AMD to stop working on Geodes (Carlos Nazareno)

Sameer Verma sverma at
Tue Jan 27 23:39:56 EST 2009

On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 5:14 PM, Mitch Bradley <wmb at> wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 12:04 PM, Carlos Nazareno <object404 at> wrote:
>> > AMD sees no Geode chip replacement in sight
>> > AMD on Monday said it has no replacement for the aging Geode low-power
>> > chips that are used in netbooks and set-top boxes.
>> >
> The cost of developing and supporting a processor family is staggering.
> AMD bought the Geode business from another company.  Often, when a company buys a business unit, that unit withers on the vine.  The "new kids on the block" have a difficult time establishing a strong place within the established "pecking order", so in the competition for resources, the new group often comes up short.  When there is an economic downturn, the new group is often the first to go.
> AMD barely has the resources to maintain a competitive stance in the part of the market that has traditionally been their core, especially now that the economy is bad.
> I'm sure that AMD would be very happy if they had enough money to go after the low power market, but they just don't.
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Somebody on Slashdot (yeah!) has a good write-up pointing to the fact
that AMD isn't halting production. Its just not going to develop Geode

>From the comment:

<begin quote>

AMD is NOT halting production of the Geode. They are not leaving the
market (RTFM!). They have decided that it serves it's niche AS IS and
will be kept AS IS. That's a very different statement. They're saying
that it is a mature product (a rare thing in IT).

Currently, the Geode is good enough for many applications and would be
a step up for others. The embedded world tends away from the shiny
object model of upgrades. If it worked last year, it works this year,
and it'll work next year. Changes in the product are considered

AMD's statement doesn't even mean there won't be a die shrink or even
a faster Geode in the future, just that they won't be updating it's

It's not a bad decision either. There is a significant niche for the
Geode between the Atom (too hot, too power hungry) and things like the
Dragon Ball and mips (not enough power).

Geode isn't in trouble until Intel comes out with an x86 that doesn't
need a heatsink (or at least doesn't need a fan).

<end quote>

I've seen the Geode in action in Soekris boards
( when I was doing fun Wi-Fi stuff, and used
to wonder what it would be like if we had a Geode machine running a
laptop...well that wish came true with the XO :-)

I'll also point out (peripherally) to a comment made by Jeff Bezos in
a BusinessWeek article
where he says that frugality leads to innovation (necessity being the
mother of invention, etc.) and I think the frugality of XO's design
has definitely lead to many innovations. I for one would *not* have
thought that I would be using a 433MHz x86 laptop with 256MB RAM as my
favorite machine :-)

Hats off to the Geode!

Dr. Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Information Systems
San Francisco State University
San Francisco CA 94132 USA

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