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AMD third-quarter loss less than expected

Advanced Micro Devices reported a smaller loss than expected by Wall Street analysts.

Advanced Micro Devices posted a third-quarter loss of $128 million, lower than Wall Street projections, while also reporting revenue that beat expectations.

The loss, at 18 cents a share, compares with a loss of $134 million, or 22 cents a share, for the same period last year. Analysts had expected a loss of 42 cents a share.

Revenue was $1.4 billion, an 18 percent increase over the second quarter of this year, while falling 22 percent compared to the third quarter of 2008. Forecasts had called for only $1.3 billion in revenue.

"There was strength in notebooks and China," said Dirk Meyer, AMD president and CEO, speaking during the company's earnings conference call on Thursday afternoon. He added that there is "an increased focus on small form factor" laptops at AMD and that upcoming inexpensive, thin laptops based on AMD processors should be priced lower than Intel-based offerings. And Meyer said AMD will broaden its processor offerings in this area going into the holiday season.

Meyer also spoke to AMD's future 32-nanometer silicon. Products codenamed "Fusion" that combine the graphics function with the main processor will be based on 32-nanometer technology and ship in the second half of 2010, Meyer said.

AMD is currently moving most of its production to 45-nanometer-based processors. Intel, on the other hand, will begin to move to 32-nanometer by the end of this year. Generally, the small the geometry, the faster and more power-efficient the chip is.

Addressing graphics processing units (GPUs), Meyer said that its recently-introduced 5800 series products have been well received but that the average selling prices of GPUs were down compared to the prior quarter and are still below central processing units or CPUs, which are higher.

"Growth in microprocessor and graphics unit shipments drove an 18 percent sequential revenue increase, while improved factory utilization rates, higher microprocessor average selling price, and an increase in 45 (nanometer) product shipments resulted in a gross margin improvement from the prior quarter," Meyer said in a statement.

AMD expects its product company (non-manufacturing-related) revenue to be up modestly for the fourth quarter of 2009.

AMD was the world's second-largest seller of microprocessors in the second quarter of 2009 with an 11.9 percent share of global revenue behind market-leader Intel, according to market researcher iSuppli.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. PDT: adding comments from earnings conference call.