Tag Archives: zdnet

Larry Dignan is dead wrong: Apple and AMD

Is it really fair to even pick on ZDNet these days. Adrian Kingsley is about the last writer they have on staff that I can even read without wanting to fall out of my seat. Take this little gem from an Apple speculation piece:

bq. Add it up and AMD could provide the graphics capability Apple is looking for. As AppleInsider noted, AMD traditionally trails Intel on raw performance. However, Ghz is a secondary issue for Apple buyers. An Apple purchase is about design, quality, OS X and ease of use. AMD can get by on the Ghz equation with a mere close enough to Intel if the graphics stars line up. Sean Portnoy asks whether folks would buy an Apple with AMD inside. I’d argue that the processor is a secondary consideration (at best) for buying an Apple.

Gee thanks, Larry. Give me a second to grab my box of crayons so I can scribble down a reply to your sweeping generalization about Apple users. I mean, the desire to own a computer that is easy to use is obviously mutually exclusive from the desire for a computer that is fast and powerful, right?

Oh, wait…

When run against PC laptops, the MacBook Pro line (running Windows under Boot Camp) has, on several occasions, been “the fastest Windows laptop in its class”:http://www.google.com/search?q=macbook+fastest+windows+pc. There goes that argument.

Apple doesn’t refresh their line up as frequently as many PC manufacturers do their consumer lines, so between refreshes, consumer-oriented PCs run away with faster processors. However, when you move up the line to a business-class machine like Dell’s Latitude or Lenovo’s ThinkPad, there are a lot of similarities. These companies test these configurations more thoroughly, so they don’t change as often. This results in a more stable configuration, but they also cost more. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

As an Apple buyer, I’m all about performance. I’d be unhappy if Apple moved to Intel while AMD offered an inferior product, and today, that’s the case.

I’d be willing to bet that the reasons Apple was talking to AMD were twofold:

1) AMD has graphics switching technology similar to what Apple just implemented on their own, so it may have been that AMD’s Optimus technology was up for consideration, but was ultimately ruled out.

2) It is in Apple’s interest to keep Intel on their toes. You never sit down at the table with one vendor and one vendor only. That’s a great way to hand margins over to your supplier.