First Tunisia, then Tahoe?

As a slightly off-topic but important sidenote, I thought it would be appropriate to let everyone know how AMD wanted this review to happen, and how certain folks within AMD were champions for the right cause and made it actually happen.

AMD knew it wouldn't be able to trounce Core 2 with Phenom, especially not at 2.3GHz, so it wanted to control the benchmarking that was done on Phenom. For the first time in as far as I can remember, AMD wanted all benchmarking on Phenom to be done at a location in Tahoe, of course on AMD's dime. AMD would fly us out there, we would spend a couple of days with a pre-configured system and we'd head home to write our stories.

Now I championed for this sort of early-access to Phenom months ago. I've visited AMD alone three times this year primarily to talk about Phenom, and each time I left without being able to report so much as a single benchmark to you all (everyone remembers those articles right?). I tried and tried to get AMD to part with some early Phenom data, because they were losing the confidence of their fan base and that's a sad thing to see for a company that really took care of this community when we needed it most.

After Tahoe AMD would eventually sample Phenom parts so we could test in our own labs, but there was no word on exactly when that would be. Chances are you would've seen a handful of numbers here today if we had gone to Tahoe with a full review of the chip hitting sometime in December.

Needless to say, I wasn't happy. I refused to go to Tahoe.

Don't get me wrong, a free trip to Tahoe is a wonderful thing, but Phenom deserved better. It deserved dedicated testing, it deserved a thorough review, not a quick glance over a couple of days. And I had a feeling that you all would agree. The time for AMD-sanctioned testing expired months ago, if Phenom was launching this week, we were going to have a proper review of it.

These days, AMD seems to be learning a little too much from the ATI way of doing things. If AMD had its way, today's Phenom review would have been done from beautful Lake Tahoe, on a system that AMD built, running at a frequency that isn't launching. Now there's nothing wrong with allowing us to preview Phenom under closed conditions, after all, Intel does it, but that's simply not acceptable for a review of a product that's four days away from being in stores. You all want to see a thorough review of Phenom, not some half-assed preview, definitely not after waiting this long for it.

An AMD rep, familiar with the Tahoe trip, asked me, somewhat surprised, "what, Intel doesn't work like this?".

Sorry to say, Intel doesn't. Today Intel let us preview the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor, do you want to know how they did it? The FedEx guy dropped off a chip. No flights to Tahoe, no hotel rooms, no expenses at all. Don't get me wrong, I felt like an idiot turning down a free trip to Tahoe, but it was for AMD's own good. We've all seen the financials, these aren't times to be wasting money on silly trips around the country, it costs less than $30 to ship a CPU and that's all we need.

I get the point of Tahoe, it's to control the benchmarking, making sure we wouldn't be comparing a 2.4GHz Phenom to a 3.0GHz Penryn, but honestly folks - would we really do that to begin with? And I get the idea to wine and dine the press, with hopes of more pleasant reviews with better relationships - but this isn't a product to toy with. We're here to do our jobs and that is to review the product that will carry AMD for the next twelve months, and honestly we can't do that from some lodge somewhere away from our testbeds.

This isn't the first time AMD has heard of this from me, and there are many within AMD who feel the same way. The reason you're finding this rant in here today is because I am concerned for the future of the company. Competition is a good thing, we need to keep it around, but AMD needs to learn from its competitors. Intel and NVIDIA don't try things like this, business is always first with them, frivolous pleasures come next.

To AMD: if you want to be Intel, start acting like it.

Intel Responds with...really? Socket-AM2+, Not So Positive?
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  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - link

    If you read the graphs, you will see they are testing total system power draw. Typically they test at the wall with a Kill-A-Watt meter, though this article does not explicitly state that.

    Assuming the other components were the same between systems, this number then shows the difference in Processor + chipset power consumption between the platforms.

    Barcelona is the name of the server processor, ( http://www.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=3099">http://www.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=3099 ) is one test. Intel power consumption is pretty much screwed by use of the FB-DIMMs.
    Reply
  • cyborgtrader - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    The comments on this topic were great. AMD really let us down on this one. I trade Intel stock, but only buy AMD chips and today I am so dissapointed. I hope AMD read these reviews and get their act together. Patience is a virtue, so I am going to wait for another review after better yeilds have been produced. Guess I can tuck my cash back into my wallet.

    mmmm, Maybe AMD was joking with this chip. Could Santa be delivering the real Quad? With this reveiew we better hope so.

    ct

    Reply
  • eye smite - Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - link

    I hope all of you choke on your comments. You're completely judging amd on pre production samples that will all mature and give more accurate benchmarks by the time they hit stores. No it's not a core 2 killer but amd never planned for it to be. They laid out a road map some time back and are following it as best they can with the resources they have. It's the first native quad core, intel can't say that. It's brand new, so it's full potential hasn't been seen and probably fully developed yet. You gobshites are just like the rest of America I have to live with everyday and want it NOW. You sound like a bunch of 2 yr olds screaming mine mine. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - link

    Anand stated that AMD has promised availability by the end of the week, so unless they shipped him below-average samples to test, this is indeed representative of what will hit stores at first. AMD may or may not have planned it as a Core 2 killer, but if Intel outperforms them on speed and power usage at the same prices, who is gonna buy AMD? Being the first native quad-core is an interesting Trivial Pursuit fact, but it won't win many sales unless performance goes up or price goes down. Reply
  • Screammit - Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - link

    All we can do as consumers is make educated choices based on the information we can get.
    Your arguement is "wait and see," which is not a bad position to take, but this is the first TANGIBLE evidence of what AMD can do with its new chips, which most of us have been waiting over a year for. The information we have right now says that the current best AMD quad core chip can't compete in performance with the slowest intel based quad core, which if our information is correct, will cost the same.
    By comparison, you can see the first time Anand got a hand on a test sample of Conroe, the results eventually foreshadowed real world performance:
    Reply
  • casket - Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - link

    I wonder what happened on this test?
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/19/the_spider_...">http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/19/the_spider_...
    Reply
  • Iketh - Thursday, November 22, 2007 - link

    the same way cpuz showed the phenom as single-channel memory, this sandra test is probably showing the result from 1 of the memory controllers... thus both channels together are undoubtedly pumping out 10000+, which makes a LOT more sense Reply
  • sdmock - Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - link

    So apparently AMD's chips have higher memory bandwidth for integers and FPs. But so what if it ain't faster? Reply
  • stmok - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    I've waited for Phenom as a potential upgrade to my current three systems (Socket 754 Semprons, AMD64). Reply
  • ChronoReverse - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    Yeah, I was in a similar position a couple months back too but I could tell from the winds that the Phenom wasn't going to be that much better than the Core2 if at all so I sprung for the Q6600. Looks like (unfortunately) my estimation was quite correct =/ Reply

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