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AMD Graphics Chip Shortage Hits PC Vendors

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the at-least-tsmc-is-consistent dept.

AMD 97

CWmike writes "An offshore AMD foundry is having trouble ramping up production of a new 40-nanometer GPU, forcing PC makers to delay shipments of desktop and laptop computers, AMD confirmed today. TSMC is struggling to get up to speed manufacturing AMD's 5800 series, 40-nm GPUs, according to Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat. He added that the foundry is in full production, but so far yields are below expectation. Matt Davis, a spokesman for AMD, confirmed that TSMC is having issues with production of the chips. He added that it's not clear how far behind the foundry is on production expectations. 'The design is sound. It's just a matter of trying to get TSMC to a point where they can yield. They're feeling the manufacturing crunch,' said Davis. 'We're a little bit under yield but we're working back into a manufacturing schedule we want for these parts. TSMC can only kick them out so fast at this point.' He said that PC vendors are being affected but declined to say how many vendors are feeling the pinch or which ones. 'It's the end of the whip,' he added. '[The vendors] are going to have a hard time.'" A post at Anandtech suggests we'll see price hikes for the 5800-series Radeons until this situation sorts itself out.

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TSMC (4, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011462)

NVIDIA also manufactures their GPUs at TSMC. TSMC is the largest foundry, but it has competitors like UMC, Chartered and SMIC. TSMC probably has more revenue than all those combined however...

Re:TSMC (1)

DavMz (1652411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011596)

Things don't look good for SMIC though. It seems they will severly loose against TSMC in the suit for theft of trade secrets...

Re:TSMC (-1, Offtopic)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013144)

foundry -noun, plural -ries.
1. an establishment for producing castings in molten metal.
2. the act or process of founding or casting metal.
3. the category of metal objects made by founding; castings.

Maybe they should get out of the bronze age and at least try some point-to-point wiring... might speed things up a bit.

Re:TSMC (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013580)

Here is what I mean by foundry [wikipedia.org] . I guess you aren't used to EE jargon.

This is where Intel rules (3, Insightful)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011478)

They're not called Chipzilla for nothing. I can't remember the last time Intel had poor yields ( or were admitting to it)
but this has been an issue for pretty much everyone else for years, particularly AMD.

Re:This is where Intel rules (2, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011508)

AMD actually used to have some of the best fabs in the business. They managed to have good yields and mixed production in the same plant. AMD started using copper before Intel for e.g. That part of the business was spun-off as Global Foundries. But yeah, Intel has the best production research and facilities in the industry. It is just that they don't share their fabs with anyone else.

Re:This is where Intel rules (5, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012614)

AMD actually used to have some of the best fabs in the business. They managed to have good yields and mixed production in the same plant. AMD started using copper before Intel for e.g. That part of the business was spun-off as Global Foundries. But yeah, Intel has the best production research and facilities in the industry. It is just that they don't share their fabs with anyone else.

True, but AMD also had a problem with capacity - they literally had to have good yields because their fabs were often running at full capacity because they were always backordered. I can't remember a time when AMD had excess production capacity. Heck, it was often why AMD's chips were poor overclockers - they got binned at their highest speed they were stable at and sold because demand was such that there was no spare chips.

Also why Apple didn't go AMD - Apple has way too much experience being burned by Motorola and IBM both being unable to supply chips in heavy demand. And AMD would've killed for the Apple contract given the way Apple orders parts. But it would pretty much mean that there would be no AMD chips for anyone else.

Heck, it might've been why Microsoft switched from AMD to Intel for the original Xbox. Production problems caused a very expensive redesign for Microsoft and nVidia (to create an Intel compatible chipset).

Intel's got huge fab capacity, and can oversupply quite easily. In fact, there's so much oversupply that Intel often holds back production of faster chips and waits for AMD to catch up to keep prices up. Also why Intel can do special fab runs for customers (like how all Apple's chips support VT, or the special chip in the MacBook Air, etc).

The only real production problems I remember are the special Pentium 3 1.13GHz processors. Which were basically just overclocked Pentium 3s and Intel was called out on it when systems were crashing.

Re:This is where Intel rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014398)

By the time that Apple had decided to switch to x86 definitely, Intel had the new Core architecture coming through which was already a superior performer to AMD's arch.

AMD needs to seriously look at optimizing and improving their uproc arch.

I wonder if they ever fixed up their chip packaging and retail packaging as the ONLY DOA CPUs that I'd gotten were AMD up a few years ago. They also were reportedly very fragile wrt shock resistance, as I read MANY stories of people dropping them a very tiny distance(mms) and ending up with a dead cpu. This is kind of supported by that one system builder that claimed that they stayed away from AMD products as their CPU/motherboard interface was prone to problems(damaging CPU "pins" in transit quite frequently.)

TSMC is just having too many problems with their yields, they probably really need to maintain 60%(more preferably) consistently for it to be viable. I wonder if they went 40nm because they figured out a way to use existing machinery with their 40nm process, whereas AFAIK everyone else has to replace at least some of their equipment.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30018410)

> Also why Apple didn't go AMD
Yet Apple have dumped Nvidia and are now using AMD GPUs

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

toddestan (632714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30019002)

It's easy for them to switch back to nVidia at any point. Which is why I see some of these "Why Apple didn't use AMD chips" posts as so silly. It would be very easy for them to use either both Intel and AMD (and VIA too) and switch between them as needed.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

bjb (3050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30032520)

Yeah, but this happens with almost every revision of their hardware. If you look at the historical specs of Apple hardware, they've gone back and forth almost every year. On top of that, for the PowerMac / Mac Pro (read: you have a choice of graphics chip), they've always offered nVidia and ATi options.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

Ben Hutchings (4651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024860)

Apple has way too much experience being burned by Motorola and IBM both being unable to supply chips in heavy demand.

As I recall, Motorola and IBM had no problem with regular supply. The problem was that Apple was the only major customer for desktop/laptop-suitable PowerPC processors, and those vendors quite reasonably expected long-term order commitments for these products while Apple wanted more flexibility. With Intel, Apple is just one of many customers and while it has less control over x86 processor development it also doesn't have to make such commitments.

Re:This is where Intel rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014344)

They got copper and soi from IBM, which used to maintain alot of foundries as well.

I wonder how long before AMD moves their GPU production to Global Foundries? Be funny if nVidia did as well...

Not looking like it was such a good idea to rush 40nm w/TSMC any longer, and maybe that's the real reason for the nVidia arch upgrade delay.

According to Ars Technica IIRC they had been up to a 60% yield over the summer, but indicated that they were back to around 40% again. AMD also bumped the 5800, etc. series prices a bit, which they claimed was down to component price increases, however I can't help but wonder if poor TSMC yields also affected that more than anything else. (Other speculation was profiteering for the Christmas season, so it might be a combo of all three, but the lower yields sure gives them CYA protection...)

Re:This is where Intel rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014542)

AMD actually used to have some of the best fabs in the business. They managed to have good yields and mixed production in the same plant. AMD started using copper before Intel for e.g. That part of the business was spun-off as Global Foundries. But yeah, Intel has the MOST EXPENSIVE production research and facilities in the industry. It is just that they don't share their fabs with anyone else.

Fixed that for ya.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

sillybilly (668960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30021972)

That was the fatal mistake for AMD, to spin off their fabs, or let someone on top make such a bad strategic decision. Soon it's gonna be Intel alone, and we'll be back to $1000 cpu's again. It was because AMD, Cyrix, Winchip and Transmeta that we had $25 PC compatible GHz cpu's, or something at the. AMD is the only viable competitor still around. ARM is efficient but too slow by today's standards. VIA and IBM are still kind of around, but they are neither in the field, nor was cpu's ever one of their core businesses, nor were they at the forefront pushing technology and driving Intel to do a better job. I don't have anything against Intel, other than them being a threat of becoming a monopoly, but in fact I love the great work they do these days, which would not have happened without competition on their heels. Look at Windows back in the mid 90's, when there was plenty of uncertainty and competition, from Mac, commercial Unix, OS/2, and all kinds of other stuff. Microsoft did great work, because they had to, and they were more successful then the rest, because they did what they do better. But being left with no competitor they turned to dirty business, and stagnation. They've kind of saved their old competitor, the Mac, from the brink of the abyss by injecting a cash infusion back in the early 00's, then bringing Jobs back at the helm, and kind of screwing up Windows, to create some sort of artificial competition, or simply screwing up Windows because they wanted to do what the competitor, Apple did, better than them, so you got a Vista that has an Appleish feel. All they created was a straw man to compete against, a scarecrow filled with a ghost, but no real life and punch, only being able to produce alot of marketroid hype and seas of lemmings jumping on the latest bandwagons. Sure it's been a great moneymaker, but making funny money that's bringing the whole system down, because no true value or true innovations happened at the core of computing, other than coming from Intel. The job of money is to be the John Stuart Mill invisible hand, to guide the economy so that resources get allocated to most benefit society and humanity. Intel is doing amazing work that tremendously benefits society and humanity these days, something that cannot be said about either Microsoft, Apple, or even Linux. When Intel loses AMD as a viable competitor to compete against, they may end up in the same stagnation that MS got themselves into by being too successful at killing everybody else around. Now they've lost direction, because they cannot embrace, extend, extinguish a competitor's technology. I guess Intel always had the innovations coming from in-house, never needing to copy and adapt outsider technology and do it better than them (unless copper/silicon by AMD is such a thing), but they still benefited from someone being on their heels and driving them to do better. True, because of free market competition they have not made the money that they could have had they been a monopoly able to charge $1000-2000 for a CPU, but the rest of us, consumers benefited from that, and we should be very thankful to Intel and their competition for that. The same cannot be said about Microsoft or Apple innovations in efficiency and price drops brought to you in the last decade.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30022296)

Okay, you really have to write in paragraphs. This
is just an impossible read.

Re:This is where Intel rules (0, Troll)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011652)

Lies! Intel's ability to have good yields is down to anti-competitive practices, not foresight and investment. I hope the EU gets billions out of them.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

DinZy (513280) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012300)

I assume you are being sarcastic. Intel gets high yields because the people in development work their collective arses off to decrease defects and improve yields. This has nothing to do with how the products are sold.

Re:This is where Intel rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012506)

Why are we comparing a highly complex Radeon chip to in contrast a simple CPU and lego brick complexity Chipset?

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012734)

Of course I was being sarcastic, pretty sad state that people think I was serious.

Re:This is where Intel rules (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011700)

Part of the problem in particular with this one seems to be the process. TSMC has decided to blaze their own trail as it were and is going outside the ITRS roadmap. You'll note it says 40nm chips and that's not a typo. They have a 40nm process, whereas pretty much everything else (like Intel and AMD CPUs) are 45nm currently and working on moving to 32nm.

Ok well this roadmap with set nodes isn't for nothing. You don't semiconductor manufacturing in a vacuum, the foundries buy hardware from a number of companies to be able to make their fab work. As such it is useful if everyone has a common goal to work on. If machines for one step are for one process and machines for another are for a different process, you have problems.

Well TSMC has decided to go ahead and make their own process, not something part of the ITRS standard. Ok well that means they are buying some custom equipment or modifying the procedure or the like.

The result? Well it seems to be poor yields. They had a lot of trouble bringing it online, took longer than they planned, and now it doesn't work as well as they'd hoped.

This isn't isn't entirely surprising. How well it works out for them in the long run remains to be seen. They do have the smallest process on the market now as far as I'm aware and both nVidia and ATi are placing orders using it. However I wonder if they'll be shopping elsewhere for future cards, given the problems this is having. They can't change what they've got now (a design for one process doesn't work on another as is) but they can change what they do in the future.

You are also correct, Intel rocks at fabs. They generally beat just about everyone to market with on a new node and they seem to be able to keep yields high enough to meet demand and keep prices at whatever level they like.

Re:This is where Intel rules (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30011740)

True, but there was an article about why they (knowingly) do it this way. (Somewhere at AnandTech, afaicr; perhaps the GlobalFoundries article?)

I believe the gist of it was that the pace of GPU refreshes is much shorter than CPU's, and consequently it makes economic sense to both design-for and migrate to so-called half-node production steps. Both AMD (ATI) and NVIDIA been doing it this way for a while now, and I believe it has burned them in the past as well.

ButJudging by the fact that they continue down the same path, though, means it must make some kind of economic sense for them.

Re:This is where Intel rules (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30015572)

Well they've only done it once before, that was with TSMC's 55nm process. Prior to that, all GPUs I am aware of were on ITRS nodes. In terms of the 55nm chips they did get a bit burned on supply but it worked pretty well, more or less. Of course while 55nm was non standard, it wasn't blazing new ground. When TSMC was bringing 55nm online, Intel already had 45nm products for sale. Also from my understanding their 55nm process was more or less a shrink on the 65nm process they have. Not much changes in terms of design and implementation. Not so on the 40nm process, it might be a shrink from a 45nm process, but they don't have one of those. They go from 55nm to 40nm, nothing in the middle.

That nVidia and ATi with with it doesn't surprise me. At the time they were designing these chips, nobody else really had the capacity to take their orders (Global Foundries wasn't up and running when these were starting design) and in graphics there is a heavy push for smaller. GPUs use too much power and give off too much heat. Anything you can do to lower that is good, because it means you can have more power. GPUs also can scale to pretty ridiculous levels since they are so parallel so there's always the possibility of adding more transistors if you've got the power/silicon budget. So makes sense to me they'd try TSMC's 40nm process.

Also, when they did it, they didn't know how bad it'd be. If they could have seen to now, I think perhaps it would have been different. Like I said, there were some problems on the 55nm process, but not big ones. The 40nm process has been much more problematic.

We'll see what they do next. TSMC hasn't said, publicly at least, what the next process is they are bringing online or when. Global foundries is saying they can take 32nm orders now for delivery in early 2010. So perhaps TSMC will lose out on the next gen of cards.

Re:This is where Intel rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014580)

40nm the problem? FAIL! 10nm of overlay margin between level? Well there's ya problem!

Re:This is where Intel rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014644)

You are also correct, Intel rocks at fabs. They generally beat just about everyone to market with on a new node and they seem to be able to keep yields high enough to meet demand and keep prices at whatever level they like.

Actually historically speaking, memory manufactures are on the bleeding edge of the technology. Course this is because of those large arrays of repeating patterns are "easier" to print then other types. But, none the less they print smaller first.

Re:This is where Intel rules (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011920)

They're not called Chipzilla for nothing. I can't remember the last time Intel had poor yields ( or were admitting to it)
but this has been an issue for pretty much everyone else for years, particularly AMD.

Oh, they've had poor yields at times. But they can often make up for it -- a big part of being 'zilla -- with their sheer manufacturing capacity. Low yields just means their costs are higher, not that they can't supply customers. It has happened though that they had to "paper launch" products in the past. Though saying they've had poor yields should not be taken to imply that their fab tech isn't absolutely top notch -- low yields happens to everyone. ;) But it's that fab tech times their fab size that makes them chipzilla.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012454)

Just three years ago, they had a major shortage of single-channel chipsets and had to buy a boatload of them from ATI for Intel-branded motherboards.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

waferbuster (580266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012686)

Yes, and that Intel motherboard with the ATI chipset was an absolute disaster. Silly me, I bought one of those because it was very low cost. Well, the time I spent troubleshooting it was not worth the savings in dollars. D101GGC? Something like that... Luckily, that was the end of ATI providing chipsets for Intel. Of course then ATI was bought out by AMD, which meant no more ATI chipsets.

Re:This is where Intel rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014396)

Its too bad that Intel CPUs are inferior to AMD CPUs. I have 3 computer systems here. One is a home built system with an AMD Athelon 1800+ CPU and 512 meg of ram. Anther has a Compaq with P4 1.83 gig processor and 512 meg ram. The third is a Dell system with the same P4 1.83 gig processor and 512 gig of ram. All three systems have identical 80 gig Western Digital hard drives, and are running the same version of sidux GNU/Linux. The home built system with the AND processor is noticeably faster at all times than the P4 systems.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

Glasswire (302197) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014640)

I'd agree with you if I were living in 2005 like you are.

Re:This is where Intel rules (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023844)

I can't remember the last time Intel had poor yields ( or were admitting to it)
but this has been an issue for pretty much everyone else for years, particularly AMD.

This is utter nonsense. Intel has chip shortages *almost* every year. They are WORSE than AMD and others in this regard.

September 2005
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/manufacturers-report-intel-chipset-shortage,1410.html [tomshardware.com]

May 2008
http://www.slashgear.com/intel-atom-demand-prompts-chipset-shortages-0111422/ [slashgear.com]

Sep 2009
http://en.newspeg.com/Intel-G31-chipset-shortages-to-get-worse-in-4Q09-as-Intel-cuts-back-supply-43419056.html [newspeg.com]

Not so worried (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011482)

The big vendors who I trust already have built their inventory and this is just a temporary glitch in their manufacturing process. It's hardly something to be concerned about.

For Joe's Custom PCs and Feed Lot (or Dell), this may be a problem.

Should you go with an OEM who is well known and sells large volumes? Or should you stick with mom 'n pop PC assembly shops? I think it's like asking whether you should buy American or Chinese. Sure, one is cheaper but is it worth the lead poisoning?

Re:Not so worried (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011822)

Or wait till the next generation comes out when all the current generation stuff is 1/2 the price and everyone has plenty of stock.

At least that's what works for me.

Re:Not so worried (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011940)

We're talking graphics card. There's no really big vendor, and no reason to stockpile, on the contrary, the newer stuff commands a premium and is to be sold asap, before it becomes last month's news.Prices are already rising at retail, and OEMs will surely raise them too, even if they have plenty of parts.

Regarding the mom n' pop vs large OEM comment... I rather think the contrary: would you rather eat at a chain restaurant, or at a mom n' pop one ? Do you always buy standard, chain-made stuff assuming it's better than more individual, more hand-crafted stuff ? From my experience, Dell's failure rate is higher than that of the stuff I build myself (mostly because I know to put money for quality where it counts, Dell is just chasing checkmarks for reviews done over 1 week tops, a few hours more likely), and repairs are harder since some parts are nonstandard. Also, my mom's sweaters are definitely nicer than anything you can buy :-p

Mass-produced != good.

Re:Not so worried (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013524)

would you rather eat at a chain restaurant, or at a mom n' pop one ?

Depends. Are they both buying their ingredients from the same supplier and using the same recipes?

Still has a lead on nVidia (2, Interesting)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011486)

From a faked board to rumors about really bad yields, nVidia won't show up until next year. Sure, it'll probably be faster, but they clearly had to sacrifice something to focus on high-end computing with features like ECC and double-precision. My 4890 is serving me pretty well for now.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (2, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011628)

NVIDIA's scared enough of Intel and Larabee to be doing stuff like this [intelsinsides.com] .

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (5, Interesting)

JoeSixpack00 (1327135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011636)

This is how nVidia always manages to stay on top: assumption.

I don't know why, but people always assume that nVidia parts are at the least equal, and for the most part better than ATi. Granted they have been in the past, but anyone savvy enough to know about graphics cards should also know how much things can change with every next generation.

I've heard people actually say "It's safe to say that the HD 3800 was pretty much a failure". That had to be one of the dumbest comments I've ever heard from a so-called "true gamer".

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30011772)

You ATI fanboys are funny.

At least nvidia knows how to make a decent driver.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012182)

And hide it too.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (1)

Deosyne (92713) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014940)

I've been told by a couple of friends running Crossfire rigs that ATI has finally been pulling their head from their ass on driver flakiness in the past couple of years. That along with the issues that I've run into with a couple of the past few NVIDIA driver revisions and the whole PhysX clusterfuck, I'm willing to give ATI another chance after swearing off of them for the past few years. Well, except for the fact that I can't get a 5850 anywhere and the prices are sliding on up because of it.

I'm still willing to entertain running with an ATI in my new system, but I'll be holding off until production ramps up enough to bring the price back down to release levels. At which point I might be considering a new NVIDIA instead, although given their own production problems as of late, I'm not holding my breath. But the driver issue is no longer a major concern for me.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (3, Interesting)

KillShill (877105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011970)

They always manage to stay on top because they are a monopolist in the gfx industry. They are the Inte£/Micro$oft of their respective industry.

Remember the partial precision era (5800)? They just happened to continue using PP well up to the 8 series...

3Dmark? They threatened to leave the sponsors group when things didn't go their way, a few years back.

They have PhysX in 3Dmark, when no one else has it in hardware to artificially boost benchmark scores (which basically sells hardware to 99% of non-enthusiasts).

Remember when 3Dmark ran on rails? The biggest cheat that the public found out about....

They have a very long history of dirty tricks, anti-competitive and anti-consumer behavior. The latest one is the disabling of physx when not paired with an $vidia card as the renderer. The customers already bought the right to use physx with their ati cards but $vidia disabled it and then gave a complete bull$hit answer as to why.

That and lots more over the years.

They are a scum company, which is why i have been $vidia-free for 7 years.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (3, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012122)

Inte£/Micro$oft
$vidia

Way to nuke any possibility of credibility, dude. Using currency symbols in company names just makes you look like a nutjob, regardless of how accurate your accusations might be. Nevermind that company of nVidia's, Intel's, Microsoft's, or indeed even ATI/AMD's size has "a very long history of dirty tricks, anti-competitive and anti-consumer behavior". Pick the card that works the best for your needs. Giving the name on the box more press -- even bad press -- simply makes the brand name that much more valuable than the hardware you're buying.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012162)

You seem hypersensitive. Are you '$' curious? ;)

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012460)

Being a nutjob never hurt Rush Limbaugh or any number of right-wingnuts.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012740)

Actually, it made him so he couldn't buy a football team.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30046856)

"history of dirty tricks, anti-competitive and anti-consumer behavior"

Two words, lock in. These companies are terrified of interoperability, support for future processors or graphics cards or anything in that mindset.

Meanwhile they are searching diligently for ways to guarantee profits with minimal effort, the best way to do this? Muck about with software so your chips always look good while still ending up slow.

If you make software updates break your old products you create a product treadmill.

We've been through 20-30 generations of Video cards at this point... Can't we find some way OFF this damn treadmill?

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013540)

They always manage to stay on top because they are a monopolist in the gfx industry

Market share numbers from Q2 2009:

  • Intel: 51.20%
  • nVidia: 29.2%
  • AMD: 18.14%

Sure, nVidia is an evil monopolist, what with having a market share slightly more than half of the company with the majority market share and a third larger than their nearest competitor.

I know it's fashionable to call everyone a monopolist on Slashdot, but the term has real meanings in both law and economics. Neither definition can apply to a company that has both a market share under 50% and a competitor with a larger market share.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (3, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013850)

It really depends how you define the market. Yes intel makes a lot of motherboard chipsets and most of those come with integrated graphics with 3D capability that ranges from appalling to mediocre.

If you define the market as all GPUs sold even those that are used in machines that never need 3D acceleration or those that are there because they are part of the chipset but are disabled by a better card (which is what I suspect your stats do) then it doesn't at all surprise me that intel comes out on top.

OTOH if you define the market as GPUs sold for use on seperate cards (that is GPUs that customers buy willingly because they want more than their onboard graphics offers) then afaict ATI and nVidia are the only real players left.

P.S. this post does not take any position postive or negative on whether nVidia is an evil monopolist, just that I don't think it's reasonable to count crappy integrated graphics and chips for gaming cards as the same market.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30014394)

I didn't know Intel made chips that came anywhere close to mediocre. Their first mediocre product ever is supposed to be Larabee, isn't it?

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30018364)

Apparently ut2K4 is playable on the x3100 and apparently the x4500 is faster. If i'm not mistaken that would make it comparable to a geforce fx5200. Whether that counts as mediocre depends on your standards I guess.

Unfortunately all the reviews i've seen of the x4500 seem to focus on games/settings that it can't handle rather than finding out what it can handle.

In Slashdot speak (2, Funny)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30015498)

Monopolist = Company I don't like that sells more hardware/software than company I do like.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012872)

nVidia manages to stay in my systems on the assumption that it will work better in Linux. So far, I have never been wrong about this; ATI has always been an abject nightmare for me, while nVidia has usually worked. Note that I am not the fanboy who will say it "just works" which would be a lie. But, it can be made to work. I've been flip-flopping between ATI and nVidia and back in the day had 3dfx and even Permedia and PowerVR at times and I've spent most of my time with nVidia and never regretted it. I've regretted every moment I spent with ATI, most especially on Linux. I've heard that some people with just the right-generation GPU have great results with the free ati driver; everyone else suffers.

I don't care if I'm off by five or ten FPS, I care that output is pretty and that I can use my video card.

One word: Drivers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012940)

AMD/ATi's video card drivers suck, have sucked and continue to suck. This is a real shame because ATi's hardware has really picked up (the 9800 was a ground-breaker, the X???? series was pretty lame but 3xxx/4xxx/5xxx is blowing nVidia out of the water which probably serves them right for over capitalising on the high-end scientific computation market).

The problem with ATi's drivers for me personally are:
Windows
Problems with OpenGL performance compared to DirectX (annoying)
No per application profiles (deal breaker)
Catalyst control panel is apparently .Net with 3+ background services (annoying)

Linux
Unstable, slow, don't support the newest kernel releases and are quite slow to add support. They also drop support for old cards too quickly (deal breaker)
People who use them complain about graphical glitches and performance slowdowns (deal breaker)
The open source drivers suck (So does nouveau but at least the binary driver is decent)

Basically, I would buy ATi's stuff as the hardware is great but their end-to-end support is awful so I'm stuck with nVidia or not upgrading.

Re:One word: Drivers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013146)

www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=11880
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NzY0NA
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=960&num=1
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NzAxNg

If you want to help Linux, buy AMD.

Re:One word: Drivers (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013946)

It is certainly good news that AMD is opening up the specs for ATI graphics but ultimately i'm going to base my buying descisions on what works best now not what may work best in a few years time.

http://wiki.x.org/wiki/radeonhd [x.org] has the following claims

The following subsystems have not been implemented yet or show some limitations:

        * 3D acceleration is active by default only on R5xx and RS6xx right now. Experimental support for R6xx and R7xx is available, but not for the faint of heart. Also, there is an experimental 3D bringup tool for testing on 6xx/7xx.
        * 2D acceleration is active by default now, except on RV740.
        * No TV and Component connector support so far.
        * Suspend & Resume isn't completely tested, but works on a variety of hardware. Your mileage may vary. Note that typically you need some BIOS workarounds on the kernel command line, ask your distribution for that.
        * Powermanagement has to be enabled explicitely. Depending on your hardware, the fan might run at full speed. This turned out to be really tricky.

See also RadeonFeature and RadeonProgram for a features and supported 3D program lists.

The following known bugs have not been resolved yet (ordered by severity):

        * Digital output on PCIEPHY (RS780) doesn't light up unless connected at boot time. Affects mostly displays connected to laptops thru DVI/HDMI. It is a problem with the AtomBIOS byte code parser which is used at the moment. The only work around is to boot with this output connected at boot time.
        * Bug 14500: External monitor does not display native resolution
        * Some cards seem to provide broken connector tables. We're constantly fixing those. Please report if you have one.

Seems like it's still a work in progress to me.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30019122)

I've not bought an ATI card (intentionally - unless it was bundled with something) since the All In Wonder cards were new, and I've been buying Nvidia since my G400 bit the dust years ago. But they do have their act together in all but the driver department, IMO.

The biggest thing for me is thermal footprint. In many ways, it demonstrates the overall quality of the design, I think.

I met a Nvidia engineer in the Denver (I think) airport last winter. We sat and talked for about half an hour while we waited for our late flights. His job was, for the time being, to work the thermal issues out of nvidia's chips and decrease their power use. He agreed that, while they were ahead in terms of raw performance, they were inferior to AMD/ATI chips in performance per watt as well as overall thermal footprint, and that it tended to be quite a problem when trying to run a cool system without much noise - and one big reason they hadn't pursued the whole 'integrated system' with too much effort in the past.

Hopefully ATI can get their driver situation figured out, and Nvidia the thermal issues... we will see.

Re:Still has a lead on nVidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30011836)

The less than 2% yield of the GT300 is not a rumor.

Its Intel's fault. Help us out Cuomo ! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30011494)

Its Intel's fault. Help us out Cuomo !

Re:Its Intel's fault. Help us out Cuomo ! (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011624)

I dunno about that. Intel was found to have broken laws in Europe and they employ quite a few people over there. Perhaps it is possible that breaking the law can cause charges to be brought against you. Who knows?

Re:Its Intel's fault. Help us out Cuomo ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012428)

AMD looks to government and says, "We could have sold 2X the product. It Intels fault"
AMD looks to customers who want product and says, "We don't have product, Its Tawain fabs fault"

AMD, let me introduce you to DEC, GM, and SCO.
They can help guide you through the path you have chosen for your government lawsuit death dance.

AMD is Dying (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30011586)

Just like *BSD . . . dead dying dead.

Buh-bye!

Bad Financial News for AMD (2, Interesting)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011620)

Just as AMD started turning back into profit, and gained the graphics card they had to run out of chip production. Its a pity really the're using TMC, I believe global foundaries can do 40nm standard silicon either now or soon, so AMD should perphaps switch to there part owned foundary. Hope AMD sort out the problem soon, i'd hate to be on a one cpu maker planet.

---

Graphics Cards [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:Bad Financial News for AMD (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011654)

They really should. Relying on a business that their competitors have even larger contracts with opens them up to taking damage from bribery, like if Nvidia were to pay TSMC a little extra for a bigger chunk of the 40nm silicon (assuming this isn't happening already!). Turning production to Globalfoundries could help them avoid such an issue.

Re:Bad Financial News for AMD (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011978)

I believe global foundaries can do 40nm standard silicon either now or soon, so AMD should perphaps switch to there part owned foundary.

No, they can't. Global Foundries can do 45nm, and soon 32nm, but not 40. Also, Global Foundries uses SOI while TSMC is bulk.

I'm sure AMD will use GF eventually for their graphics chips, but for right now, I'm also sure it will take less time for TSMC to sort themselves out than it would to modify the design for a very different process.

Also, don't expect graphics by itself to make or break AMD. It helps being on top their, but it's a small portion of their overall revenue. To stay afloat, AMD has to compete with Intel and that's all there is to it.

Re:Bad Financial News for AMD (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013556)

They'll probably fix it soon. One of the reasons for spinning off The Foundry Companies was to make it easier for AMD to use other foundries for production. I'd imagine that their next chips will be sent to two or more foundries with penalty clauses in the contract if they can't keep up with demand and bonuses if the others can take up the slack when one can't keep up.

i'd hate to be on a one cpu maker planet

You mean one x86 CPU manufacturer. TI, Samsung, Qualcomm, and a dozen other companies all make ARM chips and these outsell x86 by a large margin.

Re:Bad Financial News for AMD (2, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30018878)

You mean one x86 CPU manufacturer. TI, Samsung, Qualcomm, and a dozen other companies all make ARM chips and these outsell x86 by a large margin.

Frito Lay chips outsell ARM chips by a large margin...

Of course they're vastly different things, and not remotely comparable, but you don't seem to care about that in the slightest...

Engineers Wanted (1)

Rainbird98 (186939) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011706)

In years past TSMC would be on the phone to the Semiconductor Equipment Manufactures requesting their engineers on the next jet to help resolve the problem. Alas, there is no money for travel anymore and most of the engineers have been laid off. A sign of the times is guess.

Re:Engineers Wanted (1)

freak132 (812674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012664)

If the engineers have been let go from 'Semiconductor Equipment Manufactures' perhaps TSMC should hire one or two at a lower salary.

Re:Engineers Wanted (1)

gander666 (723553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014252)

Not many of them would want to live in Taiwan, and work in Hsin Chu. For low wages.

Notebook chips? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011726)

Sorry if this is a little off-topic, but...

Does anyone know when AMD/ATI will be releasing notebook version of its 5000-line chips, and how they're expected to compare to chips currently on the market from them and from nVidia?

Re:Notebook chips? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013020)

Anyone that would know things like that would be under NDA.

Sign of unreliable chips to come? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30011912)

I would not want to buy a chip from a company that can't get their new production process to work properly.

Lets say a cereal company is putting out a new line of product, only to find their new machinery is contaminated with mouse turds. In the meantime while they figure out how to clean out the machines they look in every box and throw out the ones that have turds visible and ship the rest. Would you want to eat that cereal?

Re:Sign of unreliable chips to come? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012198)

If they give a public apology, yes.

Re:Sign of unreliable chips to come? (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013216)

Sign of unreliable chips to come? (Score:0, Troll) /me cannot decide whether to mod troll or funny as both apply.

Typical AMD bullshit (0, Flamebait)

SpinningIntoNoFuture (1673040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011962)

Blaming their suppliers (TSMC) or otherwise is typical M.O. for AMD. I should know, I worked there almost 5 years. That's why they can't be a successful company because they don't take responsibility for themselves. Blame suppliers. Blame competitors. Blame customers. How about take a good hard look at your company that's losing money out the ass and fire and all the moronic windbags in upper management who are too busy cutting insider trading deals to actually instill some fucking leadership in the company. The place is a fucking goat rodeo. This does not surprise me. I work at another semiconductor company that partners with TSMC quite a bit. We've never had problems with yields, and if we did we'd take responsibility for it instead of just blaming TSMC. If I were TSMC I'd be pretty pissed. It's no way to treat a business partner. I don't think I've posted a comment on slashdot since 2002, this just got me so pissed off I had to create an account and say something.

Oh man, and they got TSMC in on it! (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012024)

If I were TSMC I'd be pretty pissed.

I'd be pretty pissed too that I was having material issues with my 40nm process that was affecting my customers in a significant way.

Oh but wait I'm sure it was AMD's executives that somehow made TSMC admit [xbitlabs.com] that they have still-unresolved problems even though they really don't.

How about take a good hard look at your company that's losing money out the ass and fire and all the moronic windbags in upper management who are too busy cutting insider trading deals to actually instill some fucking leadership in the company.

I hear ya there! I laughed my ass off when Hector the Sector Wrecker (as Motorola/Freescale folks call him) got fingered in the insider trading scandal. Maybe he'll be cooling his heels and get more comeuppance than he ever could just by being fired with a golden parachute. Oh well he already wasn't the CEO.

Re:Typical AMD bullshit (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012226)

"I don't think I've posted a comment on slashdot since 2002, this just got me so pissed off I had to create an account and say something."

Don't they have "accounts" back then? Why don't you come back on the old one?

Re:Typical AMD bullshit (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012440)

... and YOU would remember an account's details from 8 years ago, that you haven't used since?

Are you some kind of savant?

Re:Typical AMD bullshit (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013568)

I don't remember that kind of thing, but fortunately some people invented machines that are capable of augmenting my memory by storing (and processing) data externally. You can even connect them together and use them for communication...

Re:Typical AMD bullshit (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30015050)

Hmm, I'm intrigued. Do you have a newsletter?

Price hikes? (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012362)

A post at Anandtech suggests we'll see price hikes for the 5800-series Radeons until this situation sorts itself out.

Price hikes? No. Probably not. They were already sold out pretty much everywhere. So it's more likely we just won't see any until this is worked out. I'm not saying there won't be assholes selling 5870s for $800 on eBay, I mean, there ALWAYS are. I'm just saying it's not like Newegg is suddenly going to have them back in stock but for a hundred bucks more.

Re:Price hikes? (2, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012404)

I'm not saying there won't be assholes selling 5870s for $800 on eBay

How does that make them assholes?

Re:Price hikes? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30019232)

They buy for $400, sell for $800, then geometrically increase their purchases fucking up the supply chain for legitimate users.

Re:Price hikes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012414)

I wouldn't be so sure. They were already about $40 over MSRP on average the last time they were in stock.

Re:Price hikes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30019354)

Actually, there already have been price hikes. Most of the 58xx and 57xx graphics cards are being sold for $15-25 more than they were 3 weeks ago.

I wonder if those "bad" 58xx chips could be used in a hypothetical 5830 that would perform roughly on par with the 5770. It would be 256-bit but with a lower clock speed. If this keeps up, maybe AMD would go there.

Offshore? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012364)

Those Taiwanese bastards. How dare they offer fabrication services!

AMD having yield problems? Didn't see THAT coming! (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012610)

Honestly. Fab problems when pushing technology forward has been a hallmark of AMD's business for nearly a decade now. Why should this surprise anyone?

Yeah. The new series of graphics controllers may be the bees' knees, and may make nVidia cry for mommy, but until people can...y'know...OBTAIN THEM, it's all just smoke and mirrors.

Re:AMD having yield problems? Didn't see THAT comi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013324)

Are you competing for uber-troll 2009?

Re:AMD having yield problems? Didn't see THAT comi (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013576)

AMD is not having yield problems because, since spinning off The Foundry Company, AMD does not have any fabs. The company that AMD contracted to produce their chips is having yield problems. Still not entirely unexpected (they are using a very ambitious technique), but being able to switch suppliers when this kind of thing happened was part of the reason for spinning off TFC...

Background info on Telenor (0, Offtopic)

Sheen (1180801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013014)

I would like to add some information about Telenor. Telenor is state owned, 54% of the shares belong to the people/Norwegian state. They have close to 200 million customers worldwide. So this is a big operator in the Telecom world. They have about 43 000 employees. Today, I am proud to be Norwegian.

Re:Background info on Telenor (1)

Sheen (1180801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013026)

Wrong article, so sorry ;)

Consumers suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013104)

As a stock owner of AMD I say screw over the consumer as much as possible. The consumer sure as hell didn't help us out when we were up on the ropes when Intel was dumping rebates all over the place.

This is why AMD/Foundry needs more fabs (2, Interesting)

Targon (17348) | more than 4 years ago | (#30013532)

AMD has needed new fabs to increase capacity for a long time now. After AMD purchased ATI, I always found it odd that there wasn't more of a push to build more fabs and bring their GPU production in-house. At the least, NVIDIA should also be suffering from TSMC having problems, even though they may not be feeling the crunch at the moment.

Re:This is why AMD/Foundry needs more fabs (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014540)

NVIDIA are suffering a lot from TMSC having problems. The reason no one is going to be able to by a Fermi based chip until at least April (and very few people until July or so) is because it's an even bigger and more complex part on the same process. If they can't get enough 5800s out the door, they sure as hell can't make enough of Fermi.

How far off? (1)

stonemetal (934261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30018964)

An offshore AMD foundry...

How far offshore is that in nautical miles? I am not surprised they are having troubles with what with all the salt in the air.

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