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AMD Businesses Hardware

AMD: What Went Wrong? 497

Barence writes "In 2006, AMD could seemingly do no wrong. Its processors were the fastest in the PC market, annual revenue was up a record 91%, expansion into the graphics game had begun with the high-profile acquisition of ATI, and it was making exciting plans for a future where it looked like it could 'smash Intel's chip monopoly' for good. Now the company is fighting for its very survival. How did AMD end up surrendering such a advantageous position – and was it given an unfair shove on the way down? This article has plotted AMD's decline, including the botched processor launches, the anti-competitive attacks from Intel and years of boardroom unrest."
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AMD: What Went Wrong?

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  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @02:26PM (#39086607)

    Intel has had its share of buggy and bad designs, and that's even without going into discussion of the HMSS Itanic. Some AMD chips do great job of bang for the buck, my laptop has a nice dual core one that made the cost much less than comparable Intel chip would.

    Still, AMD needs to get more risky with heavy investment into more advanced design and fab. mediocrity just isn't tolerated in processor design.

  • by mehrotra.akash ( 1539473 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @02:36PM (#39086675)
    AMD's budget range is still better than Intel, when compared at a constant price against Atom
    But with the netbook/nettop market starting to flatline (or so I've heard), maybe they just made a wrong stratey decision
    Also, the botched Bulldozer launch: they should have used the no. of complete modules in the processor name, instead of the number of Integer units
    That way they wouldnt have a 6 core which was actually 3 core, but rather a 3 core which performed better in Hyperthreading than an equivalent Intel
    Getting the driver issue sorted out before launch would have helped as well
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 18, 2012 @02:39PM (#39086699)

    AMD will never fail because Intel won't let it fail since it is their DOJ defence against being a monopoly. The couple of times AMD got ahead of Intel on technology, like x86-64, Intel started a money losing price war to put AMD back in its place. When AMD is struggling, Intel raises profit margins on its products to help them out. There are also less advertised ways Intel helps keep AMD afloat: Patent sharing, employee no-stealing, joint tools development like OpenAccess, etc. Having worked in that industry I was always surprised that the DOJ never came down on them for those agreements. The patent sharing and joint tools ones are official even though Intel puts like 10X more into them as AMD does. I left that industry after 5 years since I saw it as a dead end since you only have a few companies competing for your skills. As my manager at Intel told me, "I won't give you a raise since you only have one other place that would even care about the skills you picked up here, AMD and we really control them too."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 18, 2012 @02:41PM (#39086723)

    ... their merger with ATI didn't make sense to me because I knew that was going to divide the companies focus. You begin to lose focus the more stuff you try to take on and do yourself unless you have significant resources to buffer you against screw ups. Now AMD has great graphics cards but extremely poor cpu's that were extremely late and not even competitive with the previous generation of cpu's. I imagine this schizophrenia has hurt amd's focus.

    AMD really doesn't know what kind of company it wants to be and it needs to find out because trying to do too much without the talent or resources ends in mediocrity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 18, 2012 @02:44PM (#39086747)

    AMD has done this many times throughout the years.

    The only reason they boom is when Intel makes a mistake. In the mid 2000's Intel bed on that crappy Pentium 4 line. This allowed AMD to gain a huge foothold. It was only temporary until Intel figured out they goofed and corrected. AMD sat on their hands and didn't invent the next thing so Intel just stomped all over them.

    This isn't the first time this has happened. The same thing happened in the days of 486 and 586's. AMD gained a huge share then lost it all as Intel corrected they're mistakes and AMD failed to continue to innovate.

    It's almost like AMD shows the way then Intel does it better. It will probably happen again assuming AMD doesn't eventually just die.

  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 18, 2012 @02:54PM (#39086837)

    Potentially, AMD is still favored by many people who don't mind tinkering. For instance, for under $100 you can get an AMD x4 with a top end of 3.8ghz or more. My development box as an AMD x6 that was $130 running all 6 cores at 4.2ghz solid. To buy anything comparable from Intel would be well over $400. It's the same story in server land. AMD vs Intel really depends on application. AMD has true physical core superiority. Intel bet on hyperthreading, and it works well for many projects, until you actually need 12 physical cores for number crunching and not just thread spawning. Then it's AMD by a mile.

    I use Intel Xenons in my mid to low web/caching servers and I use AMD 12 cores+ in my data servers/larger VM hosts. It just seems to be the recipe that gets me the best bang for my buck, but to each their own.

  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @02:57PM (#39086849) Homepage Journal

    Also Intel bribed big OEMs to use their processors instead of AMD's. Dell was an especial example of this: in the K7/K8 days they'd make noise every year or two about how they were considering selling AMD-based systems rather than being exclusively Intel, and those of us in IT who wanted /better/ computers would get very excited, but then Intel reliably came along and gave Dell an even better sweetheart deal on their CPUs, which was probably Dell's objective the whole time.

    It wasn't AMD's fault for choosing the wrong market; they'd made a far better desktop and mobile processor than the P4, it was just that Intel was abusing its market position.

  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperTechnoNerd ( 964528 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @02:58PM (#39086861)
    True, much cooler than AMD counterparts but try running that i5, or i7 in my case, with a stock fan/heatsink with 100% load on all cores as I do when ray-tracing.. In the first 15-20 minutes the temp gets above safety limits. Since renders can take hours or days, I can't use Intel stock fans. But the Intel chips have much better protection mechanisms that the AMD counterparts. Intel chips will first start by deferring instructions to the next clock then after a while will execute a HALT instruction to protect themselves. I have seen AMD chips that would go POOF under thees conditions.
  • Intel inside (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:04PM (#39086891) Journal

    That campaign really had a lot of success. The only people who buy AMD are geeks who only do it when it gives a good price performance ratio. It does for me, going AMD simply means you can spend your budget on a fast SSD which will do a hell of a lot more for your performance then a faster more expensive intel CPU with a regular HD.

    But people like me are the exception and AMD never really managed to remove "a computer has an intel inside" from the consumers mind. Just try your local electronic store.

    Netbooks were a chance, AMD didn't put restrictions on its netbooks but they failed to push high end netbooks before Intel again stole their thunder with smart books. My netbook has got 8gb in it, it makes it a very smooth machine, just light and cheap enough to lug around and not worry about it getting dented or worse, stolen. Netbooks partially failed because they sold with slow HD's and tiny amounts of memory, hurting their performance no end.

    AMD just never had the clout to sell its chips on even terms. And it is sad because Intel dropped the ball completely when they believed they had no competition. There is a reason that 64 bit linux is report as AMD64. Intel failed and AMD delivered but for AMD to have truly broken through they need a long string of victories and no losses like Bulldozer.

    If AMD wants to succeed, they might consider something that Intel is also thinking of doing. Intel is having trouble gettings its chips into tablets and phones especially, so they have considered making their own... AMD could do a lot better getting their CPU's in PC's if they started selling them. Control the whole supply line and pass the savings on to the consumer and beat Intel and Intel Inside PC makers on price. Intel can't do that for fear of pissing of all its customers but AMD doesn't have many bridges to burn.

    Yes, making PC's is a very low margin industry but that is partly because you are buying all the parts from third parties. AMD wouldn't be doing that. The profit on the CPU inside the PC would be part of the profit of their PC. The profit on the graphics card would be part of the profits on the PC.

    Risky and unconventional but unless THEY build the PC, they are always going to have a hard time getting their CPU into the PC.

  • Re:Products (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Mighty Buzzard ( 878441 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:06PM (#39086903)

    Mobile devices had nothing to do with it. Mobile chips are easy. Take your desktop chip and cut the clock speed in half. Poof, it runs cooler and with less power. Yes, that's an oversimplification.

    The problem was AMD didn't bet hard enough on ramping up clock speeds. Hertz to Hertz, AMD makes a better processor. Dollar to dollar, AMD makes a better processor. Top of the line to top of the line, Intel beats the pants off AMD. THAT is their problem.

  • I read this sentence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dargaud ( 518470 ) <(slashdot2) (at) (> on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:16PM (#39086939) Homepage
    From TFA:

    Dell – then the world’s biggest PC maker – received billions of dollars to “remain monogamous” with Intel. At their peak in the first quarter of 2007, payments from Intel made up 76% of Dell’s quarterly operating income: $723 million against a total of $949 million.

    And I really wonder why Intel hasn't been gutted and salted for monopoly abuse, with its CEO and main backers arrested. How can it not be MORE clear than that ?!?

  • Re:Products (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cynyr ( 703126 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:19PM (#39086965)

    the APUs? sure, go find me a similar power consumption intel with 6 sata3 ports on a mini-itx board. Also they are far better GPU wise than intels atom. [] Find me an Intel (or ARM) replacement in the same power envelope and I'd be interested.

    To be honest my x6 is plenty fast enough, I'm sure I could buy faster, but for the same price and wanting sata3 ports it gets tricky to do in mini-itx on intel.

  • Re:Products (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Mighty Buzzard ( 878441 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:20PM (#39086981)
    No, aside from the K6-pre-Pentium2 days and a year or two around Athlon64/Pentium4, AMD has lagged behind in performance of their top of the line processors. Yeah, they've always given better value for the dollar spent but that's not especially useful when you're 10-20% behind in performance.
  • by afabbro ( 33948 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:21PM (#39086987) Homepage
    Itanic is not a buggy or bad design. It's just a design without a good market. If you were doing a lot of computation where that last .01% of performance was important and you had the time/budget to write Itanium-specific assembler, you'd love Itanium (64 64-bit registers is nice). It's just solves problems that most people don't have.
  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:27PM (#39087031) Homepage

    It certainly didn't help that computer manufacturers have treated AMD as a budget CPU for many years. Looking back through history, a fair number of AMD CPUs were actually superior to Intel CPUs, but when paired up with crap motherboards and computer manufacturer's attempt to nickle and dime everywhere they could (emulated sound card? why not, it won't tax the CPU that much; (supposedly, in a few cases) emulate part of the video card using the CPU? why not, that won't tax the CPU much), Since the CPU is so overtaxed dealing with things it should not, you get crap performance, and begin to associate that brand of CPU with crap in general.

    If I were a major computer manufacturer these days, I'd spec in AMD CPUs (Black Editions, etc.), then attach a self-contained coolant system to it, and crank it until it reached the temperatures that the i7 normally operates at. The $500 in cost savings would appeal to my customers, and I'd be able to price my competitors out of the market. If I spec'ed in SSDs for the primary OS, and a large media drive for what-have-you, and let potential customers test-drive it, they'd change their minds about Intel in a week. Tackling Intel's marketing arm is something of a b*tch, from what I understand.

  • Re:Products (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:48PM (#39087187)

    Just because he is an Apple shill, doesn't mean he cannot have perfectly valid opinions on other topics. I wonder his post was modded down when it is actually perfectly true.

    They aren't perfectly valid opinions. They are obvious assertions which, by being posted early in the discussion, earn that account enough karma to grant them mod points.

    And with those mod points, the people operating the bonch account spend them on modbombing corporate-unfriendly opinions and upmodding other shill accounts controlled by their public relations firm, such as:

    And by influencing the moderation process, these accounts influence the public opinion regarding the companies which employ them, such as Apple, not only through astroturfing campaigns but also by censoring negative opinion.

    So, they aren't mere "valid opinions". This is one of the main parts on how these PR firms manipulate slashdot. So, mod these bastards accordingly.

  • by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:53PM (#39087225) Homepage

    Asus makes Crosshair motherboards, which have been pretty freaking awesome for AMD chips, and they've done pretty well with my current motherboard, the Crosshair Formula 4. No frustration here.

    On a side note, there does appear to be some possible issues with NewEgg, however. If you check out the Crosshair V (5) section, there have been some comments with suggest that NewEgg has been recycling equipment (DOAs, and what not; many of the comments are recent), and Asus may be feeling some indirect hate for that. Personally, I've had two Corsair H70s, that were ordered as 'new' (i.e. not open-box), show up with obvious signs of previous use. I had been told, after the first incident, that it had been a mistake ("Someone must have grabbed things from the wrong pile"), but after the second incident, I am not so sure. I find this entire business to be incredibly annoying, as NewEgg has been a good supplier of equipment in times past...but I do not appreciate the problems they are causing me (Corsair has the latest H70, and is replacing it directly; still, it's taking almost a month to get this mess cleaned up).

  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @03:57PM (#39087249)

    If you want to buy 5000 computers every year how many companies can you buy from?

    If you want to buy one computer a year you can build your own for all it matters. If you want 1 computer every 5 years you probably don't have the desire or skills to build your own, nor is saving that small amount of money worth it for a lot of people.

    When apply either of those two constraints Dell IBM and HP were the big dogs for a long time, and they were basically in bed with intel. People who don't have the skills to build their own want to buy from someone with a name brand who will stay in business long enough to honour a warranty, and people who want to buy 5000 computers this year are only going to buy from a big outfit, for basically the same reasons, and because there aren't a lot of places that can supply you will 1000 computers by the end of the week. If you're a really big outfit you're looking at buying something like 20-100k computers a year, and when you start talking numbers like that even your acer, asus and toshiba guys will have trouble keeping up.

    AMD has the same problem in two different sectors. They had one really good product, and then someone released a better one. In the GPU business AMD will have the best parts for a couple of month then nvidia will come along and take the crown, and neither of them are competing in the high volume business desktop market that intel has (and has gone so far as to put it into the CPU package). For the CPU business Intel has been toying with them for at least 6 years. How do you know that? Because you can overclock an i7 (or a core 2 series) by 30% on air easily. Everytime AMD gets close to matching the performance/watt, performance/dollar or whatever, intel just ups the clocks a bit and boom, they're back in first place. They're basically a full process (die size) ahead of AMD, and they always have been, which gives them a huge advantage. In the GPU business AMD is doing as well as they can, if you look at the steam numbers they're up around 40% of the market. The problem is that the gaming market, which is where the money is on a per unit basis, isn't all that big. nVidia has a revenue of about 3.7 Billion USD, AMD 6.4, and Intel 54. The money is in volume, and AMD can't get volume because their price per unit, per performance, per watt are all just not up to match Intel, yes, Intel was anti-competitive for a while, but they only need to do that for about 4 years to get themselves back out into the lead by a wide margin.

  • by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:02PM (#39087283)
    This comment, and those below, are ignoring the real, underlying issue for AMD: outsourced production. Once AMD made the decision to decouple the design and manufacturing of chips, they were dead. RTFA! Customers who want to buy AMD chips can't get their hands on them. Is that due to underhanded marketing tactics? No, poor decision-making at the top. Having worked at Intel, I've seen how the tight coupling of design, testing and production can work wonders.
  • by MacGyver2210 ( 1053110 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:06PM (#39087317)

    they paid Dell roughly 3/4 of a billion dollars in a single quarter to not use AMD chips

    When they're buying back multiple billions of dollars in product, 3/4 of a billion dollars off is called a discount - not a monopoly. Businesses use that exact strategy all the time. "If you buy a huge order of our product instead of the competitor, we'll offer you $____ off!" They also have the option of sending as many 'promotional' free products as they want in order to convince the potential customer, even if it is half of the customer's order.

    At the same time, Intel is not at fault because their products are more functional and desirable to the general computer user than the alternative - at least, no more so than Apple is at fault for having an enormous following in the "I don't know computers, I just want it to go" market. If AMD wanted to compete seriously in the consumer market, they could - but they aren't.

  • by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:40PM (#39087549) Homepage Journal

    Then when you look at the server market, they do not compete at all anymore. Performance per watt and per dollar both lag badly behind the Xeon.

    That's untrue in my experience and has been for 5+ years. In the higher-end 2-4 CPU server range, AMD has had the best performance/price ratings for a long time because competitive Xeons are much too expensive. For example, the highest-performing 4P Linux servers (e.g. SPECint2006 rate) are currently Xeon E7-4870 based, followed closely by Opteron 6282 SE, but for the Xeons you'll pay 4 times as much as for the Opterons. A typical server configuration with 256GB memory will cost you ~8000 EUR ($10500) if you go with the Opterons and ~20000 EUR ($26000) if you go with the E7-4870 (and if you can actually find one on the market). More affordable Intel-based servers are not competitive performance-wise with the 6282 SE. If you don't need much parallelism and a lot of RAM, you might be able to get a more affordable offer using Xeons (with 2 of their 4C CPUs e.g.), but even there C32 based Opterons will offer much better performance per Dollar at comparable or lower TDP even (e.g. 2 x X7542 vs 2 x Opteron 4238). We've always been comparing closely when purchasing beefy 1U/2U servers over the past 10 years and Intel has not had competitive offers since their socket 604/Clarksboro Xeons when they allowed decent amounts of RAM (24 FB-DIMM sockets) in 1U compared with socket 940 Opterons (at somewhat sane prices). YMMV if your CPU needs are different, although I'd like to know how ...

  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:54PM (#39087697)

    their processors are still popular in some supercomputers,

    You'll see AMD pretty much only in Cray offerings where they have a proprietary interconnect currently married to hyper transport. One big thing Cray talks about nowadays is how they are moving to a more processor agnostic interconnect so that they'll soon be selling Intel based systems.

    In everything built since Nehalem came out without such considerations, pretty much all of them went Intel because that was the point where Intel began stomping AMD on both work done per clock *and* memory performance. Before Nehalem some workloads still indicated AMD because their memory performance was better, even if the Core2 architecture was besting them on performance per clock.

    The first-tier vendors that carry AMD now largely do so because AMD hasn't demanded a socket change in a while and the vendors can get away with supporting new AMD products in 'old' designs with little incremental investment. This along with AMD aggressive pricing translates to pretty inexpensive pricing being possible for them. At very large scale, however, the additional operational expense associated with more servers sucking down more power and HVAC to get the same work done is a problem that becomes difficult to ignore.

  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by laffer1 ( 701823 ) <> on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:58PM (#39087743) Homepage Journal

    This post looks like something from three years ago. Seriously, most apps are multithreaded now. Office is. Firefox is. Most Valve games are. WoW is. I could go on, but I don't think I need to. If one uses a Mac, most apps are multithreaded because of libdispatch/GCD.

    AMD has their version of hyper threading. One can debate if it's better or worse than Intel's, but I'm not impressed by the benchmarks. By doing fusion and hyper threading, AMD has said they don't care about core count anymore. There's just not room on the die for it. AMD went from shipping 6 core chips to quad cores with their lame HTT and marketing them as 8 core. They're doing all the wrong things Intel did now. You can complain about performance, but not tactics.

    Intel blows AMD out of the water in gaming benchmarks because their chips are faster. AMD doesn't want the performance market anymore. They want the lame consumer laptops people buy to use Facebook. Best Buy is full of them. AMD has a good product lineup for this market. Actually, if I were buying a cheap laptop I wouldn't even consider Intel because of the GPUs. AMD graphics are better for light gaming and video.

  • Squandered the lead (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:03PM (#39087777)

    AMD had a wonderful technical position, Intel bet the farm on Itanium and NetBurst. AMD countered with an x86 architecture that was much much more efficient than NetBurst, a 64-bit implementation that didn't break backwards compatibility, and to further embarass Intel an affordable NUMA architecture with on-package memory controllers. For all this, 'Intel Inside' *still* carried some marketing weight despite the horrible tech behind it at the time. AMD failed in two ways:
    -They failed in marketing execution to erode the value of 'Intel Inside'.
    -When they did succeed, they didn't really come up with any *new* game changing plays. Intel's QPI was catch up to hyper transport, but since then Intel has continued with superior fab technology, advancing performance per clock, more memory channels per package, and incorporating features for particular sore spots like AES and h264 encode/decode. AMD's biggest advantage at the moment is that Intel GPUs are relatively poor and the Fusion line can quite thoroughly embarrass intel at gaming. The problem being the gaming market is very comfortable with discrete GPUs and this difference matters for a relatively small slice of the market.

  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:46PM (#39088089)

    One big thing you leave out: Intel stepped up their anti-competitive behavior, buying off the big computer makers to get them to cancel AMD-based computer lines.

    Dell had the Optiplex 740 line. It was a damn good line, very effective, came in $150 under an "equivalent" Intel computer. What was Intel's response? They stepped up their monopolist subsidization and got Dell to back down. Repeat for a number of other manufacturers, and AMD's stuck in a bind again.

  • by yoshi_mon ( 172895 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:51PM (#39088113)

    As bad as your post paints it I'm afraid the reality is even worse. The reason the DOJ has not come down on Intel is that our government has been fully captured by corporations. Intel pays its 'donations' and tells them what laws to write, what laws to enforce, blah blah blah.

    And what we end up with is not only lesser products because there is no real competition in some markets but what you experienced on a personal level. And I'll end it at that because I'm sure /.'s rabid far right wing mod squad is going to blast me down and I don't want them to take your very good post with me.

  • A bit out of date (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 18, 2012 @06:29PM (#39088355)

    This article would have made a lot more sense several months ago, right after the poorly executed bulldozer launch. At that time, AMD was having very bad supplier problems with Global Foundaries producing their Llano APUs, and they had just launched a new architecture that was disappointing at best. Since then, they've had a number of things happen that have substantially improved their outlook.

    First, the layoffs. While layoffs are rarely a sign of corporate strength, their layoffs seem to be concentrated in marketing and PR, two areas where, quite frankly, AMD should have been firing people a long time ago. Intel's "Intel Inside" and "Centrino" campaigns have firmly established them as the better chipmaker in the minds of most people. AMD has allowed themselves to become the "cheap" option rather than the "value" option. That's marketing and PR. Additionally, as disappointing as Bulldozer is, it would have been much better received had AMD not hyped it as an architecture that would bring Intel to its knees. Had they marketed it as a forward looking architecture that would be capable of scaling with future software, and had they not marketed modules as 2 cores, they would not have had the massive deluge of negative press ("8 core AMD barely competitive with 4 core Intel" is a horrible headline for AMD). If AMD is truly using the savings from these layoffs to devote more resources to product development, that will be a good thing down the road.

    Second, their APUs. both Bobcat and Llano, do hold up quite well against the Intel competition. Bobcat is flat out better than Atom, and while Llano comes up short vs Sandy Bridge on CPU performance, with its superior graphical capabilities it provides an enticing option as a more balanced option for people that want a general use laptop. AMD has been constrained in this space by their supplier issues with Golbal Foundaries. Recent reports, however, indicate that 32nm yields are improving. If they can launch their Trinity APUs on schedule, they should be well positioned to take market share in the laptop segment, including the growing "ultrabook/ultrathin" segment.

    Finally, Bulldozer. Bulldozer is a disappointment right now, but it doesn't appear to have a fundamental flaw that can't be fixed. Recent reports indicate that Trinity will have a substantial improvement in IPC vs Bulldozer. Add to this that windows 8 is expected to launch this year, (with a Bulldozer-aware scheduler - reportedly good for a meaningful boost in performance), and you have a much better positioned product. While it almost certainly won't catch Intel at the very top, Trinity (and Piledriver on desktop) should be able to compete throughout most of the budged and mainstream market segments. On the server side, it seems Bulldozer is actually selling relatively well. Its design is meant for the heavily threaded applications used in server workloads, and the compiler/system tuning necessary to get the best performance out of bulldozer is much more practical in the server space than it is for desktop users.

    Overall, while AMD does have its risks going forward, it is in one of the stronger positions it has been in. They are profitable (and have been for 8 straight quarterly statements) They have competitive products in most segments of the market (with the major exception of high-end desktops and laptops). They do have technology that positively differentiates them from Intel in some key segments (the graphics capabilities of their APUs, the CPU performance of their Bobcat processers vs Atom). And, they have a modern architecture that they should be able to add to and improve upon for several years to come.

  • Re:Products (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @08:05PM (#39088981)
    Bullshit. Opteron is a brandname which was composed of several products. The original Opteron line was quite innovative. When AMD introduced the K10 core they had several issues, Intel took the technological low road (multi-chip module) and got quicker results, AMD had bugs in the more complex K10 which was introduced late. However the bugs were all resolved in Shanghai/Instanbul. The FPU latencies were in many cases cut by half, the TLB bug was fixed, and AMD had the same performance than an Intel processor of the same period at a lower price.

    With Bulldozer the same thing is happening. Bulldozer has a lot of bugs which cripple its performance. Once the bugs are fixed, if ever, the performance will climb up. The theoretical peak performance of Bulldozer in FP for example is 2x that of an Intel processor because of the FMA instruction. This should make the processor very popular in supercomputing and other workstation environments. Its peak integer performance is already awesome as well.

  • Re:Products (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fast turtle ( 1118037 ) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @11:46PM (#39090385) Journal

    This is exactly what I was trying to say about their new fusion design.

    AMD has realized that the critical aspect of CPU performance is math capabilities and with their new Fusion Designs, they have begun the replacement of the 387 math coprocessor with something that offers far better performance using elements from GPU designs such as the stream processors.

  • Re:Products (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:21AM (#39090989)

    Well, he's listed me as one of those "shill accounts", so he clearly has absolutely zero proof (although I can't prove that to you, obviously).

    I've been posting on slashdot since my first time around at university, so that would be 1999-2000 or something? Maybe 2001 - it might have been in my second year when I got a computer of my own rather than the ones in the lab. My UID is whatever was assigned to me when I made the account, and this is the only account I have.

    In other words, I've been around here for a very long time (obviously not as long as some of the 4 digit UIDs), so either Apple/MS/Sony/Facebook whoever has been paying for my to post for over ten years, or they approached me recently and started offering cash (yeah, how very likely, that they'd trust some random guy living in the UK to shill for them. No risk at all that I'd tell anyone about it! no sir!).

    In other words, the guy is full of shit, and if he'd been around on slashdot long enough he'd recognise that I've been posting here for a decade.

    Still, let the kids have their grand conspiracy ranting and raving. I just wish it didn't reflect so poorly on a site I that I've been a member of for so long. How far it has fallen. Hard to have a proper discussion these days without being modded down or accused of shilling if you dare to say anything that isn't in lockstep with the groupthink.

  • Re:Products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:45AM (#39091085) Journal

    The article makes it clear that AMD has suffered a perfect storm of; Lack of leadership, production problems, problems getting optimal integration with ATI and problems surrounding a strategy of using automated chip design vs human engineer optimizing chip design (just from my own personal experience, I've seen human optimization in a massively parallel processing device beat automated software optimization by nearly 3X.)

    Intel didn't need to be creepy. This doesn't mean that they weren't. Sometimes a competitor get's under your skin and when you see the chance to squash them like bugs you take the shot. I remember working for Borland in the mid 80s. The Borland CEO just loved poking Bill, and I'm pretty sure that there was no love lost on the M$ side. At some point a limo would pull into the Borland parking lot every couple days over an entire summer. Each time another critical Borland language developer would go out to lunch and never come back. It was discovered that they were being offered ridiculously lucrative opportunities at Microsoft. Over that summer, the entire language development team was simply sucked out of Borland. MS was sued for predatory practices and Borland won the case. Bill opened his wallet, pulled out a hundred million dollars (in other words pocket change) and said "Here... now go away, you're dead!" Businesses are soluble in money. Pour enough on them and they go away.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.