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AMD: What Went Wrong?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-enough-cowbell dept.

AMD 497

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

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Products (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086587)

It's really simple--Intel made better products. Once Intel abandoned the dead end of the Pentium 4 and changed tacts with the first low-power Core chip, AMD never had a valid response. The article details some predatory behavior on the part of Intel which was eventually settled, but I don't think the outcome would be different today had that not occurred.

Of course, Intel better watch its back with ARM around.

Re:Products (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086617)

hunh, this thread isn't about Google. WTF!?

Re:Products (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086665)

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

After, the P4 line of processors, Intel greatly stepped up their game with respect to performance and power consumption, and as it turns out most people are willing to pay $100 bucks more for the most important part of their computer in return for better hardware and software. AMD just could not keep up.

This was a couple of years ago, now I don't really know what's up with AMD. Has their "Llano" series of processors succeeded?

Re:Products (2, Funny)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086803)

I believe he was an MS shill, not an Apple one..

Re:Products (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087025)

Man, has Slashdot gone downhill or what? You guys can't tell the difference between an Apple Shill and a Microsoft Shill?

This is getting scary.

Re:Products (5, Insightful)

voidphoenix (710468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087155)

No, it's not Slashdot. These days, it has become hard to tell the difference between Apple and Microsoft, except maybe Apple sues more people.

Re:Products (3, Interesting)

cynyr (703126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086965)

the APUs? sure, go find me a similar power consumption intel with 6 sata3 ports on a mini-itx board. Also they are far better GPU wise than intels atom.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131732 [newegg.com] Find me an Intel (or ARM) replacement in the same power envelope and I'd be interested.

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

Re:Products (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39087187)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Products (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086635)

AMD made good products too, they just made them for the wrong market. This is why commercial semiconductor manufacturing is so difficult. You give your engineers a set of constraints and then about 5 years later you have a product. Intel, back around 2003, bet heavily on laptops and power-conscious servers. AMD bet on desktops. Intel's market predictions were better and so the products that they brought to market turned out to be the ones customers wanted by the time the related products made it to market. AMD's were not. Of course, Intel only made this bet after seeing how badly they'd underestimated the importance of power consumption with the Pentium 4 so, if anything, their later products were an overreaction to the poor performance of the P4.

So, in summary, AMDs problem was that they didn't screw up the previous generation, so assumed that the next one could be more of the same and missed the industry shift to mobile devices.

Re:Products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086677)

Mobile is important, but AMD is being killed on the desktop too. Their processors are shittier across the board - not just power consumption.

Re:Products (3, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086931)

Bah, it's a new design. They get an upgrade cycle to fix the bugs before we declare Bulldozer to be the new Itanium.

Supposedly, there is a hotfix for Windows 7 which deals with a lot of the issues. Again, this problem isn't too dissimilar to the one Intel enjoyed with Hyper-threading many moons ago.

As for their server offerings, I am a little unhappy that while we are getting more cores per chip (always a win), they are fairly slow. And the prices...could be better.

Re:Products (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087229)

The reason that AMD is being killed on the desktop is that the desktop itself is being killed. Otherwise, how else does one explain that their processors are still popular in some supercomputers, as well as vendors such as Sun?

Re:Products (5, Interesting)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086849)

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

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

Re:Products (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086899)

Dell was an especial example of this: in the K7/K8 days they'd make noise every year or two about how they were considering selling AMD-based systems rather than being exclusively Intel, and those of us in IT who wanted /better/ computers would get very excited

Um, if you wanted better computers, why did you keep buying from a company which didn't sell them?

This is the problem with the whole 'evil Intel' argument; you're assuming that customers would continue to buy second-rate products when they could buy better PCs from another company. When AMD released AMD64 they owned much of the server and workstation market and most of the high-end desktop market, because if you cared about CPU performance you didn't buy an Intel space-heater.

Re:Products (3, Insightful)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086945)

Maybe the GP wanted laptops. Not much choice there.

Re:Products (5, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087249)

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

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

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

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

Re:Products (2)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086991)

This seems to be a repeating pattern in both hardware and software.

Some big name entity makes noise about going with the "little" man supplier, and then their old compatriot casually pass them a back room deal to make them stick with the old compatriots products. I swear, corporate contracts really need to be out in the open, or else they undermine democratic principles.

Re:Products (4, Interesting)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087031)

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

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

Re:Products (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087251)

But that was a long time ago, and AMD was poised for a comeback in the early 2000s. It was the Conroe architecture in late 2006, and everything after it, that caused all of AMD's current woes.

Re:Products (1, Interesting)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086903)

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

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

Re:Products (5, Informative)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087065)

>The problem was AMD didn't bet hard enough on ramping up clock speeds.
Clock speeds have barely moved lately.

>Hertz to Hertz, AMD makes a better processor.
Not since the Core2, and even less competitive in the "i" era

Re:Products (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086645)

Well, and a series of processors that ran so hot you could heat a village with one. That didn't help.

Re:Products (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086681)

This is the biggest reason i dont even look at AMD anymore. My Intel i5 is almost completely silent with a stock cooler and is fast as hell. The computer before this had a H50 hydro coller and after i realized how quiet the i5 was i didnt even bother putting the H50 on. An equivalent AMD would be hotter, require more power, slower and make more fan noise.

Re:Products (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086837)

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

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

Re:Products (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087175)

AMD pushes more cores per CPU, whereas Intel pushes more performance per core. I'd say in the vast majority of applications (especially end-users), performance per core is the important metric. Few consumer applications are multithreaded.

This is why Intel tends to blow AMD out of the water in gaming benchmarks.

Re:Products (4, Interesting)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086861)

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

Re:Products (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086897)

To be fair, a heavy ray-tracing load for many hours on end is hardly appropriate for consumer grade CPU's.

Re:Products (2)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087075)

Um, if Intel's CPUs can't safely run at 100% continuously, they can surely safely run at 80% or 50% continuously with short 100% bursts. In that case, they could market their CPUs as running 80% or 50% of their max clock speed with "burst performance" or whatever. In short, there's no excuse for running outside of the safe limits.

Re:Products (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087185)

"Um, if Intel's CPUs can't safely run at 100% continuously"
It can, just not with their stock heat sink/fan. With the stock heat sink I get up to 100C! With my massive Zero therm heatsink and fan it gets no higher than 70c at max load.

"To be fair, a heavy ray-tracing load for many hours on end is hardly appropriate for consumer grade CPU's."
What can I say, I am a poor artist, I just dabble in 3d stuff. However if you have any Xeon based servers laying around I'll be glad to take them off your hands..

Re:Products (4, Insightful)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087137)

What? Why? That's crazy, I've run compiles for days (yes, I'm still a Gentoo user) on 10-year-old, crappy, about-to-be-tossed-in-the-trash, filled with dust, consumer hardware more times than I can count. I'm currently running a compile on my new(ish) consumer-grade CPU under a virtual machine, while typing this response, that'll be going for hours on end, and if anything went wrong because of the CPU I'd consider it a broken CPU.

Thank god more people don't think the way you do, if they did we'd already be buying "unlimited" CPUs. Your viewpoint is an asinine one that is just begging to be charged more for no reason other than you've outright told them they can get away with it.

Re:Products (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087007)

Heh, i recall reading about those "exploding" AMDs. Tho i wonder how much of that has changed in recent year, similar to how more than a few arguments against Linux are 10 years old, or more, but never checked to see if they are still valid.

Re:Products (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086865)

My AMD Phenom X3 720 system is running perfectly silent (the noisiest part in my system are the harddrives...) and at only a delta of +20K to room temperature, with all three cores being at 100% due to BOINC running, it is even overclocked from 2.8GHz to 3.2Ghz (though no core voltage increase, would need to increase very slightly when running at 3.4GHz..)... All with a $30 off-the-shelf cpu heatsink...

At the time I bought this (approx. 2 years ago) it was the best performance for the price I wanted to pay.

The problem is that often people seem to buy from the company that has the best system in the market, even if they don't plan to buy that one. They don't really try to keep the price/performance ratio small...

Re:Products (3, Informative)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086887)

It's really simple--Intel made better products.

BS. Intel was fashionable, that's all. AMD has always been at least neck and neck with Intel if they weren't ahead of them, despite all of Intel's dirty tricks. I've been very satisfied with AMD ever since my 486DX3-100, and my Sempron and Turion based boxes just build upon that. Was Intel smart enough to buy ATI, or is it more familiar to associate them with nVidia? Need we mention Itanium? Who sold 64 bit CPUs first?

Re:Products (1, Interesting)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086981)

No, aside from the K6-pre-Pentium2 days and a year or two around Athlon64/Pentium4, AMD has lagged behind in performance of their top of the line processors. Yeah, they've always given better value for the dollar spent but that's not especially useful when you're 10-20% behind in performance.

Re:Products (1, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087121)

If it were true.

Our testing of everything up to quadcores says that clock for clock, AMD made mincemeat out of Intel. In notebooks, where there can be much different chipsets, AMD lagged with their ATI chipsets. Intel with nVidia combos ate their lunch. Of course, there was that little problem with nVidia's chips cratering, but we can overlook that for now.

Re:Products (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087259)

And definitely not when they're making that better performance per dollar by not making any money.

Re:Products (0)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087197)

I also think it's quite telling that Intel is coming out significantly ahead *despite a near-billion-dollar screw-up* with the Sandy Bridge/SATA3 issues...

I find Intel to be much more "set and forget" than the AMD products. AMD chips tend to be more fiddly and require more intervention to do exactly what you expect them to.

botched processor design? (5, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086607)

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

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

Re:botched processor design? (5, Interesting)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086987)

Itanic is not a buggy or bad design. It's just a design without a good market. If you were doing a lot of computation where that last .01% of performance was important and you had the time/budget to write Itanium-specific assembler, you'd love Itanium (64 64-bit registers is nice). It's just solves problems that most people don't have.

Re:botched processor design? (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087145)

If [..] you had the time/budget to write Itanium-specific assembler, you'd love Itanium (64 64-bit registers is nice)

I thought one of the major problems with Itanium was that it used EPIC architecture [wikipedia.org] which relies heavily on the compiler explicitly figuring out how the parallel instructions should be scheduled (rather than the CPU itself doing this at runtime)... except that apparently such a compiler was never really written.

(Interesting quote I just came across in the Itanium WP article [wikipedia.org] from Donald Knuth- "The Itanium approach...was supposed to be so terrific- until it turned out that the wished-for compilers were basically impossible to write".)

Re:botched processor design? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087207)

making a design without a good market is a bad design. Oracle's T4-4 and IBM Power7 kick Itanium's butt in most real world applications.

Re:botched processor design? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087245)

Wouldn't that be difficult, if not impossible, given that they've gone from something like 5 fabs to Fabless in recent years?

It's not so much AMD failed (4, Informative)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086613)

Intel just succeeded HUGE. They few years of AMD dominance were more a result of intels missteps. The p4 didnt clock as high as they wanted it to, so they had to scramble up a new design.

Re:It's not so much AMD failed (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086643)

... and then there was a small matter of Intel being accused of monopolistic behaviour, in some cases convicted, in several countries.

Re:It's not so much AMD failed (5, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086649)

Intel just succeeded HUGE. They few years of AMD dominance were more a result of intels missteps.

Bingo. The P4 was a dead end, Intel were betting on Itanium for the 64-bit market, and AMD just kept on building better x86 chips.

Once Intel realised they were falling behind, they dropped their brain-dead policies and pushed out better chips than AMD's.

Re:It's not so much AMD failed (5, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087057)

In essences what AMD was evolution vs Intels attempted revolution. They evolved x86 with a 64-bit extension rather than attempt to revolutionize like Intel went for.

Now however the roles have switched. Intel goes for a evolution, while AMD tries for revolution with their APU concept of shifting floating point onto the GPGPU.

Re:It's not so much AMD failed (2, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087091)

"Once Intel realised they were falling behind, they dropped their brain-dead policies and pushed out better chips than AMD's."

Hmm. Not so much. More along the lines of they had a "Oh Shit!" moment, and cross-licensed AMD's 64-bit design (Intellectual Property swap) to get back in the game. Even Intel's earliest attempts (at a 64-bit x86 architecture) were pathetic in this area, with numerous complaints about their broken, half-assed 64-bit support (it supported, at first, only a handful of 64-bit instructions that AMD did, and required some unnecessary work, hence the bitching from the programmers). There's a reason the architecture is commonly referred to as AMD64, even after attempts to change the name to something more neutral.

This is not to say that Intel doesn't put out some good products, their NICs are simply wonderful.

Re:It's not so much AMD failed (2)

emilper (826945) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086797)

intel just lied a lot or let the others lie for them, for example about the vista ready cards or about power consumption ... I will not buy Intel if I have a choice, for what I need AMD and Nvidia processors deliver enough power and the price is way lower.

It is getting old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086625)

Companies like Intel and Apple continue to succeed because they are better at business than their respective trades.

Re:It is getting old... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086639)

AMD is not that much newer than Intel less than a year, and in comparison Apple is just a child

They woke the sleeping giant that was Intel... (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086627)

...Intel had basically sat back on its a**, AMD make some great design decisions and Intel said "Oh sh**, how'd we suddenly become second...?" From that moment on there was only going to be one winner in the PC chip space.

Re:They woke the sleeping giant that was Intel... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086713)

Are you high?

Re:They woke the sleeping giant that was Intel... (4, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087083)

We can see some of the same behavior with MS, where they basically stopped doing anything with IE and slowed down considerably the Windows development in the 2k/XP run. Then all of a sudden they find that Mozilla and Linux can be credible threats on the casual home market, their traditional marketing leverage vs corporate office sales. Just consider the quote from Gates about him preferring people pirating Windows than considering alternatives. The central issue is one of mindshare. If a potential employee already knows the product from home, MS can claim that there will be little to no training time once hired.

Re:They woke the sleeping giant that was Intel... (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087111)

Indeed. But if they tread too far into that line of thought, the DoJ will break them up for being a monopoly (monopoly where it's politically convenient to say that they've become too powerful, not necessarily the academic meaning, and that the politcos want to flex their muscle).

Customer Friendliness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086657)

Urinating on your loyal customers is never a good idea. I left AMD and now Sony.

Hello? It's a Monopoly! (4, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086663)

A firm with a Monopoly has multiple, permanent advantages. That there is little/no interest in breaking it up is another story.

Re:Hello? It's a Monopoly! (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086671)

A firm with a Monopoly has multiple, permanent advantages. That there is little/no interest in breaking it up is another story.

AMD is a monopoly? I think Intel would disagree with that.

Re:Hello? It's a Monopoly! (1, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086689)

The article is pretty explicit about how AMD dug its own grave. I don't think blaming an Intel monopoly is all that convincing.

Re:Hello? It's a Monopoly! (5, Insightful)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086881)

The article is pretty explicit about how AMD dug its own grave. I don't think blaming an Intel monopoly is all that convincing.

Really? The article mentions how Intel managed to get Sony money to cancel ALL AMD shipments, and how they paid Dell roughly 3/4 of a billion dollars in a single quarter to not use AMD chips. But I'm sure you're right, I'm sure keeping AMD out of all of the major OEMs(except to some extent HP) had nothing to do with it.

Re:Hello? It's a Monopoly! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39087089)

Convincing Sony to cancel AMD shipments may have been boot on the throat tactics, but you have to knock somebody to the ground to put your boot on their throat in the first place. Bottom line is Intel's products actually were better, and AMD putting out underwhelming product line after underwhelming product line played a huge role in this situation.

Forgetting Intel tactics? (5, Informative)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086669)

Let's not forget the underhanded tactics that Intel used. They were forced to pay a minimal $1bn to AMD for it. I always thought its too small an amount for losing their position as leaders in the CPU market. And now look how things turned out...

Re:Forgetting Intel tactics? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086679)

Let's not forget the underhanded tactics that Intel used. They were forced to pay a minimal $1bn to AMD for it. I always thought its too small an amount for losing their position as leaders in the CPU market.

AMD didn't lose their position as manufacturer of best x86 chips because of 'underhanded tactics', they lost it because Intel produced better x86 chips than AMD.

Re:Forgetting Intel tactics? (2, Insightful)

dshk (838175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087087)

When Intel produced laughable chips for years they still remain the absolute market leader, because of their unethical tactics. Therefore AMD was not able to collect its well earned profit, so they had no resources to improve faster.

This is the classical case of monopoly, the resources cannot go to the better company, like they would on a free market.

I believe that anybody not totally illiterate (yes, for example RTFA), with at least some small amount of ethics, will not buy anything from Intel in the foreseeable future.

Re:Forgetting Intel tactics? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39087103)

But would Intel be producing better chips than AMD if those underhanded tactics hadn't cut down AMD's market share -- consider that higher market share = more money = more R&D, and conversely Intel would have less available for R&D. Obviously, it's not possible to assert AMD would have kept ahead of Intel -- they could have taken the extra revenue as profit for shareholders, or they could have botched up even with a bigger R&D budget; we'll never know exactly what would have happened. But your statement is like saying he didn't die because of 'being gunshot', he died from trauma to internal organs.

Re:Forgetting Intel tactics? (1, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086763)

Yes, that was covered in the article. But it doesn't excuse AMD's numerous bad decisions since 2006.

Maybe they targeted the wrong market? (4, Interesting)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086675)

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

AMD: just Intel's banana republic (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086699)

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

Fastest? Well, kinda'. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086715)

In 2006, AMD could seemingly do no wrong. Its processors were the fastest in the PC market...

Right from the start, you've lost me. If memory serves, 2006 would've been Athlon XP Barton core era. At this time they were numbering their CPUs in a way that indicated what P4 they could beat. But who was responsible for rating the CPUs for speed when they came off the line? AMD. So really they asked themselves, "Is this processor faster than a P4 1.6Ghz? Yes? Then this one is a 1600."

Yeah, you can stay that they were faster and be right, but only because the processors were marketed in a smart way.

AMD has always been poorly run... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086723)

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

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

Re:AMD has always been poorly run... (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087041)

Since when diversifying your operations is"loing focus"? Kodak focused too much in their film division. Look at what happened to them.

Re:AMD has always been poorly run... (1)

toejam13 (958243) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087153)

The decision to have a GPU division was completely logical. The decision to purchase ATI was the questionable part.

There is a trend in the laptop and desktop markets to move towards complete SoC designs. The quantity of support chips and number of duties that they perform are dwindling. Have you noticed in the past decade how features traditionally handled by a northbridge chip are now being handled by the CPU?

The GPU is no different. With each new generation, the GPU is turning more and more into a general purpose FP processor. Eventually, it just makes sense to consolidate the FP power of the GPU with the FP power of the CPU to lower costs.

The larger question is, did AMD attempt this merging of environments too early? Should they have simply started with moving the GPU under the same hood as the CPU as Cyrix did with their MediaGX series of processors? From the sound of the article, it sounds like they did jump the gun.

Then comes the AMD aspect. They could have licensed GPU cores until they finalized their strategy. Instead, they overpaid for a company that they became shackled to. They gambled and appear to have lost. It will most likely be their downfall.

Their partners made garbage (4, Insightful)

spookthesunset (1562927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086737)

AMD might have made okay CPU's but their partners made junk. You simply can't buy quality motherboards for AMD. All of it seems to be low-end crap with weird flaws. Every AMD system I have put together I wound up regretting. Things would crash randomly, freeze randomly, or just act downright strange. With Intel-based systems, I rarely have this problem (though I always pair it with a boring, plain-vanilla intel motherboard).

Bottom line, I simply cannot recommend AMD-based systems. Sure it costs less, but you pay for it in frustration.

Re:Their partners made garbage (4, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086863)

AMD might have made okay CPU's but their partners made junk. You simply can't buy quality motherboards for AMD. All of it seems to be low-end crap with weird flaws. Every AMD system I have put together I wound up regretting. Things would crash randomly, freeze randomly, or just act downright strange. With Intel-based systems, I rarely have this problem (though I always pair it with a boring, plain-vanilla intel motherboard).

Bottom line, I simply cannot recommend AMD-based systems. Sure it costs less, but you pay for it in frustration.

Strange. I was able to find a quality board for an AMD processor from several choices. I've used AMD for years and never EVER have hardware based crashes. I think the trick is to do your research, buy a name brand board and spend more than $80 for it. Yeah, I could have gone with the $30 board, but then I'd be in the same boat you're in.

My last system was a dual core Opteron 175. Something in the system finally died after years of abuse. I don't know if it was the processor, RAM, MB or even the power supply. Frankly, I didn't care as the system had outlasted its usefulness and it was way past time for an upgrade. My current system is a Phenom II 965 with a Gigabyte board and 12 GB of name brand, PC1666 RAM. No problems whatsoever. Sure, it's not as fast as the 7-series, but I saved hundreds by going with AMD and frankly, I never wait on anything. It's still much faster than what I need.

The processor is really not the bottleneck any more for the vast majority of people.

Re:Their partners made garbage (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087203)

But with Intel you always have the option of going with an untra cheap Intel branded board (DH61WW currently I think), which will support the basic features needed for a low cost computer and be reliable without needing to put too much research into it

Re:Their partners made garbage (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087253)

but then have to spend more on the processor. I'd rather be spending my money on RAM

Re:Their partners made garbage (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087039)

AMD might have made okay CPU's but their partners made junk. You simply can't buy quality motherboards for AMD. All of it seems to be low-end crap with weird flaws. Every AMD system I have put together I wound up regretting. Things would crash randomly, freeze randomly, or just act downright strange.

That matches my experience with the Thunderbird and the crappy VIA supporting chipsets. Perhaps it's unfair to use a single bad experience to write off an entire company, but it really soured me on AMD. Never had any trouble with Intel, and I can't be bothered dealing with the uncertainties.

Re:Their partners made garbage (1)

Mista2 (1093071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087215)

Maybe I've been lucky, but my oldest PC is a shuttle with an AMD 64 bit chip, still rocking on 6 years. It still runs my home file server, VMware server, this runs my mail server and VPN host.
All my other intel boxes except my 2008 Mac mini have expired. Usually critical parts of the main board. Works both ways I guess.

Re:Their partners made garbage (4, Interesting)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087225)

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

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

It has been AMD's pattern forever (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086747)

AMD has done this many times throughout the years.

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

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

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

Think about what Intel would do w/o competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086757)

I still refuse to purchase Intel. I can still purchase the performance I need at a reasonable price. I would gladly hand AMD my hard earned cash to prevent an Intel monopoly.

Re:Think about what Intel would do w/o competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086857)

Conversely, I will never buy anything except Intel. I don't care if AMD make an engineering breakthrough and can produce a ridiculously superior product, I'll never buy anything except Intel. The reason for this is the goodwill Intel gained with me from their printed manual program in the 90s/00s, at no small cost they would ship any of their printed tehcnical manuals to customers.

As a student who had purchased only a handful of Intel products in my entire life, I imagine it cost them more to print and ship those manuals to me from the US (I'm in EU) then they had made from selling me the original products. It turns out this was a genius move, because I've since been involved in major platform decisions and work at a very large customer of theirs, where I evangelize for them at every opportunity.

They actually terminated the printed manual programme a year or two ago. They don't need to worry about me, as they've already won me as a customer for life, but the next generation of systems programmers will be ambivalent about who supplies the silicon. I think it's a big mistake, probably seen as short-term cost savings. Sigh.

Re:Think about what Intel would do w/o competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086905)

I don't care if AMD make an engineering breakthrough and can produce a ridiculously superior product, I'll never buy anything except Intel.

Wow. That's rational.

Bad Choices (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086781)

And I think ATI was one of the worst. They were already loosing the competitive edge against intel before ATI but it seems that ever since they really have been putting all their efforts into ATI and boom now here we are in 012 where a slower, hotter AMD chip based on 5 year old designs cost more than the intel.

Re:Bad Choices --- What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086895)

Buying ATI has allowed for the APU that Intel has no answer. Even Ivy Bridge will have two different IGP's with the HD2500 and HD4000; the later may not even reach what AMD has for Llano. Intel absolutely sucks for integrated graphics.

404? (0)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086813)

Am I the only one who's getting an error at PC Pro? Is it paywalled or something?

Re:404? (1)

larien (5608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086835)

Site was slow for me (not quite slashdotted), but got through OK.

Re:404? (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086879)

Am I the only one who's getting an error at PC Pro? Is it paywalled or something?

Thats what went wrong!

Re:404? (1)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086955)

Weird. It's working fine now.

gnd (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086819)

Ground wire for .sig

They need to restructure (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086823)

AMD needs a restructuring. They really need to find their core competency and concentrate there, what was that entire ATI deal?

Maybe core competency for AMD would include building bigger cheaper SSDs?

Nothing went wrong at all (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39086825)

If you are asking what went wrong, then you are not part of the 1% that cleaned up. Didn't you cash out your stock options and use your golden parachute?

Mobile and apple happened (-1, Troll)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086831)

Only the geeks still worship pc type computers

Most of us moved on to smartphones and tablets. And a MacBook if we feel like splurging for a new computer

Mac sales are growing at double digit rates and pc sales declining

Re:Mobile and apple happened (2, Insightful)

Vanders (110092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086917)

Only the geeks still worship pc type computers
Most of us moved on to smartphones and tablets.

What're those things? Big, loud boxes. There's usually lots of them in a big, cold room together. Oh yeah, servers!

I think those are probably quite important, too.

Re:Mobile and apple happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39087163)

We don't have servers anymore, we put all that in the cloud. /smartphone-tablet-macbook crowd

Re:Mobile and apple happened (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086985)

Only the geeks still worship pc type computers

Most of us moved on to smartphones and tablets.

Only dumb people worship smart phones.

Intel inside (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086891)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I read this sentence (5, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39086939)

From TFA:

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

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

reakky all amds bad?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39087059)

what about amds a8 vision chips they run better then anything i have seen from Intel especially when it comes to graphics power Intels got nothing close to it or are strictly referring to CPU and not apus in which i will agree intels are almost always better

AMD fails at segmentation (0)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087073)

By 2006, our dual-core Athlon 64's and n-way Opterons were starting to feel old, and AMD failed to follow them up with something better. They were focused on die shrinks that didn't offer a significant performance jump. AMD's death knell was the Intel Core 2 series. Even the entry-level E6400 could go toe-to-toe with the fastest Athlon, and offered greater memory bandwidth which was most welcome when paired with a high-end GPU. You could take that same mid-range 8800 GT from your Athlon X2, drop it in an Intel system and gain 15-20% more fps in most games. Since then, AMD has always been playing catch-up. They couldn't match the clocks speeds, nor the performance-per-clock, so they were relegated to the budget segment.

AMD has been very good to me for low-end, home/office PCs, but they are not even on the radar for anything beyond the "I want a cheap surf machine" demographic. As soon as my CPU budget exceeds $150, I'm better served by an Intel. Then when you look at the server market, they do not compete at all anymore. Performance per watt and per dollar both lag badly behind the Xeon. Bulldozer looks like it's their most expensive blunder yet. It is a chip without a home. The average user does not need more cores right now, they want a cheaper, smaller, quieter PC and shinier games. Processing wackos like myself have no desire for a compromised CPU architecture that does not scale, which is why we turn to dual Xeons.

Here's what it boils down to:

AMD does not offer a competitive chip for my partner
AMD does not offer a competitive chip for my mother
AMD does not offer a competitive chip for my business
AMD does not offer a competitive chip for ME

If they can't start cranking out faster chips than Intel, then they need to slash prices until the gap is so wide that it compensates for the inferior product. Right now, you can buy a very decent i5 for $200, or a shitty Bulldozer for $200. I'll take the non-shitty one. Drop that Bulldozer to $120 and a lot of people will look past its shittiness, myself included. Intel sucks at the low-end, and while that's a boring segment to be in, it's also extremely large and easy for AMD to capitalize on, until their engineers pull their heads out of the sand.

A technical view (1)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39087205)

I've read at least twice that throughout its latest history (the last ten years) AMD managed to create only two new CPU architectures, K8 and Bulldozer.

All AMD CPUs between K8 and Bulldozer are more or less the same design, and that fact alone explains that even Phenom2 CPUs offer modest improvement in IPC and power consumption over original Athlon64 CPUs which were released over 8 (!) years ago. All these CPUs share the same functional blocks, the same cache hierarchy, the same number of core blocks, etc.

Meanwhile during this time Intel has gone through Merom, Conroe, Wolfdale, Kentsfield, Arrandale, Clarkdale, Lynnfield ... the list goes on and on. Every 2-3 years Intel offers some radical improvements which made Intel the king of the hill since the advent of the Core 2 architecture.

Also we have to bear in mind that Intel's R&D's budget equals AMD's entire revenue, and since the x86 architecture is one of the most complicated computing architectures (at least from what I've heard), maybe the fact that AMD is always trailing Intel CPUs is that AMD just lacks resources to innovate and invent (actually resources are there but senior managers in AMD have indiscreet bonuses and salaries which means they don't have as many talented engineers as e.g. Intel can easily afford).

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