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AMD Back in the Black 359

XaXXon writes "CNN reports that AMD had a profitable quarter for the first time in over two years. According to the story this is mostly because of their 64-bit line of chips (both Opterons and Athlon-64). AMD has forced both HP and Intel to change long-standing plans of only supporting Itanium, with HP coming out with Opteron-based systems and Intel releasing chips mimicking the 32/64-bit behaviour of the Opteron. According to the story, 64-bit processors are better than 32-bit ones because 32-bit processors 'can't take advantage of more than 4 megabytes (sic) of memory at a time.'"
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AMD Back in the Black

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  • Profitable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0mni ( 734493 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:39AM (#8292736)
    I guess its easy to understand that AMD would be running in the red, its prices are really quite low. Even with small production prices I couldnt imagine there would be too much profit for them.
    • Re:Profitable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:42AM (#8292750)
      They haven't been that low for the last couple of years. I remember a time when every AMD CPU cost about half of what you paid for a comparable Intel.
      Heavy investing and comparably small market share would have more to do with the losses.
    • Re:Profitable (Score:5, Informative)

      by betelgeuse-4 ( 745816 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:50AM (#8292789) Homepage Journal
      When I went to nanotech lab open day, one of the speakers said that 98%-99% of the chips on each wafer must work for the CPU company to make a profit.
  • Intel, 32x64? (Score:5, Informative)

    by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:40AM (#8292739) Homepage
    As far as I recall, Intel has not released anything yet. They put something on the roadmap, but they are still 100% behind Itanic. They released an improved 32bit emulation environment for the latter though
    • Re:Intel, 32x64? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sbennett ( 448295 ) <spb.gentoo@org> on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:54AM (#8292813)
      See this [theregister.co.uk]. Of course, there were the standard rumours going around before Prescott's launch that it was going to have a 64-bit layer, but that didn't happen.

      What I find interesting is that Intel said before Opteron's launch that they weren't going to make any form of 64-bit x86 processor, and now it's on the roadmap.

      Earlier this week, Intel's President and COO, Paul Otellini, confirmed in a web-cast interview that a move into the 64-bit desktop market was certain, but that the company would nevertheless wait for the arrival of operating system and application support. "You can be fairly confident that when there is software from an application and operating system standpoint, we'll be there," he said.

      You mean once the OS and application developers have started using AMD's 64-bit extensions, Intel will come up with something to compete?
      • Re:Intel, 32x64? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @12:34PM (#8294631) Journal
        "Of course, there were the standard rumours going around before Prescott's launch that it was going to have a 64-bit layer, but that didn't happen. "

        It's entirely possible that 64-bit extensions are within Prescott, but disabled. Intel did this with the P4's SMT for quite a while. Xeons had SMT, and it was enabled, while desktop P4s had SMT, and it was disabled. The 64-bit instructions might not yet be finished, to be finalized and debugged in a later stepping of Prescott, or they simply remain dormant, used only as a preliminary testing grounds for Intel, while they're waiting for viable engineering samples of Tejas. To my knowledge, no one has completely accounted for all the new transistors inside the Prescott chips. The speculative execution enhancements, larger cache, longer pipeline, etc all provide for some of the extra transistors, but certainly not all. There's something about these chips that Intel's not telling us, and 64-bit extensions is as good a guess as anything else.

        "You mean once the OS and application developers have started using AMD's 64-bit extensions, Intel will come up with something to compete?"

        No, he means that when x86-64bit support is there in software, Intel will have a CPU at the ready to support it. Since AMD's 64-bit extensions are the only game in town, and Microsoft has told Intel to go stuff a second set of x86-64bit extensions, Intel will be forced to either emulate AMD64 (a thoroughly bad idea), or include the instructions as the core of any 64-bit x86 CPU they release. Intel has already licensed the AMD64 technology, and thus will be forced to use its 'little brother's' technology to stay ahead of the curve. The interesting thing about that is that AMD can then choose the direction for future instruction sets. So long as the industry is working off AMD's instruction set, AMD calls all the shots.

        Intel's big mistake was continuing to behave like a monopoly, and ignoring the breakout CPUs of its chief rival. Intel was banking on a 64-bit nosedive on x86, choosing to all but ignore the concept until it was too late. Intel knew that x86-64 would force Itanium into a small niche at the upper end, and would send 10+ years of R&D down the drain. Now, even HP is getting over its sunken Itanic - choosing to sell Opteron machines in order to remain conpetitive.

  • by MountainMan101 ( 714389 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:43AM (#8292751)
    They're chasing big boys market at the moment with 64-bit, but do they have something for the laptop market to match Centrino.
    • AMD would be smart to leave the high-end laptop market to intel and transmeta. AMD still has the sub-$1000 notebook market locked as far as I can see (I work at Circuit City and our best selling laptop is always the $899 after rebates offer). Also, I actually see Transmeta owning that market soon. As a side note, Transmeta stock went from about .70 a few months ago to 3.50 this week (on Astro high density server chips). Truly a company on the move with the resources to take their plans to the next level

    • The fact that prescott has 122 million transistors, requires so much power, and runs an average 30 degrees (F) hotter than Northwood means they won't be using that technology on the mobile front for a while (it will improve). Intels M is a much different animal than the prescott, but the celeron is usually based on the desktop line of processors and is used in many low end lap tops. The current Prescott core is just not an option for the celeron right now. It does not let AMD take over this market by a long
    • by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) * on Monday February 16, 2004 @11:04AM (#8293708)
      Centrino: marketing-speak for a Pentium-M CPU (Pentium 3 on steroids), Intel chipset, obsolete Intel 802.11b WiFi chip, and $300 million ad campaign.

      AMD: Mobile Athlon 64, variety of chipset vendors, variety of 802.11g chip vendors, no Centrino marketing tax. Thus you can buy eMachines Athlon 64 3000+ widescreen notebooks with high-end video chips from Best Buy for $1300 after the usual rebates. If you're reading Slashdot you'll get great battery life; if you're playing UT2004 you won't, but you'll get better performence than the Pentium-M can deliver.
  • by ObviousGuy ( 578567 ) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:43AM (#8292753) Homepage Journal
    I'm glad to hear this kind of recovery by AMD. Not only for the employees of AMD who won't have their lives disrupted by layoffs, but also for the stockholders who can reap the benefits of a company that is now making money.

    What's more, it forces Intel to compete against a competitor that can actually put extra top line money towards research and development. Everyone wins when companies can compete.
    • Fear of layoffs? Far from it! [statesman.com]

      AMD to expand, add Austin jobs
      Chip maker leases additional office space in Northwest Austin.

      By Kirk Ladendorf


      Wednesday, February 11, 2004

      Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has leased additional office space in Northwest Austin and plans to add more engineers there this year, a spokesman said Wednesday.

      It will be the company's first expansion in several years.

      AMD has leased an additional 36,000 square feet at 9500 Arboretum Blvd., which houses
  • Go, Go AMD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JamesP ( 688957 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:44AM (#8292756)
    Way to go AMD. Intel is eating dust on this one...

    The problem is, Intel went from an Engineering company to a marketing company. Let's just hope it doesnt became a lawsuit comapny...
    • Re:Go, Go AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:57AM (#8292825) Homepage
      AMD won't have won until Intel starts rating its processors in "equivalent Athlon64 performance". ;)
      • Re:Go, Go AMD (Score:2, Informative)

        The whole stigma about "equivalent performance" is really unwarranted. Cyrix used to name their processors things like "P-100" or "P-120" to rate them as equivalent with the Pentium 100MHz or Pentium 120MHz. And they did perform to those standards.

        In a logical sense, there shouldn't be any problem with AMD using numbers like "3200+" ...Of course, nobody ever said the Megahertz Myth was logical. It only seems to be.
      • Re:Go, Go AMD (Score:5, Informative)

        by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @10:50AM (#8293587) Journal
        AMD won't have won until Intel starts rating its processors in "equivalent Athlon64 performance". ;)

        I'm assuming you're referring to AMD's "Performance Rating." If you are, you might be interested to know that AMD compares their CPUs to a 1Ghz Duron, and NOT any sort of intel chip.

        PR3200+ would be 3.2x faster than a 1Ghz Duron.

  • 32, 64,... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:44AM (#8292759)
    What I want to know is, where are the 128bit CPUs?
    • Re:32, 64,... (Score:2, Informative)

      by moro_666 ( 414422 )
      check out the playstation2 from sony, there you have the 128bit cpu, wonder what does the pc market take so long
      here are the ps2 specs (a bit long but still) :

      CPU : 128-bit CPU
      System Clock Frequency: 294.912 MHz
      Cache Memory : Instruction: 16KB, Data: 8KB + 16 K(ScrP)
      Main Memory : Direct Rambus (Direct RDRAM)
      Memory Size : 32MB
      Memory Bus Bandwidth : 3.2GB per second
      Co-processor : FPU (Floating Point Unit) Floating Point Multiply Accumulator x 1 Floating Point Divider x 1
      Vector Units : VU0 and VU1 Floating Po
      • Re:32, 64,... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The 128 bits there are referring to the size of the data bus and registers, not the address bus. With only 32MB of memory, the PS2 doesn't need more than 25 bits to address it (it does however use a 32 bit address bus.)

        So really, it is a 32bit/128bit hybrid.
      • Re:32, 64,... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by d_strand ( 674412 )

        What makes a cpu xx-bits?
        Answer: how big numbers it can deal with in a single instruction. So a 64-bit cpu can handle 64-bit floats natively without splitting the operations into 32-bit chunks.

        I have no idea if the Sony emotion engine or whatever it's called can handle 128-bit floats/longlonglongs natively (Quad precision?) but I doubt it since it's utterly unnecesary for the software it uses. If it's able to utilize it's 128-bit registers fully with some kind of 4-unit-SIMD instructions, it s
      • Re:32, 64,... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Hoser McMoose ( 202552 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @02:22PM (#8295895)
        The Playstation2 does NOT use a 128-bit CPU!!!

        The PS2 has a 32-bit CPU core with 128-bit vector units. The Pentium3 also uses a 32-bit CPU core with 128-bit vector units (SSE), as does the Apple/Motorola G4 chip (with Altivec). There has never been a 128-bit CPU used in ANY gaming console, and I'm only aware of 1 64-bit CPU ever used (Nintendo64).

        Of course, the reason for this is that going to more bits makes a CPU SLOWER! All else being equal, a 64-bit is 5-10% slower than a 32-bit CPU, and a 128-bit CPU is 10-20% slower than a 64-bit one. Since games don't need to address more than 4GB of memory, it's totally pointless to use a 64-bit CPU in a gaming console. The only other thing that a 64-bit CPU buys you is an integer range of more than 4 billion, and that's RARELY used outside of cryptopgraphy (how often do you do cryptography on your gaming console?).

        Of course, all else usually isn't equal (eg AMD64 adds 8 more general purpose registers and cleans up some cruft when compared to IA32). Also PCs often do need to address more than 4GB of memory (virtual + physical).

        PCs do not, however, need to address more than 10^19 bytes of memory, and they definitely don't need more than 10^19 integer range for much of anything, so 128-bit CPUs get you absolutely NO positives but you still would have to deal with the 10-20% performance loss.
    • by MasTRE ( 588396 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @10:07AM (#8293245)
      > What I want to know is, where are the 128bit CPUs?

      Which will be able to address..... [zoom in on Dr. Evil's face] 1 MILLION MEGABYTES!!!
  • Why 64-bit is better (Score:2, Informative)

    by Decaff ( 42676 )
    64-bit processors are better than 32-bit ones because 32-bit processors 'can't take advantage of more than 4 megabytes (sic) of memory at a time'.

    Well, yes, but the real reason that 64-bit is better is that software should be able to move data around more quickly, typically twice as fast as 32-bit given a well-designed data bus external to the chip.
    • by pesc ( 147035 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:58AM (#8292835)
      the real reason that 64-bit is better is that software should be able to move data around more quickly, typically twice as fast as 32-bit given a well-designed data bus external to the chip.


      You can move data around fast if you have a good memory architecture. A wide data bus to external memory. And a bus clocked at high speed. And larger caches.

      You can have all of that with both 32-bit and 64-bit processors. The 64-bittness doesn't help here. If everything else is equal (in the memory architecture), I would expect the 64-bit processor to lose slightly since it has wider pointers. That puts more pressure on the caches and uses more memory bandwidth.

      64 bit processors are good because they can easily adress more than 4GB virtual memory.
      • But 32-bit processors can, using the exact same tricks to pass around 64-bit data, address more than 4GB of memory.

        Both are legitimate enhancements that a 64-bit processor has over a 32-bit one.

        More address space, wider data path.

        My personal opinion is the end result of 64-bits will be an efficiency improvement, but not a performance one. So once again AMD favors performance over clock speeds. Probably another reason intel is weak on putting out 64-bit CPUs because they know the clock speeds will be lo
      • by Anonymous Coward

        64 bit processors are good because they can easily adress more than 4GB virtual memory.


        The bottleneck on all modern [isolated, not networked] computer systems, which dwarfs all other bottlenecks, is precisely virtual memory. Calls to the hardrive are many, many orders of magnitude slower than calls to any other system.

        Now while it's generally true that you can't have more than 2^32 bytes of total [physical + virtual] memory on a 32-bit machine, 64-bit machines are faster than 32-bit machines preci

        • Oh no. (Score:3, Informative)

          by Carl T ( 749426 )
          Virtual memory is not the same thing as swapped out memory.
          There are a couple of points here:
          • Even a 32-bit machine may have more than 4 GB of physical RAM, just as a 16-bit machine may have more than 64 kB. It's just that it cannot be mapped into a single block of virtual memory, so without ugly workarounds there's no way a process can address more than 4 GB.
          • It's not uncommon to (for various reasons) allocate more memory than needed, and never touch part of it. These allocations don't consume physical me
  • by Brane2 ( 608748 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:46AM (#8292770)
    ...stop being such assholes and decide to use Socket 940 for all the models, stop charging insane amounts for those extra two HT links on Opterons 8xx and use some smart diferentiating qualities between subfamilies (like amount of L2 cache, for example) instead of number of HT links, Socket models etc crap, this 64-bit idea would have a whole lot more appeal...
  • 4gigs of ram (Score:4, Informative)

    by phreak03 ( 621876 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:47AM (#8292773) Homepage Journal
    you can adress more than 4 gigs of ram with a 32bit prossessor You just need a cludge (kinda expensive/slow) but itspossible speaking of lots of ram, anyone seen those Ram Harddrives they had at CES a couple years ago
    • Re:4gigs of ram (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @09:05AM (#8292880) Homepage
      You can address more than 4 gigs of ram with an 8 bit processor. That doesn't mean that the result is pretty or that you should do it.
    • I could make a 6502 address more than 4G of memory. Of course, it would spend all of its time paging in paging tables to figure out what to page in, but it could be done.

      However, writing 6502 code to access that memory would be a nightmare.

      Simillarly, writing ia32 code to access more than 4G of memory per thread is a nightmare of paging - instead of simply mmap'ing a file and moving a pointer, I now have to bring the paging logic into my program, and make my code all the more complicated. And complicated
  • Congrats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Killjoy_NL ( 719667 ) <slashdot@remco.palli . n l> on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:48AM (#8292778)
    Congratulations to AMD, they've been more innovative in the CPU market than Intel (which is a big feat in my book)
    They've also setup a big solid state memcard department (I'm dutch and can't remember the correct name for it right now) which is running along nicely as well.

    I hope they can continue keeping up the good work, they deserve it.
    • Re:Congrats (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Plammox ( 717738 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:57AM (#8292827)
      Face it. AMD and Intel need eachother. For me it's a sign of health that Intel's roadmaps are affected by AMD's moves and vice versa.

      It's easy to imagine how Intel or AMD products would be more inferior due to lack of competition.
    • Re:Congrats (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dave420-2 ( 748377 )
      You say that, but Intel are doing so much more... Centrino, celerons, mobile chips, etc. AMD just has 32-bit desktops and 64-bit desktops. Their mobile chips are just desktop chips in funky packaging.

      I'm all for giving credit where credit's due, but they don't get a +1000, Innovative just because they're AMD...

      • Re:Congrats (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Killjoy_NL ( 719667 ) <slashdot@remco.palli . n l> on Monday February 16, 2004 @09:06AM (#8292894)
        I don't mean to give them a +1000, Innovative.
        +500, sure :D

        They designed a cpu that's a much better workhorse than that of their competitor (Athlon), then they did it again (AthlonXP) and again (Opteron/AMD64)

        That's innovation from where I'm standing.
        I know Intel has a lot more different products, but they use those products more as cashcows, trying to milk as much money from it as possible before the market demands something new.
        • Not to get picky but the AthlonXP and Athon are essentially the same core [all the way up through Barton].

          The only real diffs are the cache size [but even the manual notes the limitations of the core with TLB entries], transistor size and addition of SSE. The actual execution engine is the same design [hence the same cycle counts].

          Not saying the Athlon isn't a good core. I've had about five diff athlons [and I made sure my laptop would have one] but it isn't as if they jump leap and bounds with their ne
          • Also, re: Opteron, they've apparently "gotten it", and you -should- be able to run at least some of the models with just a heatsink...not even a fan.

            I want to say the rig I've got (dual 244, 6G RAM, 1U rackmount) is fanless, but I'd have to go crack the case and look.
      • As far as I know, AMD has also much more than desktop CPUs. They have flash RAM, they have embedded controllers (anyone remember the AMD29K series?). Without those other product lines they wouldn't have survived the times when they were struggling to get the new desktop processors out.
  • In related news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:51AM (#8292792)
    AMD has made deep cuts [amd.com] in their CPU prices, probably pre-emptively.
  • by MukiMuki ( 692124 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:51AM (#8292799)
    In other news, the DVD consortium has finally approved a standard of blue ray disc drive, which allows optical media to break DVD's 18 megabyte barrier, finally allowing for movies times exceeding 10 seconds.
  • by mu-sly ( 632550 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:52AM (#8292802) Homepage Journal

    ...however, it's not about better products, it's about mindshare of the buyers.

    I've been building PCs for quite a few years now, and have nearly always used and recommended AMD processors over Intel. In my opinion, AMDs cost less, often outperform their Intel equivalents, and lead the way when it comes to new innovations.

    I guess the reason they don't have a bigger market share is because a lot of the OEM companies only sell Intel, and because Joe Public only knows about MHz as a measure of speed.

    • by Jarnis ( 266190 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @09:37AM (#8293058)
      Overall system/platform stability also matters a lot.

      In my experience (repairing computers at a 'white box' shop), AMD has still way more 'oddball' problems with it's chipsets and motherboards.

      If you build an Intel box, generally it Just Works. If you build an AMD AthlonXP box, it generally probably works, if you are lucky and you are using just the right brand of memory.

      Part of the problem is the HAREBRAINED idea of AMD; 'we are not a chipset company'. They gave keys to their kingdom to VIA, and VIA promptly keeps churning out crap. Only the latest chipsets (KT400A etc) are in my opinion any good, and even there you can find big differences with the quality of the implementation between mobo makers.

      Granted - motherboard and chipset maturity seems MUCH better with Athlon64 and Opteron, but I've seen too few systems so far to be sure if the status quo is maintaned when Athlon64 goes mainstream and motherboards get cheaper.

      But in any case - if I'd have to build a new high-end gaming rig today, I'd still choose Intel, even with the penalty of higher price. I agree that _right now_ is a stupid time to do so, as AMD is rapidly moving to 940pin, while Intel is going to the new 775(?) pin thingy. So basically everything out there today will be obsolete within 6 months. Of course this doesn't really differ from the norm in reality, but at least you can *hope* that if you go for the first 940pin Athlon64 board, it might be upgradeable with just a CPU swap down the road. No such luck for 745 pin mobos.

      I really hope Athlon64 motherboard stability and quality is better in the long run than with AthlonXP.
      • ... and I obiviously meant that AMD is rapidly moving to the new *939* pin setup... 939.. 940... bah humbug.. :)

      • I agree. It's crazy that AMD does not make their own chipsets.
      • "If you build an AMD AthlonXP box, it generally probably works, if you are lucky and you are using just the right brand of memory."

        Quit using ECS and no-name memory and you won't have problems. I've been building AMD systems almost exclusively for about 3 years now, and I've had about the same number of AMD and Intel-based computers come back, nearly all for mainboard problems. Trying everything from ECS (crap) to FIC (almost as bad) to MSI, Gigabyte, and finally, Asus, I pretty much have run the gambit o
  • by MadX ( 99132 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:54AM (#8292816)
    As long as they have a product that their rivals cannot compete with, they can keep the prices at a premium.
    Hence, until such time as Intel release a competitive product, AMD can enjoy high profit margins.
    This will change once Intel do release their competitive product though.

    BTW: As was said in the article, the other arm of AMD's fabrication was also responsible for their profits ie: flash memory for cellphones. It's only because they have a majority stake in the joint venture with fujitsu, that they are able to declare the income as part of their overall turnover.
  • Irony (Score:5, Funny)

    by Killjoy_NL ( 719667 ) <slashdot@remco.palli . n l> on Monday February 16, 2004 @08:57AM (#8292831)
    "and Intel releasing chips mimicking the 32/64-bit behaviour of the Opteron"

    Does anybody else see the irony in this ?
  • Just ran a centrino sys. the other day. This thing started-up just like a calculator should. In about a nanosecond it booted and was ready to run. Multiple apps. open on the fly in the same manner. I had about 15 major memory intensive programs open at one time and this chip handled everything. Also, someone told me that the new AMD chipsets have a default lockout to prevent over-clocking? Has anyone heard anything about this?
    • ...all you need to slap 'Centrino' onto a laptop is the following...

      A Pentium IV Mobility Processor

      A Particular Intel Mainboard Chipset

      Intel's WiFi Internal Card

      I also believe that it needs a certain Graphics processor, also from Intel.

      The 'Centrino' label is nothing spectacular. It is just another marketing line that 'creates' a new Intel Line without really engineering a whole new line. The whole 'Centrino' line is a marketing thing to get people excited about mobile computing and is
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @09:00AM (#8292848) Journal
    I am currently installing gentoo on a dual opteron server as well as a 1u celeron machine that will contain backups. No suprise that there is a performance difference but the gap is gigantic. Same with better specced dual P3 and P4 machines. Even the dual Xeon P4 is left behind easily.

    HOWEVER, the dual opteron contains an intel raid and soon an intel network card. And I must say that installing the pentiums in the past was an awfull lot easier.

    Price/performance opteron is currently the clear winner, its giganctic cache and better memory structure heads above the same price Xeons. As far as support and quality of the hardware goes. Intel all the way. Sadly for intel the bubble has burst and web companies cannot afford the Itanium. So Opteron it is.

    But AMD has been on top before and they always managed to screw up. Intel screws up to but somehow manages to keep making money during the down times. AMD is not so lucky.

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @09:39AM (#8293065) Homepage Journal
    That would be one than 10, wouldn't it?
  • Old news! (Score:3, Informative)

    by CTho9305 ( 264265 ) on Monday February 16, 2004 @10:38AM (#8293476) Homepage
    This was announced on January 20th [amd.com].
  • by BoneFlower ( 107640 ) <`george.worroll' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday February 16, 2004 @01:25PM (#8295168) Journal
    AMD. Going from simply fabbing chips for Intel, to making simple clones(cheaper and lower performing than the intels) to dead even performance with their own designs, to actually pushing around the direction of the industry a bit(though not quite as much as intel). Without AMD, computers would probably be much more expensive. Even when they just fabed chips for intel, rather than compete head on like they do now, that got more chips onto the market keeping prices from getting too out of hand. And now with them being a viable competitor, and even leading in some areas(it seems every six months the one with the fastest chip flip flops)... Even Intel fans benefit from AMD forcing Intel to keep prices somewhat reasonable.

    If either Intel or AMD slacked on advancing their designs, or decided to get too greedy with pricing, the other would eat them alive. They push each other to put out better products at lower prices, and the consumer wins.

    If only the consumer OS market was this competetive. Linux is rapidly rising in the consumer space, so perhaps things will start looking up even there.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes