AMD posts blatantly deceptive benchmarks on Barcelona

AMD posts blatantly deceptive benchmarks on Barcelona

Summary:  Updated 8/16/2007 - AMD caught red handed[UPDATE 7/6/2007 - AMD intends to drag their feet on removing the deceptive benchmarks]After AMD admitted the bad news last week that their Barcelona product would be late and underwhelming on clock speed, the AMD propaganda machine has gone in to hyper drive with the latest salvo of blatantly deceptive benchmarks. After claiming to have the high-road on ethics, AMD showed hypocrisy on three separate occasions (one, two, and three).

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TOPICS: Processors
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 Updated 8/16/2007 - AMD caught red handed

[UPDATE 7/6/2007 - AMD intends to drag their feet on removing the deceptive benchmarks]

After AMD admitted the bad news last week that their Barcelona product would be late and underwhelming on clock speed, the AMD propaganda machine has gone in to hyper drive with the latest salvo of blatantly deceptive benchmarks. After claiming to have the high-road on ethics, AMD showed hypocrisy on three separate occasions (one, two, and three). But this latest round of deceptive benchmarks is so outrageous that it's criminal [UPDATE 7/5/2006 - Criminal might be too strong of a word.  This is blatant deceptive advertising at the very least.]

[UPDATE 7/5/2006 - Despite the fact that AMD has plausible deniability that they created these simulated benchmarks much earlier in the year, the benchmarks were confidential earlier in the year and they're now making its rounds in the blogsphere and press as if it were news of a miraculous triumph by AMD.  The AMD Barcelona spin campaign is in full throttle and this bogus information is posted prominently on AMD's Barcelona Product page.  Fortunately, all this pressure has forced AMD to promise that they will remove the bogus benchmarks on their Website.]

On AMD's "Barcelona" performance page, AMD shows the following fictitious and outdated information. Apparently some of these misleading numbers are even showing up on Wall Street Journal advertisements.

  • It's fictitious since AMD doesn't have a 2.6 GHz Barcelona quad-core CPU and they won't even have it in September which is already late by AMD's original timeline. The fastest Barcelona processor coming out in September is 2.0 GHz. It isn't really clear when AMD will be able to ramp up the clock speed an extra 30% to get to 2.6 GHz but it most likely won't be any time soon because processors don't just ramp 30% over night.
  • The numbers AMD posted for Intel's XEON X5355 and X5160 have been outdated since April 2007 and you need a magnifying glass to see that disclaimer in the fine print on the bottom. The actual up-to-date SPEC.org certified scores for the two Intel products listed are significantly higher. It not like AMD can claim that they forgot to include the very latest scores which were just posted days ago, we're talking months here so it's a blatant omission.
  • Intel's XEON X5365 3.0 GHz quad-core CPU which shipped back in April was deliberately omitted from these results even though AMD showed off numbers for a 2.6 GHz Barcelona chip which doesn't even have a launch date yet. Putting in 2.0 GHz Barcelona scores would be shady enough since the part hasn't officially launched yet but including 2.6 GHz Barcelona scores is just outrageous.

Full picture on quad-core SPECint_rate2006 performance: * Not real product. Fastest Barcelona being released in September is 2.0 GHz

As you can see from above, AMD's claim that they have a 20% clock-for-clock advantage with Barcelona is simply wrong. Based on the latest certified SPEC.org results, AMD has a little more than a 1% clock-for-clock performance advantage in a dual-socket 8-core Server configuration but they have 50% clock speed deficit when the Barcelona finally launches in September. That means Barcelona will not be the Intel quad-core killer that AMD has been promising for most of this year and it won't even be close.

The deception doesn't end with the quad-cores; AMD is also claiming to have an advantage on dual-core processors when in fact they have a major performance deficit. AMD claims to have a 2.5% advantage when Intel actually has a 14.7% advantage when you're looking at the certified SPEC.org scores.

Full picture on dual-core SPECint_rate2006 performance:** ** UPDATE 7/5/2007 - Hans de Vries pointed out in the talkback that the AMD 2222SE has newer scores. The newer results have been added to this chart.

I've seen benchmarks get cherry picked and twisted before but this is just outrageous. AMD is deliberately leaving out Intel's best scores, leaving out Intel's best products that shipped months ago, and putting in theoretical Barcelona scores for products that don't even have a ship date. After Henri Richard (AMD executive) came in front of our ZDNet cameras to slam Intel for "un-ethical behavior" and promising not to do the same, we have caught them on four separate occasions behaving unethically. After this latest incident, it's clear that AMD has no intention of behaving honestly or ethically.

Updated 8/16/2007 - AMD caught red handed Since there are a few websites and some individuals that continue to accuse me of wrongly accusing AMD of leaking the bogus simulated Barcelona 2.6 GHz benchmarks, I need to set the record straight.  AMD in mid-July last month was still giving out those benchmarks to the press weeks after they had already removed them from their own website.  Ironically that same week, I had an HD Video conference on July 20th with AMD's public relations people and they slammed me for implying that AMD had leaked it to the press and that it was a Russian partner of AMD that distributed the benchmarks.  But when TechArp's Adrian Wong wrote a story using the same benchmarks, I informed Wong that he was using discredited benchmarks that AMD was forced to remove and Wong informed me that AMD had given it to him.  Wong was not happy that he was given junked benchmarks from AMD and posted the following note in his Barcelona article:

Adrian Wong: George also pointed out that AMD removed the "simulated" benchmark results from their website on July 6th, and promised to post proper benchmark results of their Barcelona processor. However, we received the very same benchmark results just last week. If these results have already been officially junked by AMD, why are we still being served the same poo?

AMD initially denied they had given it to TechArp and told me that their European PR manager stated that they stopped distributing those benchmarks in April 2007.  Later in the week on July 25th an anonymous source of mine sent me an AMD PowerPoint presentation that was being given out to partners and I confronted AMD with it.  Four hours later AMD informed me that there was an AMD press event in Kuala Lampur on July 16 and "the simulated benchmark slide was included in the deck that was presented".

I had originally decided to let this slide and not make another posting of it but it seems that a few individuals still want to smear my reputation for implying that AMD was responsible for leaking the slides to the press.  Because of this I have no choice but to set the record straight that AMD was in fact responsible for distributing these discredited benchmarks even after they had been officially junked.

Topic: Processors

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164 comments
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  • AMD grasping at straws - get used to the deception

    You are bold to point all this out and certainly have tough skin, The AMD nancies will be after you in full force claiming "..but Intel does the same thing, blah blah.."

    The result is that AMD is shooting itself in the foot. All the "trusted adviser" equity they have built with IT over the last few years will disappear as their market share did. These are acts of desperation from a company that has no leadership.

    They should have redirected their advantages today and waited for a better Barcelona offering w/o sacrificing their integrity.
    Prognosticator
  • Does anyone really care?

    This week its AMD propaganda, a few months from now it may be Intel. In the end it doesn't matter because no one believe either company since they both just constantly try to one up the other.

    Sorry George but this story is just 'same shit, different day' kind of stuff.
    GeiselS
    • Then why did you bother to read it?

      Not to mention going to the trouble of posting a reply.
      Hallowed are the Ori
    • Never trust benchmarks when tested by the manufacturer

      People got really mad when Apple made claims that the G5 was faster than Intel and
      AMD and accused Apple of lying. All of these companies show their products in the
      best light possible. It turns out that the G5 was indeed pretty fast since it stacks up
      pretty well with chips made 3 or 4 years later, but that was in the megahertz myth
      days. Just as long as you remember Steve Jobs isn't the only one with a reality
      distortion field. When you buy anything, the manufacturer will push his claims and
      benchmark what his product does best. I mean Bill Gates said that Windows Vista was
      more secure than OSX. Who's getting hacked? It's all about marketing. Buy what you
      want, but never believe all the hype.
      MacGeek2121
  • Desperation of a failing company

    Sad to see it, especially after theri on camera ranting about Intel.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Yeah., failing...

      I'll bet you'd love to be failing at the same rate as AMD. I've been listening to how AMD is failing for a decade now. Amazing how they just keep on performing, year after year.
      jasonp@...
      • Yea., failing...

        ...failing to make consistent profits. Tell me how is that a performance?
        thetruthhurts
        • Still in business...

          more than a decade after everyone was predicting Intel would wipe them off the business map. AMD is the second largest supplier of x86 microprocessors, the second largest supplier of graphics cards and GPUs, has a market cap of $8.5 Billion. They don't appear to be failing by any rational measurement. Some years profits are up, others profits are down. Considering that AMD is basically treading the same path as Linux...trying to overcome a marketplace completely dominated by a single vendor...I'd say they're doing just fine. Overcoming the almost religious zealotry of NBWers (That would be Nothing But Wintel) isn't an easy task. They've done a far better job of breaking that stranglehold on the market than Linux could dream of at this stage. I really don't know anybody who uses the brand of microprocessor to choose one box over the other. In the 90s there were a lot of people who would never consider buying a box with anything but Intel inside. Now those people are the minority. About the only thing that's a deal breaker these days is the word "Celeron", and that's an Intel baby. I know it's sometimes difficult to understand this concept, but performance in business should really be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint. If you look at the marathon that has been AMD in the x86 market space, they've come in a strong second. I'm sure they can live with that considering when they started the race Intel was already at a full sprint.
          jasonp@...
          • blah blah blah blah blah

            Still in business only because the OEMs and some choice software companies need a counter-balance so that Intel does not dominate completely.

            But this is just too way complicated for you to understand. AMD has ridden on Intel's coattails too long.

            Come talk to me when there are REAL PERFORMANCE NUMBERS on REAL BARCELONA HARDWARE.

            I'll bet you 1 Euro that Intel will produce real Penryn-based numbers before AMD produces a single official 2GHz Barcelona benchmark.
            thetruthhurts
  • Please double-check your facts...

    ...before making wild accusations.

    Those graphs have not been posted just now after they announced the launch frequencies of 2.0GHz, but have been available on AMDs web site for a long time. Just google for the url and you'll see that people have been discussing them since May. At the time they were first published, there simply were no benchmark results of the Xeon 5365 on spec.org and that's the sole and simple reason why they were not included.

    It's not a problem to be mistaken, but please don't make bold claims when you didn't take the time to verify your facts.
    All of them circle around the simple discrepancy in dates.

    I also don't need a magnifying glass to read the caption which clearly identifies the graphs as estimated results. The fineprint additionally explains that they're based on simulations and the accompanying text also talks about "estimates" and "expectations". I really don't know how they could have been much clearer. There's also a good chance the actual launch frequencies were still planned to be in the 2.6GHz range when those graphs were drawn.

    On the contrary, you are getting deceptive by labeling the more recent values "certified spec.org" results. Those are all benchmark results submitted by vendors/licensees - nobody certifies them (read spec.org's disclaimer). And again: the values in AMD's graphs are the highest scores published for the respective platforms until April 16th, just like the text says.
    CFKane
    • And AMD is in business to make processors?

      "There's also a good chance the actual launch frequencies were still planned to be in the 2.6GHz range when those graphs were drawn."

      This is what it really reads: We think our product COULD go as high as this speed but because we really don't have the numbers or data to back it up, We will just ASS-U-ME...
      lenohere
    • AMD posted this on their website and in a WSJ ad

      AMD posted this on their website and in a WSJ ad. As for launching at 2.6, stop fantasizing because AMD says it isn't so.
      georgeou
      • Dates

        Was the previous poster correct about the dates? Was this graph from months ago or from last week as your article suggests?

        I don't see where the poster said AMD was going to launch at 2.6? I notice this sometimes in your other posts responding to others - you slightly twist what they wrote.
        gtdavies33@...
        • Random find

          I used the url with google and found this post in a Yugoslavian forum as an example:

          http://www.benchmark.co.yu/forum/archive/index.php/t-131441.html

          I don't understand the text, but they're obviously talking about the same graph and the post dates back to May 26th. There are similar hits in other fora.
          CFKane
        • A somewhat clearer picture

          AMD referenced another page with the same graphs in a press release on April 23rd:

          http://www.amd.com/us-en/Corporate/VirtualPressRoom/0,,51_104_543~117115,00.html

          The more recent SPEC values George uses are based on benchmarks run on May 23rd (Xeon 5365, provided by Intel)...

          http://www.spec.org/cpu2006/results/res2007q2/cpu2006-20070528-01175.txt

          ...and June 11th (Xeon 5355, provided by Fujitsu Siemens)

          http://www.spec.org/cpu2006/results/res2007q2/cpu2006-20070612-01275.txt
          CFKane
      • At least try to hide your bias

        I did not fantasize about a 2.6GHz launch. I only said it is quite possible they were still planning a 2.6GHz launch at the time the graphs were created (which apparently was some time in April). It looks very much like the recent announcement to go to market with an early revision that only clocks at 2.0GHz was made in the last minute - a decision between better performance and maintaining the original launch window promises.

        They did post this on their web site, but at a time where the depicted values and the absence of the Xeon 5365 were current fact. You can accuse them of releasing that information at a strategically favorable time and not updating it afterwards, but calling that "blatant deception" is inappropriate.

        Similarly, your attempt to read something into my statement that is not there (the "fantasizing" part) is the ultimate proof of your bias for me (who's not agreeing with you must be an AMD fanboy). I do not care wether they are honest or not. I don't care how Barcelona performs - I haven't preordered one. I believe if they wanted to deceive us the way you describe with a product they won't deliver, they would have just set Barcelona's scores higher instead of lowering the Xeon values, which can easily be proven wrong. I expect every vendor to tweak comparisons in their favor as much as they can - I just don't understand bloggers who claim independence, but can't keep themselves from campaigning, just to attract attention.
        CFKane
        • AMD has made it a habbit to ommit Intel's best products and scores

          AMD has made it a habit to omit Intel's best products and scores and this is simply the latest example. The fact that they "thought" they might have been able to release a 2.6 is a very weak excuse. That's not bias, that's just calling them out for deceptive benchmark. At the very least, leaving these on their website is blatant deception.

          As for reading something in to your statement, that's what it sounded like to me when I read it that you were still convinced about an imminent 2.6 GHz launch. Now that I've re-read it, I'll admit I mistook your meaning. Now it?s your turn not to read anything more from that than there is.
          georgeou
          • For a reason?

            Sometimes it's not the point to compare the absolute best ones on both side (leave that for the fanboys), but the ones in the same class (power consumption, price, etc.)...
            dess3
          • For a reason? OK...

            ...no problem. Where can I compare a 2.6GHz Barcelona with a 65W power envelope to a 2.6GHz Clovertown?

            Oh wait. A 2.6GHz Barcelona does not physically exist.
            thetruthhurts
          • Clocks...

            The point in this case was the similar clocks. Other times it's the TDP (what Intel and AMD count differently), or the price.

            And how you could tell there is no a single Barcelona that stand 2.6 GHz? The question is what volume.
            dess3