Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

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Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:26 am

Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Why is it that every time I read an editorial about AMD, it starts with the author portraying them as a sinking ship and ends with them begging to come out with a product that can compete with Intel’s Core 2 series? Sure, AMD’s Athlon 64 series of processors has been eclipsed by Intel’s latest Core 2 series, but has everyone forgotten about the past? Read on and share you thoughts on AMD!

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The take home message here is that AMD, from my point of view, is not a sinking ship. They just need to make sure they get out their next generation of processors and chipsets out on time. AMD has been delayed getting numerous products out the door as scheduled and that is without a doubt hurting them. Sure AMD will have the first ‘true’ quad-core processor, but how many consumers really cares if something is true or not? Could you imagine walking into Best Buy or Circuit City and hearing a sales associate telling a customer "This one is better because it’s native quad-core, but the other one is quad-core".


Article Title: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/588/1/
DIGG URL: http://digg.com/hardware/Is_AMD_Really_ ... d_The_Bend
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby jakegub » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:08 am

I love the article! I don't describe AMD as a sinking ship, and I'm constantly pulling for them (And ATI). I think more attention does need to be paid to energy and heat expenditure instead of pure performance. The core 2 duos are amazing no doubt, but I'm not sure anything I have done on a computer in the past 3 or 4 years has been cpu limited. And at this point, I am paying less for my cpu/motherboard/memory together than I am for my graphics card. Although the 8800gt seems to be a solution to that.

I would love to go back to AMD and would especially love to see some more DFI Lanparty boards made to really rock the chipset.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:14 am

jakegub wrote:I would love to go back to AMD and would especially love to see some more DFI Lanparty boards made to really rock the chipset.


It will be interesting to see how DFI does with the Spider platform. The DFI Lanparty UT 790FX-M2RV motherboard looks solid, but rumors have it priced around US$290. I hope to see it well under $199.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Zertz » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:24 pm

Awesome article! It was very interesting to (finally) read a different point of view. Like you said, people tend to forget that without AMD we would probably still be running Netburst, if that, processors thinking they're good. I bet Intel is going to start making a big deal about their IMC and make us think AMD got it wrong five years ago. Intel has a huge advantage over AMD though: their marketing is far superior!

Lanparty's have always been around 300$ so this one should be about the same. Here's Gigabyte's 790FX:
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php? ... e=Gigabyte
I expect the DFI to be priced at 299$.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby HONkUS » Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:16 pm

Athlon 64 X2 ‘Windsor’ series to 1MB L2 cache for a grand total of 2MB of L2 cache


I thought that AMD scrapped the 90nm Windsor's with 2mb cache? I was going to get a Athlon X2 4000+ because of the increased cache but then AMD initially canceled the original 4000, 4400 and 4600 because yields on those 2mb Windsors were so bad.

Example is the link in my sig for my 2.8ghz Windsor, CPU-Z shows it as having 512k per core.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Cannyone » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:08 pm

There is one small issue with the article that should be corrected:
Just this week AMD's master distributor, ISA Hardware leaked out Phenom pricing and has shows the preliminary prices as $247, $278 and $288 respectively for the processor in a box versions of the the 2.2GHz 9500, 2.3Ghz 9600 and 2.4GHz 9700 quad-core processors. This means that right now BEFORE launch a 2.4GHz Phenom is priced at $278 and a 2.4GHz Kentsfield is $269. Hopefully after launch the price on the Phenom processors will drop below that of the Intel Q6600 as it needs to be, if they want to be competitive in the enthusiast market.

That "$278" should be a $288, and that is the wholesale price for lots of 1000 CPUs.

I agree completely that the price should be below the Q6600's price if they want to sell these. On the other hand, maybe there are enough "die-hard" AMD fans to buy all of the first batch at the announced price. But it seems to me that AMD isn't really competing in any of the catagories you mention, and if they don't turn things around some the accountants might decide to "pull the plug" on Hector & Co. After all Accountants are notorious for being both impatient and ruthless when a company is having trouble making money. I wouldn't say this if they weren't so deeply in debt.

Personally I was interested in a Phenom previously. Now that interest has all but disappeared. So the obvious answer for me is to play the waiting game. If AMD survives another 8 months, maybe the price on the Phenom will finally be "what it should be..."
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:58 pm

Cannyone wrote:There is one small issue with the article that should be corrected:
Just this week AMD's master distributor, ISA Hardware leaked out Phenom pricing and has shows the preliminary prices as $247, $278 and $288 respectively for the processor in a box versions of the the 2.2GHz 9500, 2.3Ghz 9600 and 2.4GHz 9700 quad-core processors. This means that right now BEFORE launch a 2.4GHz Phenom is priced at $278 and a 2.4GHz Kentsfield is $269. Hopefully after launch the price on the Phenom processors will drop below that of the Intel Q6600 as it needs to be, if they want to be competitive in the enthusiast market.

That "$278" should be a $288, and that is the wholesale price for lots of 1000 CPUs.


Thank you very much... I added pricing in after I wrote the original draft was completed and edited, so thanks for the catch.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Duke3d87 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:21 pm

Both of these shifts in the industry happened before everyone wrote a blog or had a website, so maybe everyone has just forgotten the past or just wasn’t involved in the tech industry just a few years ago. It’s a shame really, as not only should the past must be remembered, it’s a critical part of journalism. So, forget thinking about AMD as a sinking ship and I’ll tell you the reasons why.


You forgot to mention that Intel is now more ambition then ever. Overclockers says it nicely. Intel is pretty much going to say to the DoJ that when they didn’t screw with AMD, they couldn’t compete properly either.

Well, Intel is also doing this by increasing their L2 cache. When the Intel core 2 microarchitecture was first released they had an L2 cache size of 2MB on Allendale to 4MB on Conroe. Just this week Intel introduced a quad-core part called Yorkfield that features a massive 12MB L2 cache.


It’s about yields. If you screw up part of an IMC, you’re pretty much screwed. If you make a dual channel DDR2 controller and only one of them works but all your cache works, you end up with a lot of random SKUs and it makes it harder for the consumer to choose. They could also have made redundant ones, but Intel said that they designed and killed more IMC designs than AMD has made.

AMD Phenom processors may not have the clock per clock muscle to beat out the Penryn and Yorkfield Intel processors, but it costs far less to make them partially thanks to the overall smaller cache sizes.


You are right that AMD doesn’t really need that cache as much thanks to the IMC, but Intel can keep up pretty well thanks to its efficient prefetching. Essentially, Intel is very good at hiding latencies and it should be interesting with Nehalem, but that’s a different story.

Let’s talk about die size:

AMD Barcelona: 283 mm2
Core 2 (Merom): 143 mm2
Kentsfield: 2x143 = 286

I’d say Intel is doing pretty well in that department. The total die size is a bit bigger, but they can have better yields and speed binning.

Lets talk about Penryn: 107mm2
Yorksfield: 2x107 = 217 mm2

Not bad. Cost wise, it should be cheaper.

Also, I’m pretty sure cache doesn’t use that much power.
And considering the previous cache size increases, Intel is getting less aggressive:
180nm  130 nm Pentium 3 – double the cache
180nm  130 nm Pentium 4- double the cache
130 nm  90 nm Pentium 4 – double the cache
90 nm  65nm Pentium 4 – double the cache
65nm  45nm Core 2 – 66% increase.

So about the whole packaging thing, Intel has been doing that for a very long time. And from the way that the market is showing, Intel is suffering from lower prices, but their suffering is maybe 800 million profit per quarter as opposed to 1.xx billion.

Lastly, there is always the chance that Intel slips up and if there was to be such a time it would be on their Nehalem based system architecture. After mainstream Penryn and the 45nm Hi-k silicon technology introductions in January 2008 comes Intel's next-generation microarchitecture (Nehalem) slated for initial production sometime in 2008 (five years after AMD went to an integrated memory controller). Nehalem will be Intel’s first processor with scalable and configurable system interconnects and integrated memory controllers. That will be a major change for Intel and history has shown if a stumble is to happen it is at one of these junctures.


True, they could screw up, but Nehalem was demoed running CPU intensive applications which is pretty impressive. Their 45nm process is at 90% yield which my teacher says is about as high as you can get. You keep talking about IMC and Intel had IMC a long time ago, they had to cancel it b/c of the rambus thing. They are usually pretty right about when the market needs things. 64 bit? Yeah, most people that I know are still running 32 bit operating systems. So they could screw up and if they do, they have the highly scalable 45nm process to fall back on. They say that the reason why Intel isn’t releasing faster Yorkfield based processors is because they have no reason to.

I'm not saying that AMD is going to tank, but i'm just saying that there is some pretty stiff competition.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:18 pm

Duke3d87,

Thanks for the post as I love to hear what our readers think and where they are coming from. I wish I was able to touch on more things in the article, but time didn't allow it. Too many things in the works right now, so I posted what I had already written to see what people are thinking. Saying that there is stiff competition is putting it lightly... I'm still looking forward to what triple-cores will mean for the market and the only reason I didn't mention those in the editorial is since they are not due out till at least Q1 2008.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby stev » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:27 pm

What I don't understand is why AMD completed systems cost a wee more (150~250) than an Itel system?

I've compared AMD and Intel laptop system prices from across many of the big brand names and found that the AMD's were higher. Is this deliberate by the big companies while the AMD chip prices are lower most of the time?

At one time, the majority of machines at the home were nearly all AMD. Now it's a 50/50 split. I do prefer the AMD processors over the Intel, but it's harder to price a system otherwise.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Cannyone » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:56 pm

*After a release of the GPGPU today I just had to make further comments.

As I see it, the biggest problem for AMD at the moment is the debt they incurred by acquiring ATI. So to survive they have to start making a profit. And as Duke3d87 points out
... there is some pretty stiff competition.
This applies to both CPU and GPU product lines. What puzzles me is that AMD has the gall to price their products so high. Just for the sake of argument let's take their GPGPU card as an example. It appears to be a reconfigured RV670 chip with 2GB of onboard memory. And they're going to price it at $1999. Now I understand that there are no competing products, and for a small sector of the market there is a high demand. Maybe they intend to only make enough of them to satisfy that "target customer" niche? Still I question that strategies like this make allot of sense.

Economics describes a principle, called "Price Elasticity Gain", which describes how they can make more profit by lowering their profit margin and selling in greater quantity. In fact it seems that they are being forced to implement this principle when it comes to their dual-core CPUs. But then they turn around and over-price their Phenom line, and they over-price their GPGPU card, and possibly over-price their next line of video cards... (the last part remains to be seen, but still there seems to be a pattern here...) One has to wonder if the upper management of AMD has ever heard of the previously mentioned economic principle. To put it bluntly, I'm sure that a Harvard MBA program requires both Macro and Micro Economics courses, and this principle had to have been brought up! So why is AMD's management so obviously ignorant?

Here are some plausible explanations: (Hector Ruiz and his fellow managers will be referred to here simply as "Hector")
1. Hector thought Economics were supremely boring, so he found the subject matter difficult to retain.
2. There was some really fine babe in Hector's Economics classes, and he couldn't help but be severely distracted.
3. There were some special extra circular activities keeping Hector up at nights, and his Economics classes were always early in the mornings.
So he couldn't help but fall asleep in class!
4. Hector paid someone to help him pass his Economics courses, because of a combination of previously mentioned factors...
5. Hector suffered a serious trauma which impairs his memory of said Economics classes and the principles he learned there.
I'm not sure if any, or all, of these things are true. All I do know is that companies that don't make a profit go out of business.
...And AMD has not been making a profit!

AMD could make more of a profit, from all of their products, if they increased their efficiency and lowered their prices. Assuming they could produce enough to meet demand... (something they haven't been too keen on in the past). This is just as true for products like their new GPGPU card as it is for product lines like the Phenom. However, they (Hector & Co.) don't seem to be paying attention. In fact, at least from my perspective, they seem to be occupying some kind of delusional state where they are "superior to Intel" and can do whatever they feel like!

Now some of you might ask: Could you do a better job? To which my reply is YES! Frankly I could do a better job. But the way our society works I will not be afforded that opportunity, because I didn't attend a school like Harvard. So as it stands the real "problem" at AMD is not their products performance, it's their management. And I seriously doubt AMD will be more than a memory by this time next year. :cry: They have too much Debt to survive many more quarters at a financial loss.

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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby wuzy » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:11 pm

Since when did LegitReview become a personal blog/rant?
I don't care whether it's pro-Intel, pro-AMD or neutral. A blog is a blog and should be kept as a blog (in a blogging section maybe?)
This is not on, you should this better Nate. :(

I still regard Legit Reviews as one of my favourite site and would like it to strive.
Stay with the tradition of Legit Reviews mate. ;)
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Zertz » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:21 pm

wuzy wrote:Since when did LegitReview become a personal blog/rant?
I don't care whether it's pro-Intel, pro-AMD or neutral. A blog is a blog and should be kept as a blog (in a blogging section maybe?)
This is not on, you should this better Nate. :(

I still regard Legit Reviews as one of my favourite site and would like it to strive.
Stay with the tradition of Legit Reviews mate. ;)


I think it was a pretty good analysis (article, blog, call it whatever you want), based on facts, of what is going on in the processor market. You could see it as a review of the past few years.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby ibleet » Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:56 pm

I sooo want to have an opinion on this, but my instincts are telling me to stay out of it...maybe later. 8-[
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Nov 09, 2007 8:16 am

wuzy wrote:Since when did LegitReview become a personal blog/rant?
I don't care whether it's pro-Intel, pro-AMD or neutral. A blog is a blog and should be kept as a blog (in a blogging section maybe?)
This is not on, you should this better Nate. :(

I still regard Legit Reviews as one of my favourite site and would like it to strive.
Stay with the tradition of Legit Reviews mate. ;)


this is more than a trial period of if a blog is something we should take on in the future.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Duke3d87 » Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:07 pm

Apoptosis wrote:Duke3d87,

Thanks for the post as I love to hear what our readers think and where they are coming from. I wish I was able to touch on more things in the article, but time didn't allow it. Too many things in the works right now, so I posted what I had already written to see what people are thinking. Saying that there is stiff competition is putting it lightly... I'm still looking forward to what triple-cores will mean for the market and the only reason I didn't mention those in the editorial is since they are not due out till at least Q1 2008.


Too many things on the works? You mean in your own personal life for when it comes to the R&D of AMD?

i think triple core will be kind of a high end celeron if you will.

The quads will be more like the standard if you can afford me, but me type CPU

the triple will be cheaper, but more expensive then the duals and is AMDs way of making up for lost die space

and the duals will be baseline performance.

including tri-core would have been interesting because it's normal to cut down pipelines and label the CPU a value chip and so yeah.

I for one want to see how Intel pulls off 8 core Nehalem
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:24 pm

Duke3d87 wrote:Too many things on the works? You mean in your own personal life for when it comes to the R&D of AMD?

i think triple core will be kind of a high end celeron if you will.

The quads will be more like the standard if you can afford me, but me type CPU

the triple will be cheaper, but more expensive then the duals and is AMDs way of making up for lost die space

and the duals will be baseline performance.

including tri-core would have been interesting because it's normal to cut down pipelines and label the CPU a value chip and so yeah.

I for one want to see how Intel pulls off 8 core Nehalem


For the site... I got reviews in the works for nvidia, intel, amd, ati... Lots of yorkfield stuff coming out, 780i chipsets, phenom, spider platforms, 3850 graphics cards, 8800gt graphics card and more are all in the works here... So, very very busy. Next week you'll see a couple graphics card reviews here on LR, so stay tuned.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Copythat » Sat Nov 10, 2007 4:30 am

The word Lose only has One "O"
/spelling Nazi
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Apoptosis » Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:31 am

haha thanks and welcome to the forums.
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Re: Is AMD Really a Sinking Ship? AMD Phenom Is Around The Bend

Postby Duke3d87 » Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:36 am

Apoptosis wrote:For the site... I got reviews in the works for nvidia, intel, amd, ati... Lots of yorkfield stuff coming out, 780i chipsets, phenom, spider platforms, 3850 graphics cards, 8800gt graphics card and more are all in the works here... So, very very busy. Next week you'll see a couple graphics card reviews here on LR, so stay tuned.


Lucky. Nice to be busy with said hardware.
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