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AMD To Hide MHz Rating From Consumers

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the bonehead-marketing dept.

AMD 916

pezpunk writes: "Tom's Hardware is reporting here that AMD's next-generation Athlons will be identified by model number rather than Mhz rating. This means that an Athlon will be designated an "Athlon 1600" even though it's only a 1.4Ghz part. The true clock speed of the chip will NOT be shown either on the chip itself or even in the BIOS. Apparently, they're desperate to compete with higher-clocked Pentiums in the minds of consumers -- proof that even the underdog can pull dirty marketing tricks =("

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akfjdkals;fdjs!! first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231379)

first 2 millionth post! corky6921

Already Done (2)

clinko (232501) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231381)

Don't they already have a P rating or something of the sort? It's from way back when they did the k5's I believe.

Re:Already Done (1, Redundant)

Micah (278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231422)

I think that was Cyrix. It was indeed the "speed of an equivelent Intel chip". Yuck. I don't know of that's precisely what AMD is doing here or if they're just pulling numbers out of their arses.

Either way maybe it's time to move back to Intel.

Re:Already Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231461)

Either way maybe it's time to move back to Intel.

I hope you don't change your habits reacting to the crap posted on this site.

Re:Already Done (2, Insightful)

ahknight (128958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231522)

Move back to Intel? For a marketing scheme? Move to Intel for the chip, or the support, or the availablility or price, but don't abandon a company just because their marketing scheme seems to be a little off. Really, all you ever really need to know is that model X Athlon beats nnnnMHz Intel chip, and there are many sources that will measure that for you. Once you know, get the chip.

It's known that Intel chips give the worst performance per MHz rating of all chip makers in the world and it's about time that one company does more than just ramble on about a "Megahertz Myth" while still pushing MHz as a measurement of the chip speed. AMD realized the worthlessness of this and took the first step at stopping the speed race that Apple was unwilling to do and started everyone in what really matters: the performance race. Which chip model outpaces the rest? That's what really matters. A 1.2GHz Athlon WILL win over a 1.2GHz Pentium IV, and should it ever get there [fingers crossed] a 1.2GHz G4(5?) would beat the snot out of both of them. It's a worthless measurement, and since no real measurement exists that is meaningful, they went to model numbers to shut people up about clock cycles.

Kudos to AMD.

Re:Already Done (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231468)

,--, ,--,
| ^ | _THIS_ IS
i | i RATED "P"
___' i `___
(________ ________)
'# ##`V'# ##`
/^^^^\ |#####_#####| /^^^^\
|||| | `###/ \###' | ||||
\~^^L/ (_ _ _ _) \J^^~/
( ) | \_ _/ | ( )
| | |/|||||\| | |
\ \ .-. |\||H||/| .-. / /
\ \,_/. .\,_| ^^\\^ |_,/. .\_,/ /
\._ . . ._ \\ _ . _./
~-,_,-~ | # | ~-,_,-~
| |
_____ | | ______
/, , ,\| |/ , ,\
/ , , ` , , \
i , , ` ` , i
i ` ` ` i
\ ' ` ' , , , /

ascii spork

Jews (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231383)

Just as the jews hide themselves in the shadows while they plot global domination, AMD hides information from their customers. This is truly a zionist move.

Makes sense to me... (4, Redundant)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231385)

It makes sense to me. Lower MHz Athlons are always compaired to higher MHz P4's in benchmarking and stuff. It just proves the MHz isn't everything.

Which is the marketing scheme? The faster MHz? Or the better chip????

Re:Makes sense to me... (3, Redundant)

keesh (202812) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231450)

Yes. From experience (review machines) I can tell you that a top of the range Athlon 1400 is considerably faster than a top of the range PIV 1800. It's similar to Apple's GigaFlop machines, they weren't that fast at all.

Heck, since when did MHz mean something?

Re:Makes sense to me... (3, Insightful)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231515)

Which is the marketing scheme? The faster MHz? Or the better chip????

The faster MHz. Even people who ought to know better are looking at AMD's move as a "dirty trick" (*ahem*). But faster MHz, even though it's pretty much a pure marketing move, makes news headlines, and even those who know better are tempted to say, "Gee, still, 2GHz is really fast" even though its speed is comparable [] to a [] 1.4GHz Athlon4 [] .

When people call your marketing strategy a marketing strategy, and even more when they call it a "dirty trick" (*ahem*), then you're not doing as good of a job at marketing as your competitor whose marketing strategy is difficult for people to recognize as such.

Re:Makes sense to me... (1)

frufry (207765) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231538)

It makes sense, but not in a good way.

The reason it seems Athlons are always compared to higher clocked 'P's is because the Athlons just perform better at lower speeds, so that's the only way the comparison makes sense. To me that's selling point enough. I think they should be useing THAT fact instead.

Frankly, I feel a little insulted. I mean who is AMD typically selling to ... OEMs and people who know the difference. OEMs do most of the selling for their boxes and for the rest of us that buy chips separately, I don't think we need have them try to 'level the playing field' by labeling things differently. All it's going to do is annoy and piss off a lot of people who weren't fooled in the first place.

Nothing new (1)

Loligo (12021) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231388)

This is an old trick.

Remember the Cyrix Pentium-class CPU's?

The P150+ was actually a 133Mhz chip that performed (in integer comparisons anyway) like an actual Pentium at 150Mhz.

Their floating point sucked, though...


Oh great (1)

Rurik (113882) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231390)

The one problem I have with this is that it'll make it even easier for underhanded businesses to rip off their customers. AMD and Intel are already fighting that battle, where businesses sell overclocked CPUs to their customers, insisting that it's a 1.2Ghz instead of a 900Mhz@1.2Ghz. Now, how are we to know? How can we be sure that the 1.4Ghz we buy is really a 1.4Ghz and not just a 1Ghz that'll work at 1.4 (with lots of arctic silver and HSFs)

Re:Oh great (1)

4mn0t1337 (446316) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231439)

Because, if it says "MODEL 1600" on the chip, it will be a 1.4 GHz.

THe article indicates that model # is tied into the speed.

This is so lame (2)

gelfling (6534) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231392)

What next? Car model names? Oooooh the AMD "Mustang SHO"! Buy one and get laid everyday! Howzabout the AMD "Shilznatz" for the Thug in us all - faster than a Glock 380.

Am I overclocking yet? (2)

derrickh (157646) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231393)

So, if I don't know how fast the chip is, how am I supposed to set the jumpers on my motherboard?


Re:Am I overclocking yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231470)

RTFM, stupid...

Re:Am I overclocking yet? (2)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231477)

Performance benchmarks. Look at how much better an actual workload performs. But I don't see how it could hide it from the BIOS all that well.

Re:Am I overclocking yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231490)

Most mobos now-a-days dont require any jumpers to be set. They auto-detect the CPU speed.

Neat Idea... (1)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231396)

In the day and age of M$ dumbing down of consumers, AMD is going to try to wipe out Intel's market by making their chips "user-friendly" by making them name brands as opposed to specs. I wonder how long it's going to be before Cyrix comes out with "Mr. Happy Chip"?


All things are possible, save skiing through a revolving door.

Remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231438)

Do not taunt Mr. Happy Chip.

Re:Remember... (1)

Shrubbman (3807) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231493)

I'll taunt Mr Happy Chip all I want!

*taunt* *taunt*

Understanding Slashcode (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231398)

Shout out the The O.P.P.!!! WASSUP YO!

OK, many of you have probably noticed a lot of ascii art flooding this board lately. You're no doubt wondering why CmdrTaco's much encountered "lameness filters" are ineffective against it. To answer that question, I'm going to take you on a Perl journey, deep into slashcode. Think of it as being a bit like "Heart of Darkness", or if you're a typical slashdot pleb, "Apocalypse Now!"

The first files we'll be looking at are the infamous "bitchslap" and "modslap". I think these are a pretty decent introduction to how Rob's mind works when he's coding angry: Here's bitchslap [] []. Scroll down to the section labelled "main program logic". BTW. "main program logic" is a ridiculously grandiloquent phrase for what we are seeing here.

Note how draconian this is. I like to think of this code as a memorial to slashdot-terminal, it's first victim. You can see how Malda deliberately broke his "self-regulating" moderation system, to give the admins of slashdot dictatorial powers. This code allows any admin using it to drop a user's default threshold to -1 instantly, and drop his karma down to a level from which it is unlikely to recover. I've heard that this script has been used on slashdot in a modified form, with the -defaultpoints set to less than -1, completely eliminating a user's post from normal viewing, unless people edit their query string manually.

On to modslap [] []. Scroll down to "main program logic" again.

OK, what you're seeing here is Taco's method of restricting the flow of crack to moderators, to keep them nice and jumpy. If you don't mod the way he likes, your moderating days are over, and your karma plummets to bitchslap levels. An ugly tool.

To recap, the man we are dealing with here is obviously an anti-democratic tyrant. Censorship is his weapon, and he is vigilantly watching his censors, to ensure that no freedom is allowed to enter his domain. I believe he also lives in a hut with a man driven crazy by his proximity. The hut is surrounded by skulls on poles, but the skulls face inward. Remember that.

We're nearing the locus of my investigation now. You've heard the legends, now gaze into the face of's so-called "troll detection code!" [] []: Scroll down to the section under "here begins the troll detection code".

You may be wondering why it's such an ungodly piece of crap. I feel that we are seeing evidence of an ingrained unwillingness to think before coding.

The first few tests are fairly simple, based on regexps and length. They're pretty laughable, from an information theory perspective. If you don't believe me, the flood of ascii art should supply adequate evidence of what I'm talking about. Language is a complex thing, and a few simple tests are insufficient to distinguish English from ascii art, especially when the ascii artists are willing to take extreme measures to see their work posted. Regular posters do not have the patience for such chicanery.

The final test is my favourite, though. It begins under the comment ending with this charming sentence: "These ratios are _very_ conservative a comment has to be absolute shit to trip this off". An interesting claim. Considering the number of posts I've tripped this filter on without doing anything out of the ordinary, I'd say "conservative" means the same thing to Taco as it means to George W. Bush, nb. "nazi". What we are talking about here, is the postercomment compression test. (The horror! The horror!) "postercomment" is just the name of the field your comments are sent in, by the way. It isn't cool top secret slashspeak. It's just a variable name.

What this does is, it actually compresses your comment using zlib, then checks the change in size to decide if you are a troll or not! Furthermore, the code comments indicate that if you trip this test, slashcode thinks you are a "luser". Code like this makes it pretty clear that it takes one to know one, Rob!

As someone who as actually seen Rob Malda use the phrase "it won't scale" to dismiss questions about why parts of the moderation system weren't done in a more equitable fshion, I'd like to take this opportunity to laugh until I give myself a hernia.

Anyone who has studied information theory knows that the redundancy of english is estimated at about 50%. This value is fairly key in what we are seeing here, it determines a fair estimate of how effective compression of english text can be before we start to lose information. Taco's estimates were based, in his words, on "...testing out several paragraphs of text...". Doesn't sound like a particularly large sample group. What's more, it's indicative of poor software engineering practice. As is the recent bout of outages.

A few final criticisms. Firstly, there are far better, less memory intensive, and above all, less stupid methods of performing textual analysis than checking it's compression ratio. If Taco had any idea about computer science, he might have investigated a few before making a fool of himself in public like this. It's pretty clear that he's getting more and more frustrated with the situation on slashdot, and doesn't realise that if he ruled with an even hand, rather than a bitchslapping script and an army of trained thought police, the problems would not be so grave.

Secondly, I thought of a much more effective method of eliminating asci art posts, and it will never cause problems for genuine posters. What's more, it's extremely compact and doesn't even require regexps. I won't reveal it here, as I am not willing to assist in a reign of terror that I find to be reprehensible.

As further evidence of the lengths Malda and Co. may be willing to go to, you can find a commented out section that enables the deletion of posts and their descendant threads. We have no reason to believe that this will not be employed on slashdot.

Editorial notes: I don't use Perl and this is really the first time I've examined it closely. It's pretty much convinced me that I'm not missing much. I use real languages such as C and C++ and occasionaly asm to do most of my work, and I, along with 95% of the enterprise world, find Java to be the best solution for web programming. For most scripting tasks, shell script suffices. For more complicated scripting tasks, Python provides a more sensibly designed scripting environment. Additionally, as if to provide further evidence of Malda's incompetence as a programmer, I've hit the junk character post every single time I've previewed this comment, and am now forced to resort to edit it. Regretfully, I have been forced to replace the Perl fragments I was using with hyperlinks. Very unsatisfactory.

Re:Understanding Slashcode (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231472)

Someone bitchslap this self-richeous ass

Re:Understanding Slashcode (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231520)

Very well done.

Is this supposed to help the consumer? (2)

Scutter (18425) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231399)

I fail to see how this will help. It seems to me that it will only confuse the consumer. You take the one piece of data that the average buyer uses as a benchmark (the MHz rating) and completely obscure it.

It seems to me that the consumer would be better served by AMD advertising in plain language why their chips are better than the competition's.

Look at it this way, if you went to the gas station and the pumps were only listed as "Formulas One, Two, and Three" instead of octane ratings, you'd likely buy the cheapest one instead of the one best suited to your needs.

Re:Is this supposed to help the consumer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231500)

The consumers I deal with don't even know what "megahertz" is. They just know a number. They already talk in these terms:

Them: "I have a 1200 that I bought a few months ago but I heard that they came out with 1800's, so I guess it's time to upgrade."

Me: "A 1200 what? If it's a '1200 AMD' CPU, you might not gain all that much from buying an '1800 Intel' CPU."

Them: "I think it's a 'Valley Micro' 1200 CPU. Have you ever heard of them? They're over by 14th."

Last time, the trouble with the AMD PR rating was that people selling both AMD and Intel CPUs were telling their customers "actually, AMD is lying -- their 166 CPU is really only a 133, but Intel's is a true 166 -- so that one's the better deal."

I'm sure the incentive of higher margins on the Intel chips had nothing to do with their attitude...

Re:Is this supposed to help the consumer? (1)

n3bulous (72591) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231514)

1) MHz is an invalid benchmark. This is proven by lower MHz Athlons beating higher MHz P3s/P4s.

2) Gas octane rating is (I'm pretty sure) gov't regulated, whereas MHz is not.

Marketing is all about defining an image. Right now, MHz is part of the defining image of a chip. A paragraph description of why AMD beats Intel would not stick in the mind of consumer, hence they play the MHz game. Maybe they could replace this with Quake FPS instead...

Granted, AMD will confuse people and will probably suffer sales because of the confusion (why buy something if you aren't quite sure what it represents). Only enthusiasts will go to sites like tomshardware to check the test results.

Re:Is this supposed to help the consumer? (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231524)

"It seems to me that the consumer would be better served by AMD advertising in plain language why their chips are better than the competition's."

Hah. These are the same users that choose iMacs for the pretty colors (as opposed to choosing them for any other reason, or choosing something else).

"Look at it this way, if you went to the gas station and the pumps were only listed as "Formulas One, Two, and Three" instead of octane ratings, you'd likely buy the cheapest one instead of the one best suited to your needs."

And millions of people always buy the most expensive gasoline even though their car engines were designed to run perfectly fine on the cheapest (by law). They just think that since it's more expense (or "higher octane") it must be better. And anyway, how does "Octane 83", "Octane 87", and "Octane 94" really differ from "Formula One", "Formula Two", and "Formula Three". I'm so sure people are solving stoichiometric formulas at the gas pump to figure out their "ideal" fuel. Bah.

cat /proc/cpuinfo (2)

Micah (278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231400)

I suppose that will still work correctly right? Isn't that taken from kernel callibration routines instead of BIOS?

On my Athlon 700:

cpu MHz : 700.044

Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231456)

yep cpuid software will still work. but the bios will never admit the real clock speed =[

Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (1)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231485)

I just tried this on my Dell Inspiron, which claims to have a Pentium III 850 MHz.

I get cpu MHz : 701.597

What the hey? Is this a laptop thing, or is Intel already using this "dirty trick"??

Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (1)

The_Messenger (110966) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231513)

I believe that some P3 notebooks use "performance throttling" to conserve power. Check your BIOS, turn it off it possible, and try again. Or check the CPU while running a processor-intensive application.

Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (1)

ZxCv (6138) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231523)

It's probably just the laptop-- the mobile PIII chips have that SpeedStep shit where the chip automatically scales its speed up and down as needed in order to save on battery power.

Re:cat /proc/cpuinfo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231536)

Welcome to speedstep technology, where the claimed speed is only achieved when the CPU fells like doing it, not when you need it!

Running scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231403)

What would do AMD a world of good would be to reconcile whatever problem it is that they have with Michael Dell and go about getting Athlons loaded onto Dell machines. They are essentially blocked out of the top spot because the #1 box maker refuses to use the chips.

They could of course go the other route and try to get loaded across the board on lower-end machines (e-machines, etc), but that wouldn't do wonders for their image.

I like that idea much better than what has been (1)

Typingsux (65623) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231405)

going on....

All your PC's are running at HZ not MHZ all this time!. We've just been telling you and your damn fool BIOS otherwise.

And you believed it! What suckers! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231406)

CPU clock speed is a misnomer anyway. How the chip functions and what it does is far more important than how many cycles you can squeeze in per second. And I'm sure that those who REALLY want to know will be able to find out if they must.

Good... (2)

BMazurek (137285) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231407)

If it helps AMD get the market share and laurels they seem to deserve, great! Maybe it will force Intel to be more innovative in their architecture design sessions than they are in their marketing sessions.

Re:Good... (2)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231503)

What? That just doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't Intel just go, "oh look, it works for AMD, now let's market our 2GHz PIV's as Pentium 3000s" ????
Why oh why do you think this would cause Intel to work harder on their architecture?

This is a sad day (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231409)

While I agree Mhz isn't everything in a processor amd is still using these model numbers to be in line with Intel mhz, very confusing for customers.

Cyrix (1)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231410)

Oh no! Not another 6x86 PR200!

Dirty Tricks... (2)

Tin Weasil (246885) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231413)

It's not really that bad of a "dirty trick" since an 1Ghz Pentium Processor and a 1Ghz Athlon Processor are not exactly equal... but because they are both "1Ghz" they ARE equal in the minds of many consumers.

Benchmarks usually place the like-clockspeeded Athlon at slightly faster then it's Intel competitor... but it becomes hard to market that.

Hiding the clock speed from the BIOS though... going a bit too far.

Better options (2)

yamla (136560) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231416)

I do not like this. I think AMD could better compete in other ways. We do not buy cars based entirely on how many RPMs they are capable of. Sure, most people buy CPUs on the Mhz but I'd rather see an advertising campaign targeting that fallacy rather than hiding the Mhz from us.

Also, whatever 'P' rating you rate it at is meaningless. An Insel chip may be faster at integer math, slower at memory access and floating point while an BMD chip may rock at floating point but be terrible at other things. Plus, are we comparing against the PQ3 or the PQ4 Insel CPU?

No, keep the information about Mhz right on the CPU. Ideally, keep the FSB and multiplier as well. But just don't use this as your selling point.

Re:Better options (3, Interesting)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231529)

>>We do not buy cars based entirely on how many RPMs they are capable of.

No, but horsepowers do influence our decision. Much less, though, because the cars are not named 'Integra 180hp' and 'M3 340hp', while the CPUs *are* named 'Athlon 1.4GHz', 'P4 1.6GHz'.

So, it's a good marketing decision, to make up model names/numbers for different CPUs. As for hiding the actual clock frequency -- for the people who care to find out, it can't possibly be a big problem to figure it out.

Re:Better options (1)

daveisoverlord (172903) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231542)

I think a better analogy is people who buy cars based on horsepower. Yes, horsepower is a reflection of how much power it has, but torque is better - and horsepower won't tell you how fast your car is (weight is just as important). But many people just say "Yeah, well I've got 170 HP and you've only got 150 HP".

Go for it, AMD! (3, Funny)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231417)

AMD should go for this all they way! After all, we all know how well trying to hide a chip's REAL speed rating worked for Cyrix! oh, wait....

Nothing can hide (1)

sup4hleet (444456) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231418)

From my
localhost# cat/proc/cpuinfo


confusion (1)

archen (447353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231419)

Person A: Hey, I just overclocked my Athlon!
Person B: Cool, how fast is it now?
Person A: Um... Actually I don't know.... Faster I guess

Oh boy... (2)

jonfromspace (179394) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231426)

Seems to me that a marketing ploy like this will not work against a marketing giant like Intel...

Intel will simply exploit the fact that the Athlon "1600" is not a 1600Mhz chip.

The average consumer(read non-slashdotter) will see the "True" 2000 beside the Athlon "1600" and will obviously go for the higher numbered chip.

Apple has tried to educate the consumer about the reality of clock speed, and they failed. What makes AMD think they can achieve a different result?

Re:Oh boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231512)

The difference is that AMD is faster both clock per clock and comparing the top of the line chips.

Apple is just faster clock-for-clock.

Thoughts on the Hz Myth (0, Interesting)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231428)

I've been wondering about the Hz Myth issue for quite some time now. Mainly ever since Steve Jobs at MacExpo NY a few months ago where he demo'd some machines that smoked Intel chips despite being about half the MHz. Do note that this a long post, and had it pre-written waiting for the next oppurtunity to post it. I feel this is that oppurtunity.

I heard a rumor that Intel counts both the rising and falling edge of the cycle, while Motorola counts only the falling edge. This rumor was in respect to how Apple's chips were always considerably lower in Hz than Intel chips, primarily in how Apple's chips were half as fast as Intel's. (Motorola designs and manufactures Apple's CPUs)

A co-worker and I discussed this and did some analysis. The guy was an EE in college, and said that actions were performed only on the falling edge of the clock cycle. Hence, it was not possible to include both falling and rising edge in a clock cycle.

We took a mathematical algorithm, wrote an implementation in C, and added some timing code. I should note that this C program is a _typical_ complex math algorithm that could occur on any machine, and are not tailored to perform better on any given machine. We compiled the source using gcc 2.95 on a Red Hat 6.2 box with an Intel 1 GHz Pentium III and also on a Mac OS-X using the same version of gcc on a 500 MHz G4. Both compilations used full optimizations. We then ran them on their respective machines (using the same input) several times each and calculated the average amount of time it took for the algorithm to reach completion. The results were about the same for each machine.

After reflecting on this result, we think that Intel is using both the falling edge and rising edge in an attempt to better market their products. We arrived at this conclusion by going back to classical wave mechanics from our physics classes in college. Take a waveform, say the trignometeric sine wave for example, and notice how the wave rises for the first pi/4 on the X axis. It repeats this shape 3.14 later. Hence the wavelength of the sine wave is pi. By definition, the number of complete waves in a given second is the frequency of the wave.

Apply this now to the waveform of a circuit. Specifically, the clock. Notice how the frequency of the wave is composed of both a rising and falling edge. If actions can only take place on the falling edge of a clock cycle, then Intel has doubled the clock speed on paper only.

But wait! You might be asking why have AMD's chips also been comparable to Intel's in terms of clock speed? Because AMD is directly competing with Intel, and they need that edge in the market. Assume you're a regular Joe Q User, would you buy Intel's 2 GHz processor or AMD's 850 MHz? Our conclusion is AMD has also doubled their numbers in order to better compete with Intel.

But wait again! What if Intel has figured out how to get actions to occur on both the rising and falling edge? If this is true, Intel's chips would perform _largely_ better in benchmarks than they currently do. If this was true, the timing test my co-worker and I performed would not have resulted in similar numbers, it would have had Intel getting a timing roughly half that of Apple's. Therefore, if this is true, Intel's engineers have done a lousy job at exploiting this novel concept, which I highly doubt would happen. Our conclusion is that Intel hasn't figred out how to have actions perform on the riding and falling edge.

Final Conclusions: After doing some scientific analysis that includes benchmarks and revisiting concepts learned during a college physics course, we conclude that Intel is counting both the falling and rising edge of a clock cycle, despite facts that fail to support this idea when compared to a processor that is measured using only the falling edge.

Companies like Apple and AMD are doing the correct thing by wanting to find a better means of quantifying the performance of a processor. They are doing the correct thing by telling consumers there is more to a processor than it's clock speed.

I wish I had some mod points... (1)

Alanzilla (43079) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231508)

... to send you to oblivion.

Re:I wish I had some mod points... (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231530)

and do you have any arguments as to why you would do that?

Re:Thoughts on the Hz Myth (2)

JesseL (107722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231527)

Or you could have used an oscilliscope. Sheesh, not to metion the fact that different processors process different numbers of instructions per clock cycle.

Re:Thoughts on the Hz Myth (2)

furiousgeorge (30912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231533)

>>After reflecting on this result, we think that >>Intel is using both the falling edge and rising >>edge in an attempt to better market their

you're a retard.

You haven't proved anything - you've just proven that the code runs in the same time. Intel MAY be running at twice the MHz of the PPC, but the PPC maybe doing twice the work per clock cycle. Go read an elementary book on CPU architecture. Look for words like 'pipeline', 'cache', 'system bus', and anything other remotely technical to educate yourself.

>>Final Conclusions: After doing some scientific
>> analysis that

funny - you haven't done any analysis, and haven't prooved anything. Please let me know what 'scientific' school you graduated from so i can avoid it like the plague.

This reminds me of an old Kids in the Hall sketch: "Having spent 6 months in the merchant marines, and speaking a little conversational french, I THINK I KNOW A THING OR TWO ABOUT THE RECORDING INDUSTRY..."

You are living proof that a LITTLE knowledge is a dangerous thing.........

HI MICHAEL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231433)

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Re:HI MICHAEL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231483)

Slashdot has been Invaded by Martians!

Yeah, I really regret telling all those assholes on GiZ how to get round the lameness filter. He he, mebbe I should tell them the JavaScript trick which Taco hasn't fixed yet...

o o
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This Martian is Copyright © 2001 keesh. You may redistribute it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 or later.

Oh Well (1)

SpaFF (18764) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231434)

We all know its not the megahertz but the BOGOMIPS that count anyway ;)

In other news... (1)

corky6921 (240602) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231436)

In other news, AMD has changed its company name to Cyrix... []

(BTW, the link above is actually a pretty interesting diatribe about why Cyrix's performance ratings stunk.)

Mhz is somewhat meaningless (1)

emf (68407) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231445)

Mhz or Ghz is somewhat meaningless when used to determine the "speed" of the CPU anywas.

While I don't mind them using another number to identify the CPU, I'm not sure if its a good idea to use "1600" on a 1400 mhz CPU because their marketing department feels its as fast as a 1600 mhz Intel P4.

MHz shouldn't be important (2)

Dr. Awktagon (233360) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231446)

I don't think clock speed is important. It should be printed on the computer box someplace but it doesn't need to be part of the marketing or product name.

Clock speed hasn't mattered to me since about 100MHz. Just get a current PC, and your computer will be fast enough for the popular applications (MP3 for instance).

Of course power users will care, but average joe doesn''s hard to compare MHz to MHz these days anyway.

I suppose it's technically legal... (1)

Catroaster (176308) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231447)

After all, it has been done before, and even by AMD (K6

But I reckon AMD will lose far more in goodwill than they will gain in sales for this. Also, to use the stated example, what difference does a percieved 200Mhz performance difference make anyway with the applications most people actually use?

But will it really happen, now? (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231448)

Prediction: This won't happen. The net is full of very bad PR at the moment because of this "rumor". AMD, which might well be in an advanced stage of planning this out, will realize that this sucks, retreat and try the only sensible thing instead; plain information.

Gawd I hope I'm right.

And what's up with the Palomino problems? That sucks even more by the sound of it.

How do I set my MB multiplier? (2)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231449)

If I don't know what the clock speed is on my chip, how am I expected to set the jumpers on my motherboard?

Won't help too much... (2)

imp (7585) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231452)

FreeBSD's boot process will still tell how fast
it is clocked :-).

Thats fine for homosexuals bu how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231505)

Straight and non jews who run wholesome MS software?

This has to happen eventually (1)

Tattva (53901) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231453)

I am sorry to see AMD is using this change in branding to confuse consumers, but this has to happen eventually. Consumer products are advertised based on what they can do for the consumer. No one buys a Whirlpool 1600RPM washer, they buy the Calypso, because it's so much fun and good for you laundry too! Muscle cars still tout their RPM's and cylinder count, but this is due to the egos of those purchasing such cars.

The truth is that MHZ doesn't matter for the vast majority of consumers. Any computer 800 MHZ or faster is probably bottlenecked by the software and hard drive.

Poster is missing the point ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231455)

Comparing by MHz between chip architectures is fairly meaningless. Athlons have always performed the same as an Intel chip running at about 100 MHz higher. I think they are trying to not fight the uphill battle with the unwashed masses that believe that clock speed means everything.

Wasn't there an FCC thing...? (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231457)

I recall about 2 or 3 years ago when the overclocking chips started to roll out that several questionable vendors had sold chips that they claimed were, say "500mhz", but was really an overclocked 300mhz chip. Some organization (FCC?) stepped in and said that there must be truth in advertizing and that if you are selling an overclocked 300mhz chip, you must advertize it as an overclocked 300mhz chip that can obtain 500mhz, but not as a 500mhz chip.

Wouldn't this strategy defeat the purpose of this ruling? Those same questionable vendors can come out of the wordwork, and say that they just sold you a 1.4ghz AMD chip, when in relality, you've just got a 1.2ghz overclocked to 1.4ghz? Without the ability to see both the chip model # *and* the chip speed in the bios, it will be very hard to proof that you get what you ordered.

I agree that stupid consumers are infactuated with high clock speeds that lead to this problem, but AMD chips, from my experience, seem to stand on their own in terms of quality and performance compared to Intel, and need not hide behind this strategy to effectively compete. Besides, if anything, they have to woe the OEMs and not the ones buying speciality-built computers, and last I checked, many of the OEMs are still Intel-based.

BogoMIPS! (1)

Bradmont (513167) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231462)

We still have the ever useless BogoMIPS! Once someone finds out the mhz/bogomips multiplier for the new generation athlon, clock speeds'll be easy to find.

Hey! It worked for Cyrix!! (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231463)

Wow... I'm amazed Intel hasn't done this yet. Surely AMD will rule the planet now.

*sigh* Seriously, AMD just kissed it's future good-bye. Dead in two years, tops. They're already cutting prices too thin, and what with the entire sector dumping jobs like crazy, AMD could be facing the last roundup. I'm sure it's already packed for the trip, with this little stupid stunt.

What about people who build their own machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231465)

Most motherboards support chips of different speeds. I suppose the BIOS seting could be ask for the chip model instead of frequency. But, why should motherboard manufactures keep silent about the frequency? Especially if they want to give more sophisticated consumers the ability to overclock.

No, this is called SMART... (3, Insightful)

Kasreyn (233624) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231466)

...consumers can't get it through their heads that clock speed is not even close to being everything. Intel has proven a willingness to more or less lie about the speed of their processors (got look at some Tbird vs P4 benchmarks and tell me I'm wrong there).

As long as the public continues to see things based solely on the clock speed, AMD can't win unless they:

1.) try to educate consumers better (not gonna happen because cpu design is complex)
2.) fight dirty and do Intel's tricks right back to them.

I'm not too happy about it either, but there's little else AMD can do. At least there's one good thing: it's only a model number. Unlike Intel, they're at least not lying about clock speed.


Re:No, this is called SMART... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231509)

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Re:No, this is called SMART... (1)

Mahy (111194) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231539)

Moderate this UP! :)

sigh (2)

room101 (236520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231467)

I can't say that I disagree with their inclination to not want to use MHz, when it doesn't mean anything; even less now that the Pentium 4 is up to 2GHz. Talk about bloat.

I don't agree with their attempt to give out these "model numbers" that looks suspiciously like higher clock rates. Cirix tried the same thing a while back. It only confused people in the end and (IMHO) increased the consumer's reliance on MHz as the single metric on which to base purchasing descisions on.

We really need a good benchmark to comapare these, but that is a very old story....

Where is your source? (1)

oliphaunt (124016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231471)

Is this just more insanity from Tom's? Only time will tell. The really informative piece of data that is missing here would be the bios guide he mentions in the article, in the 3rd paragraph...

A new BIOS Writer's Guide prohibits the BIOS from ever displaying the true core frequency of Palomino!

so show us the writer's guide, man. Don't make specious claims and wave your hands at a source. If there's a document, let's have the URL.

"dirty marketing tricks" -- Not so much..... (1)

genericid (446373) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231473)

Since when is this a dirty marketing trick? I believe that this is the right way to go since the mHz myth really only benefits Intel at this point. Maybe Apple should also follow suit? Maybe both of the companies can convince consumers that mHz is not the true benchmark of a machine's speed....

Cirix already tried this... (1)

ayden (126539) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231476)

and failed.

Remember the MediaGX chip? It ran at a slower clock speed than a "comparable" pentium. However, real world experience showed that the Media GX chip ran slower than almost all its competition.

Please don't get me wrong, I own an Athlon 1200C and love it. I just don't think this is going to work.

This isn't exactly a new idea... (1)

eoPh (128750) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231478)

Good 'ol big blue has been playing the same game as well...

I bought a 20gig Deskstar HD, and was humoured to see that it was called an IBM Deskstar 60GXP. Misleading? naw. everyone can see that something called a 60GXP _must_ be only 20gigs

Hardware reviewers (1)

DrkShadow (72055) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231480)

I guess this will put the requirement on hardware reviewers to tell the consumers at least approximates of the processor's speed. If no place else, they should be able to, and some even get + give the speed of the processors before they come out.

And, what will this do to overclocking? if you don't know how much you're OCing it...... (note: I haven't really done any overclocking, so I don't know if most do it by mhz, frequencies, or whatever else.)


What would you do... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231482)

...with five dollars? Imagine... five whole dollars in your pocket (if you're an open-source programmer, you know that five dollars is a veritable fortune). What do you do with it?

Why, if you're a typical Linux zealot, you...


But what do you do with the rest of the money? Three bucks and a quarter is still a fortune (remember, you're an open-source programmer here). There's only one thing to do: you...


But you still have a buck fifty! A vast amount (open-souce programmer, remember)! There's only one thing to do with it: you...


But you still have a buck and a quarter! A huge amount (open-source, yadda yadda yadda)! What do you do but:


So now you have one dollar left. You now own two shares of LNUX [] that are worth a dollar each, you have herpes and genital warts from the ho [] , and a bleeding rectum [] from the losers [] . What do you do? You ... you ... you don't know that to do with it.

Well, since you're an open-source programmer, you won't have to worry about what to do with all that money, since you'll never have five dollars to begin with.

mMMmm... (1)

RyanT (123814) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231484)

Sounds like Apple and their "MHz Myth".. oh well, hopefully people will see the light. In AMD's favor that is.. ;)

This isn't their worst scam... (1)

mcelli (518034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231486)

Proof that even the underdog can pull dirty marketing tricks

This clearly isn't the first time they've done this. I remember the 5x86 chip that was actually an overclocked 486 clone. People who bought it were honestly tricked they bought a Pentium 133, when in fact it delivered performance worse than a Pentium 60.

The whole pr rating scheme is nonsense. That's like saying my Canadian dollar is worth 1 PR American Dollar. If AMD sees this as a problem, then why not send retailers marketting material such as benchmarks to backup their support of the Megahertz Myth. Tricking consumers just ends up putting your face on CNN (or Slashdot).

Shooting Themself in the Foot (2)

Gregoyle (122532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231487)

Arrrrggg, just when I thought AMD would actually have a chance in the marketplace vs. Intel they go and do a stupid thing like this.

This is the tactic of a loser. Look where it got Cyrix. What they *should* be doing is emulating Apple, and run a lot of ads expostulating on the "Myth of the Megahertz". This has the double bonus of getting them airtime and also slamming Intel without mentioning Intel outright (or even *with* mentioning Intel, that's fine). They don't even need to get into technical details, just say stuff like "In the most demanding benchmarks, our processors come out ahead. They are more efficient, and better able to perform the tasks that will launch you into the Internet Era.. etc. etc. ::Insert Marketing Stuff::"

If they want to be seen as a serious competetor in the business arena, this is NOT the tactic to take. Bogus "power ratings" are just that. Bogus. I had just started to genuinely *like* AMD as a company that put out a good, solid product with a minimum of BS. Man, I'm so pissed off about this. Grrr!!

Re:Shooting Themself in the Foot (1)

sessamoid (165542) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231525)

Right, emulate Apple. That way AMD could also develop the overwhelmingly dominant market position that Apple already has. Uh, darn...

Consumers (1)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231488)

This wouldn't even be an issue if consumers in general weren't so brand-happy. If they did a little research, they would find that a lower clocked Athlon is just as fast, and half the price of a P4. Unfortunately, that Intel Inside logo carries alot of weight with your average buyer. Thankfully for AMD, however, the fastest growing market segments in PC Sales have consistently been less expensive (sub $1000) machines, not top-of the line 2ghz monsters with RDRAM. In that arena, AMD has a clear Price/Performance advantage

Intel Did it first (1)

fenriswolf (515715) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231494)

yeah, this is a dirty tactic to confuse people, but dont blame AMD. Intel was doing it a while ago, with RDRAM. you got your PC800 rdram...that misteriously ran at is that pc800? seems to be a common tactic in the industry, it just makes headlines because AMD doesnt have the "WHAT WE DO IS RIGHT BECAUSE WE ARE INTEL" advantage.

Dirty?!? (1)

bay43270 (267213) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231495)

proof that even the underdog can pull dirty marketing tricks

Dirty Marketing tricks?!? Do you think the clock speed of a cpu is an accurate portrayal of the processors power? I think the dirty marketing trick is to tell people what the clock speed is at all! All it does is miss-lead the ignorant consumer (and sometimes even those who should know better).

This provides no value to me. (2)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231497)

This certainly raises an eyebrow, but I cannot see how it provides any value to me (or the average consumer). It makes things even more mysterious! Given a choice between something that is well known, with a published clock rate, or a 'second tier brand' that hides information, I'd think it would give Intel and even BIGGER advantage. Unless, of course, for some stupid reason, Intel decides to do the same thing.

But really, for the AMD fan, this is an insult. Hopefully their marketing and PR people know some sort of angle to this beyond the obvious that will magically capture market share by removing its Mhz rating.

ack! (1)

superdk (184900) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231498)

the reminds me of the old cyrix chips...
a chip with model number 200 was actually only a 150Mhz chip.

this doesn't bother me too much with AMD doing it tho, their processors tend to have more bang for the Mhz anyway unlike those old cyrix things.

I Does'nt Matter When PC Rag Lies (1)

B.B.Wolf (42548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231499)

When Zip Data, constaintly says things like this about the Atholon "An inexpensive solution that can sometimes match the performance of higher priced PIIIs and P4s." When they should be making statements like "The Atholon beats the crap out of more expensive PIII and P4s in all but a few specialy tweeked game aplications, where the P4 edged ahead".

At the trade show booth.... (2)

mblase (200735) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231501)

"Check it out: the new Athlon 1600!"
"Excuse me? Yes, how fast does this processor actually run?"
"It's a 1600!"
"Yes, I know that, but how fast is it? in megahertz?"
"It's equivalent to a Pentium at 1600 Mz."
"Okay, but how fast does it run?"
"I don't understand the question, sir."
"How many megahertz does this processor run at?"
"Perhaps you're not familiar with what we call 'The Megahertz Myth'...."
"I'm thoroughly familiar with it, I've worked in hardware for fifteen years. I just want to know how many megahertz this particular processor runs at."
"It's equivalent to a...."
"No, I don't care about that. What's the clock speed?"
"It's faster than a...."
"That's nice. What's. The. Clock. Speed?"
"Would you like to see some comparisons to...."
"Never mind, I'll just go check out the Motorola booth."

NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2231506)

NOOOO! Don't do it AMD :(((

Umm part numbers.... (1)

Doctor_D (6980) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231507)

I'm just waiting for them to market their parts by some generic part number. Say like how Sun tracks their part numbers... Take a 501-5838 for example...that's an 400MHz UltraSPARC II processor with 8 megs of cache.

It will be about as funny as people comparing their letters and numbers of their cars with each other. My I300 is better than your 328i. Whatever...

This is disgusting (2)

SIGFPE (97527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231510)

Well at least Microsoft are honest. You definitely do need a 2000MHz CPU to get tolerable performance out of NT5.

ok (1)

isudoru (452928) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231511)

lets say someone not into mhz sees this and reads it as mhz, they will go for it because it sounds higher. this is how to lure away costumers from intel part 2. part 1 was when they decided to change the name to athlon 4 or whatever that was about some time ago.


New motherboard features from Taiwan!!! (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231521)

If AMD thinks that the BIOS won't be revealing the true speeds of the CPUs, they are on crack. I guarantee you that right after these CPUs hit the market, ABIT will release a BIOS update for all of their mobos supporting the chip. This update will show the true CPU speed, giving ABIT an edge in the overclocking market. To compete, ASUS will do the same with their BIOSs/motherboards, which have a hard time against the cheaper ABIT mobos. After that, EPoX will do it for the value oriented segment of the market.

And then it will end up a standard feature on all the AMD mobos out there....

Why not Dirty, AND Fair? (1)

havardi (122062) | more than 12 years ago | (#2231532)

Name the chips according to it's MIPS performance
ie; ATHLON 3000
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