Former AMD exec: Xbox One APU project worth over $3 billion

Microsoft may be downplaying the fact that AMD helped to create the processor and system-on-a-chip design for its upcoming Xbox One console, but it's certainly worth a lot of money to AMD. One former executive for the chip maker claims that the Xbox One hardware project may be worth more than previously thought.

Bob Feldstein, who is currently the Vice President of Technology Licensing at NVIDIA, posted word on his LinkedIn page about the projects he was a part of while he worked at AMD, While access to his Linkedin profile is limited, Gamechup has lifted what Feldstein has posted on the page.

Feldstein stated that while he worked as the corporate vice president of business development at AMD, he was in charge of "business management and supply agreement negotiations" concerning the Xbox One project. He added:

This required the coordination of multiple functional teams within AMD, as well as regular customer meetings with leadership teams responsible for handling the challenges of complex, muti-year deals. This project is valued at $3+B.

Yep, that's a valuation of over $3 billion for AMD. Feldstein also worked on the project that brought a similar processor to Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 console, although he doesn't state how much that was worth to the company.

AMD may not appreciate its former VP revealing some financial numbers about the Xbox One processor. Indeed, several months after Feldstein departed AMD for NVIDIA in July 2012, AMD filed a lawsuit against him and three other former employees. AMD claims they stole over 100,000 secret documents from the company.

Source: Gamechup via VG247.com | Image via AMD

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Tony. said,
AMD need to get a Fab lab back if they want to be competitive with Intel.

What they need to do is be able to release on time or before Intel. It seems everytime they have something new and great coming you hear about some delay.

This is a very good thing for a lot of reasons, but keeping healthy competition for Intel is important for all of us. I dropped AMD with the Intel "i" chips, but I'm very interested to see new laptops with these chips...should offer some great prices.

These APUs are really exciting stuff. It's basically what we'll get on desktop PCs 1-2 years from now. The experience AMD has gained designing these systems should give them a significant advantage in the battle for integrated graphics market share.

Ishanx said,
They are already leading in that market, I think? A10?

Yes and no. Kabini has 4 Jaguar cores, but for example they are running on slow DDR3L instead of DDR3-2133 (Xbox ONE) or GDDR5 (PS4) and they lack any customization that Sony/MS asked for their consoles.

We are still not sure about clock speeds either, initial rumors said 1.6ghz which means given their 1.5ghz reviewed performance one or two things are happening on the consoles: higher memory bandwidth increases performance a lot, and/or whatever customization they have for the consoles is making these cores have a much higher IPC.

Then of course the other plausible option is that rumors are wrong and the 8-core Jaguar in consoles is actually running at something above 2ghz, and summing up all factors the console APUs could well be 4-5 times faster than the already reviewed A4-5000 (2x the cores, 30-40% higher clock speed, 75% higher memory bandwidth, and the customizations).

Yeah. There's a growing market for low- to medium-end laptops with gaming capability. If AMD can offer cheap components with great performance, then they can dominate NVIDIA/Intel. They still have a lot of room for improvement on the desktop market. Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs are better in terms of performance but they're also slightly more expensive. For most gamers, the increase in price isn't enough to steer them toward AMD. I wonder if this will change when developers embrace 8-core CPUs in the next 2-3 years.

gonchuki said,

Yes and no. Kabini has 4 Jaguar cores, but for example they are running on slow DDR3L instead of DDR3-2133 (Xbox ONE) or GDDR5 (PS4) and they lack any customization that Sony/MS asked for their consoles.

We are still not sure about clock speeds either, initial rumors said 1.6ghz which means given their 1.5ghz reviewed performance one or two things are happening on the consoles: higher memory bandwidth increases performance a lot, and/or whatever customization they have for the consoles is making these cores have a much higher IPC.

Then of course the other plausible option is that rumors are wrong and the 8-core Jaguar in consoles is actually running at something above 2ghz, and summing up all factors the console APUs could well be 4-5 times faster than the already reviewed A4-5000 (2x the cores, 30-40% higher clock speed, 75% higher memory bandwidth, and the customizations).

Since the Jaguar is targeted at mobile with battery constraints to account for which the consoles don't have to worry about I'd say they should be higher clocked if possible. Up until heat becomes a problem that is, but 2-2.5Ghz shouldn't be a issue.

Anaron said,
If AMD can offer cheap components with great performance, then they can dominate NVIDIA/Intel. They still have a lot of room for improvement on the desktop market. Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs are better in terms of performance but they're also slightly more expensive. For most gamers, the increase in price isn't enough to steer them toward AMD.
As long as the paradigm remains CPU + discrete video card, Intel will dominate because they make the fastest CPUs, and if you're going to pair a discrete card with it you don't care about the integrated video performance. But IGPs are quickly getting to the point where they obsolete discrete video cards for all but the most demanding gamers, and AMD has the lead there. Intel will keep being better at decompressing files and AMD at playing Diablo 3, I think most people would take the AMD.

AMD still *has* to improve on single-threaded performance though. They cannot keep losing ground to Intel there. As Intel is currently focusing on lowering power requirements and improving its IGP performance, AMD could have a chance to catch up.

Seeing how AMD isn't doing so well on the desktop side it seems they need to do all they can with mobile and these type of console APUs.

Use that money to buy a really large stick to beat GlobalFoundries till they're bleeding quality yields from holes they didn't know they had. Because today I've sent another defective AMD CPU for exchange.

Phouchg said,
Use that money to buy a really large stick to beat GlobalFoundries till they're bleeding quality yields from holes they didn't know they had. Because today I've sent another defective AMD CPU for exchange.

I've been a die hard AMD fan for about seven years. Since my first build. After bulldozer dropped, I dropped AMD. It makes me sad, because I never cared to pay the extra for Intel chips, but now you almost have to if you want a machine that lasts more than four days. (To be fair, I've never had an AMD chip die (I'm still running a dual core AM2 chip, can't remember which one off the top), they just underperform like crazy, and you hear more and more horror stories about the new chips)

Nothing wrong with bulldozer, they are still continuing the line.
Problem is, or rather was. That Windows couldnt take optimum advantage of the new/different technologies used in the Bulldozer design. Windows 7 needs an update/driver/patch. Windows 8 has it OOTB. And Vista and before cant use the advantages the design brings to the table.
I run it and I love it, when i bought it, my work PC had a similar priced chip but from Intel... (both ~60Euros). And especially with Win8, the FX runs a lot smoother, especially during high loads.
Oh and being able to overclock it from 3.6 to 4.5 on stock fan and coolerblock without going over 50C(averaging on 40-45) is absolutely amazing.

In the high end Intel still kicks ass thats for sure, and for single-threaded performance is hell of a lot better then any chip AMD has to offer.
In the Lowerpower segment AMD is a strong competitor to Intel.
And the people that need the raw power of the latest i7's are a very niche market. The vast majority of users will be fine with any quadcore CPU from Intel or AMD and never or very rarely max it out. And then the bang-for-buck becomes a lot more important.
And this varies around the world, as i found out. AMD and Intel are quite evenly priced in the US and AUS, in EU however, AMD is quite a bit cheaper then Intel

Isn't this just saying AMD get $30+ on each box manufactured, since MS is expecting to sell over 100M consoles?

$3B is not that impressive when you consider how long a console cycle can be.

Avatar Roku said,
Isn't this just saying AMD get $30+ on each box manufactured, since MS is expecting to sell over 100M consoles?

$3B is not that impressive when you consider how long a console cycle can be.

I'd love to know where you got those figures from.

rr_dRock said,

I've been a die hard AMD fan for about seven years. Since my first build. After bulldozer dropped, I dropped AMD. It makes me sad, because I never cared to pay the extra for Intel chips, but now you almost have to if you want a machine that lasts more than four days. (To be fair, I've never had an AMD chip die (I'm still running a dual core AM2 chip, can't remember which one off the top), they just underperform like crazy, and you hear more and more horror stories about the new chips)

What are you on about?

alwaysonacoffebreak said,

What are you on about?

I'm on about the lack of bang for the buck, as Shadowzz so eloquently put it earlier. I can't see a reason to sacrifice quality, and stability for a couple of bucks. (Where I live in Canada, the i5-2400 is only twenty bucks more (and it goes on sale more often) than the FX-8120, and with the performance about equal, quality and stability is what I need (not overclocking, which I admit, is better with AMD), and I can't say technical reviews and consumer feedback really paint a great picture of AMD and the bulldozer chips (I haven't poked around too much about the A-8 and A-10 other than to compare performance for a server 2012 box, but that didn't look promising either. For fifty bucks, to change the performance of a box from usable to speedy, didn't make sense not to))

I hadn't had any coffee at that point, and haven't this morning either, so it may not be 100% clear.


ref: http://www.cpu-world.com/Compa..._Intel_Core_i5_i5-2400.html (the price chart doesn't apply to me btw, just in case someone is unable to figure that out themselves.)

Edited by rr_dRock, May 29 2013, 2:59pm :