AMD continues to suffer through corporate misery, most recently by losing almost $1.2 billion in a single quarter, forcing the replacement of CEO Hector Ruiz with his subordinate, Dirk Meyer. If AMD collapses and Intel becomes the only major vendor of PC processors, will prices soar?
Unfortunately, monopolies usually do inflate prices. They also retard progress. AMD stimulates Intel to price its processors more aggressively and develop better processors. Without AMD, we might not have 64-bit x86 processors today or PC processors with integrated memory controllers. Right now, we’d probably be looking forward to the first quad-core x86 processors instead of the first eight-core chips.
The chipmaker claims that Fusion for Gaming can enhance a computer’s performance by up to 10%. Although it might actually prove to be handy, the chances of it being worth as much as AMD’s rhetoric suggests are slim to none. The beta is only meant for Windows Vista 32 and can be downloaded here.
In case you missed it, Intel earlier this week officially released its Dunnington-based 7400 server CPUs. Dunnington has garnered attention in the press for being a six-core processor, and also for being the first Intel chip to sport a monolithic design, meaning all six cores come on a single die. Dunnington's predecessor, the 7300 series Tigerton, was a quad-core processor two dual-core chips wedged onto a single slice of silicon.
But Dunnington is no big deal, according to AMD. Jon Fruehe, worldwide market development manager for the rival chip maker, dubbed Dunnington as nothing more than a "benchmark chip" and a "placeholder" until Intel can move away from an external memory controller.
Fruehe also huffed at Intel having the first six-core CPU, saying it's just a glued together triple-dual core processor with 50 percent more cores than the quad-core and costing 50 percent more, but only offering 30 percent more performance. He also pooh-poohed the 130W TDP rating (early reports indicate first run Core i7 processors will also be rated at 130W), and downplayed Tigerton's success, saying market share gains can be attributed to AMD being late with Barcelona.
Is Fruehe's criticism of Intel's Dunnington architecture valid, or did someone just take a whiz in his Wheaties?
Wondering what exactly AMD has in store for 2009? So is everyone else, which would explain the sometimes conflicting speculation making the rounds on the web. But for the real scoop, TomsHardware claims it has "some confirmed information thanks to [credible] inside sources."
If the sources prove accurate (and THW feels confident they will), AMD's upcoming socket AM3 platform is being designed to exclude AM2 and AM2+ parts. AM3 will support DDR3-1333 memory, and expect a move away from Diode based thermal monitoring to Thermal Sense Interface (TSI) monitoring.
Also on tap for 2009 are two new AM2+ Deneb chips shown as launching in January. THG also reports that an AM3-based Deneb chip will launch sometime in February, with tri-core AM3 chips making a debut by April or May of next year.
Forget about overpriced tickets to the big screen, you can get your fill of drama just by following the tech news. In what could pass as a Hollywood script, ex-Intel engineer Biswamohan Pani has been accused by the FBI of stealing trade secrets from Intel while working for AMD incognito.
According to an affidavit by FBI special agent Timothy Russell, the alleged storyline goes like this: Pani, playing the part of double-agent, informs Intel officials in May of his intention to resign so he can go work for a hedge fund and would utilize accrued vacation time until June 11, which would be his final official day. Here's where the plot twist comes in. There is no hedge fund, and Pani instead begins working for AMD on June 2. With time still left on the table at Intel, the suspected double-agent accesses and downloads 13 secret documents from an encrypted system.
Of course, movie scripts can never be so cut and dry, and so in this feature, Pani no longer works for AMD and denies any wrongdoing, even after a July 1 search of his home turns up eight Intel documents classified as confidential, secret, or the mother of them all, top secret.
Wondering how it ends? So are we. Stay tuned as this one plays out in real life.
We'd all love to run a pair of 4870 X2 videocards, but for certain workstation tasks, these gaming-centric videocards would prove inappropriate. For those who put work before play, AMD today introduced two new workstation cards, one at each end of the performance spectrum.
Taking its place on the high rung, AMD's new flagship FirePro V8700 is based on the 4800 series with 800 stream processors. The company claims the V8700 is about 40 percent faster than its previous flagship offering. The card comes with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and sports a total bandwidth of 108.8 GB/s. Two DisplayPorts and a single dual-link DVI interface round out the feature-set.
On the lower end, the FirePro V3750 drops the stream processors down to 320 and comes with a more conservative (that's a nice way of saying 'much lower') 256MB of GDDR3, resulting in a bandwidth of 22.4 GB/s.
Both the V8700 and V3750 will be available sometime this quarter with an MSRP of $1,499 and $199 respectively.
AMD appears to be targeting the low pricing sector with a vengeance. Earlier this week the chip maker released three new affordable tri-core processors and introduced some price cuts, and the company looks to be coming out with what it's calling an Ultra-Value Client (UVC) line.
AMD's UVC processors will only be available through OEMs, which will allow OEMs to better target emerging markets and basic PC usage with form factors optimized to fit their needs. But lest anyone get the wrong idea, AMD points out that UVC products will be aimed at more than just the netbook market and be capable of delivering traditional PC performance.
UVC processors will be compatible with AMD's AM2 socket and S1g1 notebook infrastructures. Specifically, the Athlon X2 3250e, which will be available in Q4 2008, will come clocked at 1.5GHz with 1MB of L2 cache and sport a 22W TDP rating. Available now, the Athlon 2650e comes clocked at 1.6GHz with 512KB of L2 cache and sips just 15W. Both processors are being positioned above Intel's Atom DT 230 processor in terms of performance, but they both also consume more power.
Is AMD correct in thinking OEMs and the netbook crowd will be willing to sacrifice battery life for better performance?
It can be argued that AMD didn't start to build an enthusiast following until the Barton days. Back then, the company's efficient processors not only held their own in performance, but destroyed Intel when it came to the bang/buck factor, both in regards to processor pricing and the overall platform (you could pick up a high end AMD motherboard for under $200). Ever since Intel finally responded with its Core 2 architecture, AMD has had a tougher time competing on the performance front, forcing AMD to slash prices, and that's what happening again. In addition to price cuts, AMD is also expanding its tri-core line.
The newly announced Phenom X3 8450e comes clocked at 2.1GHz and the Phenom X2 8250e putters at 1.9GHz. Both processors sport 512KB of L2 cache and 2MB of L3 cache, and both also come rated with a 65W TDP, compared to 95W for AMD's standard Phenom tri-core line. No pricing information has yet been announced for either model.
On the higher end, AMD's Phenom X3 8750 Black Edition will bring an unlocked multiplier to the table and cruise along at 2.4GHz. It will come with the same amount of L2 and L3 cache as the 8450e and 8250e processors, but rated at the aforementioned 95W TDP. Pricing has been set to $134 for bulk orders.
So what about the price cuts? AMD will drop it's X3 8450 (without the 'e' designation) down to $104 and X3 8650 down to $119, both in bulk.
If rumors prove correct, AMD plans to keep busy this month. The company is said to be adding to its ATI HD 4000 lineup with a pair of mid-range HD 4600 series videocards, and an entry level 4500 series GPU.
According to reports, the HD 4650 will be based on ATI's RV730 core with 512MB GDDR2 memory. On the slightly higher end, the HD 4670 will come in two flavors, one sporting 512MB of GDDR3 and one with 1GB of GDDR3. Pricing for the new cards are expected to be between $70 to $90.
On the lower end, the HD 4550 will make a debut in late September with a price tag between $45 to $55. A 256MB version will cost $15 less, and in mid-October, the HD 4350 with 256MB of GDDR2 memory will complete AMD's flurry of new low and mid-range videocards.
Down but not out, AMD may be gearing up to turn its fortunes around in early 2009. The optimism comes courtesy of Chinese-language website HKEPC, which claims to have the skinny on 10 new AMD processors expected to be released during the next three quarters. And where is HKEPC getting their information? Un-named motherboard makers, of course.
According to the report, AMD will begin production of two versions of what it has code named Deneb later this year. One version of Deneb boasting clockspeeds between 2.6GHz to 3.0GHz will have a thermal envelop of 125W, while another version, clocked between 2.4GHz and 2.8GHz, will come rated at 95W. The latter is expected in Q1 2009.
AMD's Propus processors will have smaller amounts of cache than their Deneb brethren, and those carrying the EE designation will consume just 45W. HKEPC says to AMD will start producing Propus parts in the Q1 and Q2 of 2009.