has seized on what it thinks is a marketing window.
AMD executives contend that consumers care less about technical specs these days anyway. They’re more interested in what a computer can actually do.
So even with the graphics chips, AMD will shy away from discussing the finer points of its silicon and instead talk in the Vision language.
For example, AMD said that new computers arriving later this year to complement the release of Windows 7 will support up to 1 billion colors for more lifelike game graphics. They will also have improved audio capabilities and be able to play Blu-ray discs.
AMD is taking a decent risk here, as it’s unclear if categories like Share and Create will resonate with consumers who still use their PCs for work as well as play. But, frankly, AMD hasn’t managed to do too much damage to Intel over the years with its more traditional marketing. So why not try something new?
And, if people decide they’re willing to spend more for a Share machine than a lowly See machine because sharing sounds like fun, then all the better.
Goodbye, GHz, FSB, L2 cache wars. We’ll miss you.
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