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AMD

AMD's Roadmap revealed 298

NoPants writes "It looks like the aces at Anandtech were able to get their hands on some of AMD's internal roadmaps. Anand has some interesting information including the new upcoming Socket 939 CPU standard as well as AMD's predicted release dates for Athlon 64 4000+ processors. Hopefully this will shed some light on what AMD is trying to do with all the different socket types..."
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AMD's Roadmap revealed

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  • by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:20AM (#7962126) Homepage Journal
    Maybe all of this preliminary information will help Intel markitecture their way to the Pentium 6!
  • well thats nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZenBased ( 593709 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:22AM (#7962145) Homepage
    but my amd 700mhz proc is still quite fast enough to give me debian, fluxbox, openoffice etc.. ah well there must be enough people out there who cant live without a fast proc
    • Re:well thats nice (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheViffer ( 128272 )
      Unless you are a gamer or looking to compute Pi to the last digit, most of todays "out of production" (even lower then "budget") processors are fast enough for most of today's computing tasks. My cool running Duron 1000 still powers my file server like a champ.

      The more they release these fire breathing, heavy Watt using, frying pan of CPU's, the easier it gets on our pocket books.

      Wake me when a cheap "build your own system" RISC alternative hits the market.

      • Re:well thats nice (Score:5, Informative)

        by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:58AM (#7962395) Homepage
        Unless you are a gamer or looking to compute Pi to the last digit

        Or are wanting to do things like rip MP3s (trivial) or burn DVDs (non-trivial; technically it's the MPEG2 mastering, not the burning, that takes the CPU time). Developers, graphics artists, and most engineering can also use as much CPU as is available. For just a plain old file server you do very well by using the cheapest (in terms of purchase and run cost) that you can get. A webserver probably needs more juice. A database server definitely does. Trivial home use excluded of course. I'm not talking about trivial usages -- they can always be solved easily.

        Wake me when a cheap "build your own system" RISC alternative hits the market.

        When you realize that the core ISA of all x86 chips is RISC let me know. Not to mention that most of the classic "RISC" designs have deviated far from the "reduced" portion of that moniker. Looked at the Power or PowerPC ISA recently? RISC was created not because a reduced instruction set is inherently better, but because it allowed for a number of technologies such as pipelining, branch prediction, caching, and so forth to be implemented. Every single one of those is in x86 architecture now. Sure, the ISA is still a mess, but it's a better price/performance than anything else out there. All the naysayers have been disproven, time and time again. And yes, when I was a little college student I was horrified at the design of x86. Then I grew up.
        • Re:well thats nice (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Cthefuture ( 665326 )
          Or are wanting to do things like rip MP3s (trivial) or burn DVDs (non-trivial; technically it's the MPEG2 mastering, not the burning, that takes the CPU time). Developers, graphics artists, and most engineering can also use as much CPU as is available.

          Right on... Also, most developers need all the juice we can get. Faster compiles, better testing environment (more VMware sessions), etc, etc.

          All these people that say "nobody need anything more than X" are idiots. If a 700 Mhz proc works for you then fin
          • Re:well thats nice (Score:2, Informative)

            by comedian23 ( 730042 )
            >* By the way, just try a 3 Ghz processor for a while (maybe a week or two). Then go back your 700 Mhz system. You'll see the light.

            Disagree. I use a 2.4Ghz at work and a 533Mhz at home and can't really tell a difference, except when (un)zipping files, or installing software(maybe 1% of my total use of the machine). My home machine can play music, games, surf the web, edit docs, etc. just fine.

            > Faster boot times, faster archive extracing, faster application start times.

            I think the faster dis
          • By the way, just try a 3 Ghz processor for a while (maybe a week or two). Then go back your 700 Mhz system. You'll see the light.

            I saw the light, it was the glowing heatsink.

        • Re:well thats nice (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) *
          But the PowerPC line has superior signal processing capabilities these days, is much easier for compilers to cater to, and runs cooler and more efficient than the X86 offerings.

          AFAIK, x86 units since the i686 have all used a RISC-like core that runs x86 ops by breaking them down into micro-ops and reconstituting them. It -works- but whay do that when the real thing is available?

          I think PowerPC would have a real future if MS lost full dominance of the PC market, it's a very short leap from Linux/OS X/BSD/w
          • It -works- but whay do that when the real thing is available?

            Uh, because it works well, is producing results that are better than "the real thing", and happens to run all those existing millions of programs out there without any problems?

            I think PowerPC would have a real future if MS lost full dominance of the PC market

            Yeah, and Segway might have a real future if it wasn't for all those pesky cars out there. (No, not a perfect analogy, but they're equally based in reality)

            This is exactly the kind of
          • But the PowerPC line has superior signal processing capabilities these days

            According to who? And why? SSE2 provides plenty of instructions for signal processing, and SSE3/PNI will fill in a couple of the last remaining holes. AMD64 also doubles the number of registers for SSE2 as well as the general purpose registers.

            Exactly what advantage does the PowerPC have for signal processing? They do have a nifty multiply-add instruction that is missing on x86/SSE2, but on the flip side their vector proce

        • Sure, the ISA is still a mess, but it's a better price/performance than anything else out there.

          Unless you want to factor in things like power consumption....

          • Re:well thats nice (Score:3, Informative)

            by Zathrus ( 232140 )
            Unless you want to factor in things like power consumption....

            Feel free to. x86 is still cheaper. Equivalent speed systems don't use vastly less power. Best number I've seen is ~75W, which is 3/4 of what a P4 or Athlon64 uses. That's not an abundance in savings.

            To put it clearly -- 25W saves you 219 kWh/year (assuming it's on 24 hours a day year round (365.25 days/year)). If electricity costs $0.10 kWh then that's a savings of $22. Wow.

            And that, of course, is assuming that the CPU is fully loaded the en
      • Re:well thats nice (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @10:03AM (#7962423) Homepage Journal
        Except that programmers like myself write for the slowest currently marketted PC. We take advantage of the excess speed by increasing search capabilities, performing more intricate analysis, using higher quality fonts, sounds, graphics, etc.

        Yes, MOST of what people really need to do can be done on a 500 MHz machine. Shit, most of what people do -- search for information, write email, word process -- can be done on a goddamn Commodore.

        It is a fact of life that computers are going to get slowly faster, and people are going to expect these faster computers to have better software. Even if it's mostly superficial, we try to deliver that. Most of the time, though, a faster processor is a boon even to Joe Q. Homeuser. Consider a 3 megapixel camera, delivering photographs in excess of 1.5 megabytes. Time was we'd never THINK of doing graphical operations on that much information. Nowadays, it's so trivial that many photoalbums are processing 10 or more such pictures per second!

        Anyway, for easy operations like file serving, running a firewall, serving 100,000 or fewer web pages per day, etc...your best bet is a processor with a fast bus and a slow clockspeed. It'll be cooler and more reliable than some 64 bit god (honestly, who needs 64 bits to send packets?)
        • It'll be cooler and more reliable than some 64 bit god

          While I agree that with a well-designed computer, 500MHz is very good for most people, I would bet that most of the 64 bit RISC systems are more reliable than most of the x86 systems, although I can't say much about Athlon 64 / Opteron, it hasn't been around for long enough. My daily-use Alpha built in 1997 ran Windows NT 4.0 to an uptime of 104 days. After that I quit just because it was a waste of power, although certainly more efficient than most
        • I take issue with your 500MHz limit. Gnome 2.0 runs like a pig in cement on my K6-III/500. Sure, we could have done all sorts of things on an Amiga, but the integration and features in newer desktop environments are slick. Take CD burning integrated into Nautilus (and Win Explorer on XP). I think that totally rules the school.

          OTOH, my firewall is a PentiumMMX/200 and it does just fine, thankyouverymuch.
      • I need the fastest computer possible. I helps me feel better about my personal shortcomings.
      • You can knock that Duron MUCH lower in the clock and get comparable file server performance. I just underclocked my G3 file server from 450 to 300 Mhz and benchmarks are showing no difference in throughput or latency. Saves me a few cents in juice every month too, and runs much cooler than before (which was already cool enough to run fanless)
      • ...compute Pi to the last digit...


        Hey, a C64 could finish that task as fast as the earth simulator! ;-)

        *hint* In case you didn't know, Pi has an infinite number of digits. Scary, huh?
      • I have been wondering about underclocking a cpu. If one took 2.4 Ghz chip can clocked it down to say 1.2 could you run fanless? Use less power. Have the chip last longer???? With computers so bloody fast It might be me nice the make a cooler quiter system with out spending the money on a laptop stype chip set.
      • "Wake me when a cheap "build your own system" RISC alternative hits the market."

        I fear you may never awake from your slumber.
    • My Athlon 2000xp takes 60-90 minutes to gzip a 40GB HDD (for backup). 11MB/sec-7.4MB/sec.

      If it could do it four times faster at the max HDD throughput (40MB/sec) it'll be done in 17 minutes.

      In this case the bottleneck is the CPU or perhaps the software - anyone know of a faster gzip?

      HOWEVER, if a CPU is 4 times faster so as not to be a bottleneck for the HDD gzip, the HDD then quickly becomes a bottleneck for other scenarios ;).
    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @10:04AM (#7962426) Journal
      Run Gentoo or the FreeBSD ports sytem.

      Your mind will change quickly. :-)
    • Yes, but does it have SSE, SSE2, 64 bit capability, 4+ GB ram addressability, Cool N Quiet support, a nice big L2 cache, and does your motherboard have DDR support or PCI-X support?

      I will guess not. My 1.4 Ghz TBird C may have the speed I need but there are new features I would like which is why the A64 is getting such a big push from me personally as my upgrade option. Plus it will hit the magic sub 150$ mark before the Prescott hand warmer.
    • Every time there's a story about new CPU's or something speed related there are posts like this.

      What's your point? That we should stop making faster CPU's? Why do you care?

      Here's the post I want to see:

      Well that's nice, but my 286 that runs Minix is great! you don't really need that 700mhz proc, it's a total waste.
    • Doom 3 is gonna give you the shits.
    • Insightful my ass. This is a *classic* troll everytime a faster CPU comes out.

      100Mhz? Who needs it? My 486/66 can run Vi, gcc, and one or two other apps. What else do I need?
  • by LookSharp ( 3864 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:24AM (#7962158)
    There's no question Athlon 64 and AthlonFX are great products. That being said:

    *Do they really need to be different products? Opteron is your product for server/high-end workstations, Duron (and now Athlon XP) is low-end... you want Athlon64 to be mainstream, right?

    *Is it really a good idea to have the memory controller on the CPU? OK, I buy that it increases performance, but it hasn't lowered mainboard costs and all I've seen it doing is causing a rift between the A64 and AFX product lines, since Athlon64 doesn't have a dual-channel memory controller.

    *Why in the world introduce an AthlonFX based on Socket 940, especially at the outrageous price, when you're moving to socket 939 imminently?

    I think it would have been more of a slam-dunk as a platform and a "brand" to release Athlon64 as all dual-channel, all Socket 939 (or some standard), and left Opteron as the high-end platform. Any other takers?
    • "Why in the world introduce an AthlonFX based on Socket 940, especially at the outrageous price, when you're moving to socket 939 imminently?"

      Simple really. AMD feared that Intel was about to release the next revision of the P4 aka. Prescott. The 940-pin FX was an attempt to get something out the door ASAP.

      Unfortunately that means that some people might be caught at a loose end when it comes to upgrade time, but that is not clear cut at this stage to my knowledge.
    • OK, the first thing is that they released their outrageous priced processor to compete with Intel's Extreme edition of the Pentium. They knew it was outrageous, they just wanted to be competitive in all aspects of the market.

      On the other hand, your question about having the memory processor directly on the processor. It is the best idea ever, and you may not understand this, being a desktop user, but being in IT when I was young, and now in the money end of IS, I understand the value of the system amd is i
      • by LookSharp ( 3864 )
        On the other hand, your question about having the memory processor directly on the processor. It is the best idea ever, and you may not understand this, being a desktop user, but being in IT when I was young, and now in the money end of IS, I understand the value of the system amd is implementing, for instance sometimes I would purchase a quad Xeon system but it irritated me to do so, because I knew that because of the bottleneck to the memmory, my fourth processor was almost worthless. But with the memory
      • The AC has it right. Intel's outrageously overpriced Emergency Edition was a direct response to AMD's chip, Not the other way around. Do some googling if you still think your version of what happened is right.
    • Sorry about the formatting, Slashdot wouldn't let me make nice tables :(
      Your point is?

      Class Intel AMD

      Server(hi-end) Itanium Opteron
      Server(low-end) Xeon Opteron

      Workstation(hi) Xeon Opteron
      Workstation(lo) P4 A64FX

      MainstreamPC P4 A64
      CheapPC Celeron AthlonXP

      Seems like they're rationalizing things at last, no?
    • *Why in the world introduce an AthlonFX based on Socket 940, especially at the outrageous price, when you're moving to socket 939 imminently?

      Because AMD were making Opterons. And then some bright head said "Why not rebrand the 1x Opteron to AMD FX and sell it as the worlds fastest desktop system, 64 bit desktop, and whatever else? That way we can ship it NOW."

      And Intel's Emergency Edition was almost the same thing. Basicly a rebranded Xeon, if I understood it right. Lots of cache, also hideously expensiv
    • by Hoser McMoose ( 202552 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @01:25PM (#7964425)

      The marketing of the Athlon64 FX has become a bit confusing. It kind of made sense for the initial launch to combat a precieved weakness of the design compared to Intel's P4 though. With the P4 you get up to 6.4GB/s of memory bandwidth, while the first Athlon64 would only have 3.2GB/s of memory bandwidth. Now, it turns out that the extra bandwidth doesn't actually buy you much on most applications, but this was seen as a weakness, hence the Athlon64 FX. With Intel bringing out the P4EE to compete with the FX, now AMD might need to keep the chip, even if it isn't a worthwhile product (The P4EE isn't a worthwhile product either).

      *Is it really a good idea to have the memory controller on the CPU?

      Yes, yes it is a good idea. A VERY good idea in fact. Memory latency has only improved by about one order of magnitude in the past 15 years. Meanwhile everything else in the system has gone up by at least two orders of magnitude. Virtually everything that is being done in CPU design these days is to hide memory latency (larger caches, out-of-order executation, branch prediction, even SMT).

      Integrating the memory controller reduces latency by 20-30%. At 2.0GHz this makes a BIG difference (this is the main reason why a 2.0GHz Athlon64 is faster than a 2.2GHz AthlonXP), at 4 or 5GHz the difference will be huge.

      but it hasn't lowered mainboard costs

      You can buy new Athlon64 motherboards for only $100, only 3 months after the chips release. It took ages for Athlon or P4 motherboards to reach that price point. What's perhaps even more impressive is the dual-processor boards that are only $200. In short, it HAS reduced motherboard costs, whether you've noticed or not. It also means that ALL Athlon64's support ECC, chipkill and a few other nifty reliability features, regardless of how badly VIA screws up their chipset design.

      *Why in the world introduce an AthlonFX based on Socket 940, especially at the outrageous price, when you're moving to socket 939 imminently?

      The Athlon64 FX was a bit of a last minute decision I believe. They found a marketing weakness and wanted the quickest and easiest solution they could find. The answer? Sell your server chip as an "enthusiast" chip. Intel did exactly the same thing for the same reason with the P4EE.

      Also, it's actually VERY normal to switch sockets soon after releasing a new processor. Intel's upcoming Prescott will use Socket 478 for only about 6 months before switching to socket 775. The original P4 used Socket 423 for a very short time before switching to socket 478. The original Athlon used Slot A for a year or so before switching to Socket A. The PIII came out in Slot 1 form but then switched to Socket 370 about a year later. The Celeron followed the same path a couple years before.

      I think it would have been more of a slam-dunk as a platform and a "brand" to release Athlon64 as all dual-channel, all Socket 939 (or some standard), and left Opteron as the high-end platform. Any other takers?

      In retrospec that might seem like a good idea, hindsight is 20-20 after all. However the original split of ALL Athlon64 chips being socket 754 and ALL Opteron's being socket 940 seemed to make the most sense when AMD was desigining them. It wasn't until market conditions changed and a new perceived weakness was discovered that AMD felt they need a consumer chip with a 128-bit wide memory bus. By that time the chip was already late to market and designing a new socket would have added more delay to the equation.

      There's also the question of budget chips. AMD hopes to move their entire product line to the Athlon64/Opteron platform by the end of 2004. That means they need a budget chip, and socket 939 with it's 128-bit wide memory bus is problematic for that. Hence the continued existance of Socket 754 and the AthlonXP for that platform.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:30AM (#7962206)
    Wow if these new chips radiate at a proportionate level to AMDs current offering we could all be wearing shorts in Antartica by new year 05.

    Seriously tho. I think AMD ought to work some better thermal performance into its cpu range. A low cost, low temperature, high performance CPU is what is required in the market.
    • by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @10:37AM (#7962730)
      Running at full CPU load, an Athlon 64 3200+ uses less power than an Intel P4 3.2GHz. Furthermore, with AMD's Cool and Quiet power management enabled the Athlon 64 CPU slows down to 800MHz and drops to 1.275v when you don't need much CPU performence, ie, while I'm typing this message. ASUS has a nifty little program that displays the current CPU speed and core voltage on my desktop.

      AMD CPU power requirements are expected to drop substantially when they switch to 90nm in the second half of this year. OTOH, Intel's prototype 90nm Tejas CPU burns up 150 watts [anandtech.com].

      AMD chips haven't used more electricity than Intel chips for years. Pay attention.

      BTW, Athlon 64 notebooks are out [bestbuy.com]. $1,550 for a widescreen 64-bit notebook! I'm going to stick with my Athlon 64 desktop, at least until I come up with an excuse to buy a portable. Really, I am...
    • Re:Global Warming (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hattig ( 47930 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @01:06PM (#7964255) Journal
      This whole AMD is hotter than Intel thing was true when Intel's flagship processor was the cool (relatively) PIII.

      The P4 generates more heat than the Athlon (any variant) for the same performance.

      It is such an old, and incorrect joke it isn't even funny anymore.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:35AM (#7962233) Homepage Journal
    The only reason I'm even considering one of these gems is so I can cram more memory into a system for video work. All the boards I've seen for Athlon 64 max at 3Gb. The SK8* boards for the Athlon FX will take, IIRC 8Gb. Where's the boards I can cram 32 or more into?
  • by ynohoo ( 234463 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:40AM (#7962262) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully this will shed some light on what AMD is trying to do with all the different socket types..

    Making us buy more motherboards, of course!
  • Dual Processors? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Krieger ( 7750 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:45AM (#7962309) Homepage
    What the article does not cover, is when we will be able to purchase non-Opteron Dual processors. Since they are inherently capable, it would be nice to know when we'll be able to build a performance (non-ECC) dual desktop.
    • I thought like AFX, Opteron supports ECC, not requires it. IIRC it does require registered memory though.

      Not that it matters to me, I just stick ECC into everything I can, it really isn't that much more expensive. While it might slow performance a tad, ECC becomes even more necessary if you need to use multiple gigabytes of RAM.
  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @09:55AM (#7962375)
    By the look of the figures the Athlon 64 is margionally faster than the G5 clock for clock... (the 2.2 Ghz beating the 2 Ghz G5 convinvingly and the 2Ghz ones locked in a tight battle). It looks a lot like AMD are gonna have to ramp up faster though, because IBM are gonna have 3Ghz G5s by Q3 this year, and AMD are only saying 2.6Ghz by Q4. Bob
    • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @10:23AM (#7962589)
      IBM hasn't hit the power/heat problems that Intel has, primarily because the PPC is a more streamlined processor. It's still very complex, mind you, but the x86 line is so complex, with all of the legacy support and CISC to RISC conversion and wacky nonsense like MMX *and* SSE *and* SSE2 all at the same time. Intel is already talking 150 watts for processors to be released this year. It is quite likely that the PowerPC line is going to pass Intel in the next 8 to 12 months.
  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @10:00AM (#7962401) Homepage
    Run Doom 3.
    Compute Pi to 5.497558e+11 bit precision during your lunchbreak.
    Store this value of Pi in RAM.
    Install Kazaa and not notice the spyware slowdown.
    Use the faster page loading times to get FP more often.
  • Socket hell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by freidog ( 706941 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @10:03AM (#7962419)
    So 940 gets moved to opteron only
    939 encompasses both Athlon64/FX chips, starting in Q2.
    754 is relegated to the next gen AthlonXPs (with the on die memory controller, but only 32 bit)
    462 dies a slow death.

    Why can't every CPU made just fit on Socket 7... :)
    • Looks like 3 different athlon 64's.
      socket 754 is single channel memory.
      socket 939 (won't fit opteron) with dual channel
      ram. 1m cashe = FX, 1m is athlon 64.

      Will socket 939 chips work in socket 940 mb?
      current athlon64fx chips will work in opteron mbs.
    • Or if you must build a new socket call it socket 8, design it the right way, and attempt to build backwards capatibility into some sort of bridges or something.
    • Re:Socket hell (Score:3, Interesting)

      Socket 7?!?! Good &deity no! Talk about a TERRIBLE design!

      If we kept socket 7 we would: a.) still be stuck at ~1GHz processors because the socket did not provide enough power or grounding pins for todays faster processors. b.) would have TERRIBLE memory throughput, the real-world performance of this socket was terrible even if when the theoretical numbers were ok.

      Perhaps most importantly though, it wouldn't help anything. You would STILL need to buy new motherboards to support new chips. In fact
  • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @10:14AM (#7962493)
    With all the talk of unexpected 90nm delays and scaling problems over at Intel, one hopes AMDs problems are just typical delays with a new process. At any rate, we hope AMD will push ahead of Intel with the K8 architecture. IFF this happens, how on earth are they going to market them using their "false" speed ratings. Their rating system is flawed in that it uses Intel chips as the gold standard to measure performance against. You can't market a 4000+ if Intel has no 4GHz processor. If you do, you risk having the rating not match when Intel catches up, which makes the numbers completely meaningless. Today, they at least help to compare apples and oranges.
  • What I really want to see is dual CPU capability for the Socket 939. I guess the opteron is a viable alternative, but the price is just too high. Something like they did with the Athlon MP would be great.
  • confuse much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imbezol ( 588268 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @11:48AM (#7963547) Homepage
    What a load of crap. I have bought only AMD processors and I swear by their performance. I jump at the chance to race a P4 touting fool through a compile of Mozilla. But this is getting ridiculous.

    They've got to the point with all these different lines that it's no longer possible to talk AMD CPU's with anyone but the most avid AMD enthusiast. If you do try to talk the talk it ends up being a group memory excercise to see if together we can remember 50% of the difference in the varying jungle lines of processors.

    Opteron is a good thing. Keep it simple. Give the FX a real name too. Don't call it an Opteron FX or 64 FX or whatever the hell it might be. Give it a damned name. How about an AMD Jargon? That would be a good name for a processor. If they all had names, you could associate the capabilities of the lines to the names and people could pick a favorite and learn the product.

    As it is there must be extremely few people that can rattle off all the cache sizes, 398043+++ ratings, what core it is, blah blah blah. Not only do the different lines have different specs, but there are different specs within a line. There several instances of the same + rating with different specs in the same line. "I got a 2600+" "Which one?"

    Not that I won't do all the research before I buy the next one, but I envy the Intel enthusiast that can just look and say Bigger is Better, and buy what they can afford.

    I can't imagine my the other members of my family buying an AMD. They'd have to take a 3 week course, 2 hours a day, before they'd know which of the AMD's to buy. "This one costs more, but is it better?" "I have no idea." "This one has a bigger rating." "Yeah, but I heard this one is more advanced."

    Is AMD hoping nobody will know what they're buying? Is that the ultimate goal? Why not just put a random number on each chip and put a MSRP on it and call it good.
    • Re:confuse much? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:20PM (#7963867) Journal
      "There several instances of the same + rating with different specs in the same line. "I got a 2600+" "Which one?""

      The idea is that you don't have to know what the exact specs are. What AMD is trying to do is show that CPU performance is relative. Within a few percentage points, every 2600+ CPU will perform equally, regardless of its core, amount of cache, socket, memory lines, clock frequency, etc. That's the whole point - you don't have to know. If you're "in the know", you can look at individual 2600+ CPUs to see which one has more of what will help you in the specific applications you use. If you're a general user, then 2600+ is the only thing you need to know. How many people buy a 3.06GHz P4 instead of a 3.00GHz P4 because they think the former is faster? The clock frequency alone belies the fact that the higher FSB on the latter CPU will actually make it perform far better on nearly every application. AMD is trying to hand you the whole package in a single number to simply the buying process for everyday people.

      The fact is, neither AMD nor Intel are telling the whole performance truth, nor could they do so. The only way to do that is to educate consumers about CPU mechanics, latency, IPC, L1/L2 cache, cache hits and misses, branch prediction, pipeline stages, and so on. The average consumer (hell, the average geek) can't understand half of these things. Thus, Intel has chosen to show the clock frequency of its CPUs, and AMD has chosen to use performance ratings that give consumers a performance index relative to the Athlon's Thunderbird core. Neither system is perfect, but neither system is more imperfect than the other, in my opinion.

      "Is AMD hoping nobody will know what they're buying?"

      AMD is hoping that those who need to know, will know, and that the rest who buy the "bigger number" will at least have an idea of what to get.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:22PM (#7963884) Homepage Journal
    I have admired AMD for the last few years, but I think they've made a mistake. I don't understand why a thinking person would buy an Athlon 64 FX.

    The plain Athlon 64, sure. I see why someone would buy that. If you want decent performance but also want to keep things dirt cheap, that's a nice chip. I think a low-power "mobile" version of that processor will also be a winner.

    But if you want to spend a little extra money and build a "hotrod" machine, the Athlon 64 FX is a dumb move. Most CPU-bound stuff that people do, is parallelizable. (The only major exception I can think of, is that today's apps for multimedia encoding, tend to not take advantage. But they could (e.g. the portion after every key-frame could be handled by a different thread).)

    So just spend a little more (it's really not much) and get multiple Opterons. If you're really hurting for money, get "obsolete" 240 models, and two of them will still run rings around any Athlon64FX or single-P4EE system that money can buy.

    The class of problems that can't take advantage of multiple CPUs but still needs lots of speed, is small. Maybe I'm just being dumb, but I just don't see a market for a socket-939 or single-socket-940 board. Why would AMD, and motherboard manufacturers, bother to spend money development something that hardly anyone needs?

  • by n9fzx ( 128488 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @12:33PM (#7963977) Homepage Journal
    There are plenty of applications which benefit from a 64 bit memory model -- particularly text string operations, encryption, error control codes, and the like. Given the importance of search engines, privacy, and noise reduction, AMD's decision to push the 64 bit advantage could really help them, at least in the short run.

    And since Microsoft is once again behind the curve, the various freeware Unix platforms could benefit a great deal by trumpeting their inherent advantage over Windows in these key areas.

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