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?


View All Comments

  • MrKaz - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    Well I have seen reports that AMD is expecting o release higher clock speed up to 3.0Ghz.

    Now when Intel releases the X6800 at 2.93Ghz it was already obvious the CPU at max would do 3.06Ghz with model 6900.

    Now AMD with the 9900 at 2.6Ghz, 9800 at 2.5GHz, 9700 at 2.4GHz, ...
    Tell me what model name will AMD use with the 2.7GHz part?
    At least Intel with the 6800 still had the 7xxx, 8xxx, 9xxx.
    Since this is a new product isn’t it strange, unless AMD will kill it soon with Phenom 2, but then again why not release it as Athlon X4?

    I understand the needs of AMD to match the future Intel model numbers, but however it fails miserably since its higher model number fails to meet the performance expectations.
  • gunnyjoe - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    What gives? This was a LOUSY review, something I don't expect from Anadtech. If you want a THOROUGH review, try Tom's Hardware. Anand, please remove your lips from Intel's stinking rear end long enough to actually review the competition's products.
    For those of you switching to Intel, I hope you enjoy replacing your entire platform AGAIN next year, since Intel is clearly unable to upgrade their products without requiring a new socket every year.
  • Tarindel - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    Tom's Hardware review is more thorough, but it's also WRONG. They made a huge mistake that completely invalidates their conclusions, which are arguably the most important part of the article. The problem is they state the price of the Q6600 as being $329 (on page 20 of the article), when in fact it's readily available at $279 (or less). Consequently, when they conclude that the Phenom offers equal _value_ to Intel, it's not true -- the Intel chip offers ~15% more performance at the same price as the Phenom, which means Intel beats AMD in both performance AND value. Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    Wow.... the only word I can think of right now is.... n00b.

    I do agree that Anand's review could have included more tests, (and preferably some older Dual Core C2D's and X2's to see where the new chips stack up). However I also realize that Anand will most likely post a follow up in the very near future with a much more detailed analysis of the chip and its various caveats.

    Tom's Hardware has a TON of testing information... however You have to take into account that Tom's tests were done under the direct supervision of AMD, on a system AMD specifically built for testers. Anand's tests, while perhaps not as plentiful, were at least conducted in the same lab environment as every other chip they've tested creating a level playing field.

    I myself an let down, as I was hoping to have a nice upgrade route for my X2 6000+ in the near future, but it looks like I'll be holding onto this CPU for at least another year now. Like it or not, Intel has the best CPU's presently. Trust me, an admitted AMD fanboi, I don't like it myself, but thats just the way things are at this point in computer history.
  • strikeback03 - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    umm, 775 has been around for how long? longer than AM2.

    Nevermind that most people don't upgrade systems every year, so whatever new socked comes out with Nehalem won't matter until they upgrade. And those who do upgrade every year are probably already on Core 2 and know it is expensive to constantly upgrade.
  • crimson117 - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link


    The platform sell is a great one to an OEM, but it's simply not compelling enough to the end user - if Phenom were more attractive, things would be different.

    To make the CPU more attractive AMD desperately needs to drop the price

    I disagree. When an average Dell customer (who probably doesn't read anandtech CPU reviews) goes to Dell, he thinks more expensive = more performance. He'll never know that in a controlled benchmark, the $269 Core2 edges out the $289 Phenom. He'll just see that one config costs more than the other, and if he wants to pay for the "upgrade" he will.

    This isn't as relevant since the Intel models are separated from the AMD models, and Intel has much more expensive parts available if that's what you're after.

    But I think it's important to note that being attractive to enthusiasts is not the same thing as being attractive to OEMs and their customers, so one conclusion can't be shared with another.
  • Genx87 - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    I have been recommending Core 2 Duo machines to friends since its inception. With this latest round from AMD it wont change. I cant justify buying a product that is so much slower than the competition.

    At the very least they could have lowered its power consumption. Slower and more power consuming is bad news imo.
  • sdmock - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    I'm not surprised that Intel's chip uses significantly less power (although its curious that the QX9770 runs significantly hotter than the QX9650). Believe Intel's marketing or not, they have made a breakthrough in reducing transistor gate leakage which has recently been a huge source of power consumption in these high performance procs. Intel is now using "high-k dielectric (hafnium based) plus metal gate transistors" as they call them, as opposed to the SiO2 gate insulator and polysilicon gate.

    More on this">herehear
  • sdmock - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    Link to the">first page... Reply
  • opterondo - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    C'mon guys I get blank images in this article and others, ads load just fine. IE loads just fine ..

    Been doing this for awhile just haven't registered till now.

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