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AMD Launches Counterstrike Against Core 2 Duo 277

DigitalDame2 writes to mention a PC Magazine article about the AMD 4x4 enthusiast platform, which is meant to counter Core 2 Duo. The article observes that AMD is now facing many of the same business practices it used in its war against Intel. From the article: "While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, improvement can often be a slap in the face. Intel's C2D was designed with both low power and performance per watt in mind, two key design metrics that helped AMD cut into Intel's market share with the Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2. And, as preliminary numbers have indicated and final performance reviews now show, the C2D has learned its lesson well: its performance now tops AMD's Athlon 64 architecture by a substantial margin."
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AMD Launches Counterstrike Against Core 2 Duo

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  • Heh... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:46PM (#15720755)
    If Intel had tried this a year ago with their inferior P4 processors, AMD fanboys would have complained that they were being stupid and basically saying they needed two chips to beat AMD's single chip.

    Now, I'm sure that AMD is "innovative" by introducing this platform. Genius, I tell you!
  • Fanboyism... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TripHammer ( 668315 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:51PM (#15720793)
    is wasteful. I'm glad to see Intel back in the mix with some good offerings. I think those of us whom are fickle come out on top: you buy what makes sense. Fanboys step back!
  • by Churla ( 936633 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:55PM (#15720814)
    This smacks to me of AMD realizing Intel had actually landed a well placed shot into thier gut and needing a fast "get positive attention back on up" spin.

    So we'll have to buy TWO processors to compete with what Intel is doing with one? If they're aiming for the Enthusiast market they have to remember that "enthusiasts" have price constraints (usually referred to as "wife")

    I could be wrong. But I really don't think I am.
  • I for one... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rowama ( 907743 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:55PM (#15720818)
    am happy that I finally know what will be in my computer 5 years from now, when I swap out my pentium III based system. Us poor folk at least get to enjoy the anticipation longer.
  • by pieterh ( 196118 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @02:56PM (#15720826) Homepage
    It does not matter how much these processors cost today, nor whether AMD's 4x4 is real or a maketing ploy.

    What matters is that AMD has captured sufficient marketshare over the last years to become a real competitor to Intel. Opterons have become the CPU of choice for large servers, the niche that Itanium was meant to capture.

    Now Intel's comeback means we're seeing the start of a new growth of CPU power, this time into multi-core land, a nice solid metric on which to compete. You can fudge the Ghz but you can't really fudge the number of cores. This means we have the perfect conditions for an explosion of growth, until the numbers get into meaningless territory. Within 3-4 years, common desktops will have 8 to 16 cores, and high-end workstations will have 128 or more.

    I'm just very glad my company made the move to writing multithreaded code so we can get the best from this new landscape.
  • by minion ( 162631 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:01PM (#15720854)
    People are forgetting though that its not just desktop CPUs that AMD took such large pieces of marketshare away from Intel.
    There have been a few benchmarks (I believe one was on Anandtech's site) that have shown Intel Xeons running in 64bit mode performed slower than the same processor running in 32bit mode. Now, I know, we're talking about copying larger data segments around, because the address space is larger, so a bit of a slowdown in some areas are expected. But when they're talking 5% slower, thats a bit.
    We replaced 3 Dual Intel Xeon servers (2.8GHz Xeons) with 4G of RAM each, with a single AMD Dual Opteron server, running in 64bit mode for MySQL. This system is immensely faster than the old Xeon systems. MySQL shows upto 23% performance increases in SELECT commands on 64bit vs 32bit on the AMD. On the Intel, it was a performance loss.
    As far as heat output, the air coming out the back of this server feels cooler, not to mention that it replaced 3 servers with one.
    People need to focus on the server market, and not the desktop market to see the real king in the (x86) CPU wars. Lets not forget hypertransport, and seperate data paths for memory and IO, whereas the Xeon has a shared 800MHz FSB (now 1066 with the newer rendition).
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:05PM (#15720889) Journal
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this just two dual-core AMD processors on a single board? What's to stop Intel from releasing a dual-socket board and slapping two Conroes in it (provided the chip supports it)?

  • FINALLY! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sebastopol ( 189276 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:07PM (#15720898) Homepage
    ...us Intel fanboys get to see AMD scrambling to polish a turd, the same way Intel had to with the P4 core for the past 4 years.

    AMD CEO to Marketing: "Attention marketing team: Full Steam Ahead with the scrambling and spinning in place!"

    I'm going to take a few moments to enjoy AMD's panic. Because: a) its been a long time, and b) it probably won't last long.

  • It was all GPU (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Atroxodisse ( 307053 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:07PM (#15720903) Homepage
    The point was that Intel is hyping the new processor for gaming but you really don't need the best processor for gaming. Might as well drop $180 on a good processor instead of $800 on the best because it won't make a difference.
  • Re:I for one... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doti ( 966971 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:10PM (#15720916) Homepage
    Well, a pIII can play movies and run quake3.
    That's the two most demanding uses for a computer.
    The rest is futile.
  • by mseidl ( 828824 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:17PM (#15720961) Homepage
    Why you copy AMD a lot lately, why not! copy the best thing of them all, HT! HT as in hyptertransport, not hyperthreading. Im curious to see the new 'xeons' compete with am2 opterons. While the new architecture is seeming much faster than AMD's offering at the moment. The FSB is still old and flawed. The AGTL+ max bandwith of the CD2 is maxed out at ~8gb/sec, where as HyperTransport maxes out at ~14gb/sec.
  • by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:28PM (#15721042)
    There doesn't seem to be any AMD counterstrike yet other than hot air. It would be a shock if AMD spokespeople said anything other than that they were 'supremely confident.' What else can they say...that they are facing several quarters of deep price cuts, low margins, and they're scared to death about their stock options? The original P4 delivered a pretty big smackdown on AMD that took them two years to come back from and the Conroe Core 2 Duo looks like it's going to do the same thing. AMD still has the better fundamental architecture, though, just like they did against the P4 with its 26 pipeline stages and power-sucking 'netburst' architecture, so in the long run the AMd direct connect stuff should win out but that's not going to put food on the table for the next year or so.
  • by Soybean47 ( 885009 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:29PM (#15721050)
    I got that. It just seems kind of odd to me that they're trying to convince people to measure speed in magic AMD numbers instead of GHz, and now apparently power consumption in some different magic AMD numbers instead of Watts. It's good to get people thinking, but after a while it just seems like you're trying to fudge things to make yourself look better.
  • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:39PM (#15721115) Journal

    They even talked about 8x8 (2x 4 core CPUS). Just 4x4 strikes me as wasted power that the vast majority of enthusiasts would never touch. Most of the time the 2nd core is barely used even now.

    Gillette has already created a version of this overkill in shaving:

    Mach 5 [cnn.com]
    Platinum Mach 14 [jt.org]
    5 Blades! [theonion.com]
  • by GoatMonkey2112 ( 875417 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:44PM (#15721137)
    AMD is in a much better situation than they have been in the past.

    Their server chips will continue to sell well. Opteron is still very competitive in multiprocessor systems.

    There will still be people buying AMD processors based on price and past performance. If you've got some market share people will come back to you for upgrades.

    AMD has other sources of income than just CPUs. Their flash memory is the most obvious one.

    AMD made a name for itself as being a low cost alternative to Intel years ago. This trip into the high end is a new thing and it made them a nice pile of money to invest in the next generation due out next year.

    All of that being said, I'm still going to be buying a Conroe. But your predition of the company going under is a major exaggeration. They will most likely be back and strong around a year to a year and a half from now.

  • by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:44PM (#15721138)
    That would be an insightful comment..if it were made 1 month ago.

    Woodcrest changes your equation completely.

  • Bingo. The price is what is killing AMD.

    Not sure if Intel is trying to salt the fields here, but AMD did not drop prices at all until they were forced to over the last couple years. Benchmarks can be somewhat unreliable, but with enough reading you can find how the midrange CPU's compare to each other. Since AMD also dropped the 939 socket, I'm going to look real hard at Intel as I have to update RAM and mainboard the next time I do a major update. Were I buying today, it would be Intel - that has not been the case for me since I replaced a 450 mhz slot 2 xeon with a 700mhz slot A thunderbird. I'm not the type of guy to buy an FX or Extreme! Edition of anything, but when I stack up what kind of bang for the buck I can get between $200-500, AMD has a real problem on their hands. Both the X2 and Core 2 Duo are solid technology, but I will not pay for 'brand'. The AMD kit is going to have to drop a fair bit more to be competitive in the landscape I buy in.
  • Re:FINALLY! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by groundround ( 962898 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:48PM (#15721182)
    I'm just curious what you get out of being a fanboy. I mean, it is a corporation we're talking about. So, unless you work there, cheerleading a group of people employed to create company profits is meaningless.

  • Re:I for one... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fotbr ( 855184 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:55PM (#15721228) Journal
    Not poor, but still happily running my dual P-III 1Ghz setup I built 5 years ago. I've upgraded from the original GeForce Pro to an ATI Radeon 9800Pro last year, swapped out the CD burner for a DVD Burner the year before that, and added two 400GB drives 6 months ago to complement the two 80GB drives that I originally had. The thing that'd really help me would be more RAM, but from day one it was maxed out with 2GB.

    Until I meet anything it can't do that I really want to do, I don't see the need to replace the machine. Unfortunetly, it is about at the end of its upgradeability -- new graphics cards will require PCIe, which means new MB, and therefore new CPU(s). More RAM would also require new MB, etc.

    Maybe I'm frugal, maybe I just don't see the need to always have "the latest and greatest" but I'll stick with my strategy of building a beast of a machine every few years, but not throwing much money at it after its built.
  • by Azarael ( 896715 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @03:58PM (#15721248) Homepage
    I believe that the difference would be AMD chips support hypertransport while Intel's don't. The theory is that with the hypertransport bus the communication between processors will be almost as fast as if they were on the same die. If Intel had to use the FSB, then they'd be limited by the available bandwidth.
  • Re:It was all GPU (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ben there... ( 946946 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @04:04PM (#15721285) Journal
    Right. As someone was saying in the other article, they didn't test 800x600 (where you would have seen the difference) because most people who spend $500 on a CPU and $500 on a GPU wouldn't play at that resolution.

    But my opinion is that if they're testing the CPU, they should test at 800x600, simply to factor the GPU out of the equation. If they're testing for a particular game that's one thing, but they're supposed to be testing the CPU. Even if they pulled the 800x600 out into a separate table for comparison of atypical scenarios, fine, but they should still show it.

    If a new generation of GPUs suddenly comes out, you'll be happy you bought the more powerful CPU, regardless of current GPU limitations.
  • by Stompp ( 987549 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @04:10PM (#15721326)
    All I can say is, "keep one-upping each other!" The more competition (not marketing!) we see, the better we, as consumers make out. So what if the performance gains are negligible (in certain areas) the more they release, the cheaper some of these older (still extremely viable) chips get!

    Age old fight: Intel vs. AMD... you want to know who wins? Us.
  • by bberens ( 965711 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @04:13PM (#15721356)
    It depresses me that innovation in the processor market is adding additional cores. The geek in my loves it, but the consumer in me isn't impressed. What I (and I presume most other regular users) want is the ability to double-click on my Word/Evolution/Eclipse/Firefox/IE/etc icon and have it instantly display on the screen. What I don't need is to be able to run multiple programs just as slow as I could run one program 2 years ago. What's the holdup? Is it bus speed? Hard drive speed? Memory speed? Will I ever have zero (apparent) latency between running apps and seeing the result? The problem with PC makers is that if they ever do reach the holy grail of zero (apparent) latency, then they will have to decrease the life expectancy of their products in order to continue to make a profit. Maybe I'm slightly off topic and maybe I'm just bitter, but the latest and greatest PC today just doesn't seem to massively outperform the latest and greatest 3 years ago in any way meaningful to the end user. My compile times are faster, but for the most part, users simply can't/don't tax their processor.
  • I would have been a whole lot more impressed if they had actually made a "four by four" machine, instead of just making up a nonsense term for what's nothing but a regular dual-socket, dual-core setup. At most, I'd call that a "2x2." Four-by-four? It doesn't have four of anything in it, certainly not four of anything by four of anything else. That's just misleading.

    Two cores per processor times two processors ought to be called a 2x2, and a 4x4 ought to mean a four-socket mobo with four quad-core processors, for a total of 16 cores. Similarly, what they're calling an "8x8" ought to be called a 2x4, or maybe a 4x2, since it's four processors times two processors per core.

    For an 'enthusiast' product -- which they're apparently hoping to sell to people who have a clue -- that's a stupid way to name it. Plus, as multi-processor, multi-core systems become more prevalent in the future, it would be nice to have some clear nomenclature to describe them. AMD is just starting everyone off on the wrong foot by calling their dual-core/two-way systems "4-by-anythings".
  • by LordKazan ( 558383 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @05:04PM (#15721670) Homepage Journal
    If they're aiming for the Enthusiast market they have to remember that "enthusiasts" have price constraints (usually referred to as "wife")

    excuse me? WTF are you smoking. The people I think of buying the hottest newest CPUs with multicores and multiple CPUs in the enthusiast (read: gamers) market is people who buy more hardware for ePenis only.

    These people don't have wives! :D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 14, 2006 @05:06PM (#15721693)
    That is kindof their point. Who plays games at 800x600? If you already have a very good graphics card and decent processor, don't bother upgrading. This is the message I took from the article.
  • by FuturePastNow ( 836765 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @05:38PM (#15721831)
    You've touched on exactly what makes this so hard to understand. AMD used to be the ultimate value buy. Two of my college roommates and I had, between us, an Athlon XP 1800+, 2100+, and 2500+. I've also got a Sempron 2200+ machine. All four of those computers were relatively cheap and offered a lot of bang for the buck. But the Athlon 64 and X2, while fast, are way too expensive for any of us to consider, and this coming price cut by AMD is too little, too late.

    I have an Intel machine now, and both of my old roommates are switching.

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