AMD - The Road Ahead

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 5/11/2007 5:00 AM EST
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  • osalcido - Sunday, May 13, 2007 - link

    Like they price gouged when X2s were introduced?
    If so, I hope Intel kills them off. If I'm gonna get gouged I'd rather it be by a monopoly so maybe the government will do something about it
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Sunday, May 13, 2007 - link

    there was really no price gouging as far as I know. AMD was capacity constrained, they were selling every possible cpu they could make at those prices, and even had backorders. I remember that around the summer of 2005, they had sold out their capacity for at least the next 6 months.

    It would be absolutely economically INSANE to lower prices under those conditions. If you sell every single cpu you can make, you're not gonna lower prices to increase demand..

    But well yeah, around feb 2006 came the news of core 2 ;)
    Reply
  • Kougar - Sunday, May 13, 2007 - link

    I'm not sure, but whatever image protection you are using to protect direct image linking seems to now be breaking ALL images in Opera. I have had problems in the past regarding Anandtech review/article images, but chalked it up to a browser setting I could not pin down.

    So far it still only happens with Anandtech images, and after a full reinstall of Opera 9.20 I still can't see any images or any image placeholders in this article. I did not know there was even any images until I got to page 7 where the captions were left hanging in midpage. I really hate having to switch to IE7 to read articles, so if this can be easily fixed I'd very much appreciate it. Thanks.

    If it helps any, if I am looking for it I can sometimes spot an image start to load, before it is near instantly removed from the page and the text reshuffled to fill the empty void.
    Reply
  • bigbrent88 - Sunday, May 13, 2007 - link

    I know this may be a simple way to look at AMD's Fusion and future chips based on that idea, but isn't this close to what the Cell already is. Imagine you could remake the cell with a current C2D(using current power leader) and include more, better SPE's with something like HT in AM2 and all of this is on a smaller die than you could do now. Would that not be the basic first step they are going to take? Many have said the Cell is ahead of its time and I also agree that some design elements are inhibiting its overall power, but the success of Folding shows what the Cells processing can do in these types of environments and thats what AMD is looking at in the near term.

    I just can't wait to drop my x2 3800 and get a good upgrade to go along with that new DX10 card sometime in the next year. Bring it AMD!
    Reply
  • noxipoo - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    get everything in focus for christ sakes. Reply
  • plonk420 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    it's interesting how many commercial programs aren't multithreaded. take a look at this year's Breakpoint demos/intros, and just about ALL the top 3 or 5 (or more) take advantage of 2 cores (i don't have more than 2 to know if they would make use of the extra ones or not). check out the Breakpoint 2007 entries at pouet.net and fire something up with a Task Manager open on a second monitor and see for yourself ;) Reply
  • OcHungry - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    From the tone of your article I have no doubt AMD is about to put Intel where it belongs, in the so so technology arena with lots of marketing maneuvering to sell inferior products. I like the Jetliner graph where the air bus is taking off at a steep angle and the other small jet is going horizontal w/a little inclination. That says it all, and how the 2 (Intel and AMD) are perceived in the technology world.
    It’s like this: Intel refines the same old, but AMD is into innovation and new things. Good for AMD, it’s about time. The heteroggenenous architecture, the fusion, and Torenza, are where computing technology should be heading, and AMD is taking the lead, as always. I live in Austin, TX, and have a few friends working @ AMD and tell me: buy AMD shares as much as you can, because good things are about to explode and neither Intel, nor Nvidia can catch up to it, ever.
    Reply
  • sandpa - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    actually they are asking everybody to buy AMD shares so that they can sell off their worthless AMD stock for a better price :) dont listen to them ... they are not your friends. No one will be able to catch up with AMD "ever" ??? yeah keep dreaming fanboi! Reply
  • OcHungry - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Yeah right. Tell that to Fidelity who bought more of AMD shares lately (13% total).
    And I guess the rise in price yesterday and today were meaningless?
    Intel marketing thugs are at work, no change there.
    http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=39...">http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=39...
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    AMD drew the parallel to the 287/387 floating point coprocessor socket that was present on 286/386 motherboards. Only around 2 - 3% of 286 owners bought a 287 FPU, while around 10 - 20% of 386 owners bought a 387 FPU; when the 486 was designed it simply made sense to integrate the functionality of the FPU into all models because the demand from users and developers was there. Torrenza would allow the same sort of migration to occur from external socket to eventual die integration if it makes sense, for any sort of processor.


    This is exactly what I was thinking while reading, then I ran into the above paragraph, and my suspicions were 'reinforced'. However, if this is the case, I can not help but wonder what will happen to nVidia. Will nVidia end up like 3dfx ? I guess only time will tell. There is a potential problem I am seeing here however, if we do finally get integrated graphics on the CPU die, what next ? Audio ? After a while this could be a problem for the consumer base, and may ressemble something along the lines of how a lot of Linux users view Microsoft, wit htheir 'Monopoly'. In the end, 'we' lose flexability, and possibly the freedom to choose what software that will actually run on our hardware. This is not to say, I buy into this beleif 100%, but it is a distinct possibility.

    quote:

    For a while we had lost confidence in AMD, like many of you had as well, and although AMD's position in the market hasn't changed we are more confident now that it can actually bounce back from this. Intel seemed to have the perfect roadmap with Conroe, Penryn and Nehalem all lined up back to back, and we saw little room for AMD to compete. Now, coming away from these meetings, we do believe that AMD may have a fighting chance. Over the coming months you'll begin to see why; it won't be an easy battle, but it will be one that will be fought with more than just price.


    Apparently Intel suspects something is going on as well. One look at the current prices of the E6600 C2D should confirm this, as its currently half the price of what it was a month ago. Unless, there is something else I am missing, but the Extreme CPUs still seem to be hovering around ~$1000 usd.

    I am very pleased to hear that AMD is continuing support for Socket AM2. It was my previous belief, that they were going to phase this socket out, for a newer socket, and if this was the case a few months ago, I am glad that they listen, and learn. Releasing products that underperform the competition is one thing, but alienating your user base is another . . . That being said, I really do hope that Barcelona/K10/whatever the hell the official name is, will give Intel some very tight competition (at least).

    I can completely understand why AMD is being tight lipped, I have suspected the reasons why for some time now, and personally, I believe it to be in their best interrest to remain doing so. And yes, it may reflect badly on AMD at this point in time, but what would you preffer ? Intel learning your secretes, and thus rendering them moot, or a few 'whinners', such as ourselves, not knowing what is going on ? They are doing the right thing by them, and that is all that matters. No one, including Intel 'fanboys' want AMD to go under, they may think so, until it really does happen, then they are locked into whatever Intel deems nessisary, which is bad for everyone.

    Now, if AMD could come up with something similar to vPro/AMT, or perhaps AMD/Intel could make a remote administration (BIOS, or similr level) 'Standard', I think I would be happy, for at least a little while . . .
    Reply
  • Regs - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Tight lipped does make AMD look bad right now but could be even worse for them after Intel has their way with the information alone. I'm not talking about technology or performance, I'm talking about marketing and pure buisness politics.

    Intel beat AMD to market by a huge margin and I think it would be insane for AMD to go ahead and post numbers and specifications while Intel has more than enough time to make whatever AMD is offering look bad before it hits the shelves or comes into contact with a Dell machine.

    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Apparently Intel suspects something is going on as well. One look at the current prices of the E6600 C2D should confirm this, as its currently half the price of what it was a month ago. Unless, there is something else I am missing, but the Extreme CPUs still seem to be hovering around ~$1000 usd.


    Intel cut the price of all the C2D processors by one slot in the tree - the Q6600 to the former price of the E6700, the E6700 to the former price of the E6600, the E6600 to the former price of the E6400, etc. Anandtech covered this a month or so ago after AMD cut prices.

    quote:

    After a while this could be a problem for the consumer base, and may ressemble something along the lines of how a lot of Linux users view Microsoft, wit htheir 'Monopoly'. In the end, 'we' lose flexability, and possibly the freedom to choose what software that will actually run on our hardware. This is not to say, I buy into this beleif 100%, but it is a distinct possibility.


    I wonder as well. Will it be relatively easy to mix and match features as needed? Or will the offerings be laid out that most people end up paying for a feature they don't want for each feature they do?
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    I wonder as well. Will it be relatively easy to mix and match features as needed? Or will the offerings be laid out that most people end up paying for a feature they don't want for each feature they do?


    Yeah, its hard to take this peice of 'information' without a grain of salt added. On one hand you have the good side, true integrated graphics (not this shitty thing of the past, hopefully . . .), with full bus speed communication, and whatnot, but on the other hand, you cut out discrete manufactuers like nVidia, which in the long run, we are not only talking about just discrete graphics cards, but also one of the best/competing chipset makers out there.
    Reply
  • Regs - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    The new attitude Anand displays with AMD is more than enough and likely the whole point of the article.

    AMD is changing for a more aggressive stance. Something they should of done years ago.

    Reply
  • Stablecannon - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    AMD is changing for a more aggressive stance. Something they should of done years ago.


    Aggressive? I'm sorry could you refer me to the article that gave you that idea. I must have missed while I was at work.
    Reply
  • Regs - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Did you skim?

    There were at least two whole paragraphs. Though I hate to qoute so much content, I guess it's needed.

    quote:

    Going into these meetings, in a secluded location away from AMD's campus, we honestly had low expectations. We were quite down on AMD and its ability to compete, and while AMD's situation in the market hasn't changed, by finally talking to the key folks within the company we at least have a better idea of how it plans to compete.



    quote:

    There's also this idea that coming off of a significant technology lead, many within AMD were simply complacent and that contributed to a less hungry company as a whole. We're getting the impression that some major changes are happening within AMD, especially given its abysmal Q1 earnings results (losing $611M in a quarter tends to do that to a company). While AMD appeared to be in a state of shock after Intel's Core 2 launch last year, the boat has finally started to turn and the company that we'll see over the next 6 - 12 months should be quite different.

    Reply
  • sprockkets - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    What is there that is getting anyone excited to upgrade to a new system? We need faster processors and GPUs? Sure, so we can play better games. That's it?

    Now we can do HD content. I would be much more excited about that except it is encumbered to the bone by DRM.

    I just wish we had a competent processor that only needs a heatsink to be cooled.

    quote:

    AMD showed off the same 45nm SRAM test vehicle we saw over a year ago in Dresden, which is a bit bothersome.


    Not sure what you are saying since over a year ago they would have been demoing perhaps 65nm cells, but whatever.

    And as far as Intel reacting, they are already on overdrive with their product releases, FSB bumps, updating the CPU architecture every 2 years instead of 3, new chipsets every 6 months, etc. I guess when you told people we would have 10ghz Pentium 4's and lost your creditbility, you need to make up for it somehow.

    Then again, if AMD shows off benchmarks, what good would it do? The desktop varients we can buy are many months away.
    Reply
  • Viditor - Saturday, May 12, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Not sure what you are saying since over a year ago they would have been demoing perhaps 65nm cells, but whatever

    In April of 2006, AMD demonstrated 45nm SRAM. This was 3 months after Intel did the same...
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    To reply to myself, perhaps the Fusion project is the best thing coming. If we can have a standard set of instructions for cpu and gpu, we will no longer need video drivers, and perhaps we can have a set that works very low power. THAT, is what I want.

    Wish they talked more of DTX.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    I agree with you about only needing a heat sink, I still use Pentium IIIs in most of my machines for exactly that reason. I also prefer slotted processors to the lame socketed ones, but they cost more and are unnecessary so I guess they aren't going to come back. They are so much easier to work with though.

    I wish AMD or Intel would come out with something running around 1.4 GHz that used 10 watts or less. I bought a VIA running at 800 MHz a few years ago, but it is incredibly slow. You're better off with a K6-III+ system, you get better performance and about the same power use. Still, it looks like Intel and AMD are blind to this market, or minimally myopic, so it looks like VIA/Centaur is the best hope there. The part I don't get is why they superpipeline something for high clock speed when they are going for low power. It seems to me an upgraded K6-III would be better at something like this, since by comparison the Pentium/Athlon/Core lines offer poor performance for the power compared to the K6 line, considering it's made on old lithography. So does the VIA, and that's what it's designed for. I don't get it. Maybe AMD should bring it back as their ultra-low power design. Actually, maybe they are. On a platform with reasonable memory bandwidth, it could be a real winner.
    Reply
  • tygrus - Saturday, May 12, 2007 - link

    See latest low-power Athlon64 <10w idle. Can further reduce max power consumption (from 30-60w) if you limit the clock speed to about 1GHz and drop the voltage (<15w). Reply
  • TA152H - Sunday, May 13, 2007 - link

    Tygrus,

    Idle isn't so important to me, getting to less than 1 watt idle isn't particularly hard if you go into sleep mode. You can't build a fanless, noiseless system based on idle performance. I was looking at Intel's ULV stuff too, but it's just not there either. It's kind of disappointing, because most people would be perfectly happy with a 1 GHz K6-III using 8 watts or less as it would on modern processes, and nothing like it is available. VIA's stuff sucks and I don't think is very efficient, even though they are targetting this market. My main machine I just upgraded to a Coppermine 600 on a weird Intel VC820 board. It's perfectly capable of doing just about everything I do, except for compiles (even a Core 2 is too slow for that, Microsoft seriously needs to work on parallelizing their compilers, or if they have recently, I need to buy it :P).

    It's an enormous waste of electricity to sell these processors when the vast majority of people don't need them. To Microsoft's credit, they are always up to the challenge of releasing bloated software that requires more memory and processing power but is functionally the same, but at some point even their talent for this might run out.

    While I was writing the first reply, I was lamenting about how lousy the current processors are in this respect, but then I read that at least AMD had a clue and said the Athlon design could not address this space and they had to go with something different. Maybe they'll bring the K6-III back, fix it's decoding/memory problems, and have a real winner. In terms of power/performance, there is just no beating it, these superpipelined processors are inherently poor at power use, and clearly have a performance bias. Why VIA went this way is a big mystery to me.
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    If this article has accomplished one thing, it would be that we finally have confirmation that AM2+ CPU's will work in AM2 motherboards. Up to this point it's been people reporting on "sources" and stuff like that, nothing direct from AMD.

    Anand's report is more than good enough for me, I can finally rest easy that the PC I just built my cousin will have an upgrade path for at least another year down the road (if not two).

    Thanks Anand and AMD! (and screw you Intel for you rediculously short upgrade paths!)

    Chuck
    Reply
  • AdamK47 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Well played, Anand. Well played. Reply
  • Kiijibari - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    I would have looked at my watch, while cinebench was running on the 4x4 system to get a rough estimate :)
    Not a correct result, but better than nothing.

    Or was the system so fast, that cinebench was done after a few ns ^^ ? :)

    Apart from that, nice article, thanks :)

    cheers

    Kiijibari
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    I counted seconds in my head, out of fairness to AMD I didn't report the number I calculated :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Didn't you guys notice the huge disconnect between the excitement evident in Anand's text and the fairly small ammount of new info? I think it should be obvious that AMD revlealed a lot more, but they have put various NDA dates on when the info can be released. So I would say they did open up a lot, but that we will only see the new info become available as we get closer to Barcelona. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    I think you have to shift your expectations a bit; going into this thing I wanted to see Barcelona performance, I wanted the equivalent of what Intel did with Penryn and Nehalem. I didn't get that, but what I did get was a much clearer understanding of AMD's direction for the future. The section on Fusion is of particular importance to the future of the company, it just so happens that AMD's strategy is in line with Intel's, lending credibility to what it is doing.

    Then there were a handful of Barcelona tidbits that I needed to stick in some sort of an article, so this one just seemed the best venue to do so. More information is coming though, stay tuned for next week. No benchmarks yet unfortunately :(

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Stablecannon - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Didn't you guys notice the huge disconnect between the excitement evident in Anand's text and the fairly small amount of new info?

    Wonderful. So basically this article was an AMD morale booster.


    "Hey this Phil Hester, just wanted to say don't lose faith in us, even though we don;t have anything to show you really...that's because it's a secret. Yeah, that's it. We actually have a 16 core chip running at 3.8 that'll cream Intel. What's that? You want to see it? LOL."
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    First of all, I read the part about AMD becoming much more forthcoming with information, and then saw essentially nothing new in the article. Pretty much all of this stuff is known, and the important stuff you still don't know. So, how are they so much more open again? I didn't see it.

    Actually, I would have been disappointed if they were. I mean, you can scream about how they're not giving you what YOU want, but it's all about what they want. I don't buy them giving information out too early for Intel, you can be pretty sure there are plenty of companies designing products around AMD's new chip and you can be pretty sure at least one person has "slipped" and told Intel something. It's more likely it's not to AMD's benefit to have people knowing it's so much better than what's out now. How do they move product they are making today when people are waiting for their next great product? It's just common sense, they don't care if people whine about lack of visibility, too much is worse than too little. They have given out some numbers, and they are very high, so I doubt they're too concerned about performance. I think they're more concerned about selling stuff they have out today, which they aren't doing a great job of. What would happen if they showed a great product right around the corner? Q1 would look like a success compared to what they'd endure.

    When you talk about Phil Hester you have to realize this guy referred the 8088 an eight-bit architecture (so he was not referring to the data bus). After that, I don't know what to think about what he says.

    Next, the reason the 287 didn't sell was because it seriously sucked! It was worse than the 8087 because it didn't even run synchronously with the processor. Considering the 286 was way more powerful than the 8086/8088, there was a perfectly good reason why no one wanted a math coprocessor that was expensive, generally ran at 2/3 CPU speed (unless a seperate crystal was put in for it, which was done with later 286 machines), and actually had less performance than the 8087. The 387 was much more powerful and totally redesigned.

    Also keep in mind the 486 was later made in an incarnation called the 486SX, that had either a disabled or no math coprocessor on it.

    Saying the Cell is before it's time is implying it's fundamentally a useful product, but other things around it have to catch up. That's wrong and misleading. It's a niche product and it's a bear to program and is terrible in most things besides what it was designed for. Time won't change it, unless they change the Cell. The way it is now, it'll never be anything more than a niche product, nor was it designed to be more than that.

    For their < 1 watt processors, it might be interesting to see if they bother with a decoupled architecture. My guess is they'll just run x86 instructions natively, without wasting so much silicon on the decoders.

    With regards to AMD's next processor taking so long, I think it's even worse when one considers the K8 isn't really a K8 at all, it's more like a K7+. It's very similar to the K7, and is far less of a jump than the Prescott was from the Northwood. It's more like the Pentium MMX was to the Pentium (I'm not talking about the MMX instructions, there was a lot more changes than that).

    The remarks about AMD coming back from this stronger than ever are absurd and ridiculous. They can come back, and they certainly have a good product in the wings, but it's got nothing to do with losing $611 million. It weakened the company, plain and simple, although not irrevocably. They had to slow down their investment and conversion, which isn't good. They had to sell $2 Billion in debts at very disadvantageous terms. Both of these are injuries that will have longer term ramifications for the company. So, yes, they aren't dead, but saying this will make them stronger in the long run is plain wrong and equally weird.

    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    I think they're more concerned about selling stuff they have out today, which they aren't doing a great job of. What would happen if they showed a great product right around the corner? Q1 would look like a success compared to what they'd endure.


    This implies that actual performance numbers would make Barcelona more visible. But to factor into a buying decision they have to know Barcelona is coming, and anyone who knows that can probably guess it will be a significant step forward, based on it's need to compete with Intel. Soe either you don't know Barcelona is coming, in which case performance numbers don't matter; or you do know it is coming, in which case the only reason to buy AMD before then is because it's cheap.

    At least they stated that the new processors will be usable in the AM2 motherboards.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    You are using pretzel logic here.

    If you know Barcelona is a significant step forward, why do you need the results posted beforehand?

    Actually, performance would make Barcelona more visible, and if it were better than expected, you'd kill current sales. You can speculate on performance, but you really don't know. The only place you'd really want people to know beforehand is the server market, because people plan these purchases. And guess what? AMD released those numbers, and there were pretty high.

    It's also completely different to know something is coming out and guessing at the performance, than actually seeing the numbers and from that being thoroughly disgusted with the performance. I could live with any of the processors today, but once I see one get raped by the next generation, I don't want it. It hits you on a visceral level, and after that, it's difficult to go back to it. Put another way, say there is a girl you can out with today that's fairly attractive and would certainly add to your life. You could wait for one that will be more attractive later on, but you don't really need to since this new one is more than adequate. Now say you see this bombshell. Do you think you'd really want to go back to the one that wasn't so attractive?

    We're human, we respond to things on an emotional level even when we know we shouldn't. The head never wins against the heart. I'm not sure that's a bad thing either, life would be so uninteresting were it not so.
    Reply
  • blppt - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    "AMD's reasoning for not disclosing more information today has to do with not wanting to show all of its cards up front, and to give Intel the opportunity to react."

    Come on....I'm sure Intel already has a pretty good idea of what they are up against. I'm sure Intel has access to information on their competitors that the general tech public doesn't.
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    All they said is there is new stuff coming. Trust me, if the cpu's they had right now were beating the pants off of intel, they would post the number. I'm not saying give us the freq, the cpu runs on. But if they knew that games run 50% faster, they would at least hint it.


    Nice things: looks like the new mobo chip runs cool, look at how small the hsf are on those chips.

    Not nice: how hot are these new cpus? look at all those fans, its like a tornado in the case.

    Note nice: No DATES? all that means is its even easier to push things back. Winter 2007, because early 2008
    Reply
  • Ard - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Excellent article as always, Anand. It's nice to finally get some info on AMD and find out that they're not throwing in the towel just yet. Some performance numbers would've been nice but I guess you can't have everything. I did have to laugh at the slide that said S939 will continued to be supported throughout 2007 though, considering you can't even buy new S939 CPUs. Reply
  • Beenthere - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    It's a known fact that Intel has had to try and copy the best features of AMD's products to catch up in performance to AMD. Funny how when Intel was secretive and blackmailing consumers for 30 years that was fine but when AMD doesn't give away all of their upcoming product technical info. for Intel to copy, that's not good -- according to some. With Intel being desperate to generate sales for their non-competitive products over the past 2-3 years, they decided to really manipulate the media - and it's worked. The once secretive Intel is the best friend a hack can find these days. They'll tell a hack anything to get some form of media exposure.

    I find AMD's release of info. just fine. If it were not for AMD all consumers would be paying $1000 for a Pentium 90 CPU today and that would be the fastest CPU you could buy. People tend to forget all that AMD has done for consumers. The world would be a lot worse off than it is if it were not for AMD stepping to the plate to take on the bully from Satan Clara.

    Many in the media are shills and most of the media is manipulated by unscrupulous companies like Intel, Asus, and a long list of others. Promise a hack some "inside info." or insiders tour so they can get a scoop or a prototype piece of hardware that has been massaged for better performance than the production hardware and the fanboy hacks will write glowing opine about a companies products and chastise the competition every chance they get.

    Unfortunately what was once a useful service - honest product reviews -- is now a game of shilling for dollars. You literally can't believe anything reported at 99% of websites these days because it's usually slanted based on which way the money flows... It's no secret that Intel and MICROSUCKS are more than willing to lubricate the wheels of the ShillMeisters to get favorable tripe.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Beenthere,

    What are you talking about? Intel invented the microprocessor (4004), invented the instruction set used today (8086) and has been getting copied by AMD for years.

    The Athlon was certainly nothing to copy, you could just as easily say they copied the Pentium III (and did a bad job of it, whereas the Core is much better than the Athlon). What's so unique about the Athlon that could be copied anyway? It's a pretty basic design. It worked OK, I guess, but the performance per watt was always poor until the Pentium 4 came around and redefined just what poor meant.

    x86-64 is straightforward, and you can be sure Microsoft designed most of it. I'm not saying this as anything bad about AMD, because who better to design the instruction set than Microsoft? Intel and Microsoft do enough software to understand what is best, AMD is allergic to software, so I think this is a good thing.

    I agree, only slightly, that these review sites are ass-kissers by nature, because they need good relationships with the makers. I doubt they are getting kick-backs, but say Anand is more honest with his opinions (he always is about a lousy product, after the company comes out with a good one), he'd get cut off from some information or products from that same company. So, they kiss ass because if they write scalding and honest reviews they lose out and can't function as an information site as well. I don't like it, but can you blame him? In his situation, you'd have to do exactly the same thing - give a review in a delicate way without offending the hand that feeds you, but trying to get your point across anyway with the factual data. Tom Pabst was funny as Hell in his old reviews, he took a devil may care attitude, but nowadays even that site has accepted the reality of being on good terms with technology companies whenever possible. In the long run, it's worth it.
    Reply
  • Viditor - Saturday, May 12, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Intel invented the microprocessor (4004)

    Actually, most of the work was done at Fairchild Semiconductor...that's where both Gordon Moore (founder of Intel) and Jerry Sanders (founder of AMD) worked together.
    Moore left FS in 1968 to form Intel (along with Bob Noyce) and Sanders left in 1969 to form AMD.
    Intel began as a memory manufacturer, but Busicom contracted them to create a 4-bit CPU chip set architecture that could receive instructions and perform simple functions on data. The CPU becomes the 4004 microprocessor...Intel bought back the rights from Busicom for US$60,000.
    Interestingly, TI had a system on a chip come out at the same time, but they couldn't get it to work properly so Intel got the money (and the credit).
    quote:

    What's so unique about the Athlon that could be copied anyway? It's a pretty basic design

    You're kidding, right??
    1. Athlon had vastly superior FP because of it's super-pipelined, out-of-order, triple-issue floating point unit (it could operate on more than one floating point instruction at once)
    2. Athlon had the largest level 1 cache in x86 history
    3. When it was first launched, it showed superior performance compared to the reigning champion, Pentium III, in every benchmark
    4. Three generalized CISC to RISC decoders
    5. Nine-issue superscalar RISC core
    Just look at the reviews during release (you might think it's si,ilar to the C2D reviews...)
    http://www.aceshardware.com/Spades/read.php?articl...">Aces Hardware

    quote:

    x86-64 is straightforward, and you can be sure Microsoft designed most of it.

    That's just silly...while I'm sure MS had plenty of input, there are no chip architects on their staff that I'm aware of (in other words nobody their COULD design it).
    It's like saying that when a Pro driver gives feedback to the engineers on what he wants, he's the one who designed the car...don't think so.
    Reply
  • TA152H - Sunday, May 13, 2007 - link

    What's your point about the 4004? You're giving commonly known information that in no way changes the fact that Intel invented the first microprocessor. It wasn't for themselves, initially, but it was their product. AMD didn't create it, and they didn't create the other microprocessors they were a second source from Intel. Look at their first attempt at their own x86 processor to see how good they were at it, the K5. It was late, slower than expected, and created huge problems for Compaq, which had bet on them. Jerry Sanders was smart enough to by NexGen after that.

    You are clearly clueless about microprocessors if you think any of those things you mention about the Athlon are in any way anything but basic.

    The largest L1 cache is a big difference??? Why that's a real revolution there!!!! They made a bigger cache! Holy Cow! Intel still hasn't copied that, by the way, so even though it's nothing innovative, it was still never copied.

    The FP unit was NOT the first pipelined one, the Pentium was and the Pentium Pro line was also pipelined, or superpipelined as you misuse the word. Do you know what superpipelined even means? It means lots of stages? Are you implying the Athlon was better in floating point because it had more floating point stages? Are you completely clueless and just throwing around words you heard?

    Wow, they had slightly better decoding than the P6 generation!!!! Wow, that's a real revolutionary change.

    You're totally off on this. They did NOTHING new on it, it was four years later than the Pentium Pro, and barely outperformed it, and in fact was surpassed by the aging P6 architecture when the Coppermine came out. It was much bigger, used much more power, and had relatively poor performance for the size and power dissipation. The main problem with the P6 was the memory bandwidth too, if it had the Athlon's it would have raped it, despite being much smaller. I don't really call that a huge success. Although, it does have to be said the Athlon was capable of higher clock speeds on the same process. Still, it was hardly an unqualified success like the Core 2, which is good by any measure.

    The Core 2 is MUCH faster than the Athlon 64, and isn't a much larger and much more power hungry beast. In fact, it's clearly better in power/performance than the Athlon 64. The Athlon was dreadful in this regard.

    I was talking about the instruction set with regards to Microsoft, which should have been obvious since x86-64 is an instruction set, not an architecture. And yes, they did design most of it, if not all. Ask someone from Microsoft, and even if you don't know one, use some common sense. Microsoft writes software, and compilers, and have to work with the instruction set. They are naturally going to know what works best and what they want, and AMD has absolutely no choice but to do what Microsoft says to do. Microsoft is holding a Royal Flush, AMD has a nine high. Microsoft withholding support for x86-64 would have made it as meaningless as 3D Now! They knew it, AMD knew it, and Microsoft got what they wanted. Anything else is fiction. Again, use common sense.
    Reply
  • hubajube - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    What are you talking about?
    Dude, WTF are YOU talking about? Allergic to software? Is that an industry phrase? YOU have NO idea what AMD did or didn't do in regards to X86-64 so how can you even make a comment on it?
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Actually, I do have an idea on what AMD had to do with it. You don't. If you know anyone from Microsoft, ask about it.

    Even publicly, AMD admitted that Microsoft co-developed it with them.

    By the way, when was the last time you used AMD software? Do you have any idea what you're talking about, or just an angry simpleton?
    Reply
  • rADo2 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Oh man, AMD copied, in fact, all Intel patents, due to their "exchange". They copied x86 instruction set, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, and many others. Intel was the first to come up with 64-bit Itanium.

    And AMD is/was damn expensive, while it had a window of opportunity. My most expensive CPU ever bought was AMD X2 4400+ ;-)
    Reply
  • fic2 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    What does the 64-bit Itanium have to do with x86. Totally different instruction set.

    And what would the Intel equivalent to your X2 4400+ have cost you at the time? Or was there even an Intel equivalent.
    Reply
  • rADo2 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    "What does the 64-bit Itanium have to do with x86" -- Intel had 64-bit CPU way before AMD, a true new platform. AMD came up with primitive AMD64 extension, which was not innovative at all, they just doubled registry and added some more. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    You mean - A 'primitive' 64BIT CPU that outpeformed the Intel CPU in just about every 32BIT application out there. This was also one reason why AMD took the lead for a few years . . . Reply
  • fitten - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    It was actually pretty smart on AMD's part. Intel was trying to lever everyone off of x86 for a variety of reasons. AMD knew that lots of folks didn't like that so they designed x86-64 and marketed it. Of course people would rather be backwards compatible fully, which is why AMD was successful with it and Intel had to copy it to still compete. So... it's AMD's fault we can't get rid of the x86 albatross again ;) Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    AMD had no choice but to go the way they did, there was nothing smart about it. They lacked the market power to introduce a new instruction set, as well as the software capability to make it a viable platform.

    Intel didn't even have the marketing muscle to make it an unqualified success. x86 is bigger than both of them. It's sad.
    Reply
  • rADo2 - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    I bought X2 because I wanted NVIDIA SLI (2x6800, 2x7800, 2x7900, etc.) with dualcore, so Pentium D was not an option (NVIDIA chipsets for Intel are even worse than for AMD, if that is possible).

    X2 was more expensive than my current quadcore, Q6600, and performed really BAD in all things except games.

    I hated that CPU, while paying about $850 (including VAT) for it. For audio and video processing, it was a horrible CPU, worse than my previous P4 Northwood with HT, bought for $100, not to mention unstable NVIDIA nForce4 boards, SATA problems, NVIDIA firewall problems, etc.

    I never want to see AMD again. Intel CPU + Intel chipset = pure godness.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    SO, by your logic, just because a product does not meet your 'standard' ( which by the way seem to be based on 'un-logic' ), you would like to see a company, that you do not like, go under, and thus rendering the company that you hold so dearly in your mind, a monopoly.

    Pray AMD never goes under, because if they do go away, your next system may cost you 5x as much, and may perform 5x worse, and there will be nothing you can do about it.

    Cheers
    Reply
  • TA152H - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Not only that, but HP had more to do with the design than Intel. Reply
  • sprockkets - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Yeah, and the cheapest CPU I ever bought was an AMD Sempron for $29. Reply
  • goinginstyle - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    So with your logic, if the reviews about Barcelona end up being positive and glowing then we know AMD paid off the reviewers? Reply
  • R3MF - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    I am delighted to hear that AMD is on the bounce, as i have always cheered for them.

    With the exception of my current C2D PC, i have always bought AMD rigs:
    1.2GHz Thunderbird
    1.7GHz Thoroughbred
    2.0GHz Athlon 64
    2.0GHz Athlon X2

    So no-one will be more than happy than I to be able to return to the fold, with a shiny new AMD quad-core.

    However, if you expect me to buy AMD powered chipsets and graphics cards, then AMD had better pull their socks up on linux support.

    I buy nvidia chipsets and graphics cards not because they make better hardware than AMD/ATI, but because i know that i have excellent support in the form of BOTH windows and linux driver support.

    Sort that out and I may become an entirely AMD devotee.

    If AMD sticks with cack linux drivers along with scuppering nVidia support, then I will wave goodbye to AMD and buy a second Intel/nVidia rig in Autumn this year.

    Best of luck AMD, I want you to succeed.
    Reply
  • MrJim - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Excellent article Anand! Feels very "honest", i think many big corporations must change the way the think about transparency towards the public. Great work. Reply
  • Viditor - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Nice article Anand...
    One point, you stated "By the middle of this year AMD's Fab 36 will be completely transitioned over to 65nm"...
    Not to pick nits, but didn't AMD just recently announce that all wafer starts were now 65nm at Fab 36? (or are you speaking of wafer outs...?)
    Reply

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