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2014-01-20T18:26:41Z
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.
GlennSaavedraJara
2014-01-20T18:53:48Z

i love amd coprocessors good performance quality products based on mainboar ASUS/ASROCK/MSI amd board.

semitope
2014-01-20T19:00:38Z

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.

DavidEldridge
2014-01-20T19:08:37Z

being the best comes with consequences. :\

RobertHill1
2014-01-20T19:15:40Z

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

PaulineRodrigo
2014-01-20T19:17:27Z

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.

MarcoJacobs
2014-01-20T19:34:36Z

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

MarcoJacobs
2014-01-20T19:39:44Z

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

RamSundaram
2014-01-20T19:54:54Z

AMD fanboys are hilarious...

NickModrowski
2014-01-20T20:36:19Z

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

GarekVanhulten
2014-01-20T22:13:40Z

Seems like a bs lawsuit.

basroil3
2014-01-20T22:53:08Z

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).

RonKurkowski
2014-01-21T00:34:53Z

Anyone who thinks amd is better then Intel is a moron

EPeter
2014-01-21T01:01:26Z

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. ;)

3vi1
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2014-01-21T12:51:28Z

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.