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AMD Carrizo laptops are a dud, OEMs are crippling the platform

Posted on Tuesday, February 09 2016 @ 14:00:11 CET by

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AnandTech has written a very extensive test in which they took a look at five laptops based on AMD's Carrizo platform. If you don't want to read the whole thing, you can find the Cliff notes at ExtremeTech. The conclusion is basically that enthusiasm about AMD's mobile Carrizo lineup was misplaced, despite the chip offering a significant step-up in performance and power efficiency versus the Kaveri.

Unfortunately, most OEMs are pairing the Carrizo with single-channel memory configurations to keep costs low, but end up pitting Carrizo against significantly more expensive solutions from Intel. For example, HP offers a $1,049 Elitebook 840 G3 with the Intel Core i5-6200U and 8GB of DDR4-2133 in a dual-channel configuration, and charges exactly the same price for the lower-performance Carrizo-based Elitebook 745 G3, which has just 4GB DDR3L-1600 in single-channel configuration. That's quite odd considering the AMD chip in that laptop has a $150 lower list price than the Intel counterpart.

So the issues of Carrizo are two-fold. On one hand the chip doesn't have enough performance to compete with Intel, and on the other hand OEMs are crippling the platform by not putting in effort to target the price ranges that AMD intended to hit:
When AMD briefed us on Carrizo nearly a year ago, it made it clear that the chip was targeting the $400 to $700 laptop market, with Carrizo-L shipping into the $250 to $400 range. Between $400 and $500, AMD would be competing against the lower-end Core i5-5200U from Intel, as well as various Haswell-era Celerons and lower-end Intel parts. Instead, OEMs are building low-quality hardware at premium prices, tossing Carrizo against Intel chips it wasn’t meant to compete against. This feeds a vicious cycle — consumers who buy AMD and are dissatisfied with the result are less inclined to consider AMD in the future — for problems that ultimately, are beyond Chipzilla’s control.



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