AMD’s SFF Project Quantum Might Never Hit the Mainstream Market – Will Probably Be A Limited Edition Product with Finite Supply

Usman Pirzada
Posted Aug 8, 2015
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AMD’s Project Quantum is a one of a kind small form factor pre-built PC with over 17 TFlops of computational power. Rocking a flagship Intel Core i7 and the R9 Fury X2 graphics (dual fiji) it is probably the leader in power density numbers. Unfortunately however,  a recent interview to PCR indicates that the product is only a “concept PC” and will probably never hit the shelves – and even if it does, it will have woefully finite stock.

AMD: Project Quantum is a concept PC – will probably never make it to retail and will be in limited supply if it does

The specifications of Project Quantum are top of the line to say the least. There had previously been quite a lot of commotion about the fact that AMD was using an Intel processor – to which the company had responded by stating that they put the needs of the gamers foremost, and any red team fans would be able to choose AMD processors if they so desired. The backbone of the mini-iTX pc is an AsRock Z97 motherboard with upto 32GB memory support. The current configuration houses a Devils Canyon Core i7 4790K processor and a radical, completely customized cooling system with a separate power brick. The heart of Project Quantum (and the main powerhouse behind the mammoth compute) is AMD’s Dual Fiji GPU with 8GB of HBM1 (memory).  This is probably the first device that is 100% capable of handling anything 4K 60fps. Before we go any further, take a look at the extract of an interview of AMD’s very own Richard Huddy:

“The interest we got immediately after E3 was very high, from journalists and consumers and OEM partners, I don’t know whether we have an OEM who is committed to building something like it. We built it as a concept PC, so like concept cars it’s not usually practical to take it straight to market, that wouldn’t make a great deal of sense. But it’s not far from that. I would think that if we have the right kind of conversations with some of these OEMs, then we might well turn it into a real product. In that case, it will probably be a very small number. Maybe only one or at most a handful of PC manufacturers who would bring that to market, potentially. It’s a custom piece, not a high volume piece, but it is a thing of beauty.” said AMD’s Richard Huddy to PCR

While AMD themselves stated that Project Quantum, whose origin is from their very own innovation labs, uses mostly off the shelf parts, it also does utilize quite a bit of custom made parts. When dealing with solutions that have to be custom tailored, the expense can only be offset by utilizing the well known business theory of economies of scale (mass production in high volumes). With Project Quantum, AMD fears they will not be able to ship large enough quantities of the PC for it to be profitable – and furthermore, they don’t expect any OEM to get onboard with the idea in the first place. This means that contrary to what we were believing since the initial reveal, Project Quantum SFF PC is not a sure fire product – quite the opposite.

Fortunately for AMD, there already exists a precedence for overpriced SFF PCs where they can make quite a killing – Steam Machines. Steam Machines are basically over powered consoles running the still infant Steam OS. But their main attraction is over powered hardware in a small form factor – something which Project Quantum should have absolutely no competition on. Steam Machine OEMs should (theoretically) approach AMD and even if they do not (in my opinion) I believe AMD’s SFF powerhouse has a niche on its own. The aesthetics are simply stunning and would make a priceless addition to any living lounge of the high end spectrum driving products such as the Oculus Rift or 4K screens at 60 frames per second flat.

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