Every year I make at least one trip to Taipei, Taiwan, usually for the annual Computex show. The flight itself is usually grueling, traveling from the East Coast you're generally in the air for around 20 hours. Then there's getting used to the time difference, which is a full 12 hours from EST. But it's all worth it, because a trip to Taipei is like a hardware-guy's dreamland. Tons of manufacturers spread out all over the northern tip of the island all working on bringing the latest technology and performance to your PCs. It's through these manufacturers that you can get a very interesting perspective on the industry as well as get a good idea for the truth behind a lot of the issues we see.

The Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers are the first hand recipients of roadmaps and future product information from companies like AMD, Intel, ATI and NVIDIA. The manufacturers are also privy to information that usually doesn't flow through a PR group before reaching them, so tapping our sources in Taiwan often gives us a much more honest (and bleak) view of the PC industry as a whole.

The other type of information we get from Taiwan is good updates on what types of products are actually selling. It's one thing to hear AMD and Intel talk about market share, but when the motherboard manufacturers tell us that a product isn't shipping, we usually know the truth.

I met with manufacturers for three days straight, usually from 8AM until as late as 11PM every night. And while I'm not able to share all of the information discussed in the meetings, I'll do my best to put forth a summary of some of the hot topics we talked about. But before I get to what the motherboard manufacturers told me, I'd like to touch on some of the questions they had for me and thus, for all of you. Just as we are at the mercy of the PR teams at AMD, Intel, ATI and NVIDIA, the motherboard manufacturers are at the mercy of the same folks when it comes to understanding what you all, the end users want.

The biggest question I was asked in Taiwan was about why I felt the 915 chipset wasn't selling well. I'll touch on this more in the chipset section of this article, but with Taiwan coming to us for answers you get an impression of the current situation.

The next question, or worry, on the minds of the manufacturers in Taiwan is the future of dual core technology on the desktop. This is another issue that I'll discuss later in the article, but you can understand the sense of caution if dual core is the number two question on their list.

A surprisingly popular question also revolved around ATI's upcoming chipsets. Next week we'll see the launch of ATI's latest AMD and Intel chipsets, but for the first time we're seeing an unusually large amount of interest from the motherboard manufacturers. This is yet another area I'll be touching on later in the article.

There are many other interesting tidbits of information I picked up while in Taiwan, ranging from Intel's 1066MHz FSB plans to AMD's first Athlon 64 chips with SSE3 support, so without further ado, let's talk about what's going on today.

AMD vs. Intel


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  • ArneBjarne - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link


    HyperThreading is not a part of SSE3, two instructions for thread synchronization are:

    "Monitor and mwait instructions provide a solution to address Hyper-Threading Technology performance of the operating system idle loop and other spin-wait loops in operating systems and device drivers."*

    Somehow I don't think the AMD processors have any issues with Hyper-Threading Technology that need to be addressed in the first place. Furthermore are you suggesting that Intel processors will stop supporting the rest of SSE3 if HyperThreading is turned off? I don't think so.

  • ShadowVlican - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    wow.. i registered just to comment on how true and great this article is... great stuff Anand!

    it's true intel should know better than that... who in their dumb minds would pay MORE for something that's SLOWER... answer? the dumb public. nasty intel is targeting the average and ripping them off... GO AMD!!! i'm glad i have a XP-M 2400+ in my rig
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    A superb article, this kind of news straight from the troops (mobo manufacturers) on the front-line is far more informative than what you get from the generals (Intel and AMD). At least two, ideally three of these a year would be fantastic for giving us a look at what is really happening in the computer market. Any more than that would probably reveal little new.

    btw- my use of military terminology above does not mean I condone any real action occuring, it was just a good way of describing my point in a way everyone would understand.
  • thebluesgnr - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link


    dual-core. ;)

  • Live - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    Very nice report. I want more, more, more...

    This kind of articles is basically the only place I want to read about Intel. They have nothing to offer the enthusiast right know and probably wont until late 05. Since Intel very well might be what Microsoft is on the OS side they will continue to be the market-leader and earn more money then all the rest put together.

    But for us AnandTech readers AMD is the CPU of choice and should be treated like that.

    While we are on the subject of wants: follow ups to motherboard and GPU reviews when new bios/drivers appear would be most appreciated. Since you here at AnandTech often are very fast with getting out the reviews when products are new (which is a good thing) many bios/driver related problems seem to crop up. Are they later fixed? If so that might make a bad product shine. Now I don't mean you should follow every new bios or driver. But just do a re-roundup once in a while. Helps a lot cause when the prices of products have fallen and the time has come to buy the reviews are often old. Certainly nowadays when the next generation seem to offer less and less over the old follow-ups seems like a good idea, or?

  • quanta - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    I doubt the revision E of Athlon 64 will truly be SSE3 compatible. AMD did not show any signs of including HyperThreading, which is part of SSE3 instruction sets. You can expect workstation apps are going to cripple this CPU because of this technical issue. Reply
  • glynor - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    [Q]In fact, many of the Taiwanese manufacturers were confused as to why DTRs sold so well in the U.S., with ultra portable designs selling much better in Japan; after all, who wants to lug around a 10+ lbs laptop?[/Q]

    I suppose they aren't taking into account the sheer lazyness of the American public. They don't want to lug around a 10+ lbs laptop ... but they don't [i]walk[/i] anywhere anyway. What difference does it make if you have a 1 lb. laptop or a 15 lb. laptop when you only ever transport it in your SUV?
  • Marsumane - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    I am also in favor of these types of articles. Very informative. Good work! :) Reply
  • Gnoad - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    We need more articles like this more often. Reply
  • avijay - Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - link

    Great Article Anand! Many more of these kind of articles would be very welcome! Its a pleasure to read your articles. Reply

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