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AMD

AMD's David to Intel's Goliath 246

Diox writes "A very insightful article was posted on ye old Tom's Hardware Guide about AMD's and Intel's strategies over this past year. " Good stuff as usual from Tom's.
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AMD's David to Intel's Goliath

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  • by Anonymous Coward
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  • Who moderated *this* up?

    I was wondering about moderation for a while, but now I understand: trolling with ASCII art is good for your karma, yeah! Forget intelligent or controversial posting, that just gets moderated down lately.

    Go AMD, I want an Athlon, yay!

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
    .!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    .H!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ..MH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ..M!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ...M!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!X!
    ...MMMMMHHHHHX!!!!!M!
    ...."?????????!!!!!?!
    ...:.....~!!!!!!!
    ..:M.....!!!!!!!
    ..:!M:.....!!!!!!!
    .:!!M~.....!!!!!!!
    .:!!MM~.....!!!!!!!
    :!!!MM~.....!!!!!!!
    :!!!!MM~.....!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!M~.....!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!M~.....!!!!!H!
    !!!!!!M!.........!!!!!M!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!X..!!!!M!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!M!~..H!!M!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!M?~...M!M!
    !!!!!!!!!!!M?~....MM!
    !!!!!!!!!HM?~.....M!
    HMMMMMMMMM?~......!
    .~~~~~~~~~.......


    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • Yeah. I had to take a break, but that was just a day or two... Hey, maybe that's why they don't give us mod points. We'd moderate down the trolls we've already seen, not allowing the rest of the slashdot crowd to see them and think they're "Funny". ;)

    Hey, we're following the thread, *and* all the moderators are gone... Heh heh heh.

    I'm actually posting this in IE 3.0 for Win 3.1 under Wine. Why? 'cause netscape crashed too much in the last 5 minutes when I was trying to look at Slashdot...

    Oh well. Time to check out Mozilla again...
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • You know, it's somewhat ironic that IE 3.0 crashed right after I posted that. But I'm not laughing.

    Now I'm posting with mozilla. Which renders webpages in a pretty similar fashion, but with different quirks...

    Here's the dump, guys. It was mildly amusing.

    Backtrace:
    =>0 0x0828f2b4 (USER32.DLL.CallWindowProcW+0x6394) (ebp=bfffefd8)
    1 0x0467:0x95ed (MSHTML16.IWENGRELOADHOTLIST+0x23c3) (bp=f194)
    2 0x047f:0xd553 (MSHTML16.GDOC_WNDPROC+0x1d3f) (bp=f1ee, far call assumed)
    3 0x0467:0xd907 (MSHTML16.IWENGRELOADHOTLIST+0x66dd) (bp=f318, far call assume
    d)
    4 0x047f:0x44a4 (MSHTML16.WEP+0x1c72) (bp=f358, far call assumed)
    5 0x047f:0x44f7 (MSHTML16.WEP+0x1cc5) (bp=f390)
    6 0x047f:0xba5d (MSHTML16.GDOC_WNDPROC+0x249) (bp=f3a2)
    7 0x013f:0x0000 (bp=f3dc, far call assumed)
    8 0x082855a7 (USER32.DLL.GetTaskmanWindow+0x2eb) (ebp=4093fd74)
    9 0x08288d96 (USER32.DLL.GetTaskmanWindow+0x3ada) (ebp=4093fda0)
    10 0x0826dfa6 (USER32.DLL.TranslateMessage+0xda) (ebp=4093fde0)
    11 0x081d006d (OLE32.DLL.CoFileTimeToDosDateTime+0x3b76d) (ebp=4093fdec)
    12 0x081d37ff (OLE32.DLL.CoFileTimeToDosDateTime+0x3eeff) (ebp=4093fe1c)
    13 0x026f:0x1574 (IEXPLORE.GWC_SUBCLASS_EDIT_WNDPROC+0x656) (bp=f3fa)
    14 0x026f:0x21fb (IEXPLORE.GWC_SUBCLASS_EDIT_WNDPROC+0x12dd) (bp=f534)
    15 0x027f:0x9261 (IEXPLORE.SIZABLEWNDPROC+0x847) (bp=f546, far call assumed)
    16 0x027f:0x922e (IEXPLORE.SIZABLEWNDPROC+0x814) (bp=0000)

    0x0828f2b4 (USER32.DLL.CallWindowProcW+0x6394): movzbl 0x0(%esi),%eax


    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • Cool, thanks for the info!

    I want to get a new system by July or so, since I'll be working over the summer. I try to get a system that's twice as nice as my old system every two years or so.

    I hope to get: ~600Mhz (or greater) Athlon, 128MB RAM, >20GB HD, a 3D-card, and hopefully a DVD-ROM drive that I can use under Linux. (and all the usual stuff, sound card, decent video card, etc., I'll keep my 17" monitor for now.)

    The reasons I'm waiting are:

    1) for the money. :)
    2) my goal is to pay $1,100 or less. It should be doable, maybe I'll get a nicer computer out of the deal if I'm lucky!

    (I could buy a 40GB HD for $250, much cooler than my then-huge 40MB HD on my old 386... :)

    I'm still really curious about what Transmeta will have done by then. If another chip comes out that's superior to the Athlon at least in Price/Performance and Coolness, I might end up getting that. But I bet it won't be from Intel...

    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • What do you mean, "It was funny once"? The same poster has posted that same image all of yesterday! (has anyone *else* on slashdot with mod points noticed this, or am I just special since I don't get them?)

    I even got pissed off somewhere in there and posted a Penguin in response. I guess my only question is, who told the moderators there were posts below threshold +1?
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • It was interesting seeing Tom talk so confidently about the future of computers and internet appliances in general near the end of the article. I found the article to be fairly good until that point, but it revealed the same problems I've found with his site, and many other hardware sites in general. Certain authors make claims about current products, and future products without backing up the information in any way. This ranges from benchmarks to opinions. In the article, he dismisses the Playstation II as being "proprietary", and also says that the so called microsoft "x-box" will be able to undercut in both price and performance, without once backing up that claim. Even if the x-box is the wave of the future, and can beat out the psx2 in both price and performance, that doesn't mean that it is good for AMD's future. He simply says that "it is believed" (by who?) to be based on the splitfire chip by AMD. This single statement is the only link that is made to his apparent thesis: "All of these factors compounded with the fact that personal computing is about to undergo a profound transformation set the stage for AMD's ascension and Intel's collapse." His arguement about the x-box is not supported by fact, and because the x-box only is rumored to use an AMD chip, it also does not support his thesis statement.

    Does anyone else notice similar issues with hardware review sites? Perhaps I'm being too nitpicky, but it seems that there is a lack of quality in hardware reviews that is not found in most other scientific research papers. It would be to their own benefit to attempt to improve on the quality of their texts, rather than offering so much quantity.
  • What odds will you give? :)
  • This user ".Bruce Perens" is not me.

    Bruce

  • Uh...AMD turned a hefty profit last quarter ($0.43 per share) mostly due to higher ASPs off of Athlons. I see no reason this won't continue through Q1 and Q2 with more retailers signing on for Athlon chips (Gateway, IBM, etc).

  • This, folks, is what happens when two or more companies are truly competing in a marketplace. Nobody can afford to get complacent, the technology (or whatever) advances at a rapid pace, and the prices are kept reasonable. The ultimate winner is the consumer.

    This is the kind of thing you'd be seeing in software if Microsoft were not a monopoly. Linux has caused them to wake up a little, but if Microsoft had the kind of competition that Intel now faces, it would truly light a fire under their collective butts to deliver some real value to consumers.
  • AMD did a tech-luncheon at my uni a while back, talking about the K7, K8, and K9 (snicker). Anyway, the 64-bit extensions to IA-32 sound pretty nice. The best thing (from AMD's standpoint) is that it uses the same core for both 32 and 64 bit code, and hence should run 32 bit code at little or no performance penalty. There were lots of other cool features (like multiple cores on a chip), but I can't say much about them because every question I asked got the "That hasn't been published yet" answer. Every one! Aaargh! He couldn't even tell me if -- since they are going to require a new OS version anyway -- they have added to the intel architecture's _pathetic_ number of GPR's. He couldn't answer me, but I'd assume so. I _hope_ so anyway.
  • The future of OS's are geared towards SMP. AMD knows it, Intel cant make up its mind, Crusoe isnt even a contender...

    The GFX card manufacturs know, look at the Voodoo2 SLI or ATI Rage Fury Maxx..

    It all comes down to the consumers. People want speed cheap. SMP is the answer.

    If I helped to design the crusoe, it would be stackable, and let people just add cpu's for more speed. Low Mhz x 10cpu's would whoop a Ghz Pentium...

    PS. Soon as AMD has its Quad system boards out, my p3-500 becomes a linux/mp3 box. :)
  • I bought the cheapest Athlon mobo I could buy, a FIC SD-11. It's got a crap powersupply. It doesn't crash. It hasn't crashed.

    The problem isn't with the mobo, it's with FUD, which could probably be traced to intel or intelosers.
  • There are a number of reasons why the route chosen was the MHz route. Firstly, consider Moore's Law. If the speed of processors doubles every 18 months, then is there a similar relation for # of Procs on a system? Let's say that back in '92 we started down the multiproc route instead of the MHz route. In order to be at our current speed, we would need 32 procs to keep the speed. Silicon ain't cheap, though. This shows us that the CPU cost alone is prohibitive.

    Secondly, the support hardware is also more complex for multiproc setups. You're memory controller must make sure that there is cache coherency across all of the processors' caches. This makes the motherboard more costly. There are a number of other hardware issues that jack the price up.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is the software aspect of multiple CPUs. Writing concurrent programs is far more difficult than their sequential relatives. You not only have to debug the program for proper behavior, which is difficult when there can be process interference, but you also have to debug speed issues that arise from the interaction of processes. When a sequential program is run on a faster CPU, if it is a CPU-bound problem, then it will result in faster execution. This is not necessarily the case when you add processors. Concurrent programming is a whole new bucket of monkeys.

  • Forgive me if we've done this one before. I have a short term memory for most of them. But then again this has a twist that really shows AMD's primary problem.

    My computer is:
    Intel & Retail store bought
    Intel & I built it
    AMD & Retail store bought
    AMD & I built it

    where Retail store bought covers all cases where you bought a prepackaged, preassembled machine (even Dell and Gateway count, even though you "select your components". Technically you're not selecting components unless you can choose anything you want, not from a dropdown list of three items.) I built it thus means the opposite. You had full control of what went into your system, even if you didn't actually physically connect components etc.

    Therein lies AMD's problem.

  • Actually, one reason your company buys only Intel machines is because most "Business Desktops" lines from the major companies are Intel only (with AMD sneaking in on the consumer lines). At least where I work, the purchasing policy has nothing to do with the CPU manufacturer, and only with what our vendor of choice (Dell) will sell at a particular price point and expected delivery date.

    "Intel Inside" is really a marketing program aimed at the OEMs, not consumers, and reinburses OEMs for making an entire model line-up Intel only. This is a tough nut to crack for AMD, and it will take time before these contracts start to expire and OEMs can start taking bids from AMD across their model line-ups.
    --
  • Like many discussions on this board, the problem with this one is that everyone is assuming that Intel versus AMD is a zero sum game. This isn't at all true -- the market for PCs, laptops and x86 servers has been growing by a huge percentage every year for more than a decade, and it shows no sign of stopping.

    The point I infer from Vaxman's post is that AMD is never going to beat Intel, and if AMD plays their cards right, Intel will never beat them either. Both companies can be very profitable and successful at the same time -- so spread your bets a little.
    --
  • 90% of the demo consisted of video taped demonstrations. If their product was near shippable, why didn't they at least have prototype boxes?

    AMD demoed a 1.1 Ghz Athlon, and everyone here was smart enough to say "Okay. That's nice. How long til you ship it?"

    Transmeta shows a video tape of a simulation of a crusoe processor using less power than a DESKTOP pentium III, and everyone jumps up and says "I want one!".

    I'm not disputing that Crusoe's real or not. I'm just saying don't love the thing until you see how it works in the real world. All anyone who hasn't signed an NDA has seen so far is Transmeta's fluff piece about the wonders they've been working on. Of course they're not going to mention which hurdles they haven't made it over yet, or which ones could be erected (pardon the word) prior to themselves shipping the actual product.
  • Transmeta's got their eyes on going public, like every other tech company. IF they decided to try to raise $20/share, Intel could simply offer them $40/share and hope the VC's that funded Transmeta bit. Or they could just wait for them to float enough stock into the market and then gobble them up. A few well placed press releases in the days leading up to their IP, and they might not end up soaring like many other IPO's in recent history.
  • Why would you want 16 50 MHz processors rather than 1 800 Mhz processor? Each system built would use a much larger chunk of each wafer from which CPU's are built and that cost would be passed on to us. Besides that, have you seen the size of the machines that hold 16 CPUs? Heard the noise from the fans?

    Besides the pieces of silicon, there'd also be a LOT more wiring in the boxes... right now, I think most motherboards are either 4 or 6 layers(?). We'd need motherboards twice as thick... meaning more cost.

    Single processor machines will always be cheaper than multiprocessor machines, and will suit the needs of 95%+ of computer users.

    And lastly... The mainstream OSes benefit much more from more MHz in a single CPU rather than adding lots of slower CPU's. Linux scales well up to 2 and sometimes 4 processors (based on benchmarks I've read), NT does about the same. Be... I've actually not seen a BeOS system with more than 2 CPU's (PowerPC or otherwise) so i can't comment on that.

    So... More CPU's rather than just faster CPUs... would greatly increase the cost of systems, and because of the inefficiencies of most low-end OSes, the benefits would go largly unnoticed.
  • From the article:
    ...since [Transmeta] has a lot of cheap competition, most notably from National Semiconductor's soon to be released PC-On-A-Chip and Intel's StrongARM processors.

    National Semiconductor's chip is called the MachZ [zfmicro.com]. It's designed by David Feldman (father of the PC/104 embedded computer standard which he invented when he worked for Ampro [ampro.com] in the '80s) and sold by Feldman's new company, ZF Microsystems (same link).

  • I don't even really like "Althon", it's too easy to confuse with "Athalon", "Athlon", etc.

    Apparently it's confusing to you - the real name of the chip is in fact "Athlon", not "Althon". If I had a dollar for every time I grind my teeth after reading "Athalon" on /., I'd use those dollars for my dental bills :)

  • I have to agree with the article when it comments on how many people believe ZDNet is covering up for Intel.
  • KX133 from Via? is out now. Irongate was always a stop gap measure according to AMD (they are not really a chip set manufacturer).

    If the Athelon Geoforce combination is so bad why have all the gamers gone to it for much higher frame rates and no mentioning of crashes?

    The only reason not to use a athelon on a server is multiprocessing capabilities and the fact that I don't know of any workstation type motherboards.

    Sorry, not to sound too critical
  • I don't see the Transmeta making much of an effect in high-end laptops (unless they go dual-processor... a lot more viable with their kind of power consumption). The Crusoe will make more of an effect in low(er) end/long battery life laptops. Something like an iBook -- the iBook claims 6 hours of battery life, and isn't the blazing hardware that the G3 laptop is.

    The AMD chip will probably affect prices more than Transmeta, much like it's affecting prices for desktop processors.

  • IIRC, the Crusoe was already in full production in IBM's plants when it was announced. It's far from vaporware.
  • I noticed. But maybe that's only because I spend my life on Slashdot. Apparently you do as well, I see your posts all over the place.

    Off-topic, but hey, who cares.
  • The article touches on the fact that when comparing an Itanium and a 4 way Athlon that is just as fast, costs the same, and can also run 32 but instructions, it's not a hard choice.

    Unless of course you'd like to have more than just 4 gigabytes of RAM in that server..

  • Thanks for the correction. I knew some Intel chips have 36bit addressing, but I wasn't sure if Athlon had it. Still, using this kind of segmented memory hack doesn't sound very complelling when compared to true 64bit addressing..

    I don't really see why backward compatability is needed, Itanium is not a directed to consumer market, but to high-end servers. I don't think people really if care if their $80K web server doesn't run Quake3 60fps sustained.

  • There seems to be a distributed DoS attack on Tom's going on right now ;p

    Slashdotted before I got halfway through the article.
  • One motherboard that I didn't see listed was the Asus K7M. I've seen them for sale at various computers stores in the area where I live. I have several other Linux systems with Asus mobos and I've had excellent results with all of the systems.

  • Point of clarification. I am not a news junkie. The "silence" over the Crusoe and the noise from the others relates to advertisements I regularly get in the mail and articles which frequently appear at the few sites I regularly visit.

    If the battle is over desktop chips, then what the !@$#* is in a laptop? I guess neither intel nor AMD see any relation between a web-pad and another device of comparable size. Espcially if the web-pad starts out running regular windows and quake.

    Lastly, I run win 9x, nt, linux, mac os, and bsd due to what I support. I fail to see how that had anything to do with my initial post.

    PS. I thought VAX died along with disco.

  • I do not have a problem with big companies. The problem is unfair marketing practices. Marketing vaporware should be illegal. When MS says, "we will have product X out by day Y." Their purpose is to convince people to wait and try their product. They are doing this to hurt the competition, and they are succeeding even though there is no product on the market until date Y++.

    Another practice which MS has engaged in was crippling their software so that it would not work with the competion. They did this back with win 3.1 and DR Dos. MS coded windows so various things could not be installed on a DR Dos system. The initial solution was to boot with a MS DOS diskette, run the install, exit, and reboot the DR DOS.

    Then they changed the packaging scheme. They stopped selling the OS independant of the GUI. There is obviously a OS under win 9X. It is what you get with format a:/s. The fact that this one got settled out of court stinks. Especially being the DR Dos was the better OS. It had better memory management, multitask, diskcopy to an img file, etc.

    They get away with a ton of stuff that in any other industry people would have been screaming foul a long time ago over, but when it gets right down to it, most people do not understand the computer industry. There are many users, out there who know how to get a task done, and that is it. It is like me with my car. I know how to drive, put gas in it, use the stereo, and take it in for regular maintainance.

    But, if you car started giving me the blue screen of death more than once every 12,000 miles, some car manufacture would be getting regular visits from me until they fixed it or gave me my money back. Computer users just accept the blue death as a fact of life. Lemon laws do not appear to apply to computer programs. (i.e. read the fine print where it says this software is not guaranteed to do anything we say it does).

    I will be honest. When it comes to the Intel - AMD battle, I prefer Crusoe. It was kept quiet till they had a chip in production.

    With Intel, when they made bad chips there was a small call back. With windows when they produce trashed memory management from way back to present, it just continues to be a black hole that never gets fixed.

  • The difference between these companies is simple: Transmeda and AMD are good at making great chips. Intel is great at making *MONEY*

    No, Intel was great at defining a standard and defending it against all comers. When fighting a battle at which they couldn't define the standard (3d graphics chipsets), Intel lost.

    Last time I checked, Intel had absolutely no debt and over 10 billion dollars sitting in cash. How much do you really think they are going to suffer?

    This business is probably one of the more capital intensive modern industries on the planet. US$10 billion buys you around 5-8 fabs these days. It's also not a simple matter to change the technical direction of a company like Intel. To do so takes time; a weakness which AMD and Transmeta can easily exploit.
  • "I saw a webcast..."???

    While that's cool and all....

    You still haven't run Q3A on it!

    :)

    toodles
  • I don't know if you got all the way through the article (it's long but worth it), but the author explains why Crusoe will probably never compete in the same arena as Intel and AMD. He lists as many details as he can without having a Crusoe of his own to test.

    Do I think Transmeta can build a profitable company supplying chips for long battery life notebook computer and small PDA/ Webpad products? Absolutely. But it comes down to a business equation, not a technical one. The margins on Xeon class high end workstation/ small server CPUs are amazing. The margins on CPUs for a web pad with a retail price of $500 are nice, but nothing spectacular.

    I was looking forward to the Transmeta press conference as much as anyone. The fact that they didn't have any real benchmarks bothered me a lot. I think that many Slashdot folks are letting their love of a certain Finn cloud their judgement about Transmeta.

    -B
  • And if the numbers in the article are correct, it will execute 32 bit code at about the speed of a 500 MHz Celeron. Considering that the Cellys cost about $100, and I can't believe an Itanium will run less than 2 grand in the near future, that's quite a speed hit. The article touches on the fact that when comparing an Itanium and a 4 way Athlon that is just as fast, costs the same, and can also run 32 but instructions, it's not a hard choice.

    -B
  • I think that this is just Tom's bias coming

    through. The biggest indication that Tom "doesn't

    get" the Crusoe is the "Crusoe will not be a

    player on desktops anytime soon." (Heh, it will be

    when I'm using a Crusoe laptop on my desk... =) )

    The whole design of the Crusoe seems to be tied

    to the power savings and lower heat, and NOT on

    sheer performance.

    It seems to me that Tom just likes the biggest,

    baddest stuff and sneers at anything less.
  • My favorite speculation from this article is the "...it may be time for not only Intel's investors to worry, but also the entire stock market."

    While Intel is now part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (and thus highly visible, with impact to the DJIA when INTL goes down), how can you say that even if INTL loses have it's market cap (to a measly $175 billion) that it would even make a dent in the market (according to the NYSE, 7 TRILLION dollars exchanged hands in 1998 just in the NYSE. How much is traded in a year in all of the combined markets? How many people have been dumping money into many, many stocks and mutual funds since '98?)?

    While this doesn't invalidate the criticisms of Intel's methods or lack of spiffy new chips, it does not do wonders for this authors credibility to tout this sort of statement lightly.

    By the way, isn't it funny that so many people on /. say that people don't need faster processors, but then Tom spins a yarn of global doom just because the Athlon will have greater clocks than Intel's processors? =) Just ironic...
  • Now formally called "Itanium" (like "titanium, but not quite -- perhaps for their next processor Intel will be inspired by "iron" and call it "Ron")

    What's with the really bad names? "Itanium"? "Merced"? "Willamette"? I don't even really like "Althon", it's too easy to confuse with "Athalon", "Athlon", etc. I thought Pentium was a pretty good name, but since then Intel has come up with a good name (let alone a decent product).

    On the other hand, there are some good processor names. "Alpha" (though it has some bad connotations), "StrongArm", "Sledgehammer"... I'm still undecided about "Crusoe". It's easy to remember but it's not much of a processor name...

  • Interesting point, bad example.

    Processor IDs are a good idea.
  • any good links on where to buy 'em? I think I get a paycheck right about that time and my 300 just ain't cuttin' it anymore.
  • The Xeon is already basically a non-factor. Xeons used to be distinguished by their large amounts of L2 cache, but the latest editions feature the same amount of L2 cache as a normal Pentium III, running at the same speed. Still, Xeons are more expensive than normal Pentium IIIs, for essentially no reason.

    In addition, this [theregister.co.uk] Register story from a couple weeks ago states that Xeon production is poor, demand is low, and there are no motherboards yet that support the 800. (Xeons use Slot 2, normal PIIIs use Slot 1).

    Xeons just basically exist to be a high-margin Intel cash-cow, but are an answer to a question that no one asked.

  • Will Microsoft release software (including NT/Win2K) optimized for the AMD system?

    Uhh Windows 98SE (not sure about reg 98) does have 3DNow! optimization.

    Will third parties release drivers that don't suck it up under AMD chipsets (see the GeForce fiasco, mentions on Tom's site)?

    Hmm My Voodoo3 drivers have 3DNow! support, they're stable, and they are FAST.

    The entire problem with the GeForce cards on Athlons hasn't been performance problems so much as power consumption. Too much power pulled between the Athlon and the GeForce and the power supply couldn't handle that. Yes there are some problems left with the AGP implementation of those, but these drivers are improving and the situation has been getting better.
  • (and AMD, also, will likely have problems ramping their .18 up)

    Intel has 7 or 8 really big fabs, all of which ALREADY are 0.18. AMD has one, which is in the process or being ramped up.


    All Athlons coming out of AMD's Austin Fab since they released the 750 have been on .18 micron. Not so much as even a hiccup, and every chip to come out of Dresden is going to be .18micron with copper interconnects
  • Nitpick: Intel's ticker is INTC. INTL is someone else... common enough mistake... would be interesting to compare volume on INTC with volume on INTL and see how many people make that little innocent typo ;-)...


    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.
  • 3. Or VIA which now has Centar, IDT and Cyrix. I would also like to point out that it was Cyrix which initially forced the sub $1000/$500 market not AMD. I would also like to point out that Cyrix was the company which released a processor which competed with significantly faster clocked Pentiums on what was the standard benchmark of the day (winbench). They were also the ones to start the >66mhz bus increases (initially the PR200? @75x2=150) with VIA not AMD.

    Besides it constantly amazes me how short peoples memory is in the PC industry.. AMD 286-20's anyone?
  • > Itanium[...] like "titanium," but not quite --
    > perhaps for their next processor Intel will be
    > inspired by "iron" and call it "Ron"

    The next piece of Intel vapourware will be inspired by sodium and codenamed "Odium". It will have an undisableable serial number and a government-held backdoor password which overrides your security settings. In response to massive public outcry they will back down, and announce an alternative "Eon" chip, inspired by neon, which doesn't have a serial number and backdoor, but doesn't do very much very fast.
  • Yeah, but still on the T1 price you need to tack in the ISP charge as well. Which around here is another $600.00. I used the $600.00 price because I'm assuming an ISP that provides DSL already has the infrustructor for this. Actually around here T1's have gone up in price slightly. :(
  • When Tom goes on to talking about: The PC is Dead! Long Live the... X-Box? Tom talks about the CPU being perhaps irrelevant for some people because you'll be able to download media streams and what not off of a high bandwidth internet connection. While I keep seeing everyone talking about this, I just don't see this happening within a few years. Maybe in 5 to 10 years perhaps, but within a few I just don't see it. Just the other day I was talking to a friend who runs an ISP. The telephone company was telling him to put 100 DSL subscribers per T1. My friend thought this was ludicrous, and I thought it was pretty stupid too. You just start thinking here for a moment, a T1 is 1.544Mbit/sec divided by 100 and you're getting some pretty slow transfer rates if all 100 people are transferring their favorite movie off of the Internet. Even yet so, say for instance you totally forget about what the phone company told me friend and you decide to use 10 DSL users per T1. You still get a 1.544Mbit/sec divided by 10 and that's still a pretty slow Internet connection if all the users decide to stream whatever they want. You figure at a price of say ~$600/mo for a T1(What it costs from the telco here), You then add up the price of say $80.00/mo from your 10 users you come out to be making only $200/mo off of those subscribers not including the other costs associated with keeping those 10 customers happy. So with all that, you figure more and more people will be using these types of things, such as cable and DSL, I start to wonder, "Where is this bandwidth coming from?" So unless T1 connections drop dramatically within the next couple of years, I still think the majority of us will be on either modems or ISDN connections. Of course if T1's drop that much in price, why not just have a T1 installed into your home? So again, I just can't see this convergence of your media and the PC into one thing making the type of CPU you have irrelevant.

    Unless I'm completely wrong and not really thinking about this far enough, but I still can't seem to wonder WHERE all this bandwidth is coming from to be able to do the things everyone keeps getting excited about within a budget the typical middle class person can afford. :->

  • by Panek ( 53365 )
    If only I had invested in AMD when the future of the company was still "questionable".
    At least I kept the faith!

    P/.
    --
    Za's Vid
    E/.
    ************************
  • Before you decide whether Crusoe is a disappointment or not, you have to decide on the importance of low power consumption. I would look to the handheld gaming industry for an example of what low power consumption does.

    Nintendo's Gameboy has been around forever, and it has beaten many superior systems that were similarly priced. One of the main reasons for its success is its battery performance.

    Changing out and recharging batteries in laptops and handhelds is one of the major drawbacks to these devices. I suspect many businesspeople, especially those that travel, would take half the performance of their laptops for 3 times the battery life in a heartbeat. How fast do you need to run Powerpoint, after all?
  • Epox motherboards [epox.com] just released an Athalon motherboard using the new Northbridge from VIA, the KX133. AGP4X goodness with 133MHz FSB, yum. Take a look, homie. Maybe you can return the k7m and get this bad boy.
    --
  • "Had it been done right" stated the original post.

    I take this to mean "If multiple processors were simpler than present, if motherboards and architectures and OSs were easily scalable".

    All the stuff you mention: Cache glue, software spaghetti, cooling and power.. is based on the assumption that current techniques would be adapted to suit multiprocessor systems. Well, no, current techniques are best-suited to single processors. That's why we're here.

    But what if there'd been some major breakthrough, some innovation that allowed multiprocessing to become simple? Perhaps a way to put intelligence in compilers so that programs could run, segmented across many processors and in a divided memory space. Perhaps a way for lots of processors or mini-machines to communicate efficiently, possibly adding redundancy for error-checking. Maybe something else, or a combination of the above.

    Then what we'd see is less emphasis on making faster individual chips, and more on making the chips cooperate more effectively. We'd still be making faster chips, because that is one way to get more performance out of a system. But we wouldn't be screaming along near the gigahertz mark, because it simply wouldn't be necessary.

    Multiprocessing wouldn't replace development of faster chips, it would supplement it. We'd be a lot better off with a couple dozen 200MHz chips than a single 800MHz, and we'd be a lot more tolerant if one CPU fan failed.
  • [this guy] needs to take some jounralism classes, you can hardly read the article because his personal bias is laid on so thick. How come everyone is clamouring for the death of Intel? If it weren't for the x86 series of processors computer technology would not be where it is today, at least night in my livingroom.
    Oh, give me a break.

    The piece is supposed to be opinion! Isn't that obvious? Do people on the net have to prefix everything they write with "IMHO"?

    Second, if it weren't for Microsoft, you wouldn't have any software on your computer. Do you realize how stupid that sounds? I hope you do. Intel is not the only (or best) microprocessor vendor in the world. They're not even really the first. TI had a microprocessor arguably before Intel did.

    We don't owe Intel anything. Intel owes us for making them number one. If we (the market) decide to take our business elsewhere, Intel will fumble and die.
  • Come on, everyone, say it with me: TOM DID NOT WRITE THIS ARTICLE .

    Thank you.

    (too bad "blink" isn't allowed html *grin*)

    p.s. Yes, it does share Tom's biases, but you can tell by the flawless English grammar (Tom is not a native English speaker), exceedingly strong bias (Tom is usually a little more controlled), strange predictions (Tom is usually a little more reality-based), and humor (Tom does not have a funny bone) that it's not Tom.
  • My biggest problem with the proposed scenario (Intel plays their hand, is trumped by AMD, and Intel quickly loses marketshare due to delays, rushed designs, and anti-Intel/pro-AMD market shifts) is that AMD hasn't proven that it can do anything beyond a fast desktop processor.

    Right now, I can buy a Slot 2 GX board and put four Pentium III 550 Xeon chips on it. If I spent enough money and did enough searching, I could probably get a server (likely only through Compaq) that had eight Xeons in it.

    Now, of course, these systems pale next to an Alpha or SPARC. But we're talking x86-based systems here. And if management wants to run NT, then you're essentially stuck with x86 (Yes, I know, NT4 supports Alphas, but Alpha support is now officially dead).

    There is no SMP Athlon chipset. Consumers tend to put down SMP, minimalizing its benefits (much like SCSI); however, you don't see the big iron running a single processor with IDE hard drives. There's a reason for this. Yes, it's often a terrible price/performance ratio, but that's where the big margins come from, not from desktop systems. Just look at the cost of a server-class Xeon-based system. Just the Xeon processor itself costs as much as your whole power-user computer.

    AMD needs to break into this market. It will make them lots of money. Desktops won't...
  • Yeah, that's what I was thinking about as well.

    Intel makes processors, chipsets, motherboards, network cards, video chipsets (used to make video cards, but now they imped the video chips in the motherboard's chipset, so you can't make a choice), etc.

    Intel has invested quite heavily in lots of companies in the past ten years. They probably rival Microsoft in investing and buying interesting, up-and-coming companies. Though, Microsoft is a bit more evil about it.

    Wouldn't it be funny if Intel bought AMD?

  • I can't believe this crap. AMD comes up with admittedly good x86 implementations, but has historically failed to execute; i.e. it has failed to deliver enough of any processor family in the quantities required on everything up to the Athlon. The Athlon has been the exception so far, but we're only talking about three quarters. Intel's failure to deliver on processors, on the other hand, is measured in one or two quarters and
    then the supply matches the market demand.

    Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

    Just because AMD has had troubles in the past, doesn't mean they don't have their act together now. In fact, AMD hasn't had a single problem meeting for the Athlon demand yet. That certainly doesn't mean that they won't have trouble in the future, but I think any trouble they will have in this area will be minimal. They've learned the hard way how critical it is to meet demand.

    Besides, most of the problems that they had meeting demand were because of the design of the K6 series of chips. The K6-3, especially, had monstrous amounts of trouble. The design was good on paper, but it had pathetic yields. You can compare it to Intel's Pentium Pro, which was also a massive flop.
  • 1. This stuff is getting tired 2. This makes me a hypocrite.
  • The fact of the matter is that the stake of the founder is most likely less than 50% by now. That's the nature of VC, especially when you've had to raise as much first-tier and private placement financing as Transmeta. Furthermore, the actual amount of stock sold to the public is typically less than 10%. Thus there is no way to "gobble up" a company on the open market. Make offers to those who hold large blocks, sure. But those who are holding the stock and are expecting a great IPO followed by stellar profit growth and a commesurate increase in valuation will be loath to give up their chance. Especially just before the moment of truth.

    Walt
  • Well, according to this Sharky's blurb [sharkyextreme.com] we can expect it in the 2nd quarter, or April-June of this year. Interestingly, that's around the timeframe predicted for Intel to debut its next-gen gigahertz Willamette core.

    Nothing like an old-fashioned corporate pissing contest.
    • 1 part corporate sponsorship
    • 1 part hype
    • 1 part misinformation
    • 1 part bias
    Mix ingredients. Shake, do not stir.

    I haven't taken anything Tom says seriously since it was revealed he used a warez Quake3 hack to conduct "exclusive" benchmarks. And then he tried to defend it! The ego of the guy is incredible...just listen to the arrogance in his writing.
  • ...it's called crack.

    Side effects include delusions, decreased intelligence and coherence, as well as irritability and peevishness.

  • I think AMD and Intel will be fighting each other so much that they won't have the resources to battle Transmeta's Crusoe as well.

    As the Grand Prix driver Alain Prost once said, it doesn't matter how fast you are, or how far you are in the lead, it's whether you finish that counts.

    So long as Transmeta works hard and concentrates on it's own stuff, it might inherit the lead, by default, with AMD and Intel effectively taking each other out.

    That lesson would be best learned by Linux users & developers, too. You can't win a race you don't finish.

  • Would it sooth your precious ego, if I donated you some of my karma? I can afford to give you a few hundred, or so points.

    In short, YOU might not like my posts, but with an average of +15 karma/week, I believe that there ARE /. readers out there who think that what I have to say is worth the effort of reading, rather than flaming.

    But, then, if you can't come up with constructive critisism, only a troll (and a rather pathetic one at that - I've seen much better trolls on Usenet) then why should I give a damn what you think at all?

    You can pin your opinions on what you like, but they're still ultimately yours and yours alone. You don't have to read my posts. You don't have to reply. Doing so just tells me you are insanely jelous of those with an IQ higher than single digits. (Emphasis on "insane".) Your feelings are yours. Get used it it. You can run, but you can't hide from yourself.

  • There are some very nice benchmarks on their website. It's a few percent faster than a P3 mobile, overall, with no benchmark dipping below the performance of a P3 mobile.

    We should remember that this is a first-generation Crusoe. The Pentium 3 is a 9th generation 80x86, combined with an 8th generation 80x87. It's not terribly surprising that the Pentium 3 has no speed disadvantage, at this time.

    However, remember who's fabricating the chips. IBM, who have got some -very- nice fabrication systems, for making small, fast, low-power devices.

    We also have to remember that the days of the one-processor PC may be numbered. If that's the case, then the advantage Intel and AMD have in this market becomes irrelevent.

  • The real Bruce doesn't have a "." at the beginning of his user name.

    Bruce

  • Try sticking a number 1-6 between "www" and ".". For example, www6.tomshardware.com. -jwb
  • Intel has lost the low end of the Xeon market. For two or fewer processors, the Xeon is a waste of money. They have lost design-ins in that market segment. Everyone switched to single or dual Pentium IIIs.
  • T1s could be much cheaper than $600 a month if there was true competition in the telephone business. The cost of providing a T1 has dropped like a rock but the telephone companies have kept their rates artificially high. DSL technology has made it much cheaper to provide a T1.
  • <i>This suggests (but does not prove; definitive answers will have to await the availability of Crusoe systems for more orthodox testing) that the Crusoe is struggling to carry out DVD decoding and would have fewer CPU cycles to spare in a multitasking environment than the PIII.</i>

    Seeing as how Transmeta's primary platform for their Crusoe processor is webpads and other portable devices, having fewer CPU cycles to spare while decoding a DVD (assuming he means watching the movie, and not just running DeCSS <grin>) I frankly don't see where having less spare cycles should be a major issue. On a <b>portable</b> device one is not very likely to be doing anything besides watching the movie!

    Even if (for instance) one is running some sort of network service(s) such as http or email while watching the movie, these services typically require very little CPU time, and should not be significantly degraded -- Unless of course Rob is going to be trying to run Slashdot off his new webpad!

    --Cycon
  • I can't belive how it seems that everyone around here has fallen completely head over heels in love with Crusoe dispite not seeing a shipping chip, system, or whatever.

    I don't know where you were, but on January 19th, I saw a webcast of Crusoe demoed in it's silicon form. I don't know how it can get much more real then that. I think it's to much to believe that it won't ship now. That'd be like believing after Microsoft shipping W2K to manufacturing last Dec, that they wouldn't ship. Crusoe is here, and further announcements like the one by Phoenix [slashdot.org] seem to only strengthen the idea that Crusoe is real.

    But in doing so right now and putting off your purchases in anticipation, you're falling for the same old FUD that you bash Microsoft and Intel for spouting all these years.

    Yes, but Microsoft has been promising W2K for years. Now we see for certain that Microsoft can't fulfill their promises. That's FUD. Unlike Microsoft, Transmeta didn't say anything for years. Why not? Because they didn't feel they needed FUD to promote their product. So, they didn't announce their product until it existed.

    Waiting for a Crusoe product now, is no different then waiting for this years model cars to be sold before buying another one.

    -Brent
  • AMD and Intel will scrap about for a while... realize that Transmeta's pestering them, swat transmeta out of the way, and then continue their battle.

    That swat may consist of patent related lawsuits, huge FUD campaigns, or just an outright buyout. Remember, Intel IS NOT a monoply in the CPU arena (or so says the DOJ) and could probably pull of such a buyout.

    Like I've said over and over... I can't belive how it seems that everyone around here has fallen completely head over heels in love with Crusoe dispite not seeing a shipping chip, system, or whatever.

    Let crusoe arrive. Test it. If you like it, THEN start chanting it's praises. But in doing so right now and putting off your purchases in anticipation, you're falling for the same old FUD that you bash Microsoft and Intel for spouting all these years.
  • needs to take some jounralism classes, you can hardly read the article because his personal bias is laid on so thick. How come everyone is clamouring for the death of Intel? If it weren't for the x86 series of processors computer technology would not be where it is today, at least night in my livingroom. I think Intel did make a major mistake with Merced/Itanium. The VLIW structure works with the Crusoe which isn't touted as a powerhouse processor but it is a joke with a processor as complex as Itanium. I think with the Itanium Intel out to have taken a que from MIPS and designed a specialized core to do a given number of instructions very very fast. Of course doing so would mean no software you have now would work on it but that would be a bonus in the long run. The intelligent thing would be to make only a recompile necassary to run the software, maybe even add a little emulator in the BIOS that would allow for using x86 code. If all of the processor's instructions were SIMD capable they could easily build an ass kicking chip where the compiler would batch processes together and allow for branch prediction to keep the pipeline full. A simple chip architecture would mean alot less heat and alot cheaper chips which would do well to increase the profit margins on said chips.
  • He's got to be kidding. It's waaay too early about the impact sledgehammer will have on merced. There is no sledgehammer. AMD hasn't taped it out. They certainly haven't sampled it. It's in the vapor stage. Admittedly the release date for the merced keeps slipping (making it the perfect processor for running win2k ;) ) but sledgehammer isn't anywhere close to being released. Can anyone tell me of any active project to modify an OS to use sledgehammer's 64 bit instructions? All the sledgehammer hype sounds like wishfull thinking.
    --Shoeboy
  • I can't believe this crap. AMD comes up with admittedly good x86 implementations, but has historically failed to execute; i.e. it has failed to deliver enough of any processor family in the quantities required on everything up to the Athlon. The Athlon has been the exception so far, but we're only talking about three quarters. Intel's failure to deliver on processors, on the other hand, is measured in one or two quarters and then the supply matches the market demand.

    Then there's the talk about Transmeta. I agree with the general thrust of the article concerning the Transmeta chips, but I have an even dimmer opinion of the company and its products. There are too many other low-powered advanced architecture chips for mobile system use, in particular the ARM series of microprocessors. Why go with a questionable unknown from Transmeta when I can pick a variant of the ARM from a number of vendors, and there's even a port of Linux to the ARM, along with a Java port at Blackdown. Linus Torvalds' may have the magic touch with software, but it's not carrying over too well with hardware. If I were he, or one of the Transmeta investors, I'd seriously question what Transmeta delivered for all that money and time.
  • Not to mention that most software will only use the processing resources of 1 processor at a time, so in the end you'll just be able to run 16 programs at near-full 50 MHz speed rather than 1 at 800 MHz.
  • Accually, if you listened closely, you would have noticed that they constantly refered to Crusoe as being focused on the mobile market. And they gently hinted, cause they just love secrecy, about the abilities of their technology to do much much more. Imagine over clocking a crusoe, throw a fan on it, and get it up to the energy use of current AMD/Intel processors, maby put muliple processors in the core, and watch the baby fly.
  • It was funny once
    Now it's passe

    Just like the Grits, and Natalie Portman thingy.
  • Enough about the global financial crisis that will occur when intel's failed business plan leads its stock, the NASDAQ, and the global financial system into ruin.

    This is /.. We want the skinny on Transmeta!

    Although it is believed that Transmeta initially intended and believed that Crusoe would outperform a similarly clocked PIII, Crusoe fell well short of this. Performance is so poor, that when Transmeta publicly introduced the Crusoe, the company described the performance of its new VLIW processor with a set of bizarre benchmarks....

    Why is the Crusoe falling so far short of initial performance expectations? Again, as with the Itanium, the problem can be trace to VLIW. This design philosophy, especially for general purpose CPUs, is in its infancy, so no one has experience to set truly credible performance expectations.

    Does this mean that the Crusoe is already a non-factor? Yes, and no. Yes, and Transmeta has already conceded this, the Crusoe will not be a player on desktops anytime soon. But in the portable market, Crusoe has a chance at success. With this greatly diversifying market, Crusoe's low power consumption is attractive by providing reasonable performance where battery life is paramount. It has the potential to be successful in Web tablets and low-priced, long battery-life notebooks.

    The key to Crusoe's success will be if Transmeta can rapidly reduce the price of the 700MHz version to below $100 (it was announced at over $300).


    What do you folks think? Is Crusoe a disappointment? Do you think that the do-it-in-software transmeta philosophy will pay off in prices as well as power?
  • The fundamental difference between a processor and an OS, is that a processor can be switched for anthoer one with no change in the operating system or programs running on top of it. This used to be clearer with the old socket seven boards where one could switch a Pentium for a K6 and then just boot the system. Now most processor changes come with at least a motherboard change as well. The thing of it is, that the new system can still run the old code. The processors run the exact same instruction set (minus 3DNow and SSE) and can therefor run the exact same software.

    I will agree though that it will take more than better technology to display Intel from its current posisition. Many companies will only buy Intel machines for thier users. Intel has done very well to build loyality with thier Intel Inside program. Dell still refuses to sell AMD parts.

    What the future holds for Intel is smaller profits and a more competive market place. Something Intel is not ready to handle as of yet. They'll be taking a beating until they do.
  • I tend to agree with that statement (in a serious sense), but it seems to me that most people here think of Linux as in competition with Windows. If we stipulate that Linux can have competition (which is a statement that I'm sure companies like RedHat would stand behind) then it follows that Microsoft is Linux's competitor. Conversely, Linux is Microsoft's competitor and by that reasoning

    Competition == Good;

    M$ == Competition;

    M$ == Good;

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Agreed. But doesn't that strike you as a funny comment to make on a forum where most everyone would love to everyone running Linux on their desktop and have MS drop off the face of the Earth?

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • <I>So now that Microsoft has been proven both good and evil, are they an oxymoron? Or does it work like antimatter/matter annihilation, and most of Redmond just vaporized?</I>

    i'm not sure if this is true, but i heard somewhere that micro$oft used to be called 'unlimited limited' and 'unincorporated incorporated' ... if that turns out to be true, then i guess m$ really is an oxymoron =)



    _______________________________________________
    There is no statute of limitation on stupidity.
  • Processor IDs are a good idea.

    I'm talking about the general computer market, for which it is nothing but a PR disaster, not about specialized markets for which the PID has some merit (though software serving the same function, such as digital signatures, would probably be better even in the latter case because of its greater flexibility).
    /.

  • They can throw HUGE amounts of resources into fixing their woes, which is a nice reserve.

    If they lack the sense to take even obvious steps that don't cost any significant resources (e.g. announce "OK, Big Brother Inside was a stupid idea, and every batch off the line from now one will be burned with all zeros instead of a chip ID"), a "nice reserve" only delays the inevitable.
    /.

  • I don't know so much that people have fallen in love with the Crusoe,
    so much as that Transmeta have beaten Intel to producing a usable VLIW
    chip. Maybe the article is right, maybe VLIW is a false path, but if
    not Transmeta looks like a dangerous competitor to Intel.
  • The article makes some worrying claims about the Intel business model:
    dependent on high margins, unable to reduce costs, long time to
    market, losing its best engineers. These suggest that Intel can't
    just mark up its recent troubles to experience and get back to old
    form. One way or another it does look as if Intel shareholders are
    not going to be happy.
  • The history I learnt was that TI designed the first integrated
    circuit, but it was just gate logic. It was Intel who first
    assembled all of the components of the processing unit onto one chip.


    Did TI do something that I am not aware of?

  • Intel has been so succesful for so long for good reason. I believe AMD might finally get in the black, and Transmeda might gain some market share... but Intel will continue to dominate.

    The difference between these companies is simple:

    Transmeda and AMD are good at making great chips.

    Intel is great at making *MONEY*

    McDonalds does not make the best or the cheapest burgers out there, but it has continued to thrive because of an ingrained, highly succesful business model. The better products often lose.

    And while that may be upsetting to all you geeks out there, because in a perfect world, the best product always wins... but that is not how it works.

    Last time I checked, Intel had absolutely no debt and over 10 billion dollars sitting in cash. How much do you really think they are going to suffer?
  • Theres a difference. If Linux was the only OS, there still would be quality-breeding competition. I'm not talking between the different distributions warring it out, but between the developers, the users, etc. I have rewritten many a line of code just to prove my implementations are better than theirs. OSS isn't about money or fame; It's about satisfaction, and showing up the other developers and improving the quality that hits the user are both very satisfying..
  • Sorry, I like my algo better!

    Corruption == Evil
    Power == Corruption
    Money == Power
    Bill Gates == Money
    Microsoft == Bill Gates
    Microsoft == Evil

    So now that Microsoft has been proven both good and evil, are they an oxymoron? Or does it work like antimatter/matter annihilation, and most of Redmond just vaporized?
  • Tom says...

    A proven axiom that Intel mysteriously ignored with the Itanium is that backward compatibility with the existing software base is paramount for the success of a microprocessor. If the market did not have a choice, there is a possibility that, despite the Itanium's lack of backward compatibility, it still might succeed, but, with the availability of the Seldgehammer (and to a lesser degree the Athlon), Itanium's failure is almost guaranteed.

    Huh? As far as I remember, Itanium has always had backward compatibility; it was supposed to have a Crusoe-like translator to change x86 instructions to VLIW instructions. Did this get tossed, or is Tom smoking something?


    --

  • It absolutely baffles me that most people here think that AMD success == Intel leaving the microprocessor business. Talk about blowing things out or proportion!

    The only reason AMD was so successful last quarter is because the demand for Intel chips FAR exceeded Intel's ability to manufacture them. This hardly says anything bad about Intel! It says their customers can't get enough of the parts which Intel made. AMD was used, at least by the major OEM's, as a substitute for Intel chips it couldn't get. Basically, AMD got lucky, because they were able to make what may potentially turn out to be long term relationships with the top OEM's as a result. If Intel didn't have manufacturing problems, AMD would have done much worse.

    The Athlon succeeded, not because it was faster, but because it was available.

    Now, here comes the meat of my point. Intel was not able to satisfy demand the huge demand. Q499 was Intel's record quarter in volume (and sales, and profit...) The reason for this is because the demand for PC's was HUGE that quarter. This is GOOD for chip makers, both AMD and Intel.

    A record volume quarter which was hindered by manufacturing problems suggests to me that all Intel needs to do is get their manufacturing back on track, and they will be even better and do another record quarter! Intel's problem is not an inherent problem such as lack of demand, but it is too much demand! Manufacturing problems are temporary, and Intel's are associated with ramping up the .18 process (which was the fastest ramp-up in its history). Intel is going to so seriously kick ass when that process is fully mature (and AMD, also, will likely have problems ramping their .18 up).

    Right now Intel has 84% marketshare, and AMD has 14%. Tom's suggestion that Intel is going to go to 0% marketshare and AMD is going to go to 97% marketshare is ludicrous because:

    AMD DOES NOT HAVE THE MANUFACTURING CAPACITY TO SUPPLY THE ENTIRE PC INDUSTRY WITH CHIPS.

    Intel has 7 or 8 really big fabs, all of which ALREADY are 0.18. AMD has one, which is in the process or being ramped up. The suggestion that AMD with this one really big fab can out MANUFACTURE Intel with a bunch of really big fabs is just ludicrous.

    Of course, Intel does not have the capacity to supply the industry, either. We saw that last year. However, Intel does have much more capital and no debt, and is putting two new fabs up this year. Intel can recover from manufcaturing problems because they have money.

    Folks, this is NOT an issue of who has the better chip. There is virtually not performance difference between Pentium III and Athlon (if anything, Pentium III has a significant advantage right now because it can do MP and is available with much bigger and faster caches). All the OEM's want is parts. This is an issue of manufacturing.

    Worst case scenario (for Intel) is that they drop to about 50% marketshare. Is that bad for Intel? You bet. Their market cap would go on a free fall.

    I do believe that AMD is undervalued and that Intel is ludicrously overvalued. Does that mean Intel will go bankrupt and AMD will be worth 1/3 trillion dollars next year? No, but probably they will come a bit closer in price (perhaps even the same order of magnitude)
  • I like AMD, Intel annoys me, but I'm not ready to dismiss them. The article is right, Intel is hurting, but while a drop in margins will hurt their valuation, they aren't near bankruptcy.

    They can throw HUGE amounts of resources into fixing their woes, which is a nice reserve. They have to accept a LARGE decrease in margins, especially as the Intel name means less and ceases to give them a premium.

    Intel has massive manufacturing might and can crank up production on lower cost chips. Corporations aren't ready to adopt Athlon for mission critical systems, although that may change. Microsoft's decisions will also make a key difference. Will Microsoft realize an AMD optimized compiler? Will Microsoft release software (including NT/Win2K) optimized for the AMD system? Will third parties release drivers that don't suck it up under AMD chipsets (see the GeForce fiasco, mentions on Tom's site)?

    Realize that for servers, a few hundred dollars in savings is trivial for the Intel guarantee. AMD will have trouble stealing the NT market from Xeon. The Linux market, however, could be theirs for the asking if they contributed optimizations for GCC to make it optimized for their processor. If Red Hat made an Athlon Linux (all the software recompiled to scream on an Athlon), it would hand them that market.

    AMD has a HUGE opportunity hear, but the rest of the industry has to play along. A strong AMD and Intel duking it out for the x86 server market is GOOD for the industry, but we'll see what happens.

    Alex
  • Benchmarks???

    They made up their own benchmarks. That's the only reason the Crusoe comes anywhere near a PIII. If you read through to the end of the 'Tom's Hardware' article from above you'll see that he mentions this as well.

    You're right this is a first generation processor, but so far it hasn't been released and hasn't been run through any "real" benchmarks (SPEC for example). We just don't have any information on the chip which hasn't been filtered by Transmeta first.

    Crusoe has some impressive possibilities in the portable market, but right now all they are is possibilities. It is way too early to talk about Transmeta and the desktop.
  • by josepha48 ( 13953 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2000 @11:47AM (#1291032) Journal
    This was actually kind of interesting. It has been a while since I read an article that interested me like this. What I found to be most interesting though was that it suggests that even though there is a dominate company in the market now, 'natural' selection can make a better design come out on top. This is assuming that AMD delivers what it is developing with 1.2Ghz CPU's.

    I guess that when another OS comes out that can do what M$ does and ALSO allows people to run there legacy M$ programs it will take the dominate place in the market if it is better.

    Please don't tell me about wine and linux and vmware, cause they do not completely fit the bill. Wine suffers from the fact that it cannot run all of M$ products and results usually vary from user to user to much at this time. Maybe when corel's changes get in there it may make a difference, but not enought to make people switch.

    Yes I also know that there are substitutions for Word and Office, but flat out some people just have to run word, or just want to run word cause there is some feature in M$ product that they like .

    As far as vmware goes, when I tried it my cdrom started going to crap. They write there own driver for the system (under Linux atleast). I had other problems with upgrades to vmware not working and not letting me install new programs in a vmware sessions. It also does not handle all the hardware that it should. They need to write a proper program (IMHO) that does not make the kernel modules that it makes. There is already a cdrom driver why reinvent the wheel, so they can do what they want with the cdrom?

    I'll look forward to seeing if Netscape can make a comeback with Netscape 5.0......

    send flames > /dev/null

  • by Rabbins ( 70965 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2000 @12:00PM (#1291033)
    It really does go a long way to prove the efficient marketplace theory doesn't it?

    And Intel certainly did have a monopoly... I believe they actually lightened up on AMD a lot... just to keep them straggling around so the justice department would get off their back.

    What I think is the key here, is that a long-running technology monopoly is near impossible.

    The barriers to entry are simply too low, and things change at such a torrid rate.

    The monopolies that were able to last had control of static commodities (oil and I would really include phone service (namely, the lines) at that time as a commodity). Where a start-up company would need enormous amounts of capital to even enter the market... let alone fend off a larger company.

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