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Intel Hardware

The Dual-Core War - Is Intel in Trouble? 411

Posted by Zonk
from the just-yesterday-it-was-a-border-skirmish dept.
michaelMSFT writes "Cooltechzone has a column stating that Intel has already lost the dual-core war against AMD. From the article: 'From the performance numbers published on numerous online publications, Intel has lost the Dual-Core War. The only competing factor that Intel has right now is the possibility to keep their prices low enough to attract those with strict budget...I would like to forward a special note to Intel: Please make sure your next generation of processors aren't as atrocious as the Prescott, as AMD is making you look pretty silly right now.'"
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The Dual-Core War - Is Intel in Trouble?

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  • I Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:35AM (#12440669) Journal
    Intel has not lost anything. They might be getting their asses handed to them by AMD -- but remember that it often takes huge losses before a company changes its approach to doing business. And that kind of change really is needed at Intel.
    • And Furthermore... (Score:2, Informative)

      by mfh (56)
      FTA: At numerous tradeshows and computing conventions, analysts and media predicted the launch date of multi-core CPUs; some said Intel would be the first to bring its chips to the market while others stated the opposite.

      And furthermore... since when is it whoever ships first wins? What about quality? Cost? Yes AMD beats Intel on both of those now, but that is what I mean when I say that changes at Intel could make them far more competative, far more agile.
      • by bwalling (195998) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:48AM (#12440786) Homepage
        And furthermore... since when is it whoever ships first wins? What about quality? Cost? Yes AMD beats Intel on both of those now, but that is what I mean when I say that changes at Intel could make them far more competative, far more agile.

        Wars aren't won or lost on the first shot. Wars go on for a long time.
        • by YU Nicks NE Way (129084) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:29AM (#12441141)
          And the first Intel Celery's? I do. Cyrix and it's ilk won every perf/price war, and the early Celerons were a complete joke. Scroll forward a few years...Cyrix is gone, and Intel rules the low cost microprocessor roost. Remember Via and Transmeta, and the 1W processor war? I do. Via and Transmeta were handing Intel its head -- blades, this, that, the other; low power was king. Errr...oops. The Mobile Pentium chip (and the associated platform strategy Intel used) won the day. Again.

          So now we've got AMD and the Athl/opteron. AMD has done better than any other competitor, so far, and has managed to maintain a narrow performance gap for several years. On a couple of occasions, they've opened a wide performance gap for a short time, but Intel has always closed it to a narrow one.

          Neither great technical merit for a short time nor slight technical merit over a long time is enough to establish a market. The competition can always work around that by starting a skunk-works project, as Intel did to Cyrix, and Transmeta, and, more recently, with their implementation of x86-64. To catch up with AMD now, all Intel needs to do is build a dual-core x86-64 chip with a smaller power envelope.

          Didn't I hear that x86-64 and dual cores were coming to the Mobile Pentium class soon? Hmm...I wonder why?
          • by Anonymous Coward
            Cyrix joined with VIA. They're still around and crushing in the uATX arena.
          • by Wdomburg (141264) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:11AM (#12441527)
            Eh? The Via offerings are a wildly different market segment from the Intel. Bare minimum buy-in cost for a desktop solution is going to be over $300, and that's for a cheap motherboard and absolute bottom barrel Celeron M. You can pick up a full Via solution for around $100, including board, chip, case, and integrated everything - video, tv out, firewire, ethernet, blah blah blah.

            And that's just looking at the desktop offering. Via hands Intel it's ass on a platter for embedded solutions. Not only are Intel's Ultra Low Voltage solutions more expensive, they draw more power. A 600MHz Celeron ULV draws 7V typical. A 1GBz Eden-N draws 7W peak.
          • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:26AM (#12441662)
            Cyrix chips were a complete joke. During the regular Pentium days they had decent performance at best. They could do OK on office apps, but their floating point units was horrendous. You'd have a part with "P-rating" of 200 (saying it's equal to a Pentium 200) that could be outrun by a Pentium 120 on anything requiring FPU work.

            Then came the Pentium II/Celeron days. Cyrix really hit rock bottom here. They put out chips rated as a 300 (the M-II series) when the FPU still hadn't been addressed. That "300" could be beat by most Pentium 150's on FPU performance. Then there was the whole issue with how they handled the performance rating. Even on Cyrix's own website (where the tests are going to be setup to favor their equipment) they had tests showing that their M-II 266 came very close to a Pentium II 266 and that their M-II 300 came very close to a Pentium II 300 (and this was only in the straight business stuff). The Cyrix part came in slower, but hey, it was close right? When you looked at the actual benchmark results though, you could see that the Pentium II 266 was pretty close to the Pentium II 300. As a matter of fact, the Cyrix 300 had the EXACT score of the Pentium 266. Why the heck was it rated as a 300 (actual clock 233mhz) when it could only match the 266 and then even on Cyrix's own biased benchmarks.

            Cyrix chips also ran very, very hot, for their time.

            Now this is from someone who has owned a lot of Cyrix chips (a 586 100mhz, a 686 P200, and an M-II 300): they were junk. AMD was a far better choice than Cyrix even back then. I also had an IDT Winchip 225mhz for a while which also wasn't a very good performer but at least it ran cool.

            With AMD though, things are different. AMD is beating Intel where it has always count: straight up performance. They're usually beating them on price too. Now it's no longer "settling with a little less performance because the chip is cheaper". Instead you're actually getting a BETTER chip for cheaper. AMD has been constantly making headway. They'll do far better than Cyrix, IDT, or Via (Via actually bought IDT and Cyrix which became their processor division).
      • by Slack3r78 (596506) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:29AM (#12441134) Homepage
        Intel actually shipped dual core first (by a couple of days) to pick up bragging rights, but as you said, it was rushed and we're seeing the results of that now.

        Intel's problem is that they're tied to the inefficient Netburst architechture for the time being, and it's really just hit a complete brick wall. The move back the the P6 architechture of the Pentium M is in the works, but that's going to take time.

        In the meantime, AMD has the K8 which absolutely brutalizes Netburst in performance per clockcycle, and which, at this point, also seems to have plenty of headroom left.

        The biggest problem Intel has is that, in the processor business, you can only be so agile. Yes, they've hacked in x86-64 and dual core support to Netburst, but their implementations are just that - hacks and bandaids. The result is what we're seeing now - AMD with a highly efficient and what's looking to be scalable (at this point) architechture, while Intel is limping along with Netburst that's really been on its last legs since Prescott was introduced 14 months ago.

        The Pentium M shows some promise, and is probably Intel's best processor design to date, but has problems of its own (ie: its relatively weak FPU performance compared to K8 and Netburst both). It's entirely possible that Intel will come up with something in the long run that will straighten them out, but as it stands now, I wouldn't expect it in any time frame less than 18 months from now. The first dual core Xeons will likely be Prescott-based, and suffer all the same fundamental flaws Intel has been fighting for the past few years. By that time, AMD may have already had a chance to entrench itself in data centers, which would be a huge loss for Intel. That's why this is big news.
      • The article basically says as much. The whole point was "Intel shipped first, but AMD has the better tech.".

        In fact, the SECOND PARAGRAPH of the article says:

        Although Intel may have won the race-to-the-launch game, they still lurk behind AMD in majority of the performance tests conducted by various media outlets.

        • gunnk - you are right about them saying that AMD has the performance edge right now, while Intel did have the edge on first to marktet. But that isn't the point.

          The fact is that right now we are just on the cusp of the whole Multi-Core processors 'era.' The fact is for CoolTechZone to say that Intel has already lost is foolish.

          First off, Intel has TONS of resources to basically do whatever they want. Why do you think they were able to try forever and a day to make IA64 work and basically fail (or at le
          • by crabpeople (720852)
            "Second, AMD just needs to falter just a bit and they will fall behind. AMD has had the performance lead since the intro of the Athlon64, because they developed a set of 64 bit "extensions" to x86."

            Disagree. AMD has had the lead since it first came out with its athlon XP line. Maybe not in "mindshare" but in terms of actual cost/performance. Athlon XP's totally schooled the P4. I know because thats the time i switched from intel fanboy to amd. After buying a 1.4ghz P4, and then goign to a LAN party and se
    • Re:I Disagree (Score:3, Interesting)

      by liquidpele (663430)
      If Intel wants to beat AMD, how about some asynchronous chips? I remember that being such a good idea back in the day because it would spead up the chip for the most part, and now that clocking across the chip is so complicated, it seems like even a better idea.

      Anyone know why this never really took off, besides the fact that it's more complicated?
      • Re:I Disagree (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Gud (78635)
        Few reasons: new process, difficult to simulate, difficult to test, shortage of people.
        In short high risk project. But given Intel has it's back to the wall, maybe they will give one of their design groups a green light to expriment, like they did with Centrino.
        If they get this right an Async processor can run quite a bit faster.
        Does anyone know if Async processors are expected to use more or less power than equivalent regular processor ?
      • Re:I Disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fbody98 (881072)
        I'm just speculating here but probably for the same reason that Cache's that are asynchronous inevitablye perform poorer than those that are synchronous.

        Data that moved from one register into another part of the pipeline operating at a much higher frequency would then eventually have to leave this higher clocked space into the register again. Thus, the high clocked registers would process data much faster than it could be fed, and would spit it out much faster than the rest of the chip registers could acce
        • the P4 is already asynch like you're describing, or at least was.. the integer units ran at 2x external clockspeed on the first versions, from what I remember

          However, I believe the GP was referring to 'clockless' CPUs, though I might be wrong.
          • That isn't asynchronous. Asynchronous in the context of CPU designs means not clocked - running at double the clock speed means it's still clocked, and thus synchronous.
    • Re:I Disagree (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kpwoodr (306527) <.kenneth.p.woodruff. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:41AM (#12440728) Homepage Journal
      "It's simply not fair for those with limited computing knowledge that buy these systems to pay high prices for underperforming products."

      The best thing that could possibly come from this is lower prices for the consumer. I personally ditched intel years ago as a poor college student who desperately needed a computer but couldn't afford the high prices of the wInTel boxes everywhere. AMD has shown consistently that they can make products as good or better than Intel for less money, and pass the savings on to consumers.

      Intel has grown to large for their own good, and often get to caught up in marketing and buracracy to do any actual innovation.

      If AMD sticks to their guns, the next few years should turn out some very strong advances for the home and business users.

      Side note, I'm out of college and making good money now, and I still won't throw down the scrint for an intel machine.
    • Re:I Disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bani (467531)
      A lot of what intel has been doing for the past couple years has been completely reactionary responses to AMD products. The "EE" edition CPUs, em64t, and now the dualcore CPUs.

      But in each case it was made pretty obvious that the products were hastily designed (if you could call them "designed" at all), and performed poorly compared to the competition.

      I think part of this is due to the loss of resources from the hurricane-sucking ia64 mess. Intel is spending far too much on beating the ia64 dead horse, and
  • by rimu guy (665008) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:35AM (#12440676) Homepage

    The best comparison of the dual core reviews I've read is over at the great anandtech [anandtech.com] site.

    AMD's push with dual core into the server markets half a year before Intel's dual core Xeon arrives is going to tempt a lot of IT departments out there.
    On the desktop side, we are extremely excited about the Athlon 64 X2. The 4400+ that we compared here today had no problem competing with and outperforming Intel's fastest dual core CPUs in most cases
    The real problem is that AMD has nothing cheaper than $530 that is available in dual core, and this is where Intel wins out. With dual core Pentium D CPUs starting at $241, Intel will be able to bring extremely solid multitasking performance to much lower price points than AMD will. And from what we've seen, it looks like that price advantage will continue for quite some time. It all boils down to economics, and in the sense of manufacturing capacity, Intel has AMD beat - thus allowing for much more aggressively priced volume dual core solutions.

    Conclusion: AMD have better chips. But they don't have the manufacturing capacity to bring them out in volume. So they focus on their higher margin chips. Meanwhile Intel keeps from losing face by selling at the volume, lower-priced end of the market. At least until AMD get some new fab plants up and running.

    --
    VPS Hosting on Dual Xeon Hardware - but just for the time being :) [rimuhosting.com]

    • Yeah, problem occurs when you have to shell out the price difference on cooling those Intel chips :P

    • So what you're saying is, ignoring the cpu vendor, you are paying more for more speed? isn't that the way its supposed to be?

      AMD is faster and more expensive.
      Intel is slower and cheaper.

      Am I right?
      • Didn't it used to be `intel:faster and more expensive`? That's why i bought my first amd k62-300. It didn't have as good floating point, hence was slower than intel for games and stuff, but was 30% the (UK) price.
      • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker.gmail@com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:57AM (#12440877) Journal
        Not nessesarly, Intels Xeon chips are still more expensive. Really in all cases but this one the opposite is true. It is funny though how history has switch the twos position. Luckly prices are now based upon supply/demand and not the monopoly pricing that intel had at one time.
      • Intel failures (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Not quite.

        AMD is faster and cheaper.
        Intel is slower and more expensive.

        Currently, AMD beats Intel with pure performance in high-end market, AND wins over Intel with cost-performance ratio in other segments.

        This is a BIG problem for Intel - they're losing everywhere. Their advantage is starting to erode in all three segments: market, technology, and mindshare. Their past failures are now cursing them back.

        - Decision to go with clock-based marketing
        - Failure to keep clockspeed up due to heat problem
        - Seve
    • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:53AM (#12440842) Journal
      I find this all very amusing actually, since until recently AMD ruled the desktop/home PC market based on price/performance, whereas Intel maintained its market share because they were so datacentre friendly. When I'm buying racks of enterprise 2, 4, and 8-way x86/x64 processors, a price difference for $100 per CPU is a small component of the overall cost, and frequently is worth the up front capital cost for a 10-20% performance boost.

      What I'm seeing is AMD is going to begin kicking ass in the enterprise space for enterprise rack servers and blade configurations, a traditional domain where Intel has ruled. And as for dual-core on the desktop, I don't think the market is really there for that level of performance yet... not many desktop apps can take advantage of those features, just like x64 is just future-proofing your destop for the time being.

      So the immediate price difference between AMD and Intel offering doesn't tell the whole story. Intel is going to get hit where it hurts the most -- enterprise markets.
      • by westlake (615356) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:49AM (#12441303)
        I find this all very amusing actually, since until recently AMD ruled the desktop/home PC market based on price/performance

        You do not rule the home/desktop market when every Dell ships with an Intel CPU.

      • you need vendors (Score:5, Insightful)

        by flaming-opus (8186) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:17AM (#12441579)
        Neither consumers nor enterprises buy intel or amd. They buy hp or ibm or dell or gateway. Sun has come out strong for AMD, HP put them on the list. The fact of the matter is that the performance differences are small enough that it doesn't really matter. People are still willing to pay big bucks for SPARC processors, and they are complete dogs compared to either intel or amd kit. It's the entire system, the level of support, the performance of peripherals and storage that matters to most buyers.

        IBM has one product that uses opteron, dell hasn't started selling one yet. Before opteron can really take off, I think one of those guys needs to turn around on the issue. These guys aren't going to give up on intel chips because they've been unimpressive for the last couple of years. Intel would have to foul things up in a REALLY BIG way, or keep screwing up for five or six years before many enterprises would change direction.

        As for dual cores, AMD was quite wise to release a server product before the consumer product. I already know that multiple CPUs work well for my server. I'm not really sure what I'd do with them on my desktop.

    • by epine (68316)
      This guy gets modded up for observing that AMD "doesn't have the volume". How much volume do you need to sell chips at $2650 a pop (Opteron 875)? Volume is a compensation for thin margins, a problem which AMD has been trying to put in their rear view mirror for a decade now. What AMD lacks, presently, is the volume to open the floodgates on their premium 90nm technology to the niggling unwashed masses. How much volume do you need to satisfy the market for people who really need this much performance? W
  • by egregious (16118) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:36AM (#12440682)

    I had a root cannal done yesterday, so it might be the Percocet talking:

    This article is total hackery. Any two comments will have better background and more insight than TFA.

    It's just a "AMD is better!" article that mentions dual core CPUs for some reason. No context, no information.

  • Silly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marthisdil (606679) <marthisdil AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:38AM (#12440701)
    as AMD is making you look pretty silly right now.

    Yeah - but the thing is - is the performance worth twice the price? Being that's the only way you can go with AMD right now - paying twice as much (if not more) for their dual core chips compared to Intels.

    Funny that.
    • Re:Silly? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fbody98 (881072)
      AMD's labeling scheme is particuarly interesting in this respect, they are positioning every one of their Dual Core products above every single one of their single core products. The last consumer single core product (exclusing the FX) is the 4000+... every single chip above that, and for the foreseeable future, will be dual core.

      The 4000+ just dropped in price, presumably in anticipation of pricing the dual cores above that. That they offer single threaded performance that isn't too much further below the
    • Here is something I have noticed in my career both in private and educational setting. When you are for e.g. setting up a cluster running up a tab in the range of $250-$500k, the accounting dept is not bothered. For them, they have to get this purchase order done now or we loose the money. For the vendors it really doesn't matter if they take a $100-$200k hit because they make more money out of support, upgrades etc; and trust me you will need that. So if you are talking about enterprise level, then the su
    • Re:Silly? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Phu5ion (838043)
      yeah the Intel chip may be half the price of an AMD but when you buy that shiny new Intel PD you also need to shell out for a new mobo to run the damn thing. This esentially brings the overall upgrade price more in line with AMD's price.

      With AMD, if you are currently running a 939 mobo all you need to do is a firmware update when you buy the new chip.

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:39AM (#12440708)
    Massive, multi billion dollar corporation suffers small setback and so doom is imminent.

    Intel will only be in trouble when Dell, HP, Fujitsu and every other major manufacturer drop them in favour of AMD. Until that happens its business as normal.
    • All AMD has to do to make this happen is compete in price with Intel.

      From what I hear, Dell has a sweet deal with Intel to *only* sell Intel and AMD hasn't or can't match the deal in a way to make it more profitable for Dell. Dell is about the sum(cheaper, better, faster). AMD will have to ante up to knock Intel down, but then Intel has billions of dollars that AMD doesn't. If the weaker of the parties starts a war of attrition, the weaker party will die first.

      I mean come on. At this point, AMD is pr
      • All AMD has to do to make this happen is compete in price with Intel.

        No, they can probably do that already. What AMD really need to do is invest a gazillion dollars in Fab capacity so they can compete on volume and quality with Intel, then then market will come to them. Its the lack of a gazillion dollars and investor scepticism regarding AMDs ability to mass produce high yield chips thats holding them back.
    • by Bedouin X (254404) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:59AM (#12440892) Homepage
      Exactly. I'm a huge AMD supporter but all you have to do is look at last quarter's financial reports to see the bottom line here. The Athlon 64s have pretty much been kicking Intel's ass all over the place in the applications that most people use for the past couple of years and they still make a small fraction of what Intel makes.

      I would agree with other posters that right now AMDs largest issues are capacity and marketing (people need to ask for AMD) as the technology is there.
    • HP already sells AMD chips in addition to Intel. It's Dell that is the single-CPU maker holdout.
  • Intel 0-2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:39AM (#12440710) Journal
    It lost out in 64-bit acceptance and dual-core, so it seems. But apart from tech-aficionados, the world is 32-bit x86, which is Intel's domain.

    What does that mean for the future? Absolutely nothing. Until and unless the world switches to 64-bit or dual-core computing in droves, Intel still has time to catch up where it matters.

    IBM is playing it smart, however. It's investing in consumer electronics with the Cell. That is growing faster than the desktop or server market.

    Even if AMD is beating Intel, it has nothing in the consumer electronics domain.
    • "Even if AMD is beating Intel, it has nothing in the consumer electronics domain" Humm, I thought the AMD symbol had to do with a memory gate, because their core business is CE memory NOT processors.
    • IBM is playing it smart, however. It's investing in consumer electronics with the Cell. That is growing faster than the desktop or server market.

      The mainframe makers had their lunch eaten by the minicomputer makers. The minicomputer makers had their lunch eaten by the PC makers. Now the PC makers are going to see their lunch eaten by the consumer electronic makers. Everytime someone comes up with a way to find more customers (on the low-end), they create tech that eventually supplants the tech of the
      • "The mainframe makers had their lunch eaten by the minicomputer makers. The minicomputer makers had their lunch eaten by the PC makers. Now the PC makers are going to see their lunch eaten by the consumer electronic makers."

        I used to believe that too, but nearly 25 years after the introduction of the PC, mainframes continue to sell.

        It may be true for chip makers that the winner will be the one who can produce a processor that works over the widest range of applications, but at the system level you can't i
    • Intel is certainly losing the x86 performance race to AMD right now, but they are still selling more 64-bit x86 desktop and server chips than AMD is. With lower prices, the same may well happen for Intel's dual core chips.

      Intel is also ahead technologically, with their mobile Pentium-M line having lower power use and higher IPC than AMD's Athlon 64 line, while running at slightly lower clockspeeds. Even the lower clock speeds may be due more to the desire to keep power low for notebooks than the abilities

  • Lost? Yeah right. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There's only one question you have to ask: How many dual-core AMD Athlon64 machines will Dell sell this year?

    Intel may have the poorer performing product but they will still win where it counts: profit.
    • Re:Lost? Yeah right. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:18AM (#12441055)
      Dell has approximately 18% of the market (largest single group). What other manufacturers do is of relevance. HP is at just under 16%, which is pretty close.

      Unbranded OEM PCs are still the largest group of manufacturers, accounting for around 40% of the global market.
  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:41AM (#12440724)
    I seriously consider that one of the biggest factors in this so called CPU "war".

    The other thing is volume. I believe one of the reasons AMD is able to create superior processors is because they don't crank out nearly the volume that intel does.

    If they did it would take them longer and cost more to upgrade the fabs each generation.
    • Intel hasn't lost until Dell sells AMD

      True that! But because Dell sells Red Hat Linux (or Wal-mart sells Linspire) doesn't mean Microsoft lost either.

      I believe one of the reasons AMD is able to create superior processors is because they don't crank out nearly the volume that intel does.

      Have you lost your mind?

      If they did it would take them longer and cost more to upgrade the fabs each generation.

      But if AMD had Intel's volume, they would also have additional revenues to retool.

      As for "take longer/
  • by fbody98 (881072) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:41AM (#12440725)
    Intel and AMD's approach to the dual Core (and to chip production in general since the A64) producion has one fundamental difference that will shape their incomes and profit margins.

    AMD produces their chips Top down, they introduce dual core in the professional space first. In this case the 8xx series, then 2xx then finally 1xx and the desktop space. This allows them to take advantage of the increased profit margins and lower volume of the professional space. While their chip producion is ramping up they don't have to worry about demand outstripping supply. Thus they maximize their profit on their smaller fabrication abilities. The con to this is market penetration is smaller and validation "should" take longer.

    Intel OTOH goes bottom up (and don't get me started on whether the pentium D is really dual core) producing first their desktop chips, and then when they're properly validated and their market presence and fab capabilities have been fully leveraged, then they move the chips into the professional realm, this allows the to maximize their profits as a fab that caters to volume.

    Declaring a winner at this point is silly, as neither one has actually completed their cycle let alone vanquished the other.
  • by FeetOfStinky (669511) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:43AM (#12440741)
    The only competing factor that Intel has right now is the possibility to keep their prices low enough to attract those with strict budget...

    I disagree, and I say that as someone who hasn't built an Intel machine in years. There are a lot of regular Joe consumers out there who are barely even familiar with AMD, primarily due to Intel's aggressive marketing (ding-ding-ding-DONG) and their partner relationship with major manufacturers (cf. Dell).

    Good marketing will keep inferior products afloat for quite some time.

  • by inflex (123318) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:43AM (#12440744) Homepage Journal
    What a waste of 5 minutes of my life and a few hundered K of downloads :-\

    Turns out this was nothing more than an extended opinon piece (yes, yes, I know that's perfectly fine) but I was looking for something with some hard-core comparisons, especially since they started out saying "we'll just compare the desktop scenario to keep matters simpler" --- *click to next page* Aw what!? nothing!

    Sounds like someone was just after some slashdot publicity.

  • by dreemernj (859414) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:43AM (#12440750) Homepage Journal
    Am I missing where they actually include some information about the benchmarks? I suppose what he says could be common knowledge that doesn't require proof and I am just out of the loop, but it's still good to post something like proof.

    If this is true it would make some sense. I get to use an AMD64 at home and a similar P4 at work on computers with similar specs and I enjoy the AMD's performance a lot more.

    This whole thing sounds familiar though...

    I seem to remember when Prefetching was hitting the adverts, and AMD was doing some hefty investing in those prefetching adverts just to have Intel turn around and produce more powerful prefetching technology. I guess it can go both ways.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm really curious to know how dual core compares to similar mhz dual cpu.

    Anyone?
    • by mauriceh (3721) <maurice.harddata@com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:21AM (#12441079) Homepage
      In the case of the AMD Opteron dual cores?

      Pretty simple: Slightly better than two single cores, mainly due to the fact that the Opterons are close coupled, and teh CPU cores commun icate directly in the package over a Hypertransport channel.

      In the case of the Intel dual cores?

      They have no direct communication, no HT bus, and all messages and RAM access has go to the northbridge chip and face a FIFO queue to memory.

      In the case of thermal/power performance?
      At similar performance the AMDs are using about 60% the power, and making corresdpondingly less heat than the Intels.

      Despite what the "Intel fanboys" are saying, Intel HAS lost this war at the first battle.

      And Dell will keep selling Intel, for a while.
      Until it start to hurt the bottom line.

      In the meantime, the changes are already happening.
      SuperMicro, who NEVER build boards for anything but Intel CPUs, are now selling a dual Opteron board.

      The Emperor really does have no clothes!
  • by gr8_phk (621180)
    I've been wondering if AMD64x2 can be supported in Linux without a BIOS upgrade. I've got a Shuttle SN95G5 that I'd really like to drop a dualie into next year, but I'm not sure Shuttle will support it - and if they do I'll need Windoze to run the upgrade. Since Linux ignores a lot of BIOS functionality, will my box "just work" with a dual core running Linux?

    I see 2.6.12rc3 has "full support", but what does that mean to me?

  • by IronChefMorimoto (691038) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:46AM (#12440768)
    The Inquirer points to an Info Week blog via Silicon Investor that basically says that AMD can't even purchase dual core Intel CPUs to benchmark them against its own offerings -- they're not available for sale anywhere:

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=23018 [theinquirer.net]

    I agree that the costs of the AMDs are exorbitant right now as they migrate their production, but if and when they get their fabs worked out, prices could really drop and even things up on that level.

    I guess the real concern, though, and some have already noted it -- so what? Until I see an AMD dual core CPU option on Dell.com's various stores, Intel isn't going to be hurtin'.

    IronChefMorimoto
  • Yonah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crudeawakening (867472) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:48AM (#12440797)
    Intel still has the dual-core laptop chip (Yonah) coming out in the first half of 2006. This is the chip I am interested in. This chip is based on their Pentium M "Dothan" chip that I currently am running. The Dothan chip is quite impressive, I can run it at 1.8 GHz with only 1.068 V and 600 MHz at only 0.700 V. So a dual core chip based on this architecture might not be a heat monster at all. Wait and see on this one. As for one or the other "winning" the dual-core war, that's pretty lame an assesment considering neither company has even shipped more than a handful of these chips. As far as I can tell, the AMD chips perform a bit better but you pay more. If I had to buy one, I'd probably go with the Intel 2.8 GHz chip because its less than half the price of AMD's cheapest dual.
  • by mprinkey (1434) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:50AM (#12440806)
    Dual Xeon systems (even with DDR2 RAM) cannot supply enough memory bandwidth to keep both CPUs running. We are lucky to get 80% of the single CPU performance when running two instances of a scientific app on two CPUs. Adding more cores just makes the situation far worse as now four CPUs will be competing for that same memory path.

    Opterons are way ahead here with their built-in memory controller and dedicated memory banks for each CPU. Intel's SMP folks really need to pull a rabbit out of their hat and right quick. The last cluster (256 CPUs) I built used dual Xeons because they were still slightly faster on our applications over similarly priced Opterons in spite of the degraded SMP performance. Next time around, I doubt that will be the case.
  • Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:51AM (#12440818)

    From TFA:

    Personally, I think Intel has pretty much lost control of the enthusiast segment.


    This nicely sums up the entire article...a two page personal opinion, berift of any real facts, statistics, or figures.

    This 'story' was pointless.

  • Prescott (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ford Prefect (8777) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:54AM (#12440847) Homepage
    Please make sure your next generation of processors aren't as atrocious as the Prescott, as AMD is making you look pretty silly right now.'

    I still haven't figured out why anyone would want to name a processor after John Prescott [google.co.uk], British Deputy PM and Eater of Pies.

    What's next? The Intel Widdecombe [google.co.uk]? The mind boggles.
    • Re:Prescott (Score:3, Funny)

      by nagora (177841)
      I still haven't figured out why anyone would want to name a processor after John Prescott, British Deputy PM and Eater of Pies.

      Because it packs a punch but is rather slow.

      TWW

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:56AM (#12440868)
    There is no news in this article, just a splashy title. Intel will eventual build something based on the Pentium M. The Pentium M is much more efficient and will be more so in the future. The next generation of dual core Pentium Ms will be an interesting challenge for AMD. I still think AMD will win, but the war is far from over.
  • Second chance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:56AM (#12440872) Journal
    They just need to jump a few steps ahead. Say, 4-8 cores, but unbalanced in order to optimize performance/price. Have one very good core intended for dealing with single-threaded workloads, with the rest of the cores being as stripped down as possible while still supporting the same instruction set.
  • Suprise!? No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bradleyland (798918) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:59AM (#12440895)
    This is no suprise. The Athlon64 on its own is generally a better performing processor than Intel's offerings. Also, its oft-touted on-die memory controller means the chip was "designed from the outset" as dual-core friendly. AMD's marketing department is apparently shoving this down every reviewer's throat.

    What's making Intel look silly is not the fact that dual-core Athlons outperform dual-core Intels, but the fact that AMD has out planned Intel in the somewhat long term. Intel's short term goal of chasing GHz into oblivion is biting them in the posterior.

    None of it amounts to much if AMD can't gain ground on Intel in the market. Call me when AMD's market share moves by more than 0.1% per quarter [itfacts.biz].
  • This is Way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vcbumg2 (592292) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:01AM (#12440909)

    The reason that the AMD chip is so much higher is that it is harder to make and THAT much technically better that the Intel processor.

    AMD
    As many of you know AMD has decided to toss the old memory access system and access main memory directly from the processor.
    This allows AMD to have a true dual core chip sharing memory resources with on chip Core-to-Core communication.
    The real benefit is the direct memory access and on chip core-to-core communication.

    Intel
    The Intel dual core chip is as big of a marketing trick as hyper threading. Intel took to generic P4 processors ground off the edges and placed
    them on a single die. I am not making this up!! this means that any communication processor to processor has to actual touch the system bus.
    If you know anything about the way processors work you know memory management for SMP machines is not easy, but imagine trying to manage
    a shared cache and shared main memory when the only core-to-core communication has to hit the system bus!

    AMD did something very right but needs to bring the price down to ever get any reward.
    Before anyone gets in a war about AMD kicking Intel down just recall the Intel marketing budget is more that the entire operation capitol of AMD.


    Codeman
  • CoolTechZone (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ACNiel (604673)
    AMD has always had some cool, cheap chips. They haven't won anything yet.

    It amazes me how little people appreciate about business in the IT world.

    Who wins when everyone agrees Beta was a technically better format, but only sell VHS?

    Branding works, and Intel has that on their side for a little bit longer. They would have to lose several of these battles before they start to lose their branding advantage. And just because you think Prescott is atrocious, if it performs better than previous Intel chips,
  • Two-Faced Market (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eander315 (448340) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:09AM (#12440981)
    While the article is mostly pointless, I do find it funny that, with the exception of the enthusiast market, pretty much everyone has and continues to buy Intel chips no matter what the price/performance ratio beacuse the little sticker says "Intel Inside". Now that AMD has turned the tables and often has the faster chips and tries to charge a premium for them, everyone cries foul. Where have you people been the last 20 years?
  • TFA... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shoeler (180797) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:15AM (#12441027)
    Was one of the most general, non-specific, didn't quote any numbers piece of crap that I've wasted 2 minutes reading in a long time. Not once did the author compare these stats from "various on-line resources". Not once did he show any shard of evidence.

    However, he is of course correct - but it's a useless read without any references.
  • Bored with hardware? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nighty5 (615965) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:17AM (#12441044)
    I remember when was I was in my teens (15 years ago) I used to love reading about the latest hardware advances.

    These days you'd find me hard pressed to get excited about anything hardware related. I have a fast system with lots of ram and a decent GPU, and thats all folks.

    Much prefer to pay a raging teen money to build the damn thing for me.

    Do people find themselves as they get older more interested in software design, algorithms, and licensing debates?

    Hardware just doesn't do it for me anymore.

    • by MobyDisk (75490)
      I think I know why.

      [1]

      When I was in my teens, I had more time and less money. That made it worth the effort to keep up to the minute on hardware and to tweak and overclock things as much as I could. I also had other people giving me their old hardware (or at least, hardware that was old to them), so I had lots of spare parts lying around.

      Now, if I need a newer system, I can go out and buy it. It's more economical to me that way than to devote a week to assembling and tweaking a system to the Nth degree
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:19AM (#12441064) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's time to bury Intel yet, or AMD for that matter. If I've learned anything over the last many years, the better technical product doesn't always go on to dominate the market. But I would say that market domination is not necessarily needed to make a nice profit. AMD is making better performing chips than Intel right now, and with the dual core chips they should be making a nice profit with premium pricing. The market for such chips is currently limited to tech enthusiasts (such as PC gamers) and those with specialized computational needs. That's okay because with the right pricing that could be a very profitable niche. Apple is doing pretty well right now without being anywhere near dominant in the personal computer market due to a fiercely loyal user base, premium pricing, and some genuinely cool products. Apple is not the biggest, but they are profitable. AMD can do likewise.

    Intel of course has nothing to worry about. They have the volume customers through deals with Dell, HP, and others. And they are picking up the low end of the market for dual core chips. These are not as good performance-wise as the AMD chips, but the lower cost is appealing to a more budget minded market. And with economies of scale, Intel certainly makes a nice profit. So it is unlikely they'll be shutting their doors anytime soon.

    Everybody can win here. AMD has the harder job for now because their survival depends on continuing to produce better chips and growing their niche of customers. But as long as they make a profit, they can stay in the game.
  • I love AMD. Really, I noticed from the very beginning (well, the beginning for me, back in 1996) that Intel was very very focused on advertising, and AMD was not. That's not to say that Intel didn't make a 'better' processor for a while, but I've always favored AMD because I knew I wasn't paying for the Blue Man Group with every processor.

    Also, AMD's current domination has been in no small part in my mind because of the rock-solid stability of the NForce chipsets. The Pentium's early stability can be at
  • I am interested how AMD's dual core offerings compare to Freescale MPC8641D dual core chips and other dual core PowerPC offerings in IBM's pipeline.

    Does anyone have any insight into the landscape of the emerging dual core market space - who is ahead and who is not (besides Intel)?
  • War? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by javelinco (652113) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:37AM (#12441202) Journal
    Doesn't anyone know the difference between a war and a battle? Even if you lose a million battles, that doesn't mean you've lost the war.
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin AT amiran DOT us> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:47AM (#12441291) Homepage Journal
    AMD leads in technology. And they have for some time.

    Intel maintains market dominance, high-level industry connections, a huge advertising behemoth, and a vast amount of resources.

    There is no possibl scenario for AMD to 'remove' Intel from the market. No company of that size can be defeated quickly, unless from within (corruption).

    Intel isn't going anywhere, they've got the resources to play for a long time.
    AMD isn't going anywhere, they've got the brain power to stay ahead, and they've proven over the last few years that they ready to push the envelope as many times as needed. They are no longer a 'one-hit-wonder'.

    Competition is good, folks. Both companies work harder because of the current situation, and its a good thing that they hate each other.
  • Brand Equity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ToadMan8 (521480) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:34AM (#12441750)
    Intel has brand equity AMD will be hard pressed to get for many years. This sad but true quote about sums it up, "I don't know what the hell an Intel Inside is but I know I need one when getting a new computer." That according to a professor of mine (not in an IT field ;)) who should know better. The bottom line is that branding does it. While Dell maintains its Intel-only contract for processors nothing will change regardless of the products the companies are putting out.
  • by lcsjk (143581) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @12:58PM (#12442754)
    If technology alone was the battle, then AMD would be the dominant leader in the uP battle already. However the little "Intel Inside" logo, caught the eye of consumers and managers years ago. In my evaluation at the time, AMD came out ahead in both technology and price, however the manager said the box had to say "Intel Inside" because that's what the customers knew and would buy.

    AMD, Cyrix, Via and others have had processors that were as good is Intel's for a few years, but Intel has beat them severely with the advertising. I, for one, do not believe that AMD, Cyrix, or VIA have a process to make a lower cost processor than Intel's process, yet AMD has always had lower cost. Now that AMD has started having processors with some technical superiority (and lower cost) the engineers are beginning to have more influence on managers and customers to convince them that suppliers other than Intel may be a better choice, and "Intel Inside" is a bygone logo.

    Intel is at the point where their lead in microprocessors for PC's may be eroding, and "Intel Inside" is no longer a good enough reason for buying their parts.

    Intel may be down, but don't even think about counting them out,(that's a boxing term for non USA people). The company makes a lot more components than just processors.

  • by glsunder (241984) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @01:31PM (#12443202)
    I seem to remember serveral years ago (early athlon and p4 days) that intel was firing/retiring their costly, experienced engineers and hiring younger, cheaper college grads and non-citizens. At the same time (and earlier) AMD was hiring experienced engineers, especially people who worked on the DEC Alpha.

    Assuming this is correct (memories are sometimes wrong), then what's happening now only makes sense. It might be something for people to point at when taking on the outsourcing/cost cutting fans.

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