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AMD

AMD and IBM Working Together on Future Chips 194

oogbla writes "There is a story over at news.com which says that AMD is teaming up with IBM for its sub-100 nanometer process and is de-emphasizing its previous relationships in that area. Also seems that the Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology they were supposedly getting from Motorola isn't going too well and has caused at least one delay to Barton."
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AMD and IBM Working Together on Future Chips

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  • by mschoolbus ( 627182 ) <travisriley@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @02:56PM (#5048904)
    I am quite sure that IBM and AMD teamed together could easily give Intel a run for speed and technology. Alone IBM and AMD have some amazing technologies that have some amazing potential (like IBM's 64bit PPC chip coming soon).
    • by nattt ( 568106 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:00PM (#5048933)
      All we need is Apple to put them in Macs....
    • by spiro_killglance ( 121572 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:03PM (#5048971) Homepage
      There only collibrating on silicon chip processes not chip design. IBM, AMD and MOT already worked
      together on 180& 130 nm copper interconnect chips, so this is nothing new. Previously AMD
      was working with UMC to develope 65nm 12" wafer
      chips. But UMC have never been state of the art
      and IBM is much better bet as a partner.
      • by R2.0 ( 532027 )
        Combine this with the fact that IBM has a brand spankin' new 300mm fab plant in Fishkill, NY. Given the economic downturn, I imagine IBM would be able to give AMD a VERY good deal on manufacturing AMD's chips. This would take up the plant's capacity and give AMD a much better manufacturing partner than UMC. After all, a fab plant on the ground is better than 2 on the drawing board.
    • by $$$$$exyGal ( 638164 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:09PM (#5049013) Homepage Journal
      IBM, of course, will also benefit. The company rivals Intel in semiconductor research, but its chip sales are only one-eighth as large. Licensing its technology, and manufacturing chips for other companies, opens revenue streams for Big Blue.

      Licensing technology out to others is exactly what IBM should be doing in this case. It helps the industry and that will, in turn, help them. This is great for IBM in the short term and the long term.

      --naked [slashdot.org]

    • I am quite sure that IBM and AMD teamed together could easily give Intel a run for speed and technology.

      It's not that Intel doesn't know how to get more speed, it's that faster designs are unimplementable because of power consumption issues. The 3GHz P4 is pushing the limits of what's possible, and uses an outrageous amount of power. I'm sure we'll see faster P4s, but every 10% increase in speed will be paid for with a 15% higher power requirement. AMD is going to have exactly the same problem.

      To get significant gains, the complexity of the x86 needs to be trimmed way back, so much that it's likely easier to just start from scratch.
      • I'm sure we'll see faster P4s, but every 10% increase in speed will be paid for with a 15% higher power requirement. AMD is going to have exactly the same problem. To get significant gains, the complexity of the x86 needs to be trimmed way back, so much that it's likely easier to just start from scratch.
        They already did start from scratch, but the Itanium uses almost twice the power of a Xeon at 130W! [erols.com]

        (Did you mean complexity of the ISA itself or the chip?)

        • (Did you mean complexity of the ISA itself or the chip?)

          The ISA, though it's more than just instruction set. For example, floating point math is done internally at 80 bits--16 bits higher than is standard. There's no good reason to do that, other than "that's how we've always done it."
    • What AMD needs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by brejc8 ( 223089 )
      AMD has got a killer processor with trhe hammer but the current sample versions have a tiny cache. This is because AMD never had good luck with production flaws and their yeild is usually low (So I hear). So they are forced to making smaller chips. Now IBM have had some silly sized silicon experience. They are way way ahead of the others. especially as the hammer is a dual ISA chip so it would need a copy of each library for both architectures. Thus a need for a doubled cache.
      I remember a colegue coming back from Hot Chips and there being a presentation by some people of the so called giant chips they theoreticly could make and IBM just blew them out the water with some 8 metal layer 5x5 cm monstrosety (numbers are prob. way out).
  • by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @02:56PM (#5048905) Homepage Journal
    ...that i'll never get a ThinkPad with a TransMeta chip in it. I love IBM laptop hardware, and Transmeta seems to have a grasp of what should be in a laptop processor, but whether or not it will ever become a reality one has to wonder.
    • This has nothing to do with IBM's pc (including ThinkPad) business. They are free to use whatever they think best (which usually means Intel, though not purely for performance reasons). This announcment is simply IBM Semiconductor getting a new customer. Any issues with Transmeta are the providence of Transmeta and PC OEM's (which includes the PC arm of IBM).
  • by SpamJunkie ( 557825 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @02:56PM (#5048907)
    What, Motorola caused a delay for someone it was supplying something to? That's crazy! Motorola is never *achem*G5*achem* late! I'm sure that it's just a big misunderstanding on AMD's side.

    Then again maybe it's the year of the Laptop for AMD too!
  • wow (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greechneb ( 574646 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:00PM (#5048930) Journal
    I guess this means, that there might actually be a big computer manufacturer that will back AMD. I'm sure AMD execs are drooling of the possibilities of having someone in their corner against Intel.
    • I guess this means, that there might actually be a big computer manufacturer that will back AMD

      No it doesn't. This has nothing to do with the PC portion of IBM. This is simply IBM Semi helping out AMD in the manufacture (process and design) of their chips. There is nothing to imply that IBM will suddenly start switching over to AMD cpus.
  • by Turbyne ( 563535 )
    From some articles I read in the past, IIRC, IBM is known for having some of the slowest management progression out there. I hope AMD isn't getting itself into an Apple/MOT stalemate.
    • by binaryDigit ( 557647 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:29PM (#5049160)
      IBM is simply offering production services to AMD, this is not another AIM alliance or anything like that. So IBM mgmt slowness should not be an issue at all. AMD simply is another IBM Semi customer.

      As for IBM mgmt, well yes, in many ways IBM is the poster child for the slow and ponderous company. However, when they decide to do something (and do it right, well as much as can be expected) they can be the unstoppable force. RS/6000 and ThinkPad are two excellent examples.
  • by herrd0kt0r ( 585718 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:00PM (#5048940)
    to me, the most interesting part of the article is this: "The deal also marks a break in an alliance between AMD and Taiwan's United Microelectronics, a foundry that makes chips for other companies Earlier, AMD and UMC agreed to jointly develop 65 nanometer processes and build a fabrication facility together. AMD also said it would use UMC for excess factory capacity if necessary."

    at first glance, it might seem like it's bad that AMD is breaking business ties. but the last sentence indicates that the option to tap UMC is still available, which to me means that the relations between the two must not have soured that badly.

    looking at the big picture, it seems that AMD has made a pretty decent business move upwards, scaling up as they need, and acquiring a nice, big name to throw around as good PR.

    which is not to say that it'll make AMD successful. but you know how dippy people are when it comes to stocks. Joe Trader who was "like, wtf?! UMC? wtf UMC?" might be more like "miammiam, IBM. mmmn, juicy goodness."
  • AMD seems to be making a lot of different decisions lately. I wonder if this apparent inability to decide if AMD is in the market or out, if they're going to pander to consumers or the embedded market, whether they're going to use cogswell cogs or spacely sprockets, is going to hinder adoption of Hammer? Especially since Intel (at least tries to give the appearance) that Itanium is a planned technology with a solid roadmap and development plan.
  • by Hadean ( 32319 ) <hadean.dragon+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:01PM (#5048948)
    Here's another link to the EE Times: http://www.eetimes.com/semi/news/OEG20030108S0038 [eetimes.com] (care of [H]ard|OCP [hardocp.com])

    Hopefully this means that the next CPUs out of AMD won't be able to warm up the apartment come winter.

    Generally this means that AMD won't be working with United Microelectronics (UMC) anymore... a contract that was just recently made (January). (EE Times hints that IBM has been "muscling in" on UMC's turf lately - ouch).

    The deal apparently marks an end to AMD's arrangement with United Microelectronics Corp., a Taiwan-based foundry with which AMD was to develop process technology and build a 300-mm fabrication facility in Singapore. Asked about that earlier partnership, an AMD spokesman said the two sides "are amicably winding up their joint development relationship."
  • Exclusive? Not. (Score:4, Informative)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:02PM (#5048952) Homepage Journal
    When I read about this, yesterday, the indication was that IBM and AMD would be working together, not against Intel or anything so interesting. It's a simple technology sharing arrangement, which benefits AMD, allowing them keep costs lower by using IBM or jointly developed materials technology. Where Intel can do it all in-house (at least for now).

    I certainly fell for the hype initially, thinking "AMD + IBM + Hammer?!?!?", alas, not to be.

    FWIW IBM also has similar arrangements with Intel.

  • Let's all hope that they can come up with a next generation processor that Apple will use for Mac OS X.

  • Didn't IBM spin off AMD as seperate company long ago like it more recently did with Lexmark?
  • AMD vs Intel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elbereth ( 58257 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:06PM (#5048989) Journal
    It's interesting how all the hardware sites lambasted Intel for the design of the Pentium 4, because it didn't have the raw speed of the AMD Athlon or Pentium 3. What made this all rather amusing to me, however, was that these people weren't around to see the evolution of the 386 vs 486, 486 vs Pentium, and, to a lesser extent, the 286 vs 386. In each of these situations, the previous generation of chip was able to eek a few more cycles over the next generation... in the beginning of the next generation's run! Intel has a very strong history of designing chips that ramp up very well (except for their one CPU engineering failure, the Pentium Pro, which was too ambitiously designed).

    I wasn't surprised when the AMD Athlon pulled out ahead of the Pentium 4, then fell very far behind. The Athlon was not engineered to ramp up well over 1 GHz. AMD was very foolish to race to that point, seeing as how long it took them to get working silicon at just 2 GHz.

    I'm not saying that I bought a Pentium 4, just that I knew it would eventually overtake the Athlon. I'm quite happy with a cheap Athlon, myself. Semiconductors is a soap opera for nerds. That's why I read The Register, not EE Times.

    My guess is that there's going to be a lot more consolodation in the semiconductor and memory world. I bet Micron, AMD, Motorola, and Apple are all going to end up merging, buying out, and/or disappearing in the next few months. Maybe HP will buy them all.
    • >was that these people weren't around to see the evolution of the 386 vs 486, 486 vs Pentium, and, to a lesser extent, the 286 vs 386.

      In all of these cases (286, 386, 486, and Pentium) AMD beat Intel in raw MHz, and often in speed as well.

      Sorry to say that, but it is true.
      • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cheezedawg ( 413482 )
        Sorry to say that, but it is true

        No, thats not even close to true. It wasn't until Athlon that AMD could top an Intel processor in performance, and that didn't last very long either.
        • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:5, Interesting)

          by binaryDigit ( 557647 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:34PM (#5049187)
          It wasn't until Athlon that AMD could top an Intel processor in performance

          I think that you're not going far enough back. Remember that AMD offered 386/40 when Intel stopped at 33 and AMD also had 486/120 when Intel stopped at 100. So AMD does have a history of offering higher performing processors (not necessarily faster clock for clock, but a part that is faster than anything that Intel had in the same family). I remember that someone also had a 286/20 when Intel maxed at 12, but I can't remember if that was AMD or someone else.
        • Actually, the original poster was correct, at least sort of.

          AMD did produce 286, 386 and 486 processors that were faster than any comperable chips that Intel ever produce (16MHz 286's if my memory serves, 40MHz 386s and 133MHz 486s). However, they did so after Intel had already released their next generation of chips.

          Still, AMD did have the speed advantage at one point in time. When AMD brought out their 386DX40, the fastest chips that Intel had was their 486DX25, and AMD's 40MHz 386 was almost always faster than Intel's 25MHz 486, even though the 486 was faster clock for clock. Intel soon bumped the 486 up to 33MHz, and than it was more or less toss-up between the two, though AMD gained a lot of market share since their chips and the supporting motherboards were a LOT cheaper.

          The 233MHz K6 was also, on average, marginally faster than the fastest Intel chips (the PentiumMMX 200 and PPro 200MHz) when it was released. However, that point became rather moot since it took AMD about 4 months to produce more than trivial quantities of K6's at that speed grade, and Intel brought out their PII at 233-300MHz only a few weeks after the K6 was first released.
        • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:2, Interesting)

          by shepd ( 155729 )
          Wow, you got an interesting score for that?

          Let's see...

          K6 line... beat intel's pentium line in Mhz handily. My friend has a 500 Mhz chip in his machine. Nice and fast...
          486 Line... My AMD DX-100 would like to have a talk with you about what you're saying.
          386 Line... Uhhh... AMD 386 DX-40 anyone?
          286 Line... the top notch processors had whose stamp on them? I seem to recall AMD logos on pretty much all of them.

          In sort, you are way off the mark. I'll provide links and proof if you want.
          • As for K6, it beat Intel in MHz, but K6 existed during the early PII era, and was regularly ridiculed for its inner city high-school FPU capabilities.
          • As other people have pointed out, you have to remember the timeline of these products. According to AMD's corporate history [amd.com], they were founded just to take other peoples stuff and try to improve it- they didn't innovate anything. So Intel would release a chip, AMD would fart around with it for a while to try to improve it, and by the time AMD released their 'improved' product, Intel was ready with the next generation. It wasn't until recently that AMD started to branch out a little on their own (with PC processors, that is).

            K6 line... beat intel's pentium line in Mhz handily
            The K6 line never got close to the pentiums in terms of actual performance. And what happened to the "MHz doesn't matter!" drum that AMD has been beating for the past few years?

        • Thats not true at all. The AMD K6 233 beat the Pentium Pro 233 and Pentium 266 for some time (about 4-5 months) before the Pentium II's came out. The K6 is really a processor that has been underappreciated, but in 1997 it was great. Remember, AMD purchased NexGen which had the Nx586 which was a great processor in its day. NexGen was founded by quite a few ex-intel engineers who wanted to bring RISC computing to the desktop. The K6 is what would have become the NexGen Nx686. To this day, the Athlon uses RISC instructions internally.

          What made the Athlon special was how its floating point performance was so far superior to the Pentium II's and III's. The original NexGen Nx586 didn't even HAVE a floating point unit and the K6 had relatively terrible floating point performance. Going all the way back to the original Nx586 P60 (50 mhz), clock for clock the technology always beat Intel for integer performance. NexGen STARTED the P- rating system because of this. This was the same fate that befell Cyrix which has been out of the game for years because the FPU performance sucked.

          In reality you are right, this is the same game that has been going on now for eight years. Intel competitors create processors more efficient than Intel, but Intel can ratchet up the performance.

          For geeks however, the floating performance was an issue even five years ago for games, filters, and such.

          Its just unfortunate when some people are ignorant of the whole story, because its really fascinating. Me, I haven't owned an Intel processor since 1994 with my first NexGen Nx586 66, so I have a long history of antiquated boxes to prove it.
      • Wrong.

        The K-6 was one of the worst processors to ever hit the market. I had a P166 that outperformed my K6-350.

        The 486 equivalents were basically eqivalent to Intel, but the next generation was a step backwards.

    • I bet Micron, AMD, Motorola, and Apple are all going to end up merging, buying out, and/or disappearing in the next few months. Maybe HP will buy them all.

      I would be quite surprised to see any of those companies, short of maybe Micron, do anything of the sort in the next few years.
    • I had two Dell Pentium Pro 180's, and I swear to this day they were the best CPU made. The first machine died on me a couple years ago, the other one just died a month ago. But man, I put on Windows2000 on it, and I swear a Pro 180, feels about like a P3-400 at least. You would never know the speed of the processor by the responsiveness of the machine. I loved those CPUs.
      • I've had a couple Pentium Pro 200's... they were very decent machines....and ran linux like a champ!! :) I used one as a file server for a loooooong time. The other "Pentium Pro" experience I had though weren't exactly PPro chips :) The motherboard was for dual Ppro processors, but in the sockets were Pentium II 333 overdrive chips (no, I didn't pay for those! heh) And it had 256mb ram... I had red hat 7.0 on it when i let it go.
        • --this is my bleeding edge 5 year old top of the line machine. It was medium doggy with 32 ram, but at 226 it seems perfectly normal on rh7.2. I am just constantly amazed at all the references to machines this old as being useless, throw em away, etc. I can ran a half a dozen apps at the same time and it works perfectly OK. I don't run videogames or do weather modeling, that is apparently the only (very generally speaking now) real need for latest multiple giga herz machines that I can see.

          Can't wait to actually find the correct stepping chip and the correct volt regulator for like 5$ so I can add the second cpu to the mobo. heh, poor mans easy upgrade path.

          And a hearty "thankyou" rich guys for buying new stuff at ridiculous prices so all us peons can get them for peanuts later on. Capitalism roolz.
    • Actually the 286 -> 386 transition is similar to the P3 -> P4 in that clock for clock, the "older" generation was faster than the "newer". The 386 was a massive jump in features though (full 32bit, v86 mode, real protected mode, etc) that no one really cared.
      • That's only true until people take up the ew features. Crappy 16-bit code really wasn't what the 386 was designed for. When a decent OS was stuck on it, it would fly. Likewise the P4 with it's SSE2. There are many applications (graphical ones and numerically intensive ones) that with a recompile will double their speed in the P4.
        Don't judge the hardware when it's the software that's lagging.

    • I bet Micron, AMD, Motorola, and Apple are all going to end up merging, buying out, and/or disappearing in the next few months.

      I don't see Apple in the same basket as these others.

      Maybe HP will buy them all.

      HP buying Apple? Seems unlikely to say the least. Again, I don't see Apple as being in the same basket. I could see Apple entering into interesting agreements with AMD, for example, but I cannot see any of the above-named companies actually either being bought buy or buying Apple.
    • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:2, Interesting)

      by shess ( 31691 )
      Intel has a very strong history of designing chips that ramp up very well (except for their one CPU engineering failure, the Pentium Pro, which was too ambitiously designed).

      You're kidding, right? At the time, the company I was with was targetting Pentium 133 as a baseline, but my development hardware was a PPro 150 overclocked to 166Mhz. It kicked the Pentium 133's ass.

      I think what you maybe meant to say was the the PPRo was too expensive, and ahead of the needs of the broader market.

      And "one" engineering failure? The i860/i960 were hyped as a "supercomputer on a chip", but were horrid to code general purpose stuff for (that's why they pretty much ended up as embedded processors in printers and the like). The iAPX 432 from the early 80's was a fairly impressive CPU designed to support object-oriented work, and it flopped badly.

      Heck, even the i286 wasn't so great - it had virtual memory capabilities which the broad market couldn't make use of, yet, but they were only barely acceptable for more sophisticated systems (aka Unix), and that with hacks. The i386 was where things really got interesting...

    • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sean23007 ( 143364 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:35PM (#5049189) Homepage Journal
      I hope you misspoke when you said Apple would merge or disappear. Apple isn't going anywhere, as can be seen by their repeated strong showings at their release party conferences and on Wall Street. Apple is a strong company that is in no danger of being purchased. The only thing I can foresee that resembles what you are talking about is if Apple were to buy out Motorola or Micron and so be able to manufacture their own processors and/or memory units. But the next revision of the PowerPC processor went to IBM, not Motorola, and IBM and Apple will not consolidate into one company. Perhaps if Apple bought Motorola (almost impossible), they would start making computers with and integrated G4 that perhaps isn't upgradeable, but runs cooler in less space than a socket processor. A good step for their iMacs and Powerbooks, if they don't do it already. They can't really do the same for memory, as people will always want to upgrade their RAM. They just can't do away with DIMM slots.

      In short, your vision of consolidation might not be wrong, but I think you have chosen the wrong companies. AMD and Apple have business alliances with IBM, a very strong company with little to no interest in consolidation with either company. Motorola is into too many things to be bought, but isn't doing well enough to buy anyone. Of all the options, they are the most likely to go under, but I wouldn't count on it. And Micron can continue to sell RAM as long as people continue making software that needs it. They probably aren't in that great a danger, especially in the next few months
      • Apple is a strong company that is in no danger of being purchased.

        Incorrect. Apple is in a very risky position where a hostile takeover could happen. Right now you could basically have Apple for near free, thanks to their stock price and their easily obtainable 4bill in near cash.
      • I hope you misspoke when you said Apple would merge or disappear. Apple isn't going anywhere, as can be seen by their repeated strong showings at their release party conferences and on Wall Street.

        I am not sure what you mean by "repeated strong showings...on Wall Street." Apple's stock is trading at barely above the value of their cash reserves, which shows you that Wall Street has very little faith in Apple stock indeed. There was a brief (but massive) run-up in Apple stock in 1998 and 1999, but other than that the stock has been a failure over the long term - selling at the same price today as it was 12 years ago.

        And I'm an Apple stockholder, unfortunately.
    • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:2, Informative)

      by tonytung ( 48649 )
      (except for their one CPU engineering failure, the Pentium Pro, which was too ambitiously designed)


      You realize that the Pentium II and Pentium III lines use the Pentium Pro architecture, right?
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @04:06PM (#5049419) Homepage
      I wasn't surprised when the AMD Athlon pulled out ahead of the Pentium 4, then fell very far behind. The Athlon was not engineered to ramp up well over 1 GHz. AMD was very foolish to race to that point, seeing as how long it took them to get working silicon at just 2 GHz.

      It gave AMD some very good credibility, having the fastest processors, not just being some copycat always behind. Without that credibility, they would never have gotten Athlon MP in on the market. Most likely they wouldn't get money for the investments they'd need (and still do) to keep up with Intel otherwise.

      It showed that Intel could be beaten, at least for a short while. Kinda like the gfx cards. Geforce, Geforce DDR, Geforce 2, Geforce 2 GTS, Geforce 3, Geforce 3 Ultra, Geforce 4... Radeon 9700! Ok Nvidia might strike back just as hard with Geforce FX, but it's the same thing.

      Besides, it's not like AMD is really far behind. I've seen AMD2800+ in the stores, Intel has 3.06GHz (assuming those PR ratings are still close to valid). Of course AMD is now playing pretty much every design trick in the book (FSB, additional layer, minor core improvements+++) to keep up, so they need SOI and/or Hammer fairly soon, but they're still in loop.

      Kjella
    • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:5, Informative)

      by RealErmine ( 621439 ) <commerce AT wordhole DOT net> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @04:14PM (#5049474)
      I wasn't surprised when the AMD Athlon pulled out ahead of the Pentium 4, then fell very far behind.

      Did I miss something? When did AMD fall "far behind"? Last I checked, the Athlon XP 2800 was pretty on-par with the P4 2.8 GHz even beating it out on many common benchmarks, for example... [tomshardware.com] (Athlon XP 2800 is 550Mhz SLOWER than the P4. That was a whole computer 3 years ago!)

      The prohibitive cost of P4's, especially the higher end ones, has pretty much kept AMD processors as the choice for home system builders. Any new super high GHz P4's aren't really in the picture for many people.

      Granted, tough times for the industry have hit AMD hard and their development schedule has suffered. For the most part their delays have not been due to poor scaling of the processor core but to financial or manufacturing issues. The previous transition from Athlon to Athlon MP and XP was pretty seamless.

      Also, both AMD and Intel have gone through multiple core revisions as the P4 and Athlon step up speed and performance. This pretty much takes revision history as evidence of poor foresight out of the equation also.

      The Athlon was not engineered to ramp up well over 1 GHz.

      What? That's exactly what it was designed for! The first Athlon, I believe, was either 500 or 600 MHz. This was the first generation which quickly gave way to 700-1000Mhz versions. With the introduction of copper interconnects and manufacturing processes for smaller transistors/dies the Athlon did pretty darn well up to speeds past 1.5GHz with regular introductions of new chips.

      For a company that, up until the Athlon, was pretty much a laughable CPU designer it's a nice feat to keep up with Intel over a range of 1.5GHz on the same basic layout. Need I point out that this same speed range was encompassed by BOTH the P3 AND P4 while the Athlon remained pretty much the same? Perhaps you meant to say 2GHz? Well, time will tell on that one but partnerships with the right companies, like IBM and the introduction of the Hammer line will hopefully make the argument a moot point.
      • I hate to break it to you, but AMD is not doing so well. Just 6 months ago, Toms hardware [tomshardware.com] pretty much declared the Athlon dead ("Our extensive tests give the impression that the Athlon design is already a bit outdated and is now reaching its limits."). It took a kludge for them to get up to the 2800, and judging by how long it is taking, they are having problems producing at quantity.

        Last I checked, the Athlon XP 2800 was pretty on-par with the P4 2.8 GHz even beating it out on many common benchmarks

        And last I checked, the XP 2800 still wasn't in stores (check pricewatch if you don't believe me), and Intel has had a 3 GHz chip with HT on the market for 6 weeks.

        The prohibitive cost of P4's, especially the higher end ones, has pretty much kept AMD processors as the choice for home system builders.

        If you compare the prices of the highest speed Athlon on pricewatch vs the equivalent performing P4 (in this case, the Athlon 2600 and the 2.6 GHx P4), you might notice that the P4 is actually about $10 cheaper.
    • I think the reasons why Intel was able to quickly ramp up the speed of the Pentium 4 were:

      1. The architectural design of the CPU core was intended to handle speeds well beyond 3 GHz CPU clock speed.

      2. Intel's Northwood-core Pentium 4's with 512 KB of L2 cache on the CPU die substantially speeded up performance.

      3. The introduction of Hyper-Threading Technology on the CPU core starting with the 3.06 GHz P4's will offer a bigger performance boost when software that takes full advantage of it arrives over the next six months.

      If anyone remembers the original Socket 423 P4's, they ran very hot and had performance that was in many ways inferior to the Thunderbird-core Athlons. The current Northwood-core P4's run quite a bit cooler and offer extraordinary performance.
    • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:3, Insightful)

      by be-fan ( 61476 )
      That's what I don't get about those people lambasting Intel for the P4 design. The long pipeline of the P4 was a *design decision* It had certain negatives (huge pipeline flush penalties, insane interrupt and system call latencies, high power consumption, etc) and certain positives (extremely high clock speeds, massive bandwidth and throughput). At the end of the day, what matters is the end result. The P4 is simply faster than any other chip in its class, and is very competitive with a lot of chips (50-70% the FPU performance of a Power4) that are way out of its league. This is how engineering works, plain and simple.
      • We lambast Intel not because we don't realize that the long pipeline was a tradeoff, but because we disagree with the tradeoff. Equal or better performance could certainly have been achieved with a shorter pipeline. The tradeoff was Intel selecting marketing power over computing power... from the consumers point of view, a bad decision for a computer.
    • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kma ( 2898 )
      Intel has a very strong history of designing chips that ramp up very well (except for their one CPU engineering failure, the Pentium Pro, which was too ambitiously designed).

      While your overall thesis is correct, your parenthetical diss of the PPro is ass-backwards. The PPro core is the same core that has been tweaked into the PIII. It had an approximately seven-year productive span, during which it was very competitive, although it was considered a monstrosity in its original incarnation as the Pentium Pro. I.e., the PPro is exhibit A in your argument, not some sort of exception to be excused.
    • It's interesting how all the hardware sites lambasted Intel for the design of the Pentium 4, because it didn't have the raw speed of the AMD Athlon or Pentium 3.

      Actually the Athlon was designed to compete with the Pentium II/III and the Athlon has scaled significantly better than the Pentium III. Intel may never have released the pentium 4 if it was not for the fact that people were not buying into titanium and the Pentium III was weak in comparison to an Athlon. What AMD was SUPPOSED to have out by now was the Clawhammer/Sledgehammer/Opteron/Whatever. But for whatever reasons, they are having problems. I hope AMD releases this to market soon because once it does, Intel might well be in a terrible pickle to the benefit of the consumer. I am very impressed with how well the Athlon has scaled considering how old the design is and am hoping to see AMD's 64 bit chip (which they bet thier future on) come out soon.

  • ...that blamed Motorola for the delays with the G4 chips, as well as the lack of big speed increases? What's going on with Motorola these days? They seem to overpromise and underdeliver a lot.

  • I hope this leads to better x86 chips and faster PPC chips. Apple really needs a bost, and AMD makes great ships, but need an IBM to give them a shot in the arm to beat the bohemith called Intel. GO AMD....and GO IBM.
  • Drat! I was really looking forward to buying a Barton chip! Oh well, I'll just keep saving, I suppose.
  • by tstoneman ( 589372 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:13PM (#5049044)
    I know it's not exactly the same, but remember what IBM did to Cyrix? They licensed Cyrix's chips and then undercut them in price, which I believe led to the eventual demise of their chip.

    It seems as though making a deal with IBM is almost as risky as making a deal with Microsoft, although I guess dealing with Microsoft has an even worse track record (Sybase with SQL Server, IBM with OS/2, Sendo with their phone stuff).
  • by mustangdavis ( 583344 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:13PM (#5049047) Homepage Journal
    IBM's services and technology don't come cheap, though. Companies typically hand over several million dollars--even hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the deal--to IBM under these alliances, according to sources.


    Even after paying hundreds of millions to IBM, AMD should still be able to undercut Intel's outrageous pricing and sell chips of equal or greater quality (ie, chips that have a detailed instruction set, not chips that just do nothing fast) and still make a decent profit .... although I'm not too keen on the idea of AMD's prices going up because of IBM charging them out the ying-yang for research ... but the positives definately outweigh the negatives ... especially if this could hurt Intel and insure that AMD will be able to compete with them for years to come ...

    Just my $0.02


    • AMD should still be able to undercut Intel's outrageous pricing

      Have you checked prices lately? Lets look at some current chip prices [pricewatch.com]. An Athlon 2600 (yes, the 2800 still is not on the shelves yet) runs for about $280. The 2600 competes roughly with the P4 2.6 GHz (AMD didn't just pull the model number 2600 out of nowhere), and that chip costs about $270- Intel is about $10 cheaper.

      chips that have a detailed instruction set, not chips that just do nothing fast

      Well, aside from some of the non-standard instruction set extensions that have no effect on 90% of the applications out there, AMD uses the exact same instruction set as Intel. I thought that was pretty obvious, though.

      especially if this could hurt Intel and insure that AMD will be able to compete with them for years to come

      This is not going to hurt Intel- they have similar technology sharing agreements with IBM already (on top of the billions that they already spend researching manufacturing tech).
      • Have you checked prices lately? Lets look at some current chip prices [pricewatch.com]. An Athlon 2600 (yes, the 2800 still is not on the shelves yet) runs for about $280. The 2600 competes roughly with the P4 2.6 GHz (AMD didn't just pull the model number 2600 out of nowhere), and that chip costs about $270- Intel is about $10 cheaper.



        Just wait until it is "hammer time" ....

        Then we'll see who is going to be competitive ...

        To Intel: buh-buy!
        From: AMD, with love


    • AMD:

      $319 Athlon XP 2700 333
      $280 Athlon XP 2600
      $274 Athlon XP 2600 333
      $173 Athlon XP 2400
      $130 Athlon XP 2200
      $86 Athlon XP 2100
      $71 Athlon XP 2000
      $70 Athlon XP 1900
      $62 Athlon XP 1800
      $52 Athlon XP 1700




      Intel P4:

      $635 - Pentium 4 3.06GHz
      $356 - Pentium 4 2.8GHz
      $271 - Pentium 4 2.6GHz
      $224 - Pentium 4 2.53GHz
      $182 Pentium 4 2.4GHz 533MHz
      $185 - Pentium 4 2.4GHz 400MHz
      $166 - Pentium 4 2.2GHz 400MHz
      $168 - Pentium 4 2.26GHz 533MHz
      $168 - Pentium 4 2.26GHz
      $146 - Pentium 4 2.0GHz Sock 478
      $171 - Pentium 4 2.0GHz
      $133 Pentium 4 1.9GHz Sock 478
      $192 - Pentium 4 1.9GHz
      $104 - Pentium 4 1.8GHz Sock 478
      $159 - Pentium 4 1.8GHz
      $114 - Pentium 4 1.7GHz Sock 478
      $132 - Pentium 4 1.7GHz
      $106 Pentium 4 1.6GHz Sock 478
      $130 - Pentium 4 1.6GHz
      $103 Pentium 4 1.5GHz Sock 478
      $119 - Pentium 4 1.5GHz
      $117 - Pentium 4 1.4GHz Sock 478
      $110 - Pentium 4 1.4GHz



      Hmmm ... only cheaper for the 2.6 .... no where else .... hmmmmm

      I'll stick with my earlier statement ...


  • by zealot ( 14660 ) <xzealot54x@yahoo. c o m> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:14PM (#5049056)
    I think a lot of people are misreading (or in /. fashion, not reading) this. Or just not understanding. This does not mean IBM and AMD are working on some new type of processor together (ie no new processor architecture).

    What this means is that they will work together on having manufacting technoligies in the future. Fabs and fab equptment are extremely expensive and it is generally hard to move from one manufacturing process to another. This alliance should help shave costs and improve manufacturing quality on the process (I believe it said 0.65 micron) in question. Each will continue to design cpus separately.
  • by moduc ( 620300 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:15PM (#5049061)
    First, AMD must get their product out. 64, 32, whatever. They have to speed up the chip too. For a same number of model and mhz, I am not sure which is better in term of real speed (AMD vs. Intel), but I have a gut feeling that Intel chip can not be slower (but AMD could). So, that's bad for AMD.

    Then, they have to move to more advance manufacturer process quicker. That's how you save cost. Intel has higher mhz chip, has more advance (300mm) fab (translate to lower cost), move to smaller process quicker. What does all this means? In addition, they move faster products out to the market quicker and more frequently.

    I would be nervous if I were AMD. They miss the PDA chip space (I may be wrong on this). I think that's where money goes. Create a gig hertz pda then sell it. That's when handheld computer become reality. It's the convegence of wireless phone, pda, multimedia (mp3 player, video player), games, and anything you haven't think of. Ofcourse, it can do messaging, audio conference, and video conference.

    Hey, the future is there. Whoever get their first, and make it cheap enough (for all poor comsumer) will win. (technology won't become reality unless they're good enough, but also cheap enough).

    AMD is known for its competitive price. Use that war game.

    In summary, you can not compete if you can not bring a new, better product out (ok, and enough for us to buy, not just a demo one).

    • I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay for a GHz PDA unless AMD made a huge turnaround from their current reputation. That would be one really hot beast to carry around in your hand. AMD would have to put a lot more into making their chips run cooler ... though they've come a long way so far.

      I think that's an interesting idea though ... and it could probably come to fruition easy enough in about a year. Hell, it probably wouldn't be even *that* difficult to pull off. AMD has the price advantage now, I say they just pull their current Athlon core, downclock it (it'll run cooler than the Thunderbird, I bet) and work from there. You'd have to convince people that it's more than just a "cool toy", though.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everyone who's talking about Apple 64 bit hammer-based PPC whatever is totally off the mark. They're cooperating on future technologies that we won't see for years and which have nothing to do with processor design, only processor technology. There will be no visible effects from this for at least the next year, and even if/when it does lead to change, it will be change most people won't even notice.
  • by Quazi ( 3460 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:26PM (#5049141) Journal
    Apple is consulting with IBM about the PPC970. AMD is consulting with IBM about a new fab process. So, with any luck from IBM, there's a chance that representatives from both Apple and AMD will be in the same room together! With any more luck, they'll be opposite genders (then again, that doesn't much matter these days), and they'll hit it off!! (..but we've got to see their offspring.. it will be wonderful!)
  • by Chuck Bucket ( 142633 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:30PM (#5049165) Homepage Journal
    AMD deal with IBM appears to end earlier alliances [eetimes.com], but what worries me is that:
    • "AMD will relocate a substantial number of engineers to IBM's silicon development facility in Fishkill, N.Y., and joint development work will start later this month."

    That's always a good news/bad news type of thing. Still, the fact that IBM/AMD are going to concentrate on SOI tells me that perhaps the newers AMD's will require less power, which can ONLY be a 'good thing'(tm)

    Chuck Bucket

  • not true (Score:3, Funny)

    by dirvish ( 574948 ) <dirvish@noSPAM.foundnews.com> on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:41PM (#5049232) Homepage Journal
    AMD and IBM Working Together on Future Chips

    I don't believe it. Time travel is impossible!
  • by 0x69 ( 580798 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @03:45PM (#5049245) Journal
    If you're thinking "PowerHammer", "IBM Athlon", etc., then you REALLY don't get it. This is like GM and Ford cooperating on expensive research needed to meet new Federal safety & pollution standards:
    - An engineer who used a saw to cut GM & Ford airbags or catalytic converters open a few years later could see similarities in the technology.
    - Someone who was expecting to see a Pontiac Mustang or Lincoln DeVille would be SOL.
  • I read a similiar article recently that had the headline "Former AMD and IBM Employees Working Together on Fish n' Chips."
  • cripes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fedmahn Kassad ( 586063 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @04:36PM (#5049655)
    I've used many Intel or AMD workstations over the last 7 years or so. i cant say that ive noticed AMD behaving any worse than its intel counterpart. there were some hardware driver level issues in its history but all were quickly resolved to my recollection. I look forward to offerings from both AMD and Intel in the future. And i must say that i do get a little tired of reading a bunch of AMD slamming everytime i read the resulting posts from an AMD centric article. if your smoking CPU's 3 times a year, THEN DONT OVERCLOCK IT. Need i remind those of you that instantly bash anything non-intel that AMD has been manufacturing processing hardware for decades? That their chips can be found on hardware ranging from network devices to SCSI raid controllers? i believe that if AMD truely did have QA and/or production issues that many of these 3rd party manufacturers would have moved on to something else ? Just something for your blowhard mind to ponder for a while. As for AMD and IBM teaming up ? its rather obvious that IBM's server appliance division has been doing a piss poor job for the last several years. so maybe they might be trying to procure semi-exclusive rights to the 64bit hammers? who knows, and as far as im concerned big blue lossed its touch years ago.
  • by jakedata ( 585566 ) on Thursday January 09, 2003 @05:58PM (#5050581)
    I mixed up a few names to try them on for size, f'rinstance...

    Dimbam
    Midmad
    Bimmda

    Of course my favorite requires the addition of a 'U' and 'I'

    Lady and Gentlemen, I give you the AMDIBIUM!

In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

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