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Intel 45nm Processors Waiting to Clobber AMD's Barcelona?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the surprise-processor-clobber dept.

AMD 302

DKC writes "Tech ARP's anonymous source claims that Intel is merely waiting for AMD to release their Barcelona processors before they clobber them with their 45nm die-shrinked processors. In fact, Intel is already producing these 45nm processors at one of their fabs in Arizona. AMD and Intel are in for a long and tough battle ahead. Should be an interesting one though."

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302 comments

So who will win? (0)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20295933)

Innovation or teaching an old horse how to run faster?

Re:So who will win? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20295957)

Egads man, did you read the article? This isn't about horse racing, this is about computer processors! This is serious business!

Re:So who will win? (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296039)

Don't you realize Intel and AMD are actually rival stables? Pfft. I don't know, what kind of fool would think computers upon hearing those two names...

It's also about who's loudly wrong (0, Offtopic)

theGreater (596196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296079)

I don't know why this bothers me so much, but it does.

http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Atecharp.com+ %22deigned+to [google.com]

http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Adeign [google.com]

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

-theGreater.

So 45nm is not innovating? (5, Informative)

ion++ (134665) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296055)

So 45nm is not innovating? If it was so easy to do, then we would have been there a long time ago. And AMD would have 45nm as well.

I think slashdot choose the wrong Subject, it makes it sound like intel is doing it to be evil. It's much more possible that they are waiting with the release to make more money. Some might think making money is evil, but i dont. I like making money.

If intel has the fastest and lowest power consumption now, and AMD is not a threat, so why release a faster CPU, intel can still make lots of money selling the old. When AMD releases their new CPU, intel has a response ready, meaning intel will make more money.

Intel is in the world to make money, not particular to ruin AMD, how ever if making ruining AMD makes more money, intel will most likely try.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (4, Insightful)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296081)

> Some might think making money is evil, but i dont. I like making money.

Whether making money is evil depends on how you make it. In particular, anticompetitive behavior is not a legal or moral way to make money.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (1)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296667)

Once competition is considered anti-competitive, let me know, as I have a definition of aggressive that I would like to change, as well.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (4, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296721)

How is Intel being anticompetitive?
I highly doubt they would sit on a process till AMD is out with a new product. The road to marketshare is not to wait for your competitor, it is to get your product out as far ahead as possible. Given the options I believe Intel is likely still working out some non-trivial (i.e. no microcode workaround) issues in the 45nM process before releasing.
Which sounds more plausible?
* Intel sits on a new process, risking sanctions, not making money (actually losing money given the cost of running a fab), just to beat AMD at their launch.
* Intel has some bugs to work out, and does not want to relive a PPro style recall for _any_ reason as that would be disaster.

-nB

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (3, Informative)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296109)

Don't confuse a technological advancement with innovation.

45nm process has nothing to do with innovation. It's just the same technology, the same process, on a different scale.


Innovation is seeing a ball rolling, and making a bearing out of it. the 45nm process opposed to the 60nm process is seeing a 30cm diameter ball, and making a 40cm diameter ball.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (5, Insightful)

crgrace (220738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296235)

of the most impressive technological feats our society accomplishes on a regular basis. The45nm process has nothing to do with innovation. It's just the same technology, the same process, on a different scale.

What you declare is simply not true.

45nm is the result of a huge amount of innovation, just as 65nm was compared to 90nm. There are a lot of technological hurdles to overcome as the length of transistors are scaled. For example, improved high-k dielectrics are required to increase the channel capacitance and reduce leakage. Improved isolation between devices is required. Tighter tolerances for lithography are needed. Better control of ion implant doses are required. More stable silicides are needed to reduce interconnect resistance. Better drain structures are needed to deal with the increased electric field density in the transistor channels. Improved thermally conductive materials need to be developed because the heat density is increasing. I could go on and on and on. Scaling transistors is onere is a huge financial incentive to do so, and tens of thousands of engineers worldwide are attacking the problems from many angles.

What most people don't understand about device scaling is that it isn't a single problem to be solved. It is a huge number of equally challenging problems spanning multiple engineering disciplines.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (2, Insightful)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296407)

45nm is the result of a huge amount of innovation, just as 65nm was compared to 90nm. There are a lot of technological hurdles to overcome as the length of transistors are scaled. For example, improved high-k dielectrics are required to increase the channel capacitance and reduce leakage. Improved isolation between devices is required. Tighter tolerances for lithography are needed. Better control of ion implant doses are required. More stable silicides are needed to reduce interconnect resistance. Better drain structures are needed to deal with the increased electric field density in the transistor channels. Improved thermally conductive materials need to be developed because the heat density is increasing. I could go on and on and on. Scaling transistors is onere is a huge financial incentive to do so, and tens of thousands of engineers worldwide are attacking the problems from many angles.

To make a 40cm ball instead of a 30cm ball, you need a bigger cast. You'll probably need more laborers, too. You'll need more materials to make the ball because it's significantly larger, and you'll probably need stronger tools to bring in the material. In fact, you may need to start using a new material altogether, because the old material might not be capable of holding a spherical shape when the diameter is increased 33%.

I just made the same argument for different sized metal bearings as you made for different nanometer threading. It wasn't even hard to do, either, because all I had to do was think about the scale. The GP said it best: "It's just the same technology, the same process, on a different scale." Sure, making 45nm chips is complicated, but complicated does not equal innovative.

Innovation would require taking a route that is completely unlike anything we're seeing today. I can't give an example, because if I could, I'd have a million dollar idea and I sure as hell wouldn't be posting it on Slashdot. The point is, though, that just because moving to 45nm is hard, it doesn't make it innovative.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (1)

Drew McKinney (1075313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296535)

To make a 40cm ball instead of a 30cm ball, you need a bigger cast. You'll probably need more laborers, too. You'll need more materials to make the ball because it's significantly larger, and you'll probably need stronger tools to bring in the material. In fact, you may need to start using a new material altogether, because the old material might not be capable of holding a spherical shape when the diameter is increased 33%. I just made the same argument for different sized metal bearings as you made for different nanometer threading. It wasn't even hard to do, either, because all I had to do was think about the scale. The GP said it best: "It's just the same technology, the same process, on a different scale." Sure, making 45nm chips is complicated, but complicated does not equal innovative. Innovation would require taking a route that is completely unlike anything we're seeing today. I can't give an example, because if I could, I'd have a million dollar idea and I sure as hell wouldn't be posting it on Slashdot. The point is, though, that just because moving to 45nm is hard, it doesn't make it innovative.


While we're doing the whole semantics thing around "innovative", let's see what Princeton has to say about this:
  • advanced: ahead of the times; "the advanced teaching methods"; "had advanced views on the subject"; "a forward-looking corporation"; "is British industry innovative enough?"
  • being or producing something like nothing done or experienced or created before; "stylistically innovative works"; "innovative members of the artistic community"; "a mind so innovational, so original"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn [princeton.edu]

So you're both correct. The product is innovative in that itself it is "something like nothing done or experienced or created before". But the concept or process of how the computation is not new, as it is something that has been done or created before.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296583)

whoa, dude! I would be, like, totally impressed if I had, like, the slightest idea what you were talking about. You used, like, a lot of gnarly big words and I feel my heat density increasing just thinking about it. Can they, like, reduce leakage and control ion implant doses of a dictionary so that I can buy one to understand what you are saying?

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296295)

At these scales, every successive step in shrinking the architecture takes a lot of innovation. These processors are getting uncomfortably close to the width of a single atom. The pathways are getting so thin that there's a danger with electrons in one pathway jumping to a nearby one (such as what happens in a zener diode [wikipedia.org] ). If atoms don't line up just right, they can end up too far apart and increase resistance. Otherwise inconsequential amounts of EMI can trip pathways that shouldn't be active.

So no, 45nm isn't just "65nm, only better". Every step at this point becomes harder and harder.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (1)

hobbesmaster (592205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296303)

Would you consider the use of hafnium gate dielectrics, amongst other fundamental process changes innovative? To continue with your analogy, the smaller ball may not in and of itself innovative, but if there was an entirely new material holding that ball together, that could certainly be innovative.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (4, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296345)

Innovation is seeing a ball rolling, and making a bearing out of it. the 45nm process opposed to the 60nm process is seeing a 30cm diameter ball, and making a 40cm diameter ball.
Except making the 30cm ball requires radical advancements in materials and processing. The end product may not be innovative, but the steps to make it are.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (1, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296215)

If intel has the fastest and lowest power consumption now, and AMD is not a threat, so why release a faster CPU, intel can still make lots of money selling the old. When AMD releases their new CPU, intel has a response ready, meaning intel will make more money.

Because that is the actions of a monopoly. When you stop innovating (or stop releasing) new products because of a lack of competition, then you've become a monopoly.

Of course, making money is not a bad thing, but Intel is a technology company. They can improve technology and still make money. They are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, Intel will not improve the tech until not doing so will hurt their bottom line. That's what pisses me off about it. They are intentionally limiting what we can purchase.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296755)

While I agree in principle, whether it's evil depends in my mind on what they are doing with the money. Intel are ahead of AMD at the moment largely because they outspend them in R&D by a fair margin. If they are making more profit now in order to keep funding their R&D at such high levels, and ride out the next time AMD judges the market needs better than them (as they did with the Athlon Vs P4), then I don't see a problem with it. If they are delaying so they can pay their CEO a bigger bonus this year, then there's a problem.

Re:So 45nm is not innovating? (1)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296793)

They haven't stopped releasing because of a lack of competition. In fact, what they are doing is making a strategic move in a competitive market. I don't think they see it as limiting what you can purchase. You see it that way, because your perspective is that of a consumer, they see it otherwise because their view is that of a competitive company, trying to bring it out at just the *right* moment. What you want them to do is considered the business equivalent to jumping the gun.

Re:So who will win? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296239)

Barcelona is a new microarchitecture (which reportedly takes a lot from K8). Core is just over a year old right now. Barcelona adds a variety of new things (and is native quad core), Penryn adds SSE4 and some other bits. Who exactly has the old horse?

Re:So who will win? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296267)

The answer lies in your question. If "win" means speed and performance, I'm betting on the old four-legged horse that runs faster, rather than the innovative six-legged one that trips over itself.

Nice (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20295937)

I wish other markets were like this. They compete: I win

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296297)

"They compete: I win"

INTEL CORE 2 EXTREME QX6700 $997 USD> [mwave.com]

Years ago, the latest and greatest 386,486, Pentium X, [insert latest CPU], the introduction price of a new CPU was about the same cost as today. I guess you get more CPU for your money when compared to the past and adjustments for inflation but I think you don't win until you have a "I don't pay over $100 for a CPU policy".

Re:Nice (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296785)

Years ago, the latest and greatest 386,486, Pentium X, [insert latest CPU], the introduction price of a new CPU was about the same cost as today.
Have you factored inflation into this? Counting inflation, I think the new ones are a lot cheaper, unlike graphics cards (compare the VooDoo 2 launch price with a new ATi or nVidia GPU). More importantly, though, compare the cost of the cheapest CPU that performs acceptably for most peoples' daily needs. This has been dropping considerably for a long time.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296305)

Are you sure? Intel already has more advanced processors at a smaller process which would bring better performance per watt. They're sitting on this technology only to leapfrog AMD when they finally get 65nm going.

It's like GM inventing and producing a 50mpg non-hybrid car and intentionally keeping it off the market until a competitor announces a 40mpg non-hybrid.

If AMD stops making desktop CPUs the industry will no doubtedly stagnate.

Well, there is more than one truth (4, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20295963)

Intel cannot switch their production completely to those parts in a few month. they have huge amounts of 65nm cpus in production, plus they dont have to fab capacity to replace that production at 45nm.

Also, seeing that they already are > 3/4 of the (x86) cpu market, and AMD will only ramp up slowly, Intel would most of all hurt the sales of their own established product lines.

The truth is... (1)

ucla74 (1093323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296033)

Intel doesn't need to switch completely (yet). They only need to show that they have the capability. The capacity will follow. After all, how long have they been producing the 65nm CPUs? That capacity didn't develop overnight, either.

Re:Well, there is more than one truth (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296189)

Yes, but by switching to 45nm fabrication they are increasing the yield of their production facility, so they can produce more products for the same amount of raw material. Switching to 45nm chips is in Intel's best interests long term. Short term, selling down 65nm stock and spinning up production of 45nm tooling is in their best interest.

That said, I want AMD to come out with some kick ass chips. If it weren't for AMD forcing innovation down Intel's throat we would still be stuck with that crap they called the Pentium 4. If AMD continues to lag behind in performance and sales, it will only lead to slower development tracks from Intel.

-Rick

Re:Well, there is more than one truth (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296293)

If it weren't for AMD forcing innovation down Intel's throat ++

Re:Well, there is more than one truth (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296463)

Of course it is, no questions asked.
My argument was entirely concerning the immidiate response to AMDs release in a few weeks.

And that the ASP drop of the current lines because of the 45nm release could cause more hurt than any barcelona pressure could.

Whatever... (-1, Troll)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20295965)

AMD has been crushing Intel for many years (on the order of at least 15), and now that Intel slipped SLIGHTLY in the lead, people are jumping on the Intel RULES bandwaggon. I personally am a HUGE fan of AMD, and feel that their 64 bit technology is FAR superior to Intel's... Plus the fact that memory and core bandwidth is so limited in Intel really makes me wonder how much longer Intel will go before going on-die with their memory controller.

In short, I don't care...

Re:Whatever... (0, Offtopic)

Trepidati0n (647966) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296017)

If you do not care...why did you post?

Re:Whatever... (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296067)

You missed what I don't care about... It's not that I don't care about the new chips comming out. It's the whole "Intel's new chip is going to be 100000000% better than AMD's new chip!" attitude that I don't care about... I am extreemly intregued to see where these things go as time goes on, and I enjoy watching it, but I get pissed off at these comparisons that are 100% Intel biased... Heck, half of the benchmarks I have seen comparing AMD and Intel chips, are actually using Intel optimized compilers... Tell me that's a fair fight...

Re:Whatever... (1)

Kbalz (1078995) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296195)

Just another AMD fanboy.. Intel is clearly in the lead, and will be in the lead for many years to come.

Re:Whatever... (3, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296095)

AMD has been crushing Intel for many years (on the order of at least 15)
I'd say about 4, but hey, I like AMD.

and now that Intel slipped SLIGHTLY in the lead...I personally am a HUGE fan of AMD, and feel that their 64 bit technology is FAR superior to Intel's...
Their new technology clearly leads, by 10-20%. However, it is their new technology running against 2004 AMD tech, which should be quite interesting when Barcelona finally ships. As for 64 bittedness, how is AMD's superior to Intel's? I'll admit that AMD's overall CPU design is superior, but the 64 bit extensions?

Plus the fact that memory and core bandwidth is so limited in Intel really makes me wonder how much longer Intel will go before going on-die with their memory controller.
Intel will go to an on-board proprietary memory controller/architecture at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009, according to their roadmap.

Re:Whatever... (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296173)

Actually, the Am386 was released in 1991... The 40 mhz version (I had one) beat Intel 486DX 100mhz processors in almost every benchmark... And they were ahead from that point until the Core2 was released.

When I say slightly in the lead, it's because in some areas, Intel is 20% ahead, but in others (such as memory intensive processes) AMD is still clearly in the lead. The average comes out to be less than 10%...

That's interesting... When Intel goes to an onboard memory controller, it will really level the playing field... Let's see what happens!

Re:Whatever... (0)

Nexx (75873) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296365)

Actually, the Am386 was released in 1991... The 40 mhz version (I had one) beat Intel 486DX 100mhz processors in almost every benchmark... And they were ahead from that point until the Core2 was released.

No they didn't [wikipedia.org] . In addition to the Am386, the AMD K6s were inferiour to P4's, and there was a span of almost a year between P4's debut and K7's debut that Intel was running rings. Now, we're once again waiting over a year [wikipedia.org] for AMD's answer to Intel's leapfrog.

The two firms have leapfrogged themselves, but only in recent memory. First, it was K6 owning the overall performance lead over the P3. P4 comes out, holds the performance crown until AMD answers with the K7. Intel's answer was the Core 2. Intel is looking at pre-countering with 45nm Core 2 before AMD can bring out the Barcelona. Their goal, of course, is to have an answer for Barcelona before it launches, thereby choking AMD's cash flow.

It's a ruthless world out there. Let's see how well AMD weathers this storm.

Re:Whatever... (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296653)

In addition to the Am386, the AMD K6s were inferiour to P4's....

Pentium 4?!? Hate to break it to you, but the K6 series was WELL before the P4 era, and they were extremely popular for providing near-comparable performance at a BIG price break... in a Socket-7 form-factor...

Re:Whatever... (2, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296103)

I consider myself to be an AMD fanatic (haven't owned an intel-based system since my P166 with MMX) However, there is no way that you can deny both synthetic benchmarks and real-world gaming numbers: Intel's shit is vastly superior in performance.

I'm not saying their design is better or not better, I'm not saying they are doing things smarter or dumber, but the PERFORMANCE of their CPU's (at least in the desktop market...I don't really know anything about the server market) more or less decimates what AMD has to offer.

If you like spending $250+ on a CPU, sure. (3, Insightful)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296813)

When I looked at upgrading my system, I had a choice. The Core 2 Duos that weren't crippled and had a proper amount of L2 cache started at $240. The AMD X2 systems with built-in memory controller and decent amounts of L2 cache started at $75.

Right now on any web site, you can order a X2 CPU with full dedicated L2 cache per core for around $70. The cheapest Core 2 Duo is the E4300 at $150. That has a bottlenecked 800Mhz FSB, not a fancy 2.0Ghz hypertransport bus like the X2. To get a 1066Mhz FSB C2D requires you go up to $190 or so.

Intel motherboards seem to require a premium as well. nVidia can make AM2 chipsets with firewire, dual ethernet, onboard 7.1 audio, multiple SATA and eSATA connectors, etc, for roughly $100 less than then equivalent Intel chipset board. Is that because Intel wants more $$ for its chipset licences?

So... when you do get this same base performance, it comes at a price. Honestly, you would be better served by getting an 8800 instead of an 8600 GeForce for the difference in CPU and motherboard costs. Plus, those SLI motherboards for AM2 are around $150 vs. the $220 + for Intel ones.

Re:Whatever... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296133)

Well, while I've been an AMD fan for a long time, except for a few points in the Athlon/P4, and early Athlon/P4 era (when it was better to have a P3 than a P4, and maybe a year beyond that), AMD has probably never outperformed Intel at the top end to the extent Intel is outperforming AMD right now.

Conversely, AMD has held the performance crown for low and low-mid cost PCs in the time frame you mentioned. You want something inexpensive and fast, go AMD. want something expensive and faster, it varies which you want.

Re:Whatever... (0, Flamebait)

whodunnit (238223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296159)

15 years you say? AMD wasn't even remotely competitive until 99 when the Athlon came out, hell in the early ninties when their "crushing of intel" began... according to you, they weren't even designing their own chips yet, they were just reverse engineering Intel's.

Even since the Athlon came out, there have been may back and forths in price and performance.

And FYI, I happen to buy which ever processor is better at the moment, which Is why I own some from both companies. I just hate fanboys like you.

Re:Whatever... (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296373)

AMD wasn't even remotely competitive until 99 when the Athlon came out

AMD released the K6 in April of 1997. After that, they released the K6-2 and even the K6-3 right before the Athlon came out. The K6 competed very well against the PII. The K6-2 and K6-3 competed will against the P-III until the Athlon was released. Well, you know the story from there.

I try to buy AMD exclusively and this article is a fine example why. I won't buy from a company who is holding back their best from me in order to milk every last hard earned dime they can from me. I'm sure AMD would do the same if they could, but they are not, so I buy from them.

Re:Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296467)

So you buy an inferior product because the company that makes it put it on the market as soon as they could? You do this while avoiding better products because they could have been put out sooner?

You have some kind of reverse brand identity issues. Do you think that you are teaching intel some kind of lesson? Only inside your own head does anyone care who made the processor in your computer.

You need a hug or something.

Re:Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296449)

I think a lot of the AMD "fanboys" are not necessarily diehard devotees to a brand, but rather promoters of a competitive market.

Personally I think that Intel has questionable business practices, and I am generally against the establishment of a monopoly, so I go with AMD. Their Athlons have been competitive since they came out, and if they lack the heavy-hitting numbers for the super-high end machines, I think they consistently make up for it in value.

AMD has made mistakes - I think they really could've capitalized more on their performance lead during much of the P4 era, had their marketing department performed well. However, there have been some big steps made as well - Dell and other major PC retailers have started selling AMD in the past year or so - and currently, AMD still makes a lot of sense for budget systems.

Note that I don't think AMD is inherently a better company - they would probably behave much as Intel, except for the fact that they are on the bottom. The competition is good, and I want a company there in AMD's position, so I'll continue to vote for them with my purchases.

Re:Whatever... (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296657)

AMD's K-6 line kicked a little *ss for a time. Granted it was a short time but it still counts. The 2nd generation K6-II chips were faster then the P-II chips Intel had at the time. It wasn't till Intel came out with the P-III slot1 processors a few months later that they re-gained the performance lead (late '98, early '99 timeframe). The K6-III processors, while not clearly a leader, could outpace the competing P-IIIs in integer calcs for a time as well. Not saying that AMD was doing any "crushing" back then...just saying they were putting up some good competition already prior to the Athlon's introduction in mid-'99.

Re:Whatever... (1)

endeavour31 (640795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296253)

"crushing"????

Must be some new definition of the word I was never aware of....

When AMD relegates Intel to less than 15% market share then crushing might be indicated. Otherwise it is interesting that AMD, for all the work it has done to build its market, has never dominated Intel - either in market share or specifications. I think just for AMD to have transformed itself from the cheap lesser CPUs it was known for 8 years ago to near-parity at all is an amazing achievement.

$$$ money (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20295995)

As long as it helps drive down prices so we can all benefit from the competition. Game on!

Re:$$$ money (2, Interesting)

Bazar (778572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296411)

Its only short term, that lower prices are good.

Long term, if AMD doesn't make a profit, and eventually liquidates, Intel will be the only remaining manufacturer of x86 CPUs (At least the only one able to meet demand, at cost effective prices)

They'll have an effective monopoly, which means without a doubt, Intel will raise their prices... Its not like a competitor can spring in to compete. The capital required, both in plant, and research, to enter such a manufacturing market is mammoth, how many billion have AMD invested in their own manufacturing plants, let alone research?

If AMD dies, the only thing that could keep Intel in check dies, and with it, fair prices.
The same can be said with nvidia, since ati's fate is tied to amd.

amd who?? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296009)

Uh, amd market cap 6.7 billion, Intel market cap 141 billion.

No comparison. AMD is in business because Intel wants them in business, period.

A little dissappointing (0, Offtopic)

MajinBlayze (942250) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296013)

For the longest time, I've been a fan of AMD. However, I've yet had a chance to buy one of their processors; my last computer was a gift (Pentium 4), and since then, the only computer I've built was for my mother-in-law, who insisted on having a Pentium because an engineer at her work said they were the best. Now that I am in the market for a medium performance, low power/noise computer, I just can't look away from Intel's offering. Frankly, I'm holding out a bit hoping that AMD's next gen are close enough.
At this point I might still buy an all AMD computer if the ATI open source drivers are good enough. Anyone know what the deal here is? I read a while ago that AMD was "going to" open-source ATI drivers, but haven't heard anything since.

Re:A little dissappointing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296349)

For the longest time, I've been a fan of AMD. However... , I just can't look away from Intel's offering

Would that make you a cooling fan then?

Re:A little dissappointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296391)

At this point I might still buy an all AMD computer if the ATI open source drivers are good enough. Anyone know what the deal here is? I read a while ago that AMD was "going to" open-source ATI drivers, but haven't heard anything since.
I bought a laptop with an ATi card in it because the rest of it was a sweet deal. I figured the ATi card can't be that bad... My advice? Stay clear of any ATi card! They're not worth your money or time. AMD might someday fix this, but don't waste your money until they've actually done it. Gentoo / Kubuntu user.

Re:A little dissappointing (2, Insightful)

Bert the Turtle (1073828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296501)

ATI still have not released their drivers as open, and the closed ones are complete ass.

The open ones are severely limited, no surprise given the lack of help from ATI.

Intel, on the other hand, has excellent open source graphics drivers.

This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive. (5, Interesting)

etymxris (121288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296021)

When Intel doesn't have to even compete with the latest offerings, business logic rules and technical improvements play second fiddle. Here we have "Why should we release this chip now? The old chips are cheaper to produce and since AMD can't even compete with our current lineup we can keep selling them at the same price, ensuring more profit for us."

Re:This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive (4, Insightful)

hobbesmaster (592205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296347)

So, is it better to release something while you're getting low yields and have it show up almost nowhere (the case for the first few months of the core 2 release) or to wait until you can actually have a good number on the shelves, and keep pumping them out?

Re:This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive (2, Insightful)

shawnce (146129) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296361)

Intel is only starting to pump out 45nm parts (ramping up production lines). They cannot fulfill the needs of their first tear customers yet, so they won't officially release them until they can. I however wouldn't be to surprised if Apple, who has lower unit volumes, picks up the 45nm parts ahead of the big guys as part of an off the price list deal (like Apple currently has with the 3.0 GHz quad core Xeons). Intel so far appears to be ahead of what they originally predicted timeframe wise for Penryn / 45nm.

Also given that Intel is investing heavily in 45nm fabs and they need to recoup those costs by using those fabs. Using a smaller process means they can product more units per die which drives per unit costs down (ignoring capital investment in the plant retrofit). So they aren't just sitting back on profits... when better profits are ahead of them when they start to leverage their investment in 45nm process / fabs.

Re:This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296447)

They cannot fulfill the needs of their first tear customers yet...
Tier.

Re:This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296517)

OP was correct, first tear customers are the ones on the bleeding edge of technology.

Note: That's tear as in what drips out of eyes of an unhappy person, not tear, as in "tear him a new on"

Re:This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive (1)

MajinBlayze (942250) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296577)

with Intel, he may be right
most first tier customers may experience some tearing as well

Re:This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296395)

The old chips are cheaper to produce...

Wouldn't smaller dies = more per wafer = more cost effective solution?

Re:This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive (1)

Orne (144925) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296661)

New die technologies have a higher waste ratio than more established production lines. Sure, you can pack more per square inch, but think of the dimensions involved and how small a margin of error you must achieve... 1/3rd less area per chip = 50% more chips per same diameter plate, but your new fab. machines have to be that much more accurate. Some error is recoverable (sold to us with different "official" clock speeds) but sometimes the chip is a loss.

If they can't be accurate you have to slow the process down. If you slow down, your "older" more refined process can beat you in the net revenue. Chips/Hour x Revenue/Chip, where RevNew >> RevOld, but right now VelocityNew VelocityOld. Somewhere inbetween is the break even point.

Re:This is why I wish AMD was still as competitive (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296495)

Here we have "Why should we release this chip now? The old chips are cheaper to produce and since AMD can't even compete with our current lineup we can keep selling them at the same price, ensuring more profit for us."
Sounds exactly like what they should do. They are continuing to develop new products, insuring profits for their stockholders from some time to come. Them not selling us something because of market factors is just the name of the game. The fact that it(45nm) was made is the achievement, not necessarily when it gets to market. As long as the competition keeps Intel innovating, we all gain, even if new breakthroughs are held from the market for business reasons.

Right, AMD is not competitive. (2, Interesting)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296513)

A friend of mine and myself both upgraded our desktop PCs. They chose an Intel Core 2 Duo because "Intel wins in all the benchmarks." I bought AMD instead.

Their system is based around a E6600 ($270 at the time), mine is based around an X2 3600+ 65nm ($75 at the time). Their system has 2gb of RAM, mine has 4gb of RAM. My motherboard (with nVidia chipset) was $80 cheaper than their P5B Deluxe. Overall my system was $400 cheaper -- with double the RAM. I go into my Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe BIOS and change the clock rate of my CPU from 1.9Ghz to 2.4Ghz with no ill effects and get the same # of 3D Marks as them because I have the same kind of video card (8600 GTS PCI-E). They're happy because they bought "performance" (as sold to them via Intel marketing), and I'm happy because I bought the same performance (as proved by benchmarks) for a lot less.

What's the lesson? For my workstation use in Linux compiling and rendering and working with large images, 4gb of RAM that run at the same speed as L2 cache (thanks to AMD's integrated memory controller) beats the piss out of that Intel setup (which has much lower memory bw and also half the RAM). For gaming use, I get the same # of 3D Marks and similar performance because an Intel 2.4Ghz CPU and an AMD 2.4Ghz CPU happen to be within a few % of each other on the same video card (which is the true bottleneck; don't lie to yourself and say it's that CPU that's 14-18x faster than RAM).

I got the same performance for $400, but with more RAM. My CPU was $190 cheaper. My motherboard was also cheaper. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of all those people who rave and Intel Xeon power consumption, and ignore the fact that those require power-hungry FB-DIMMs and have chipsets that dissipate more power than the difference in CPU watts.

Your computer it NOT just a CPU -- it is an entire system that must be balanced. Go watch a Lotus Elise race some muscle-bound 7.7 litre Mustang and see which is a better balanced car. Clearly the Lotus is just as not competitive with that Mustang because it has a much smaller engine! Clearly that statement is just as true as AMD not being competitive with Intel.

where are the Barcelona benchmarks? (5, Interesting)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296065)

Why is AMD holding back Barcelona? We're less than a month from launch and there are still no benchmarks. Intel allowed its 45nm chips to be benchmarked and they aren't coming out until November... why is AMD holding back?

IMO this does not look good for AMD.

Re:where are the Barcelona benchmarks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296669)

AMD has never leaked chips get get a sales advantage, just look at what Intel's Core2 chip leaks did to their Pentium 4/D sales. Hell you don't want leaked chips, look at what engineering samples were able to "overclock" to but once real chips were released they didn't live up to that performance expectation.

LOL (0, Offtopic)

Karaman (873136) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296071)

Ok, we have new processors, but I cant find a decent motherboard for these :)

Amen to that. Plenty of boards, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296165)

all of them half-baked. Even Asus has gown down in quality. :(

Why wait? (4, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296121)

If this article is true, it proves my theory that Intel sits on technology, milking every last dollar from the consumer before releasing something better. This is why I don't buy Intel.

Yes, I know, it's good business and makes the stockholders happy. But as a geek, I'm not into the business side of it. I am into the technology and performance aspect. What if AMD never releases Barcelona? Does Intel never release these new 45nm monsters (or only release them in the quantities already produced, at extremely inflated prices)?

It reminds me of the days of the AMD K6. Intel was "stuck" at 266 Mhz. Reaching beyond that was "impossible". Then, suddenly AMD released a K6 at 300Mhz. Within a week, Intel released the 300 and 333Mhz Pentiums (P-IIs I think). That kind of pissed me off. How much sooner could Intel have released the 300? How much further could they have gone? How many people were forced to pay top dollar while Intel sat back and quietly raked in the cash, knowing that they were selling an inferior product marketed as "the best we can do", when, quite frankly, it wasn't.

This is the action of a monopoly, plain and simple.

Re:Why wait? (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296413)

Nothing unusual for Intel. Transmeta's work on efficiency was bettered by Intel suspiciously quickly and easily. More than a few developments have "appeared" shortly after the competition bettered them in something. There are only two exceptions that I know of. The first was maths co-processing, in which Intel lagged the competition on both price AND performance until they eliminated the entire niche by producing the 486DX. The second was the 32/64 processor architecture. In both cases, it took Intel many years to do anything.

Based on those examples, I would say that genuine progress by Intel is slow, and that any sudden shifts are really the result of having already produced the technology and holding it back.

Re:Why wait? (5, Interesting)

rhartness (993048) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296421)

Be careful what you wish for. There is a slim chance that Intel could be holding onto this technology because they don't want to be 'anti-competitive'. Let's assume Intel could hypothetically release chips that are twice as fast as anything that is out there right now. What would happen? It could kill AMD if Intel can keep up that technological growth at a much superior rate than AMD. Anti-trust lawsuits would follow.

But, before you call the anti-trust lawyers a bunch of SOB's stifeling technological growth, consider this. If Intel did run AMD out of existance. Intel would no longer have a reason to sink as much money in R&D. They could slack off with only moderate growth and nobody could do anything about it.

I dare say Intel understands very well and they are going to do all that they can to remain #1 in the industry while at the same time avoiding all possible litigation that could be brought against them by the competition.

Re:Why wait? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296639)

Be careful what you wish for. There is a slim chance that Intel could be holding onto this technology because they don't want to be 'anti-competitive'. Let's assume Intel could hypothetically release chips that are twice as fast as anything that is out there right now. What would happen? It could kill AMD if Intel can keep up that technological growth at a much superior rate than AMD. Anti-trust lawsuits would follow.

But, before you call the anti-trust lawyers a bunch of SOB's stifeling technological growth, consider this. If Intel did run AMD out of existance. Intel would no longer have a reason to sink as much money in R&D. They could slack off with only moderate growth and nobody could do anything about it.

I dare say Intel understands very well and they are going to do all that they can to remain #1 in the industry while at the same time avoiding all possible litigation that could be brought against them by the competition.


I agree. Five words that sends Intel into a panic: "AMD is out of business". However, I would be OK with one chip manufacturer as long as I knew they would continue to innovate and sell me the best they can produce at a reasonable price. But from what we see here, Intel is just not that kind of company. Intel is the type of company that will corner the processor market and then use that leverage to go after the motherboard, video and RAM markets (remember RDRAM?).

Intel could still release these chips but sell them at a price that would not prevent Barcelonas from selling well. AMD spent years as a "value" chip maker and did quite well at it while Intel took the high end and still made a killing. I see no reason why AMD could not go back into the niche and leave the consumers with a choice.

Welcome to capitalism (4, Insightful)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296423)

AMD would do exactly the same thing if the situation were reversed. In fact, they did just that back in the Pentium 4 days. This underscores why competition is such a good thing.

Re:Why wait? (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296439)

Intel really has no choice you know.

If they released now, instead of waiting, they will essentially put AMD out of business; no one would buy Barcelonas and then Intel is "stuck" as a monopoly. Instead they are hobbled by having to wait for AMD before they can release their superior products.

Re:Why wait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296507)

>This is the action of a monopoly, plain and simple.

Poor understanding on your part: if there were 10 competitors and Intel had already released a chip that could not be beaten, it still would make business sense to leave just that one chip out there grabbing market share from all the competitors and delay the release of any other even-better-performing-chip for a later time. But as you said, business is not your thing.
On the other hand, you try to make the point that since all you care about is technology you won't buy Intel because of their business practices ... does that claim even make sense? If all you care about is technology then the chip to buy right now is Intel, period.
It's OK to want to boycott a company because you don't like their business practices. Just say so and don't try to mud the issue by climbing into the "better technology" high horse.

Re:Why wait? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296523)

It's called a dualopoly. That's why Intel only reacts to AMD only reacts to Intel. If it were a monopoly, then we'd be paying $500 for Pentium Pro's or whatever Intel felt like selling. Be happy there are at least two companies in the PC chip making business.

Re:Why wait? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296527)

This is nonsense. First, moving to 45nm would save money. They're not going to hold back on that. Second, releasing a chip at 300/300 (back in the day) took a lot of validation and work, it's not something "free" that they can just sit on.

This whole article is just FUD. Producing new chips in a fab doesn't mean they're "ready". They need to be exhaustively validated and tested for as long as possible. The longer the better, so we don't have e.g. another FDIV. A more likely reason, if they were delaying, is that they only reason when it's needed because they want to validate the shit out of it as long as possible.

Re:Why wait? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296627)

How many people were forced to pay top dollar while Intel sat back and quietly raked in the cash, knowing that they were selling an inferior product marketed as "the best we can do", when, quite frankly, it wasn't.
That's exactly it. Intel makes more money by waiting because they don't cut into their existing product line...IOW, they can keep their existing chips at the same price for a longer period of time. Why release 45 nm when they can just wait until AMD pops out 65 nm? It makes AMD look stupid AND it lets them keep selling their existing chips at inflated prices.

BTW-- is anyone from the Justice Department paying attention here? Oh, yeah, I forgot, you're the guys who let Microsoft go without facing sentencing.

Re:Why wait? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296807)

If Intel did run away from the rest of the field, and they all went out of business, then there'd be even less open market pressure on them. They'd have a monopoly, and probably eventually after a few decades of stagnation and customer abuse would get broken up by the government a la Ma Bell. So if they have to slow down the pace of progress in order to have viable competition to prevent this, isn't that good?

Where are the new motherboards (1)

GodCandy (1132301) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296137)

We have these great new processors out now (or soon to be) but we don't really have the hardware to support it. Where are the cool new motherboards that can actually keep up with these processors. Until then I am not in the market for the "new" processors.

However this does help to drop the prices on the older processors which I am all for.

Re:Where are the new motherboards (3, Informative)

Celandine (610250) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296193)

Barcelona is supposed to drop into your existing socket F motherboard with a BIOS update.

AMD is in precarious condition (4, Insightful)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296145)

I really hope AMD survives because then we are effectively down to a single commodity processor company. But AMD is struggling to survive. I don't care what the fanboys say, just look at their financial numbers. Third quarter in a row with massive losses. Intel opened the door a bit when they faltered with their Pentium4/Itanium strategy. But the door is swinging back shut. Nobody can keep pace with Intel on process technology...they will be ahead of the curve for the forseeable future. AMD is on such a tight-rope that they cannot afford a single mistake or major delay. Since acquiring ATI, nVidia has nearly all of the laptop chipset sales. You wonder if AMD overpaid for ATI. The "wow" factor that came with Opteron is not there with Barcelona. I'm skeptical...

Re:AMD is in precarious condition (4, Informative)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296561)

Actually if you really look close, cash flow for 3rd quarter was positive. They're not making money hand over fist (actually net profit is down, though down less than 2nd quarter), but they're not going anywhere any time soon (their assets exceed their liabilities by ~5billion dollars, and their cash/cash equivalents + short term investments are around 1.5billion dollars as of end of third quarter). Obviously they won't replace Intel anytime soon, but they're not in dire straits, either.

What we really need to look forward to... (3, Insightful)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296269)

Is getting away from the almost 30 year old x86 architecture.
Don't get me wrong, I love x86, it has been great, and has adapted amazingly into the most powerful computing the world has ever seen.
But, since most software is tied to x86, we are holding ourselves back from hardware advancements. x86 is loaded with archaic instruction sets for compatibility with Windows code that is based on 16bit DOS code.
I'm not laying out flame bait, this is what I read in an article about the future of processors, and moving to specialized co processors.
It was a cool article, I wish I remember what it was.

Re:What we really need to look forward to... (2, Insightful)

durdur (252098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296525)

Well, there were a lot of new architectures for a while that did exactly that. Intel had their own .. it was called Itanium.

While Itanium has a niche market, and SPARC and others are still viable, continued bumps in performance on the x86 stack has caused it to continue to be very competitive for many applications. And compatibility is a wonderful thing. It gets more important, not less, as the number of existing x86 systems continues to grow.

Re:What we really need to look forward to... (2, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296737)

Ha! x86 compatibility is almost nothing compared with the almost 40 years of legacy code that new IBM mainframes have to put up with.

Re:What we really need to look forward to... (2, Insightful)

frieko (855745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296795)

Somebody always makes this comment whenever a CPU story shows up on Slashdot. But it's just not true. As painful as x86 code looks to an engineer, it doesn't really affect processor speed. By the time the code hits the instruction window, it's been mutated into RISC microcode, complete with the huge register bank, ortohogonality, everything. x86 has basically turned into a 'compression algorithm' for the actual machine code.

I think a better optimization would be to replace English with Interlingua. And I think it's about as likely to happen as ditching x86.

Third Player Will Steal the Gold (4, Insightful)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296397)

AMD and Intel are in for a long and tough battle ahead. Should be an interesting one though.

While these two Goliaths are locking horns and fighting over soon-to-be-obsolete technology, a third player will sneak behind them and steal the pot of gold. Let's face it. CPU architecture is due for a radical change. The computer world is going parallel and the old algorithm/thread paradigm is showing its age. There's a sweet scent of revolution in the air. Who will be the leader of the next revolution? Sun, IBM, Tilera? We'll see.

Re:Third Player Will Steal the Gold (2, Insightful)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296487)

I see IBM taking the lead on this one, every looked at what processors the gaming consoles are using? IBM PowerPCs

CELL Processors FTW

AMD = Linux = bankruptcy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20296515)

Apple and Intel are where it's at ! Apple is the only true competitor to Windows.

Classic marketing FUD: I love it! (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20296581)

...anonymous source claims that BrandX is merely waiting for BrandY to release their ProductX before they clobber them with ProductY.


Classic marketing FUD broadcast by Slashdot: it warms my business-school-educated heart!

AMD and Intel are in for a long and tough battle ahead.


Wow, you're saying that two close competitors in a competitive industry are wading into a bruising battle? I would have never guessed. Yes, please, keep me posted with more insights like this!

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