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AMD

Upside interviews Jerry Sanders of AMD 202

An Anonymous reader writes "Titled The Last Man Standing, this Upside interview offered an inside view of the bloody war between the two CPU makers from Sanders' point of view. He also talks about upcoming Hammer, flash memory, Transmeta and telecomm bubbles. Somehow I get a feeling that both companies are living under the heavy cloud of Microsoft. Pretty lengthy, but an interesting reading.""
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Upside interviews Jerry Sanders of AMD

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  • ...with building up strategic alliances and subcontracting out manufacuring, but Intel still doesnt seem to be phased by any advances AMD has made... And i dont know why.. I would like to see somebody do a good writeup comparing AMD and Intel's practices, pointing out the strenghts/and/or weaknesses in both.. so one could get a feel of what makes Intel tick...
  • Today on Jerry: 'Caught Cheating'!

    Audience: Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
    Jerry: OK, settle down! Welcome to the show! Today we're talking to computer users who are secretly using better processors on the side!
    Audience: Ooooh!
    Jerry: Let's meet Dan-0411. Dan says that's his work machine has a PIII in it, but there's something going on. Dan-0411?
    Dan-0411: Yeah. PIII, I've been using an Athlon in a laptop on the side, and it's over, Intel boy! She divides better than you any day!
    PIII chip: You (expletive)! (lashes out at Dan, throwing a punch)
    Audience: Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

    Dan-0411. Get it? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
  • Competition is good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by larien ( 5608 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @01:23PM (#3201107) Homepage Journal
    ...and I think AMD has shown this. As he says, "they changed because competition made them change. So I'm proud of that. " Up until the K7 (Athlon) came out, AMD and the now dead Cyrix chips were good, budget chips but they never matched the Pentiums in raw performance, at least where it counted for gamers, in floating point. Since the Athlon came out, Intel have had a fight on their hands which they're winning in some quarters (mainly the server arena), and losing in others.

    Intel have the bucks to hand out deals to keep Dell etc sweet and market others into submission, but while AMD keep producing good value chips, they will still have a market amongst those who know better (generally the geeks of the world :) ).

    I hope AMD keep going, but I hope they never crush Intel entirely, otherwise they may fall into the trap of becoming complacent and progress will slow.

    • I went with AMD when I saw the benchmarks from average users. The K6 had problems, and made me stay with P2/P3s. Comparing pricing and performance, AMD is better on most accounts. My AMD 1800 is faster than a P4 2ghz in all areas but the 400mhz bus.

      Just check out Mad Onion [madonion.com] 3dmark 2001 and looks at the scores, AMD is leading the way on the top machines!

      I might have to get a dual AMD MP machine thou, the prices are coming down, and with newer chipsets for AMD, will make it even faster. 333mhz bus?
    • I am impressed that AMD had the smarts to develop what amount to a from-scratch CPU core using the original NexGen technology to address the major limitations of the Intel Pentium III CPU.

      Look at what was done:

      1. More generous CPU memory cache and more efficient access to that memory.

      2. The use of the EV6 CPU bus, which was much more efficient than any Intel did at the time.

      3. A VASTLY superior FPU core compared to the Intel CPU's.

      I am pretty impressed by the results: the AMD Athlon XP 2100+ running at 1,733 MHz CPU clock speed is roughly equal to an Intel Pentium 4 running at 2,200 MHz CPU in terms of overall performance. That indicates AMD has produced an amazingly efficient CPU core, to say the least.

      I for one can't wait for the even faster Thoroughbred Athlons that will probably take the performance to 2800+ levels as early as the end of this year.
  • While /. provides that the article mentions Transmeta, I read and searched the entire and did not find Transmeta.

    What is spoken of Transmeta?
  • by gphat ( 5647 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @01:31PM (#3201173) Homepage
    A quote on why Intel is building multple 300mm fabs: "Because their die is so goddamned big".

    Hah! When's the last time you heard a suit say that in a public interview?!?!?
    • A quote on why Intel is building multple 300mm fabs: "Because their die is so goddamned big".

      Hah! When's the last time you heard a suit say that in a public interview?!?!?

      Just the other day, when the CEO of TSR, makers of Dungeons and Dragons, was speaking about why a bigger box would be needed for the next version of the popular game.

    • That definately made me laugh while reading the article... :-)

      I think we need more people like Jerry Sanders in the computing industry. There certianly would be a lot less BS to deal with!
    • He's a different sort of CEO from a different sort of time. Back when men were men, and people did not hide behind a veil of nicety to cover up half-truthes and outright lies! or something...

      BTW I believe Larry Ellison is the sort to say similar thinks. The old "fuck yew budday" response and comments.
      • Back when men were men...


        "...women were real women, and small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. Spirits were brave, men boldly split infinitives that no man had split before. Thus was the Empire forged."

        -- Douglas Adams
    • by BasharTeg ( 71923 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @01:54PM (#3201352) Homepage
      Yes, Sanders is the bomb. He's an old school SOB who will tell you what he thinks of Intel's "fucking Pentium 4" in an interview. Would you have the balls to say that if you were in his shoes ?

      This man has lead one of the greatest corporate fights in the history of this nation. AMD has had every reason to fail, as Cyrix, Transmedia, IDT (or whatever the WinChip guys were called), etc. Over the years the Intel blowhards have tried to put AMD in the same boat as those failed manufacturers. Most of them are still denying the fact that they called the K7 vaporware, and denied that it would rock the processor industry. Where are you naysayers now ? Would you have a 2 gHz Pentium 4 available if it weren't for AMD and the K7 ? Take the date of the Pentium III 450, add 50mhz for every 6 months since it came out, and tell me if you've reached 2.0 gHz yet, because that's what you would have had if the K7 wasn't there.

      I'm not one of these fools who just roots for whoever is the underdog in any particular fight (Microsoft vs Linux, Intel vs AMD, etc). I find such lemming behavior offensive. Not that you shouldn't like them, but there should be a reason. We owe the past 3 years of breakneck processor development to AMD, both directly through their own products, and indirectly by forcing Intel to work for their money.

      I don't even have to mention the pricing. Those of you out there who had to choose between a Pentium and a K5, you know how much Intel was overcharging.

      Am I anti-Intel ? No. If Intel came out with a better product at a reasonable price, I would buy it. The Itanium is absolutely awesome from an architecural perspective. I am a consumer, I select the best product at the best price (in theory that's how consumers work, heh). AMD currently offers a product that beats Pentium 4s at equal clock speeds, and even at far higher clock speeds the P4 doesn't stand a chance. The P4 is awesome for applications specificly optimized for SSE2, but for everything else it's just empty mhz. The Athlon is faster, cheaper, and runs at a LOWER clock speed to achieve that performance. As long as that is true, AMD will have my support.
      • Take the date of the Pentium III 450, add 50mhz for every 6 months since it came out, and tell me if you've reached 2.0 gHz yet

        That's linear advancement. Seeing as you're obviously very involved in the processor arena, you must have heard of a little thing called "Moore's Law," which states that processor speed will increase by a factor of 2 every 18 months. This is certainly not "50MHz every 6 months." Intel had been able to do it for X years before AMD was around, and there was really no evidence suggesting their inability to continue that trend.

        AMD did not force processors to the speed at which they currently are, they forced the price. Competition is good, especially for the consumer. AMD has not forced Intel to improve performance at a faster rate than it would have, but it has forced Intel to improve their performance/price ratio.

        Moore's Law will be broken, but not because of any monopoly, and not because of any individual company's complacence. It will be because of the physical constraints on transistor technology, and even that obstacle will probably be overtaken.
        • Moores Law doesn't apply. It is strictly based on current manufacturing capabilities. However, Moores Law is closely related to speed. I really love the Athlon XP, but from Intels viewpoint, they shot themselves in the foot. The reasoning is simple. They've been forced by competition to overhype their products. People expect everything and the kitchen sink with an intel processor. AMD has also forced their timeline, a lot; thus the 1.13Ghz recall. That wouldn't have happened had the engineering crew been at the wheel. Instead, they let some drunk Ivy punk from marketing tell the engineers when they were going to deploy new products.

          Alas, competition has in the end proved to be very healthy for competition. On an aside, does anyone read SEC filings? Jerry is a really $$$-Rich-$$$ guy right now. He's been making a boatload of money for quite a few years and probably will continue with a fat check.

          I'm just a little jealous. That's allowed, right?
    • When asked What's written on your tombstone? :
      Never surrender; never give up. I mean no surrender, no retreat. You know, a lot of guys say, "We're pulling back for now." [They're] full of shit.
  • Tombstone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rsborg ( 111459 )
    "Never surrender; never give up." - Jerry Sanders
    "Never give up; never surrender" - Galaxy Quest
  • History for geeks (Score:2, Informative)

    by rif42 ( 206260 )
    If you want the full (hi)story about Intel, AMD and lots of other companies in the PC processor and how the PC chip market became what it is today go read the book: Inside Intel by Tim Jackson.

    You will realise how much this Intel vs. AMD has been a personal fight between Andy Grove and Jerry Sanders. Great story.

    See e.g.:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/045227643 8/
  • That was an amusing and informative interview. I'm a fan of AMD, and really admire their will to succeed.

    Good job, Jerry! I hope your successor has the same fire you did when it comes to taking on the dominant figures in whatever markets AMD decides to compete.

    Long live AMD!
  • "Never surrender; never give up. I mean no surrender, no retreat. You know, a lot of guys say, "We're pulling back for now." [They're] full of shit. "

    That sounds an awful like what another stubborn bulldog once said:

    "[...] we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender [...]"

  • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @01:41PM (#3201255) Journal

    At the close of the interview, Sanders says:

    Intel tries to shove down an [engineer's] throat a RAM bus solution that they don't want. Slot A, nobody wanted, and AMD said, "You don't need that. We'll put a flip chip in a package." That's the K6. And [Intel] had to change. They didn't change on their own; they changed because competition made them change. So I'm proud of that.

    In other words, Intel came up with some new technology they wanted to throw out there, and competition made them change their ways, in the process giving the consumer cheaper, better products. Kinda makes me wonder what would have happened if MS had a serious moneyed competitor. I can't help but believe that we'd all have HAL staring at us from the phones on our desks.

    I have come to believe the following: No matter how technologically superior your product may be, if you compete directly with Microsoft you will lose (i.e. you will make less money, and have less market share). Why this is true for OS's and not for microprocessors I'm not sure.

    • "Why this is true for OS's and not for microprocessors I'm not sure."

      Because it's much harder to invent onerous licensing schemes for tangible slabs of silicone.

    • By your definition of losing, AMD lost as well. They have ~20% market share where Intel has the rest, and they certainly make less money.

      To beat Microsoft, you don't necessarily need to destroy them. You just need to cut into their margins and make them more responsive to the needs of their customers.

    • I have come to believe the following: No matter how technologically superior your product may be, if you compete directly with Microsoft you will lose (i.e. you will make less money, and have less market share). Why this is true for OS's and not for microprocessors I'm not sure.
      This is the case because of network effects. Millions of Windows users mean there is a huge benefit to being part of the network of Windows users. Lots of programs, support, etc. All things being (at least kinda) equal, it makes more sense to go with the OS that has more users. There really isn't any kind of network benefits (to the user anyway) from having an Intel vs. an AMD processor.
      • Of course, there are network effects on the manufacturing side, as mentioned in the articles. Motherboard chipsets being a good example. The higher volume of Intel solutions has meant that the motherboards can be cheaper at a given complexity. Fortunately, a CPU is a lot more expensive than the motherboard, and other components are the same (drives, cards, etcetera).

        There is also some potential network effect in optimization for processor specific optimizations, like SSE v. 3DNow, since it makes sense to optimize more for the higher volume chip. I gather Hammer will have SSE2, so that'll simplify things on the SIMD side at least.

    • I have come to believe the following: No matter how technologically superior your product may be, if you compete directly with Microsoft you will lose (i.e. you will make less money, and have less market share). Why this is true for OS's and not for microprocessors I'm not sure.

      Compatibility. The same software you run on Intel will run on an AMD cpu. Which is why Wine etc. is important. I'll stop before I get started. You know what I mean.
    • I have come to believe the following: No matter how technologically superior your product may be, if you compete directly with Microsoft you will lose (i.e. you will make less money, and have less market share). Why this is true for OS's and not for microprocessors I'm not sure.

      It's because it's a lot easier to make a fully-compatible chip clone than it is to make a fully-compatible OS clone.

      A chip's instruction set, bus interface, etc. are well-documented and relatively simple. An OS's API is far more complex, and can much more easily have a cloud of NDAs overshadow the dissemination of its documentation.

      I know which I'd try to clone.
    • Apple [apple.com] is competing very well against MS. Sure, years ago their OS was sub-par when compared to MS's offerings (IMHO, please no flames). Apple now has a very compelling OS, OSX. They also have incredibly elegant hardware (iMac G4, G4 tower, iPod, etc.) which outdoes anything from the "Big 5" x86 vendors. Personally, I love [most things about] x86, and I love Windows. However, I see Apple gaining huge marketshare and MS facing some very good competition.
    • "Why this is true for OS's and not for microprocessors I'm not sure."

      Because the average idiot user doesn't care about what CPU is in their machine. As long as it has Microsoft Windows and "the Internet" (read AOL) they'll buy it.
  • I remember... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kigrwik ( 462930 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @01:44PM (#3201274)
    When the K6 (K6-II, I believe) beat the Pentium-du-jour in some benchmarks, I first couldn't believe it (who had really heard of AMD at that time ?) then I thought
    "OMG, there's gonna be blood spilled, and cheaper processors ! W00t !".

    I'm glad today that competition drives both AMD and Intel to excel, and I enjoy watching their strategic moves: Athlon vs P[34], Hammer vs Itanium, it's like a boxing match from which the customer can only profit.

    AMD vs Intel is a textbook example of healthy competition.
    • When the PII and K6 first came out the PII chipsets did not have support for SDRAM. Until the new boards came out, a few months iirc, the K6 had a slight speed advantage because the PII was stuck with EDO.
      • That's not true. The PII did have SDRAM support just fine in the 440FX IIRC, and in any case the 440LX wasn't far behind it. I think the main problem is that SDRAM was way pricey at the time and the mobo builders didn't use it. Certainly wasn't Intel's fault.

        /Brian
    • Why is it that there is genuine concern that the collapse of Anderson leaving only 4 large acounting firms eliminates competition, or the fact there are only 4 major retail banks in the UK is perceved to stifle competeition in the retail sector, or the EU recently found 7 vitamin manufactureres guily of operating a cartel, yet 2 processor manufacturers offers healthy competitio?. This can be healthy only in comparison with a single monopoly such as Micsosoft.

      With AMD and Intel, we are in a complex monopoly position, where the two players may sometimes compete agressivly and at other times pursue similar strategies to drive up profits or remove rivals, did either of them really welcome Transmata as a third force in this marketplace?.

      • It's a simple equation; 10 companies colluding provides less competition than two companies going at each other's throats. Unless AMD and Intel decide to start settling differences and cooperate (hah!) there will still be competition.

        Added to this, you have PPC, Sparc et al on the side, still producing chips which will rocket away from Intel/AMD if they rest on their laurels.

      • You have an excellent point.

        My last sentence was largely inspired by Microsoft.

        However, one can see from your example that multiple companies offering similar products does not necessarily lead to competitive behaviors.

        If you look back to the glorious times of before the hegemony of the PC at the plethora of absolutely non-compatible computers, it can be argued that the standardization on PC/Mac standards has benefited to many (remember we're talking about a pre-internet, pre-java, almost pre-linux era when "cross-platform" was restricted to Mario Bros).
        The balance is difficult to strike, all the more so since companies evolve: AMD/Intel is more likely to cartelize now than when the K6 was launched and AMD was the new kid on the block.

        We, as customers, must help the emerging companies that have a strong "Go get 'em" attitude, because they force established companies into motion, if they succeed in growing beyond critical mass, that is...
    • You really don't remember AMD before that? Not their 486-120 (faster than Intel's fastest 486-100) or their 386-40 (to Intel's 386-33) or there 286-16 (and even 20 I believe).

      All those examples pretty much came after Intel moved to a better technology and stopped developing the older generation, much like the K6-III coming out long past when it could be a real player (because of the weak floating point).
  • History revised (Score:5, Informative)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @01:54PM (#3201347) Homepage
    This article is pretty good if you want to see a management level rewrite of history. Mr. Sanswers leaves out a few interesting details, like how AMD's turning point at the K6 came from buying out NexGen and rebranding their NX86 chip. It is hard to make AMD look like a small company battling a giant when they were buying out smaller companies, filing thousands of patents per year, and knowingly violating IP agreements hoping Intel would settle.

    Nonetheless, it all worked. And I'm very glad it did.
    • But it was also the smartest move that AMD ever made, too.

      It was the NexGen technology that formed the basis for the world-beating Athlon CPU, a CPU that in many ways is vastly superior to Intel's offerings.

      I mean, AMD managed to do with 1,733 MHz clock speed in terms of performance what Intel needed 2,200 MHz clock speed to pull off--that is a sign of a very efficient CPU core design. With the arrival of the 0.13 micron process Thoroughbred CPU's later this spring, AMD again will demonstrate its amazing technological prowness in CPU design.
  • by jvmatthe ( 116058 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @01:55PM (#3201353) Homepage
    Here is an interview with the CEO of AMD. Big company and an important chap -- you'd think he would get into the keywords for this document. Yet:
    <meta NAME="keywords" CONTENT="UpsideToday, Upside magazine, Internet business, ebusiness, b2b, b-to-b, stock quotes, ipo, stock market, technology, high tech, venture capital, vc, e-commerce, funding, investing, ceo,
    Bill Gates">
    (That's my emphasis.) Just check the page source!
    • &ltmeta NAME="keywords" CONTENT="UpsideToday, Upside magazine, Internet business, ebusiness, b2b, b-to-b, stock quotes, ipo, stock market, technology, high tech, venture capital, vc, e-commerce, funding, investing, ceo, Bill Gates "&gt

      And earlier someone asked why netscape wouldn't load the page....makes you wonder
  • The article says: "At the end of next year, there will be a 64-bit processor called the "Hammer." " I thought that Hammer was supposed to be out at the end of THIS year?
    • considering they already have a working demo/beta, i have to believe that is some sort of typo. it would be too great a business blunder to generate a bunch of anticipation just to knowingly disappoint the world. That's an opinion.
      • The beta silicon is for the clawhammer - I'm not sure, but I think they may be releasing the sldgehammer later, ie, next year . . .

        Then again, it's more likely either a typo or a thinko . . .

        himi
  • I love how he failed to mention that they bought the K5 from NextGen lock stock and barrel. But as they said "...and then there there was one..."

    I also loved how he failed to mention snapping up all the DEC people and the EV6 to make the K7 have the FP and bus to match intel.

    When Compaq and HP start screwing around under the covers the first night I hope Alpha runs out the door and into the waiting arms of AMD.
  • Quote:

    [Question:] So what happened in Europe, which wanted an indigenous industry?

    [Answer:] They've got it. .... Intel is in Ireland and Israel, if you consider Israel [part of] Europe.

    Uh... How could anyone possibly think Israel is part of Europe?
    • Turkey is working on becoming a member of the European Union, and they are in the same area as Israel.

      There are Israeli sports teams in European leagues.

      • The straits connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean are the dividing line between Europe and Asia, and Turkey straddles those straits, with it's capital and largest city (Istanbul) on the European side. Geographically, Israel is in Asia, and Turkey is in both Europe and Asia. However, culturally and financially, Israel is definitely European, while Turkey is a mixture of a dozen nationalities, speaking a language from near Mongolia, of Islamic religion but with a culture that owes more to the Byzantine Greeks than the Arabs. And if they make it into the EU (there are some old national enmities they'll have to appease), they won't be the poorest country there.

        Note that you can walk from Cairo to Athens, and the biggest river you'll have to cross is the Nile. Until the Suez Canal was built, you could walk from Africa to Asia and not even get your shoes damp. So how did certain points get picked to divide this landmass into three "continents"? It's easy to see the point of dividing Africa from Asia, but when you map the whole thing Europe is just a peninsula sticking out of western asia.

        I think it mainly came from the world as viewed from Athens in the 5th Century BCE. Europe was their side of the Hellespont. Asia was the other side of the Hellespont, where those nasty Persians ruled, even though lots of Greeks lived in Anatolia too. (Anatolia is the big peninsula south of the Hellespont-Bosporus straits and the Black Sea.) They had legends about Jason traveling far into the Black Sea, but may not have know for sure that their _was_ a far end to it. I'm not sure if their ships could run down the Asian coast to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, or if other naval powers in that area blocked them. But their traders could strike due south and easily reach Egypt, in Africa.

        The Egyptians made one contribution to this geography: they knew that there was a narrow neck of land just to their east (Suez), joining land masses too big for them to explore. (Possibly they circumnavigated Africa once, but never bothered with the interior except along the Nile.) So they located the Africa/Asia boundary at that narrow neck. This was also a convenient political division. Nothing in Africa was a threat to Egypt's power. But in Asia, other great powers continually rose and fell (Babylon, Assyria, Syria, Hittites, Persia), and one "Asian" group (the Hyksos -- probably Semites, akin to Hebrews, Arabs, and Phoenicians) even conquered and held Egypt for a century. (They should have paid a bit more attention to those quarrelsome and disunited Greeks, not to mention a little village in Italy called Roma, but hindsight is golden...)

        Anyway, the 3 "continents" are based on historical accident as much as geography. By general ties of national descent, language, and customs, Israel is an outlier of Europe, and Turkey has both European and central Asian ties. The Arab lands now stretch from their original homeland (lower Mesopotamia and the adjoining deserts) all across north africa. "Middle East" is just a geographical designation for an area where arbitrarily defined arab nations continually clash with each other as well as the nearby non-arab tribes & nations (Iran, Turkey, Kurds, Armenians, Israel, Afghanistan). Egypt gets grouped in with the Middle East because, even though it's in africa and is defined by ancient natural boundaries, not by lines drawn on the map in a European capital, it often gets into Middle Eastern quarrels. (Meddling in "Asian" affairs is also an Egyptian tradition about 5,000 years old.)
    • For the World Cup, and all other sports-related matters I know of, Israel counts as a part of Europe. Economically, it makes sense to put them in that class, too. In the same way, Egypt is usually counted as a part of the Middle East despite the fact it is squarely on the African continent.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    An interesting article, with a lot of good truths from a business perspective. I can't believe he waffled on Slot 1 (Intel) vs. Slot A (AMD).

    However, he does take credit for a lot that was, at best, shrewd investing on AMD's part. One of the Lost Tales in silicon history is the saga of NexGen, a little operation funded by Compaq and a few other players, which was the real developer of the microcode/x86-to-RISC architecture later seen in the K5 and K6 (-2 and -III flavors, too) cores. NexGen survived for a while, selling the two-chip Nx586 solution [sandpile.org] on some custom Alaris boards, but PCI versions were late in coming, and few, if any, versions were shipped with the fabled FPU. (As it was, you got the equivalent of a plain 80386 with the integer performance of a 100MHz Pentium, off a 90MHz core.)

    AMD swooped in and bought the ailing company, using their engineering talent and one-chip Nx686 design [sandpile.org] to produce the K5. I thiiink a very small number of real Nx686s made it to market; TigerDirect was listing them back in 1996 or so.

    Apparently AMD reorganized to produce the Athlon, and much of the NexGen team left or were laid off. Compared to the K6, the Athlon we know and love is something of a 'brute force' chip- NexGen designs relied on their very accurate branch prediction logic, while the Athlon threw it out in exchange for more execution units.
    • I should preface by saying I worked at AMD during the 90's. The K5 was an internal AMD processor design, before the NexGen purchase. The K5 was over a year late and ran too slow and required the infamous P-ratings to keep up with Intel's Pentium. One AMD lead architect used to dis the Pentium as two 486 processors bolted together. Unfortunately the K5 took 1 Million more transistors to keep pace with the "lowly" Pentium because Intel could out-clock the K5 easily.

      The K6 was the NexGen design, and it also used an internal RISC design. The K6 keep AMD from having to sell Fab25 and kept it in the business long enough for the K7 (Athlon/Duron) to launch.

      K7 was a brute force chip with lots of DEC Alpha DNA infused into it. The hard part was that the EV6 bus was designed for servers, not PCs and it took a while to get it to work in a 4-layer, cheap PC infrastructure.

      Jerry is an interesting and charismatic figure. The industry will be duller without him. But AMD will be a better company, more responsive to customer needs, not Jerry's ego.
  • AMD in Xbox 2 (Score:5, Informative)

    by tbreffni ( 557533 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @02:53PM (#3201946)
    According to The Register [theregus.com], Microsoft is designing the new Xbox 2 around an AMD processor. It seems that Microsoft is trying it's best to help AMD against Intel, as the interview with Jerry mentions Microsoft helping AMD out with their 64bit Processor. Any thoughts on this?
    • ...Microsoft is designing the new Xbox 2 around an AMD processor.

      Isn't that what they said about the original Xbox? I think this is just a case of MS playing both sides.

      ...as the interview with Jerry mentions Microsoft helping AMD out with their 64bit Processor

      Yet another case of playing both sides. MS knows when it's good to leverage the Intel duo-poly, and when it's good to not be loyal.

    • well possibly.. I read somewhere that NVidia didn't want to work with Intel ever again.. That's why the N-Force is for the AMD processors and not Intel like it is in the X-Box.. SO.. if Nvidia is working with Micro$oft for the X-Box2 then it will probably be an AMD.. And even though I am pro AMD and anti-Intel.. I'm still never gonna get an X-Box anything from Micro$oft...
    • It seems that Microsoft is trying it's best to help AMD against Intel


      If Microsoft goes with the AMD solution it's because it's a better solution for their Xbox2. Lets face it, the Xbox2 doesn't need much CPU power - all the work is done in the GPU. AMD offers CPUs that offer plenty of power but more importandly, are smaller and cheaper to produce. If Microsoft does go with AMD, this is why.


      William

      • Let us not forget that Nvidia GPUs happen to work really well with AMD chips.(think hypertransport here) Or the fact that Nvidia makes a chipset for AMD processors. I would say it is almost a given at this point that Nvidia will have the contract for Xbox2. So this would seem to be a decision based on technical merit, as well as market sense.(if this little rumor is true)
    • You slashdotters should be better at recognizing "strategic" leaks. This is a part of the "big contract" dance that should now be familiar. When you're a company that basically assembles parts, it turns out it's in your interest to make sure your regular parts providers are giving you their absolute rock-bottom price. That's why you float rumors (remember what the Register is) that the contract is going the rival company. Now, MS just twiddle their thumbs and wait for Intel to call them with a deal MS can't refuse. Intel might even supply the chips at cost, to keep AMD from growing bigger and bolder.

      Remember when Dell had that very prominent survey on their website about whether we would buy Dells with Athlons inside? I'm sure almost everybody wanted this, and many people even begged. I bet you Dell got some pretty sweet prices on the next batch of Intel chips! This is just good (and evil) marketing.

    • This may be a touch on the conspiracy side but Microsoft is a soft monopoly and intel is a hard one. It's entirely possible that MS could get displaced in the next 10 years. It's really only been about 10 years that they've really been on top and it took them about 10 years to displace IBM and Apple. That's the nature of software, it changes fast and that's how they got on top. Maybe call it 15 years, same idea though.


      Intel on the other hand could stop everything they are doing today. They could disappear off of the face of the earth and in 10 years we'd have people building Intel chips, compiling code for them and supporting them. There might be something bigger and better but they're legacy would still be and extremely formiddable force.


      regardless of what happens to MS, they are in a much more fragile position. Intel could be a real monopoly.


      Now you have to know that the next step for MS to sure up their position is to grow in to other markets (a la xbox) and then to start clamping down a little more strictly on the hardware. As Mr Hunter from Transmeta put it once, they would need to start making hardware smaller and software bigger, doing things like softmodems, and that kind of ilk. Intel on the other hand has a vested interest in making hardware bigger and supporting more software. What leverage does MS have against Intel? AMD.


      Never mind the fact that they'll get a better or equal solution cheaper from them.

  • Everybody who uses a commodity computer owes Jerry Sanders big time -- even if they've never bought an AMD-based system. Consider what things would be like if Intel had been allowed an x86 monopoly. Processor prices would be sky-high, and the market for computers would be a fraction of what it is. That means few home computers, no explosive growth of the Internet, etc., etc., etc. Without his vision, his refusal to accept Intel's short-sightedness, the world would be a less prosperous and much less interesting place.

    It's too bad more technology entrepreneurs don't have Sanders's sense of moral center. Listen up, Scott, Bill, Larry! It's not all numbers and hype!

  • Somehow I get a feeling that both companies are living under the heavy cloud of Microsoft.

    I found this little tag line to be unnecessary and wrong. From the below text from the article:

    I thought Intel dominated the Microsoft relationship.

    We call it x86-64 [architecture]; it supports all of the x86 instructions. We've added 64-bit capability and instructions that Windows NT64 from Microsoft will support. This is unprecedented in history--Microsoft supporting x86 instructions other than those developed by Intel. This means anybody can run existing 32-bit applications with higher performance and move to 64-bit [applications] seamlessly.


    MS is actually HELPING AMD to compete. How do you figure they're living under a cloud?
    • by HamNRye ( 20218 )
      Microsoft is playing both ends against the middle.

      I have a feeling that the future of processors is that Windows support whosoever supports windows exclusively, and If Linux runs better on your kit, the advantage goes to your competitor.

      M$ is now helping AMD to compete, because AMD is not helping Linux.

      Besides, isn't there something very hypocritical in his disdain for Intel and the big marketing budget, and his love of Microsoft and their big marketing budget. I would have to remind him that anyone powerful enough to help you is also powerful enough to hurt you proportionately.

      This is the same reason that Microsoft keeps Intel on a short leash by playing footsie with their competitors. BG is still upset about some things said and done by Intel. (And incedentally, Intel is mad at MS for....)

      Help or hurt, Microsoft never has nobler motives in buisness. When they are helping you, you may just be getting fattened up for the kill. The fact that your entire company relies on access to and support for Windows leaves you with an Outlook attachment pointed at your head just waiting to go off.

      AMD will find MS and Intel back in bed together before long, so long as the door isn't locking them out too well.

      ~Hammy
      nothing4sale.org
      • Besides, isn't there something very hypocritical in his disdain for Intel and the big marketing budget, and his love of Microsoft and their big marketing budget. I would have to remind him that anyone powerful enough to help you is also powerful enough to hurt you proportionately.

        I would like to believe that AMD is playing lip service to MS. This may just be because "Linux" isn't a company so to speak, that markets a product. If you look at AMD's actions, it seems kind of obvious that they definitely support the Linux crowd. It's not as if most techies who use linux don't also support AMD!(At least that is the general impression I get.)

        So perhaps it is all just a show...

      • M$ is now helping AMD to compete, because AMD is not helping Linux.

        Ummmm... didn't AMD contract SUSE to optimise Linux for the Hammer chip.

        AMD Announces SuSE Linux Support for Next-Generation Processors [www.suse.de]

        marty
    • I think the idea is that Microsoft ultimately issues the marching orders. Sanders admits in the interview that it is basically in their power to decide whether a processor line succeeds or fails. It is interesting how even the cocky JerryS is not too proud to openly grovel at the feet of Microsoft.

      BTW, this is also the first place where I've heard that Windows64 will natively run in 64 bit mode on the Hammers. (Did I read that right?) This is good news indeed for AMD (and for MS users). Of course it might only be news to me, but last I heard, it was still up in the air whether MS was going to bother with 64 bit Hammer support. Maybe all the recent SuSE work on 64 bit Hammer Linux gave them a little scare! Wow, it's great to read that even in this bleak world of monopolies, competition sometimes springs from the darndest places. I just wish Transmeta were still in the game.

      • My guess is that MS didn't have a choice. They needed something that would allow them to easily port their existing codebase to a 64-bit architecture... it sounds like Itanium doesn't allow that with any decent performance.

        They will probably go through a transitional period with Win64 where a lot of the code will still be 32-bit... and the Hammer sounds like it will deal with that pretty nicely.
  • "I'm going to step up to be chairman and not CEO after April 27. I'll be like Andrew Grove [Intel chairman of the board and former CEO]."
  • I certainly don't agree with all of his ideas.(Especially the ones about MS and Linux...) But this guy truly deserves credit for being on the side of technical superiority in his products, forcing a giant like Intel to HAVE to compete with a company that started with very humble beginnings. It's been a long time coming, but AMD is definitely one of my favorite tech companies. Keep an eye on this company's stock this fall when Hammer is unleashed on the world! And watch Intel's response when they are forced to swallow their pride and make a clone. Hah! Justice just might be served.
  • "What's that noise?"

    "It's the wailing and gnashing of teeth of /. wennies."

    "Wennies have teeth?" "Why the wailing and gnashing?"

    "Put on your teflon/asbestos suit first then I'll tell you"

    "OK so tell me... hey what's that... it smells like flamebait... Whoa... so that's why the wailing, gnashing stuff."

    Microsoft (MSFT) rules. They won. In case you missed it, their operating system drives all of the volume in PCs and is now moving into network servers

    a 64-bit processor called the "Hammer." That's the internal code name, [and it has] a remarkable capability in that it is based on a Microsoft-supported instruction set developed by AMD

    "Yes... the /. wennies are upset because AMD was their shield, the ageis under which they fought the evil, Redmond beast and if your shield tells you it's over in the OS dept then it's over. But now we have to placate them."

    "Why are we gonna placate the /. wennies?"

    "We're Karma Whores. It's what we do."

    AMD would do well to remember the outcome of MicroSoft's deal with IBM that lead to the development of OS/2.

    Yes. I really do have far,far too much time on my hands.

  • His memory seems to be fading...

    When they went to the Pentium II, they came out with a module version, and they had the so-called "Slot A."

    Slot A, nobody wanted, and AMD said, "You don't need that. We'll put a flip chip in a package."

    Actually, old man, it was AMD that came out with Slot A - Intel's solution was Slot 1. Slot A was physically exactly the same as Intel's slot 1, but mounted the other way around.

    As for AMD's flipchip innovation - I'm a little hazy here, but I'm pretty sure it was Intel that came out with the first fc CPUs..

    • You are correct sir...

      BTW, the flip chip technology came from IBM. AMD had to use it because all the NexGen technology for the K6 was built using IBM Microelectronic packaging technology.

      The funny think about the slot thing was that AMD followed Intel on the slot (A), then Intel went back to the socket(370) because Intel thought they weren't competitive with the slot. Talk about two company's chasing each others tails!

  • Sanders repeatedly says that AMD can't use intel's bus standard. Can intel use AMD's bus? Since it's not really theirs, at least in the K7, one would assume so.

Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue. - Seneca

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