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AMD Under Fire From Irate Mac Users as Angry Investors File Llano Lawsuit

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News Posted: Mon, Jan 20 2014 6:26 PM
Update: Sharp-eyed reader Justin Jaynes has pointed out that the Llano lawsuit against AMD has been filed by lawyers  hoping to convince investors to jump onboard, not by AMD itself. We've updated the story accordingly.

There's two pieces of news on the AMD front as the company prepares to announce earnings this week, but neither are particularly happy. First, there's a persistent rumor from the GPU side of the equation that the 2011-era Macbook Pro's with AMD's discrete graphics are beginning to fail in higher-than-expected numbers with reports of graphics corruption and other intermittent issues. The relevant forum thread claims that the problem pops up when the laptops are under heavy load and that while a reboot may improve the situation temporarily, the graphics corruption always returns.

Various unhappy customers have signed a Change.org petition, and are lining up to call for an investigation into the issue. It's hard to say what the real situation is -- on the one hand, mobile GPU's can be susceptible to failure, and we've definitely seen that happen before, though the last time was with Nvidia. On the other hand, however, the laptops in question are nearly three years old. At that age, failure rates for all brands rise sharply. Even Apple's failure rates, while better than the industry average, are still above 15% by the three year mark.

Whether this is abnormal failure or something to be expected is yet unclear. AMD has not responded to the story, nor has Apple officially.

A Llano Lawsuit

In other AMD news, there's word of an investor lawyer lawsuit against the company for its portrayal and predictions regarding Llano products. According to the plaintiffs, AMD "repeatedly highlighted the strong and significant interest in, demand for, and unit shipments of its Llano APUs. Defendants falsely and misleadingly represented that AMD's desktop business was in a 'strong position' and that it would continue to rebound in 2012."

It's true that later in 2012, AMD took a massive writedown on its Llano stock due to weaknesses in key Asian and European markets due to weak demand. AMD ended up pitching huge amounts of Llano stock and the company's ticker price dropped enormously as a result.



The only problem is, the PC market itself was pitching downwards by this point, exacerbating AMD's Llano problems. While AMD was definitely pinched by its own over-optimistic predictions for Llano sales, the company was also hit hard by economic recession and the affects of austerity economics in Europe.

It's going to be difficult for plaintiffs to make a case against AMD in this context. While the company got its figures wrong, was that the result of macroeconomic forces, or deliberate attempts to mislead investors? Our bet is on the general economic downturn, particularly given that Europe had long been a historically strong market for AMD and a major revenue source. The case is made more dubious by the source -- lawyers have filed the suits, but have until March 16, 2014 to find a lead plaintiff.
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i love amd coprocessors good performance quality products based on mainboar ASUS/ASROCK/MSI amd board.

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semitope replied on Mon, Jan 20 2014 7:00 PM

3 years on a laptop and you expect perfection at heavy load? You'd have to take it apart and clean + reapply heating solutions for that.

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being the best comes with consequences. :\

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Sounds to me like maybe Mac users should consider moving to a real platform like a PC.

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Poor solder/logic board manufacturing fault is the more likely problem rather than faulty chips - same thing happened with 2010 15" MBPs with nvidia chips.

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I love AMD, the best of the best!!!

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I had never had a single problem with AMD, AMD never let me down

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AMD fanboys are hilarious...

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My money is on poor quality thermal compound. Seems to be industry standard on mobile parts.

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Seems like a bs lawsuit.

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basroil3 replied on Mon, Jan 20 2014 10:53 PM

I have a laptop that used to do heavy photo/video editing for three years and has been running as a server for the three years since (and still working). You don't need to replace thermal solutions at all for that ... though I did have my mobo replaced two years in due to shoddy nvidia graphics (means one year heavy use and 3+ of medium server use).

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Anyone who thinks amd is better then Intel is a moron

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EPeter replied on Tue, Jan 21 2014 1:01 AM

Maybe the enclosed space with 1 fan has something to do with this. My 2006 MacBook (still running somehow) is only an inch thick with the LCD panel included. I don't see how any manufacturer could think < 3/4" with no vents and a single fan could keep things cool. Plus considering where the laptop is used (on the bed with blankets) is a huge factor that you can't account for without knowing the conditions the customer puts in through. Maybe the lawsuit should be against Apple again? We all know that Apple would point their finger at someone else though. ;)

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Jan 21 2014 12:51 PM

I've only had one laptop with an AMD video chipset, but it did die after a couple of years (just the video chipset - could still boot it in safe mode). I know from my research that a ton of others with the same GPU had the same issues, but this is the first time I ever considered if it's a recurring problem with their newer chipsets.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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AMD is better than intel for MANY reasons, for one im not paying twice as much for a measily 15% performance boost over the equvalent AMD part. and ive been using the same cooler since socket 754 and the same board for 4 years, i have a Phenom II X6 @ 4.2Ghz that plays BF4 as smoothly as ANY intel machine, i payed HALF of the price to build mine of what you could do with an intel machine, you CANNOT say the same for intel... apple/intel are perfect companions, overpriced, underperforming junk.

so "FANBOY" this...

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Joel H replied on Tue, Jan 21 2014 5:17 PM

Jerad,

How fortunate that you aren't paying 2x as much for the same performance. When AMD raised Kaveri prices to $184, you're paying $184 for CPU performance that's absolutely beaten by a $130 Intel chip. In fact, the Intel chip closest to the A10-7800K on the CPU performance side costs $90 - $130 depending on whether you want single-threaded or multi-threaded perf.

On the GPU, of course, things are better, but don't kid yourself. Your Phenom II X6 at 4.2GHz offers better performance on the CPU than anything AMD ships today. And when did you buy it? Four years ago.

If you don't think that's a problem, you aren't paying attention.

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D3FCON replied on Tue, Jan 21 2014 6:00 PM

Apple should have used there own shit then, The way I see it is Apple is responsible and not AMD as Apple was the one who made the final profit and put the processor in there units. AMD make a stable CPU/GPU i can remember using the very old durons and atherton (excuse the spelling it has been years) Cpu's without fail to the current r9's e.t.c. This could also be a design flaw from Apple it's self in the cooling aspects of the PC. WHO knows but if we all sue everyone for every thing that goes wrong then expect to be homeless in 30 years

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CDeeter replied on Tue, Jan 21 2014 7:42 PM

This lawsuit seems pretty shady to me. Lawyers just trying to cash in on the class action biz. Heck, they don't even have enough plaintiffs, nor has a judge granted class action status to their suit.

As far as longevity goes, I have a Socket 939 Athlon 64 X2 that is still going strong. Every manufacturer has a few chips that don't pass muster including AMD, but I think if you look at the total number of these laptops shipped, it would represent a normal rate of failure.

Having said that, if this is true, then Apple should be stepping up to remedy the situation. After all it's not like AMD could send out a replacement video chip since most of the time they are soldered onto the motherboard. It would then be between AMD and Apple to sort out who would be liable to cover the cost.

(Full disclosure: I am now part of AMD's Advocate Program. I do not speak officially/ legally for them in any capacity, but I am in their corner.)

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D3FCON replied on Wed, Jan 22 2014 12:03 AM

Spot on :) I like AMD and Intel and Nvidia, I run 2 amd's and 1 intel in my personal colection with a mixture of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards and I feel this is a waste of time and money. I'd be in AMD's Corner Too if i had the choice

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