All that AMD is left with is spinning the numbers

All that AMD is left with is spinning the numbers

Summary: AMD is so broken that all it has left in the battle against Intel is marketing spin.

TOPICS: Processors

AMD is so broken that all it has left in the battle against Intel is marketing spin.

What's AMD going to try to sell me next? A special secret sauce to boost Barcelona performance to that being claimed in the benchmark results? Or maybe some magic beans??I used to feel sorry for AMD. The company pretty much came from nowhere to become a powerful force in the processor market. A series of poor management decisions and a prolonged price war with Intel left the company battered and bruised. But over the past 12 months I've seen AMD slip from being a company that walked its talk when it came to ethics into one using tactics that are so underhanded as to be deplorable.

Last Friday (iPhone Day), AMD announced that the release date for the “Barcelona” quad-core CPU would slip by two months and that the best clock speed they could achieve was 2.0 GHz (the story is detailed here by my ZDNet colleague George Ou). Bad news for a company looking for anything that might give them an advantage (even a short-term one) over Intel. But now AMD adds insult to injury by posting what can only be described as blatant and unashamedly deceptive benchmarks for the Barcelona processor. It's bad enough that AMD omitted Intel's latest XEON processors from the benchmark and opted instead for older models, but what's worse is AMD's inclusion of Barcelona quad-core processors with speeds that don't appear in the September line up. What's AMD going to try to sell me next? A special secret sauce to boost Barcelona performance to that being claimed in the benchmark results? Or maybe some magic beans??

This is deplorable behavior, especially from a company that previously slammed Intel for unethical behavior. AMD is taking a nose-dive, both technically and ethically, and it's hard to see how it could recover.


Topic: Processors

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  • While I concur with your observation

    on the earlier performance of AMD, it's inevitable that eventually they would fall from the top. But I think this is only a short term issue (1-2 years) and that eventually the company will (I really hope so) find it's roots and again return to the top.

    This behavior is common for many companies that enjoy moments in the limelight. And even for some people. They get big because of quality products, high moral values and top grade business ethics, only to fall from grace due to greed and unscrupulous investors demanding more profit at any cost. This is the result of such behavior and while deplorable... seemingly common throughout large American corporations.

    AMD is still small enough that they might be able to reverse there current trend and fix the damage done. One can only hope. Either way though I am a happy AMD customer, my AMD Athlon AM2 3800+ dual core hums right along doing what I demand of it with nary a gripe. And at a price I found to be acceptable. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
  • ZDNET blunder:

    These are OLD and CORRECT benchmarks !! They went over the
    whole world a long time ago. See for instance page 70 of this
    AMD presentation from February 2007 (in Russian)

    It was not until late April 2007 that better SPECint_rate2006
    numbers for the Xeon 5355 occurred. Last month the new Intel
    v.10 C compiler improved Xeon's integer score significantly
    with better compiled code.

    Wouldn't you think that Barcelona would also profit from better
    compiled code? The Barcelona graphs come from old simulations
    with old compilers.

    The SPECfp_rate graphs are pretty much accurate even today.

    Regards, Hans
    Hans de Vries
    • AMD apologist?



      Anyone? Throw me a bone here...
      • One explanation for you

        If you want independently verified benchmarks, ask an independent lab to produce them. Much of what Adrian and George Ou are excoriating AMD for is what Intel, and every other successful company, had done for decades. They used advertisements to show their products in the best light.

        If you want to start an advertising firm based on only telling the truth and nothing but the truth, I believe both Adrian and John Carroll will join you. But don't quit your day job, because your client list will be shorter than Mini Me.
      • Why does everyone so enjoy AMD's slipping?

        I don't understand why everybody seems so happy that AMD is having problems with their new processor line.
        What do you think Intel's offerings would look like without the stiff competition from AMD? We need (at least) two strong competitors pushing each other, or the pace of CPU improvements and innovation will slow to a crawl.
        • Perhaps they own Intel stock? <nt>

          • Perhaps they own Intel stock???

            Why not, Intel has probably paid off just about every one involved in writing about PC Hardware.
      • Why do what no one else does?

        Why would AMD publish "real, independently verified,
        performance numbers" when no one else does?

        Microsoft doesn't, Intel doesn't, RedHat doesn't, Novell
        doesn't. Why should AMD?

        Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see independent testing for
        everything, but it just doesn't happen.
  • I don't think so

    "All that AMD is left with is spinning the numbers"

    Really? Are you sure? Did you read the comments, as well, on George's article? Didn't you just jump into a bit too early conclusions!?
  • What about faking the benchmarks?

    Saying that Intel is doing better than AMD is like saying Toyota is doing better than Honda. I deal with cars quite a bit as well and people will actually understand that analogy with out knowing much tech. Honda and Toyota started developing Hybrid cars at about the same time. Toyota got theirs out first, and everyone was amazed. Honda spent some more time making sure that it was done right before they launched their line. Toyota has had five recalls that I have heard of myself dealing directly with faults in the way they made the system work. Honda? One recall, and it was only a few hundred cars.
    If you call Intel and AMD you get the same attitude that you would with Toyota and Honda. Intel and Toyota will tell you 'we are the best and if you look at the testing it will prove that.' AMD and Honda will tell you 'It really depends on your needs for who is better, take a look and decide for yourself. Heres where you can find data to look at, and thanks for the interest.'
    In case you were wondering I have heard something very close from Intel and AMD when I was looking in to some information that I could find anywhere for some reason once.
  • All that Adrian is left with is spinning the numbers

    Once again the bias zombies spew their bought and paid for incorrect rhetoric. The Hughes and Ou comedy show hits another low for inept reporting by stating "facts" that are grossly incorrect. Keep up the good work you two, I can always count on a good laugh from your ignorance.
  • What AMD could do

    What AMD could do is return to what they do best. *Mainstream*
    home users. They've tried to compete with Intel, at their
    price point, and failed miserably.

    I don't need the power that the current Intel lineup has. I
    mean, quad core for checking e-mail? Really?

    I'd buy AMD if it was 50-66% of Intel's price, even if it only
    provided 66% of the performance. Drop the price, people will
    but it again; even if it is slower than Intel's offer.
  • Adrian got Ou'd

    I just read that Motorola has 300MHz Power PC CPUs ready for the Apple G3 PowerPC! It's on page 30 of a fairly recent issue of BYTE magazine....dated April 1998. <grin>
  • AMD's Many Missteps

    I've built my last three PCs around AMD - 1800+, 3200+, and 3800+ X2 CPUs - because at the time, they provided the most wallop-per-dollar, but unless something really crazy happens, my next rig will be Core 2 Duo-based. (i.e. Whatever multi-core chip Intel offers with the best price/performance delta; could be quad-core or whatever.)

    The first blunder AMD made was to switch to the AM2 socket in early 2006. I built my last rig in Dec. 2005 and with this switch, just about every chip that would extend the life of my rig has been off-limits to me. The $212 X2 6000+? Bzzzt!!! DENIED!!!

    I was able to upgrade from SLIed 7900GTs to a single 8800GTS, but now I'm stuck on the CPU side and to upgrade will require a new mobo and a new mobo will mean a switch to Intel. I would've rolled with this rig for another year, at least, if I could've upgraded the CPU, but thanks to the bone-headed AM2 scheme, AMD is going to lose me as a customer for several years at minimum.

    The second lame mistake was buying ATI. We all know how well buying STB worked for 3Dfx, but now AMD is going to see what trying to expand your area of core competency gets you. Already this is paying off with inferior ATI products which will mean losing market share in the video space to nVidia along with AMD's decline against Intel.

    Too bad. So sad.
    Dirk Belligerent