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AMD Rumored To Announce Layoffs, New Hardware, ARM Servers On Monday

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the slip-some-sugar-in-the-poison dept.

AMD 81

MojoKid writes "After its conference call last week, AMD is jonesing for some positive news to toss investors and is planning a major announcement on Monday to that effect. Rumor suggests that a number of statements may be coming down the pipe, including the scope of the company's layoffs, new CPUs based on Piledriver Opterons, and possibly an ARM server announcement. The latter would be courtesy of AMD's investment in SeaMicro. SeaMicro built its business on ultra-low power servers and their first 64-bit ARMv8 silicon is expected in the very near future. However, there's always a significant lag between chip announcements and actual shipping products. Even if AMD announces Monday, it'd be surprising to see a core debut before the middle of next year."

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81 comments

ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (2, Interesting)

faragon (789704) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788079)

There is no justification in this world for such crazy massive generalization of power hog Intel CPUs in servers: Intel's CPUs are only justified for per-thread maximum performance. And that is unnecesary for 99.9% server applications.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788131)

WTF! This should be breaking news. When did Intel's 22nm processor exceed the performance of IBM's 45nm POWER7 or 32nm POWER7+.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (5, Interesting)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788845)

Intel's 22nm transistors certainly do. The overall chips don't because the price differential between even a top-line 8 Core Sandy Bridge Xeon chip/system and the Power7 chips/systems that actually have the high-end performance you are talking about is similar to the price differential between the chip in my cellphone and the high-end Xeon chip.

I know guys that do CPU design for IBM and they will flat out tell you that Intel has a better process. The difference is that IBM is making chips for million dollar+ servers with huge legacy needs in markets where even Itanium isn't trying to compete. At that point, you can afford to design CPUs with 200+ watt TDPs and exotic liquid cooling systems that are made in tiny quantities compared to what Intel & AMD churn out.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788867)

Indeed. All you need to do is look at the Spec TPS benchmarks, and the system descriptions/costs. As much is spent on cooling as on the rest of the system put together.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41790997)

What does any of that have to do with the response to the OP's claim that "Intel's CPUs are only justified for per-thread maximum performance"?

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788139)

Of course there is. The justification is that other options are not as good, in many cases.

Companies like Google and Facebook for example have no real compatibility issues, or any particular ties to x86, and they are certainly interested in the most price efficient option, taking into account cost of acquisition, cost of running. They have not significantly moved away from x86 architecture yet.

I'm not saying it won't happen, but as yet x86 devices still hold their own in low end and mid range servers.

CALXEDA, MARVELL (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788417)

Wait for the newer products coming out from CalXeda, Marvell, etc. Their newest chips are strong contenders for the server market, featuring multi-cores with extra core for management, and fail-in-place capability. If they're any indicator on performance and capabilities, mean that they'll ultimately make their way into data centers and the emerging cloud. This is a good thing, since ARM is less power-hungry, and thermal output is a prime concern for data centers.

CHANGE is good - finally, we'll see the Intel x86 goliath defeated. Remember, if it hadn't been for AMD/Opteron putting the heat to Intel's feet at one point, then Intel wouldn't have taken the trouble to improve its chips soon after. Likewise, ARM is injecting new and intense competition into the marketplace, which the rest of us will all benefit from.

Re:CALXEDA, MARVELL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788603)

Wait for the newer products to come out? What? Who are you talking to? The people who need servers right now can not wait. And right now, Intel's x86 is the best option for much of the market, certainly vastly more than any miniscule niche ARM currently has in the server market.

I repeat: certainly things will change. One day even ARM might dominate the low end server market (it won't happen with the first generation of aarch64 CPUs and servers, but it may happen one day, and by the way if it does happen, then Intel will likely be designing and manufacturing them too). But I was replying to the comment that said there is no justification for Intel CPUs in servers. Clearly there is: today they are the best option for most.

Re:CALXEDA, MARVELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41789203)

Wait for the newer products coming out from CalXeda, Marvell, etc.

I don't know about CalXeda, but from what I've seen from Marvell I wouldn't trust them to manufacture an electric toothbrush, let alone a mission critical CPU.

Re:CALXEDA, MARVELL (1)

slashping (2674483) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790403)

While we are all waiting for newer ARM products, Intel isn't going to wait. They'll be working just as hard to get better power/performance ratios, and there's no reason to assume that they'll fail to keep up.

Re:CALXEDA, MARVELL (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790533)

Interesting? Really? For vaporware? Nvidia is up to 5 cores NOW trying to give people the performance they want and the batteries are dying quicker than ever. Lets face it folks ARM has hit a wall, to get IPC to scale up to even Atom and Hondo is blowing power budgets left and right. Sure ARM will always have a place in embedded, where you frankly don't need even the performance of what we had 25 years ago, but the "future" is more of what we have now, ever heavier multimedia, ever heavier loads, ever more IPC. And in these areas ARM just don't scale while still saving power over X86.

And that's the problem in a nutshell, as people desire more and more power its frankly easier for Intel to scale down than for ARM to scale up.

Re:CALXEDA, MARVELL (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41794551)

Shh, you're bursting the bubbles of the angry ARM fans. ARM everywhere!!!eleven!

Re:CALXEDA, MARVELL (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41795151)

To me the sad part is it isn't even based in reality, its the "Anybody but M$!" bullshit, like Microsoft controlled X86 or something, like there wasn't Linux and BSD and OSX and everyone else also running on X86.

But in the end RSF99 we've all seen the writing on the wall, ARM simply doesn't scale. I mean can you imagine how much power you'd have to blow just to bring ARM up to a fricking Netburst P4? Or the Phenom I? I HAVE one of the first gen Brazos E350 netbooks and frankly the performance is good enough I got rid of my full size dual core notebooks because I just didn't need it anymore. 5 hours on a 6 cell playing 720P? the ability to run 1080P over HDMI? Even plays L4D and Portal 2?

Let's face it, people just aren't gonna go back to having Pentium II levels of performance out of their mobile devices, there are just too many things they want to do with them. People WANT their videos, and chat, and music, and games, and ALL that shit needs a high IPC that ARM just isn't able to deliver, I mean do you have ANY idea how much Nvidia is spending or ARM R&D? And yet they are having to just pile on the cores because they've found the simple fact is ARM just doesn't scale well.

Its a GREAT embedded chip, where you don't need performance of even a P3, nobody does it better, with the right chips to take the heavy lifting it'll even do 1080P like the Pi, but its simply easier for Intel and AMD to pare down the crazy IPC they already have than for ARM to scale to their levels.

Re:CALXEDA, MARVELL (1)

bingoUV (1066850) | about a year and a half ago | (#41795229)

its the "Anybody but M$!" bullshit

Nobody in this thread has mentioned Microsoft with respect to this. The real reasons for ARM fanboyism is :

1. Anti-Intel : You are forgetting that like Microsoft, Intel has also collected "Anti"-fanboys along the path to its success. You yourself seem to be a card-carrying member of the society. Cheering for ARM currently is quite good a proxy for anti-Intellism, as success of Intel has negative correlation with ARM's for the moment.

2. Good old computer science : ARM (not ARM64) architecture is simply more beautiful to the classic computer scientist. Many people are for ARM simply for this reason, though they haven't checked the ARM64, it seems

Let's face it, people just aren't gonna go back to having Pentium II levels of performance out of their mobile devices

Not relevant, the story is about ARM servers.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788143)

Many server tasks require significant compute power, even web serving when dynamic content is involved which it usually is these days, often implemented in frameworks like PHP and Node.js which aren't terribly efficient. Also the ubiquitous use of virtualisation technology means that "excess" power doesn't go to waste, rather it means you can host 100 VMs on the same box.

Performance per watt does matter and is the reason why Opterons have historically done well in this segment, but ARM isn't fast enough yet to be a serious challenger for most applications.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788265)

Probably will be the other way. Intel concluded the race in reaching the maximum Ghz possible years ago, and finnished the race on core count, it probably won't go with more than 8 cores. Now all the muscle is in in the race of performance per watt, in a pair of year it will have a processeror similiar to Core when started killing AMD in the past decade. The other factor will be Surface Pro, in two months all the x86 code from thirty years will be available to the tablet market.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41789685)

Intel already does 10 cores processors

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (4, Insightful)

AaronW (33736) | about a year and a half ago | (#41789545)

No it won't. Having done some serious looking in to ARM64 it is almost as much of a mess as X86, and in fact in many ways is worse.

ARM64 has almost nothing in common with ARM32. All of the things that make ARM "ARM" such as conditional execution, having the instruction pointer a general purpose register, etc. are gone in ARM64. The instruction encoding is a complete mess and is totally incompatible with ARM32.

Most RISC processors are fairly clean between 32 and 64-bit instructions. For example, MIPS and PPC just add new 64-bit instructions to the instruction set. ARM is not like this. With ARM, everything down to the most fundamental level changes in 64-bit mode. There is zero compatibility between the two.

As a developer I certainly am not looking forward to ARM64. The stuff I do I periodically need to look at hex output and figure out what instructions are being executed. On MIPS and PowerPC this is trivial. This is not the case on ARM, where the instruction encoding is a complete mess, far worse than X86. It is as if the ARM64 instruction encoding was designed to be obfuscated.

I think the big ARM64 push is the fact that it's not Intel and Microsoft wants to use it to pressure Intel. There are far cleaner 64-bit processors out there including MIPS, PowerPC.

For the record, I work on bootloaders for MIPS64 processors.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

yupa (751893) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790777)

They already started the mess with thumb2.

The first arm32 encoding was clean (stack pointer was a generic register), now with thumb2 and arm64 we got pop, push, ret instruction...

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41792091)

The stuff I do I periodically need to look at hex output and figure out what instructions are being executed

I was certain they taught engineers to use the right tools for the job in schools... I guess disassemblers aren't hip enough these days?

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41792535)

Neither AMD or Intel are concerned about ARM64 v8 core because it has very long pipeline to support branch predicition, an IPC of 1.0 (even AMDs Bulldozer is much higher) and the first silicon is coming in with clocks 30% lower than planned. ARM64 may take off in a big way but not with first generation ARMv8 cores.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (2, Informative)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#41789703)

Are you high? Ivy Bridge is more power efficient than Piledriver by a significant margin. This has been the case even before Ivy Bridge and Bulldozer. Xeon is used more often than Opteron, face it. Xeon has better performance and power efficiency, which is key when installing hardware for a data center.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

Vegemeister (1259976) | about a year and a half ago | (#41793215)

Piledriver gets a lot better when you're not trying to run it at 4 GHz.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#41793263)

Yeah, it gets more efficient at the cost of performance. But why settle for a chip that you need to downclock for efficiency (AMD Opteron) when you can just get a more powerful AND more efficient CPU (Intel Xeon) from the beginning?

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790499)

Actually the "future" will be the past, several chips designed for different tasks that can be switched on the fly. AMD was smart to buy Seamicro as they can now tie Opteron chips via hypertransport into these servers. Imagine a system that uses low power ARM cores for the day to day stuff where it doesn't need the incredible IPC of X86 but when its needed it can instantly kick on however many high performance X86 cores it needs, and then switch them off when the work is completed?

But I hate to break the news to ya faragon but ARM chips frankly aren't saving any juice over low power Intel at this point, as people demand more and more performance. This is why the ARM holdings group have been talking about "dark silicon" as to feed the ARM chips with everything on will kill a battery in 20 minutes, no different than X86. While ARM had an advantage for awhile it simply can't scale, which is why Nvidia is up to 5 cores now with even more in the pipe and feeding all those cores sucks just as bad as modern X86, no real advantage anymore.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41791357)

The history of asymmetric multiprocessing suggests to me that if anybody pulls this off, it will be Intel, e.g. with a mixture of Xeon and Atom cores in the same system and binary compatibility so a process can migrate between cores as easily as they move between cores in SMP. Heterogeneous systems like Sprite OS require fat binaries and don't really solve migration of process heaps from one architecture to another. Trying to do this without a common ISA would probably require a standardized VM and virtual ABI that would then get JIT compiled to whichever host architecture the process has migrated to. This is really a pain compared to just migrating from Atom to Xeon or even between Opteron and Xeon as we do with hardware-based VMs today...

It's funny how there is a new generation of people dreaming of some counter-culture challenge to x86. It reminds me of myself when I got into MIPS and Alpha to run Linux back in the 1990s. Even though I use 100% OSS and could compile or cross-compile everything, I gave up on my Alpha systems and went back to x86 when I realized how convenient it was to use the same thing as everyone else and get the economies of scale providing me cheap but significant hardware upgrades every time I needed them. I still tinker with OpenWRT on other platforms, but it doesn't give the same quality of experience as a conventional distribution on x86 hardware.

On reflection, I got over the techno-religious angle and realized that the main thing with x86 is Intel's economic/capital strength in having huge design teams and great fab technology. I still hope AMD survives to provide competition, but I don't pin hopes on a change of ISA. Almost all of the advantages people attribute to ARM these days are benefits of system-on-chip (SoC) integration and low embedded application performance requirements, not the specific ARM ISA. Intel has just demonstrated their ability to play here with Atom SoC products like Medfield, and I think it will be interesting to see what their upcoming refinements look like, as their investments into Atom, integrated GPU, and SoC all converge. They may be slow to change course, but it seems obvious they are making a course change here, and all the details seem well thought out this time...

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year and a half ago | (#41791961)

Well right now Intel's server CPUs are way more efficient in terms of W/MIPS and similar metrics. Ivy Bridge has maintained that and Haswell will too.
Yes that might change if somebody started making ARM CPUs with the latest tech but as long as Intel has a full node worth of advantage it won't.

Re:ARM will kill x86-64 monstruosity in servers (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41794543)

You are full of rubbish. Good luck virtualizing servers on your shitty little ARM processors, rocket surgeon.

If you want to serve up 10,000,000,000 "Hello World" applications, ARM servers are great, I'll give you that...

I remember (4, Insightful)

MindPrison (864299) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788081)

when AMD used to be the new kid on the block, super cheap processing power for all of us who wanted power without the money, I was a student back then. Amd could be overclocked out of this world, and Intel costing 3 times as much, and wasn't so overclockable.

It's always saddens me to see layoffs with the competitors because it only leads to more expensive products with the main stream, less innovations and everyone is going the safe way, saving, reducing costs, spending less on innovation and experimentation.

We need the confidence back.

Re:I remember (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788255)

>, super cheap processing power for all of us who wanted power without the money

Ok, now you are exaggerating juuust a little bit. Sure, AMD was cheaper but "super cheap". No.

BTW The biggest overclocker in the day was the 300Mhz Celeron from Intel. It went to 450Mhz on air cooling.

Re:I remember (1)

sjwt (161428) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788303)

and was still a POS.. Celerons ever overclocked were junk

Re:I remember (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788403)

There were two differences between the Celeron and the Pentium II. It had an external bus speed of 66MHz as opposed to 100MHz and it had half the size level 2 cache, but which ran twice as fast. Overclocking made the external bus speed 100MHz, and reduce the cost of cache misses. L2 cache misses were more common (the cache was smaller), but L1 cache misses were cheaper (the L2 cache was faster). It was also possible with a slight tweak to run two in an SMP configuration with some quite cheap motherboards: a dual processor 300MHz Celeron overclocked to 450MHz beat pretty much anything else in terms of price/performance.

Re:I remember (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788651)

I had a couple of those on a two socket board and they were effectively rebadged pentium II's to cover a shortage of celeron A(with a dot).

Re:I remember (1)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | about a year and a half ago | (#41789263)

It was also possible with a slight tweak to run two in an SMP configuration with some quite cheap motherboards: a dual processor 300MHz Celeron overclocked to 450MHz beat pretty much anything else in terms of price/performance.

I had an Abit BP6 back in the day overclocked running Linux.. at the time I had a Sparc 20 and then a Sun Ultra 2 at work. The Abit board was great for a home workstation for those of us without the deep pockets for a RISC workstation in the den.

Re:I remember (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788317)

BTW The biggest overclocker in the day was the 300Mhz Celeron from Intel.

I got Athlon XP from 1.3Ghz to 2.0Ghz which is a similar jump in performance, and this was on air cooling, too. As such I disagree about the "biggest overclocker" there.

Re:I remember (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790783)

Those were good chips but IIRC you had to REALLY watch the temps as they didn't have thermal monitoring and you could cook them if you weren't careful. We used to have a dead chip bucket at the old shop I worked at and it was nearly all Athlon chips where they went nuts with the OCing and cooked. Not to mention there were quite a few less than honest shops in my area that would crank the clocks and sell them as a faster system then BAM! cooked box.

As far as raw performance jump I'd have to say the ones I saw with the most consistent OCs was the Pentium Ds, those netburst dual cores could really crank up as far as clocks as long as you used a decent air cooling, I just recently had a customer finally let his Pentium D go to a relative so he could get a Phenom II X6, he had that thing running for years with a 1GHz OC and no troubles. Tough little chips those were.

Re:I remember (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788501)

No, the biggest overclocker in the day was a 333 MHZ Celeron. It OC'd to 966 stable on air with a good heat sink, and maybe a table fan if you were running it hard :) The mhz possible out of that chip wasn't seen again till the Pentium 3/Thunderbird lines came out.

Re:I remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41789129)

Actually wasn't it the celeron 333A that did that? (And I believe it was the slot 1 or slot A or whatever it was called style?)

Re:I remember (2, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788261)

It was one misstep after another.

AMD had had misstep before - as well as Intel.

But the only difference that separate Intel and AMD is that Intel had had a vision, and AMD had not.

AMD, since the beginning, tried to copy Intel.

When Intel was in the NOR flash business, AMD followed. Of course Intel had enough cash reserve to pull out from that business and still was able to fun its R&D.

For AMD, the loss that incurred on their NOR operation meant they had less money for R&D.

Still, AMD did come out with the X64 architecture, so much so that Intel had to follow.

Unfortunately for AMD is that the BOD do not work well with their CEOs. With the frequent change of CEOs, AMD is lost.

It's near the swan song for AMD - believe it or not.

Going for ARM server is but a desperate move, which, IMHO, won't save AMD from its own mess.

Re:I remember (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788283)

On copying, it used to be a requirement of military contracts that ever item had a second source (copy). All semiconductor companies used to live in this environment and it made for good competition and sharing. But we digress... ;)

Re:I remember (4, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41789091)

But the only difference that separate Intel and AMD is that Intel had had a vision, and AMD had not.

yes, the vision to screw AMD out of the market by paying off OEMs to not sell AMD chips right when AMD was building several new fabs to meet the capacity the market leader should have needed.

..and before you say it, Intel was *CONVICTED* of this. Its not just some anti-Intel hype.

Re:I remember (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#41789561)

While I prefer Intel CPU's and use them to build most of my systems, when it comes to copying would you kindly remind me as to who copied who on the x64 instruction set?

Re:I remember (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790633)

The problem is AMD's new "half core" design is a complete flop and is often just BARELY better than X6, and that is when you put X6 against the new X8, if you put them equal, X6 VS X6, then Phenom II wins.

That is why I'm still building pretty much AMD exclusively, because in socket AM3+ frankly the bang for the buck is STILL there and better than Intel. I've been getting Athlon triples for $60, quads for $70, Phenom quads for $90 and Thuban X6s for $110. These chips are frankly more powerful than your average user will ever need but when you figure in the cost of boards you can build a damned nice AMD system for less than $450 and still make a decent profit, the only thing you are building from Intel at that price is a Pentium dual core.

That isn't to say there isn't ANY markets where AMD's new chips can't be a good deal, the netbooks with the E450 are nice, and when you can find them the C60 netbooks make great "pocket PCs" and the Llano quad laptops are great multimedia portables. And hopefully that former Apple/Athlon64 designer they hired will come up with a killer new chip, its just that Bulldozer/Piledriver just don't cut it. Its too hot, too power hungry, and costs too much to manufacture so they have to put it against the i5 which curbstomps. But since the previous CEO killed Thuban which was getting damned near 100% yields they have no choice but try to push the turkey that is "half cores" while hoping to stay afloat until they can come up with something better.

Like you I hope they manage to pull it off, and as long as I can get such great deals on Am3+ I'll keep selling 'em, but ATM there just isn't any positives when it comes to the BD/PD design, there just isn't.

Re:I remember (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year and a half ago | (#41792015)

The problem isn't so much the module design in Bulldozer (I consider it very similar to Intel's HT and the rest is hype by AMD's moron marketers.) It's mostly the speed/effectiveness of the memory interface, the L3 cache and the instruction decoder. All of those are way behind what Intel has, leading to stalls, and if AMD could fix those the Bulldozer arch would be competitive. Clearly Piledriver only improved these slightly given that IPC didn't improve much. Oh well. I'm still going to buy an 8350 as soon as there's general availability and we're past Newegg's ridiculous markup.

Re:I remember (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41792713)

Notice how I got marked down for what even one of their former engineers [insideris.com] says is true? Oh well, truth is truth. I do have a question though...why are you choosing the 8350 over the X6? Do you have a specific workload that can use 8 integer cores that doesn't have much if any use for floating point?

Because you look at the benches and the BEST the X8s do is 6-8% over the Thuban X6, and that is with workloads practically tailored for the chip. In most everyday tasks they are within a couple of points of each other....only the X6 is $110 and the 8350 is $180.

BTW you should probably also know that the core scheduling problems in Windows have been marked as "will not fix" and they even pulled the patches for Win 7, the ONLY way to get around this problems is Windows 8 as they replaced the scheduler in Win 8 with one which understands how the BD cores work (which is as you said, more like hyperthreading than true cores, which means that X8 is really an X4 with hyperthreading) so if you don't want to switch to Win 8 right away you'll be tying a boat anchor to your system.

Don't get me wrong, the X8 does have a place, for example its real good with running DBs or if you're doing a bunch of GPU heavy work like renders it can keep the GPU fed just fine, I just don't see any real selling point for the X8 at its current price, not with it so close to the X6 on performance. If it were me I'd pick up a cheap X6 and wait for excavator to see if things improve.

Although that right there should show AMD has some serious trouble with the BD design, since they are sticking with AM3+ for one more chip even though AM3+ is a dual channel design. You KNOW that has to be a serious bottleneck but you can just hear the engineers going "Look the best we're gonna get out of this chip isn't gonna beat the i5, if we try to force them to buy a new board too it just won't fly" as why else would they be sticking with a dual channel design and PGA when its obvious that LGA and quad channel is the way to go?

Re:I remember (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year and a half ago | (#41793909)

I agree.

I do have a question though...why are you choosing the 8350 over the X6? Do you have a specific workload that can use 8 integer cores that doesn't have much if any use for floating point?

Yes: A SW workstation mostly for compiling in VMs, running Linux.

Re:I remember (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41795043)

See? It is THIS, this right here, that pisses me off when the fanbois get pissed when i point out the new AMD chips aren't good for a general purpose. Here you have a specific task that the Bulldozer chip is EXCELLENT at, you've thought it out and found a chip that is well suited to the task at hand, bravo. this is why I still build AM3+ units because for the kind of tasks my users have, HTPCs, basic web tasks, even gaming, the AM3+ chips are GREAT at these tasks but the BD doesn't work nearly as well.

My entire point is that its just not a general purpose CPU, its too specialized for that, but if you have a task, such as Linux VMs, which of course will be patched MUCH quicker than Windows? Then it makes GREAT sense and you'll save a ton, just as my customers save a ton by sticking with AM3+. Even I went with AMD for my family, because the Thuban X6 for me and the oldest and the Deneb quad are GREAT for gaming and multitasking.

So bravo, and enjoy your Piledriver X8 which will make the perfect chip for the task.

Re:I remember (1)

zixxt (1547061) | about a year and a half ago | (#41796605)

The problem is AMD's new "half core" design is a complete flop and is often just BARELY better than X6, and that is when you put X6 against the new X8, if you put them equal, X6 VS X6, then Phenom II wins.

Half core? Its full cores with shared FPU. Most CPUs/cores sold do not have a FPU at all. One does not need a FPU to be a cpu/core. It like saying Intel Sandy Bridge is a fake 4 core cause theres only one GPU on broad.

Re:I remember (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41799941)

Wrong, sorry, don't know where you get your info from but the BD/PD design uses SHARED integers (2 per module VS 3 a piece for Thuban) while they touch on this here [hexus.net] and please note the benches on previous pages that have the FX 8 nearly tied with the X6 even though it has 20% more cores, if you want a more in depth explanation of the BD modular layout go to Tom's hardware who lays out the whole thing.

But I'm sorry but both the integer and floating point are shared with BD and I don't know where you got your info from but neither integer or floating point is shared with Thuban, and FYI but pretty much every chip since the P3 has had a floating point so unless you've been running embedded ARM (the only chip made without a FP unit) I'm sorry but you're just badly misinformed.

Re:I remember (3, Informative)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41793047)

New kid on the block?

They have been making microprocessors since 1975 starting with the 8080.

They didnt just show up one day in the late 90's, they have had processors (among many other products) for every state in the x86 game, besides the fact they are only 10 months "younger" than intel.

One of these things is not like the other (1, Informative)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788109)

Why are layoffs announced in the title as a Awesome thing to have? Not sure where these jobs are going to be killed, but the bottom line is that people are going to be out on their ass, some won't find work again, some will lose their homes.. I just don't understand why celebrating layoffs (listing next to two potentially nice things, new products) is something we should be compelled to do.

Re:One of these things is not like the other (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788149)

It was not labelled as "nice". That is your misinterpretation of the title.

The title was simply a statement. Company X rumored to be doing X, Y & Z.

Filling in the blanks; Company SuperTech rumored to be Making rockets, eating babies and making new cars.

Besides, AMD is laying people off to save the company, it cannot afford these massive losses, it simply cannot. It's not a happy thing, it's a survival thing.

Re:One of these things is not like the other (0)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788173)

That is the same justification used for reducing workforce in any situation. The company (not necessarily AMD) may be doing fine but the uppity-ups found that they could be more profitable eliminating X jobs through whatever means, automation, robotics, or brute productivity increases on the poor sods that are left behind to do the work of 2 people.

Basic economics says that if there is no demand, there is no supply. If there is no supply, there is no Company. Truncating workforces means there are fewer jobs, and less demand.

Re:One of these things is not like the other (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788363)

The company (not necessarily AMD) may be doing fine but the uppity-ups found that they could be more profitable eliminating X jobs

AMD is not by any stretch of the imagination doing fine. Last year after Q3 they had an operating income (note: not total income) of 297 million. This year they have a 634 million operating loss. That's a lot for a company with 4612 million in assets. What's worse is where they're going

a) Revenue is down - they sell less
b) Gross margin is down - they make less per sale
c) R&D is down - a little but they're behind already
d) Accounts receivable is down - orders are down
e) Inventory is piling up - can it be sold?

That's my economist's hat. My strategist's hat is telling me that where AMD has done best lately with APUs is going to be dead center in the upcoming war with Chipzilla on one side and ARM selling billions of smart phones and tablets on the other side. Both sides will be pouring money into R&D. Both sides will cut margins to win the market. If I was AMD I'd feel about as comfortable as Poland stuck between Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Sovet Union in the late 30s.

The tech nerd in me really wants AMD to bounce back and fight it off, but I'm having big difficulty finding the right shade of rosy colored glasses to make it possible. I just hope AMD the CPU company doesn't drag AMD the GPU company down with them, because their graphics cards are still pretty competitive to nVidia.

Re:One of these things is not like the other (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41789119)

AMD is not by any stretch of the imagination doing fine. Last year after Q3 they had an operating income (note: not total income) of 297 million. This year they have a 634 million operating loss.

I realized that under GAAP rules their one-time payoff to GlobalFoundries earlier this year was counted as "Operating Cost, Other" and that was 703 million so their daily operations are not that screwed. But now in the last quarter they had a real operating loss, even AMDs "Adjusted EBITDA" was negative. Guess it's too long between I read financial reports.

Re:One of these things is not like the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41789431)

My one experience with their video cards over the past 4 years of using two of them are that the physical hardware may be fine, but the drivers suck. Hard. And sucky drivers kill the entire experience.

Once they get past the boot process which produces BSODs, the system is stable. Don't enable Crossfire mode though. And installing a new item with a new driver that requires a reboot puts the system into the same BSOD cycle until it's stable again. Upgrading the drivers kills the system. I have to go into safe mode to fully clear out all the drivers and reinstall the old, barely stable version. And enabling Crossfire requires the physical removal of the strips connecting the two cards or the system won't come back up at all. Not even to safe mode.

Sending the cards back had them returned, being told that they are physically good cards.

I've just purchased a pair of nVidea cards and will likely destroy these AMD cards rather than subject some other poor fool to the problems with them.

And yea, it's just my experience. Still, it's situations like this that have not only me not purchasing AMD cards in the future, but also not recommending them to others who ask.

Re:One of these things is not like the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41796519)

Are you using the cards on an Intel or AMD system? My experience is that AMD's graphics cards work a hell of a lot better on Intel systems, to the point where the same card, same version of graphics driver, and same OS will be rock solid on an Intel system and bluescreen an AMD system constantly. The problem (which is nothing new) is that the chipsets that support AMD CPUs suck.

Re:One of these things is not like the other (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790855)

Except in this case its easy enough to prove, intel has many fabs running at half capacity just so they don't end up with warehouses full of chips and the big "back to school" drive that both Intel and AMD were counting on proved to be a giant bust.

In a way both Intel and AMD are victims of their own success, they built such insane monster chips that frankly nobody NEEDS any more power and the few that buy power just for the sake of saying that have it just isn't enough to keep the market going. Hell my oldest is on his fourth year of college with his AMD dual core laptop and is quite happy with it, just as we're happy with our 2 Phenom X6s and the quad for the youngest on our desktops, plays all the latest games with cycles to spare so why buy another?

So it isn't like AMD is laying people off while posting record profits here, their numbers suck, the new half core design is a bust, people just aren't buying new systems until their old ones die, and the third world is skipping desktops and laptops and going straight to smartphones...its just not a great time for Intel or AMD.

Re:One of these things is not like the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788161)

What are you babbling about?

What does this list of things have in common?

A) They are all "a Awesome thing to have".

B) They are all rumored to be announce by AMD on Monday.

How on earth did you pick A?

Re:One of these things is not like the other (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788207)

You are overly sensitive. It was probably just the "bad and good news" category (i.e. company still "alive").

Big companies do this all the time... (5, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788293)

I've worked for a few very large companies who have made huge redundancies amongst engineering staff just as soon as projects are completed and ready to ship.

The logic is pretty simple: there are great new products ready to go and the cost base can be instantly reduced by letting go thousands of staff making profits might higher as a proportion of the cost base in the very short term (next 1 to 4 quarters).

The trouble is, you have to skate to where the puck is going, i.e. you have to be constantly developing new and better stuff to come out in a year to 18 month's time. If you don't have the R&D staff, you are in a tricky situation.

I suppose the logic is that you can hire people back when you're out of the economic hole, but I've never seen that happen. What does happen is a continuation of the company's decline until it eventually gets bought out.

Many of the people can't be hired back anyway, because they've moved on with their lives (retired, retrained, got new jobs). Do CEOs think that us little people sit around on our backsides all day worshipping their corporations and doing nothing except waiting for them to offer us jobs?

When you let your institutional knowledge leave the building, it goes for good. MBAs don't understand this.

Re:Big companies do this all the time... (3, Interesting)

Guppy (12314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788783)

When you let your institutional knowledge leave the building, it goes for good. MBAs don't understand this.

Maybe they do. There is some speculation that AMD management is prepping the company for a sale, and thus mostly concerned with making the short-term numbers look good. From what I understand, AMD's x86 cross-licensing agreements with Intel do not transfer over to a new owner, so their ARM posturing may make sense in that fashion, as the only buyers with both the cash and the need (for anti-Intel IP) would be interested in that field.

An intriguing possibility is Apple. Now, Apple would never buy AMD for their x86 CPUs, as they have historically been more useful to Apple as a price-negotiation cudgel, to get better deals from Intel. However, if Apple decides to finally make the jump to in-house CPU designs, then it starts to make sense -- especially considering Apple's current Patent Paranoia.

Re:Big companies do this all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41789927)

You're apparently not paying much attention, apple does indeed do their own in-house cpu designs, it's in the iphone 5. It probably won't be too long before they have a design capable of using in macs. They certainly wouldn't buy AMD for that expertise, they're 80% of the way there already.

Re:Big companies do this all the time... (1)

Guppy (12314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41793049)

You're apparently not paying much attention, apple does indeed do their own in-house cpu designs

My apologies, I am aware of the Apple Ax-series processors, but reflexively wrote "CPU" when I should have explicitly said "Desktop/Laptop CPU". I still believe that if they're going in-house for their PCs, at some point Apple will need a lot of resources -- including IP for the inevitable patent war with Intel (however useless and destructive that would be for everyone involved).

Re:Big companies do this all the time... (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41791481)

AMD's x86 cross-licensing agreements with Intel do not transfer over to a new owner

Uhh.. what?!

AMD is a publicly listed company. Corporations are "sold" by purchasing a controlling # of shares.

If the Intel agreement prohibits transferring it, then AMD will just remain a subsidiary of the new owner.

So even after it's "sold", AMD will still be AMD, just with different shareholders.

Re:Big companies do this all the time... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790949)

Actually what you are describing happened 3 CEOs ago [insideris.com] and as you can read from that link by an ex AMD chip man you can see that the engineers they got now? Not really what is needed. All the Cyrix guys? GONE. All the Athlon64 guys? GONE. All the K8-10 guys? GONE. One of the first things that happened when the CEO musical chairs started was a slash and burn of the engineering dept which is why they are in the shape they are in now, Bulldozer was done using computer layouts which add 20% to power usage while losing 20% performance.

so anybody who wants to know why AMD went downhill so quick and why Bulldozer was such a disaster, please read the link, its an eye opener. personally I hope they can turn things around but after a slash and burn THAT bad its gonna be damned hard to recover, especially when Intel is so far ahead already. Hell since one of the previous CEOs killed Thuban they don't even have a single slot on Tom's hardware build list for cheap PCs, and haven't had a single slot in over a year. They don't even have good deals on the low end anymore as the Pentiums based on Sandy curbstomp them, its just NOT a good time for AMD.

Meanwhile, on Planet Earth. (1)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788443)

"SeaMicro built its business on ultra-low power servers and their first 64-bit ARMv8 silicon is expected in the very near future."

If by "very near future" you mean late 2014 (optimistically, assuming TSMC can execute) then sure.

People have been talking about how the A15 is going to be the second coming since 2009 and we are finally starting to see the very first real A15 parts show up on the market literally this month, and it will be a long time before they are the majority of chips shipped in high-end smartphones and tablets.

Anybody who thinks that AMD can just release a Powerpoint with the word "ARM" in it and be successful should take at look at the 6 years it took Nvidia to finally get Tegra 3 out in large quantities.

Re:Meanwhile, on Planet Earth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41794567)

ARM will be competing with Broadwell by then, good fucking luck with an immature new ARM architecture against that. Haswell is already pushing the higher wattage Core parts down into lower and lower power envelopes. Broadwell at 14nm will be the fruition of that.

They'll have Atom at a mature 22nm process for the sub 2 watt CPU segment, and full on hard core Core architecture chips for everything above that. It'll be a fucking ARMageddon for ARM.

History is littered with cocky fucks like ARM predicting the demise of Intel.

ARM Servers (1)

thammoud (193905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788517)

The 3D of servers. Hype with no substance. Gotta love those Wall Street Analysts.

Re:ARM Servers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41788669)

Any one who thinks ARM servers are a good idea, has never used an ARM device as a server. I installed a photo server on my SheevaPlug. Processing 100 digital photos took _6 hours_. By contrast, even an old Celeron from 2007 clocked at 600 MHz with 512 MB of RAM was able to do the same task in about 3 minutes. I decided to repeat my experiment on a Palm Pixi I hacked. I gave up after 8 hours.

Re:ARM Servers (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788773)

The SheevaPlug uses a CPU with no FPU, a feature that has been standard on most ARM chips aimed for anything except the ultra low end of the embedded market for quite a few years now. If you're doing image processing using software floating point and expecting even vaguely reasonable performance, then you are an idiot.

Re:ARM Servers: FP performance (3, Interesting)

lenski (96498) | about a year and a half ago | (#41788945)

Your comment is on target given that ARM systems have a history being both lightweight and worse yet, inconsistently equipped with floating point hardware. The consequence has been that application and package developers face a choice between being able to run on lots of hardware by avoiding dependency on FP, or to provide good performance by limiting their applicability to systems with that hardware. I do not know whether ARM can overcome that history in a bid for a place in the server marketplace.

I expect that ARM architects recognize the need for consistency, with the result that the ARMv8 64-bit spec is way more specific about what developers can count on, so they can use high performance compiler settings consistently, while still being sure their applications can run on all servers.

This is a very important place where the Intel IA32 and AMD's x86-64, won. Beginning with the i486 (not SX), developers had a consistent set of compiler optimization choices providing "really good" performance. Anyone wanting really kick-ass, custom-optimized performance is welcome to go with tightly customized, processor-specific compilation, as one might be able to justify in HPC.

So the question is whether ARM's history of support for giving silicon implementers major freedom in selecting from among many options, will leave a legacy of inconsistency or whether they can get past that to enter the marketplace where consistency is required for success.

BTW, as an embedded developer, I've found the flexibility of choosing silicon that's well-tuned to my device-specific needs to be very important.

layoff numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41789577)

still struggling to learn who was affected. i know around 200 where i'm at, and heard around 40-50 at another site i work with a fair amount. some groups got reduced to maybe a third of their size from the previous day (24th). a few lackluster directors got axed, heard one VP too. and an awful lot of mediocre people were saved. as always, who you know and what you're doing matters almost as much as how competent and effective you are. thursday was a pretty crappy day.

Austin is gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41790337)

I work, well, worked at AMD Austin.

We were all let go on Friday morning. They didn't even let us in the building. HR was waiting outside with our severance packages to sign.

We were told we could retrieve our personal effects after they removed all of our PCs and equipment.

I call bullshit (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#41790351)

THAT would have been all over the news. I call bullshit.

Re:I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41794469)

i am not in texas, so can't say for certain what did or did not happen. but... many of the austin-based folks i worked with off and on over the years, not in outlook as of 12am sunday. not sure when it was updated, but lots of names are missing.

Hmm (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41792449)

And the only welcome news from the business / consumer standpoint would be the immediate release of a Phenom III with 12+ cores. Probably the only thing, even with a socket change, that would keep AMD still relevant on the desktop after the Bulldozer fiasco (current reviews of Piledriver are very disappointing, with nothing but a minor speed bump).

Re:Hmm (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41795047)

(current reviews of Piledriver are very disappointing, with nothing but a minor speed bump).

By what measure?

I've looked at a number of reviews. In all but single threaded preformance it usually beats the i5 and often matches, sometimes even beats the i7, a much more expensive processor.

In single threaded preformance, it's about 60-75% of the speed of an i5. Given how much of my stuff is single threaded limited these days, I'd happily take that hit to have i7 performance at a fraction of the cost.

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