AMD’s Zen and Storage Developments

Since our last post, there have been a number of developments from a number of vendors that have or will soon unleash new products that fulfill competitive gaps.  Many exciting developments have been unleashed by AMD throughout this year.  The introduction of their RX-series GPUs have ushered in very affordable performance for a broad demographic.  The top end of the stack addressed moderate visualization needs at 1080p and 1440p resolutions for a reasonable cost and viable power utilization model.  While the top-end RX480 did suffer from power draw issues that exceeded specifications for the slot or the 6-pin power, a fix was delivered via software.

After releasing the multiple solutions in the consumer space and teasing the future in the professional space via the Radeon Pro SSG, AMD upped the ante by unleashing a controlled demonstration that placed its upcoming Zen solution against Intel’s high-end desktop platform.  Although there were many variables in place to make the comparison as “apples to apples” as possible, there are still some unknowns as to how the final retail product will be configured and perform.  With Intel launching their Kaby Lake-based processors later this year, Zen needs to hit the market in a more aggressive manner to improve the market for consumers.  If performance of Zen remains within a stone’s throw of Intel’s portfolio at a non-trivial cost savings, it may provide enough value to incur growth in the PC market and force Intel to compete with comparable core counts to justify an entirely new upgrade cycle.

In the area of storage, the major players in the traditional hard drive space have ten terabyte offerings available.  Seagate’s showing in this space has garnered some positive impressions.  While Seagate’s reputation within various communities is less than favorable due to repeated mishaps and cut corners that negatively impact the perception of the quality of their product, the performance of such a large drive is impressive.  Is there a valid use case for this much capacity within a home setting?  Perhaps.  If a household is storing RAW images captured via a DSLR camera, a pair of these drives in a NAS or a PC may fit the bill and provide room for growth.  Backing up that much data off premise via a cloud provider may present its own challenges with respect to bandwidth caps that are enforced by ISPs.

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