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Intel's Anti-Athlon Campaign 219

levendis wrote to us about Ars Technica, who is currently running a feature piece about Intel's FUD-like attempts to bash down the Athlon. The chip-wars have gotten pretty bloody this time around, with all of the hype behind Coppermine and the Athlon - what do you folks think about all of this?
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Intel's Anti-Athlon Campaign

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  • Like elections in the US.
  • The moderator on this topic just did one of 2 things. 1-it showed censorship, because the question was posed.."what do you think". 2- the moderator knows this opinion to be the truth and is bashing the author. In either case, it doesn't show excessive intellegence or fairness on the part of the moderator. When asked "what do you think?" ALL opinions are on topic. Just a reminder. :)
  • I don't know, WIndows 2000 is due to be released soon.
  • As much as you (and I) may want to "give the finger to Micros~1 and Intel", ultimately the market will usually adopt products that meet the needs of the consumer.

    Take the Celeron for example, when the K6-2 came out, I couldn't wait to buy one. 100MHz bus, 3dNow instructions, a super chip at the time. Problem was that it ran hot. Sure you can cool it, but still, it ran hot.

    The original Celerons were obviously a huge flop. Consequently, no one bought them and Intel was forced to add the L2 cache. In the mean time, AMD increased its market share at the low end.

    A strange thing happened though once the Celeron 300A hit the market: People found out that it was a great chip. It overclocked exceptionally well. It ran relatively cool (unless overclocked). And, perhaps most importantly, it gave users an easy upgrade path all the way to Intel's newer P2 and P3 chips. Consequently, lots of folks (including me) that support AMD (I owned the stock) left AMD for the Celeron. Why? Value. Celeron was just a better value for me.

    The author of the original article had to confess that he was writing the article on an overclocked dual-Celeron system. Value.

    Don't insist that I buy something to give anyone the finger. I will probably own a K7 at some point, probably when motherboard bus speeds and memory increase to make it a worthwhile upgrade to my overclocked Celeron 366. I certainly recommend the K7 to friends and family since its a better VALUE. Few people will buy it to make a statement.

  • but I was right that having a deeper pipeline means it's easier to fab high clock speed parts

    Very true. After the first swapping of terms I should've realize you meant pipelined rather than superscalar with regards to the fabbing :)

  • Right now the Athlon can kick the pIII's ass, but this happens with every x86 generation. AMD puts out n+1 x86, where n is the current intel generation, but intel comes back a few months later with somthing better, the k5 was far better then a 486, but pales to a pentium. a k6 is better then a pentium, but dosn't really hold up to a pII/PIII. the Athlon beats the pants off a p6, but...

    But the problem for intel is, AMD is currently at the top of the heap performance wise (even for servers, where intel's cash cow xenon's reside). So for people who care about speed and nothing else Athlon is the only choice. AMD can charge whatever they want on the chip, and for once have a good quarter. Intel on the other hand looses money. Intel isn't worried about dying, but they are worried about loosing money in the iterem..
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • The actual item of interest is what Intel chooses to do about this. Naturally, they can't conceed
    defeat without serious economic results (unfortunately, Money seems to drive the market more than

    Money IS the market: it's all about 'shareholder value.' Performance, customers, whatever - they don't care, all they have to do is show a greater profit next quarter than they did in the last.

    Intel has billions of dollars cached away, if they were serious about this, and, of course, they weren't under such scrutiny by the feds, they would just give p3's to everyone in their stockings this year.

    You gotta think way outside of what we do when you're examining issues like this, and remember, all large corporations are driven by pure evil. That's just the Way It Is.

    Again, I hate it when companies do this, but: one, can you blame them and two there's nothing I
    know that can be done (if you know something please tell me!).

    Uhm.. it's easy: Don't buy intel processors. Hell, don't buy anything. _We_ are the reason this boom economy exists, the more crap they put out there, the more we buy. You want it to stop? Stop it. As soon as those Xeons sit on the shelf and gather dust, the whole economy changes. I'm ready for it; I'm sick of paying a buck fifty for a gallon of gas. :)

  • A 1 word opinion espousing a vague concept which does not have an immediate relationship with the subject at hand. Is, IMHO, offtopic. Apparently this was the moderator's humble opinion as well.

    The Illiminati were refrenced in the artical, next time, read before you post.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • This is getting a little off-topic, but I'm afraid I need to answer this point.

    Socialist countries? You mean, like England? (Home of the computer, the transputer, the steam engine, the dirt-repelling paint, the jet engine, the jump-jet, the clockwork radio, optic memory, anesthetics, etc, etc)

    Fascinating, what all these poor, pathetic socialist countries can come up with, without the "benefit" of rampant capitalism. It makes you almost stop and ask yourself "what, exactly, have all these capitalist countries actually produced?"

    I don't want to get into any political debates, but honestly, I don't see much difference between the US and Japan in terms of stolen technologies, "acquired" ideas, and blatant copying. I =DO= see that American corporations have a habit of rewriting history to delete inconvenient originators. I'm sorry, but whilst that's not illegal, I'm not exactly going to keep my mouth shut over it, either.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    In the time of ancient computers [image of horses pulling a charriot labeled 8086]...

    Wargames [image of Matthew Broderick hacking WOPR]...

    And King's (Quest)...

    a motherboard in turmoil cried out for a hero.

    [Intel person in colored environmental suit whirling sword about] She... is Xeon. A mighty processor forged in the heat of a 5V Pentium...

    The power... [imagine Xeon chakram hurled by Intel babe in a leather hooded lab environmental suit, bouncing off of several walls in a flash of sparks... cutting an Imac in half on return bounce]

    The passion... [Xeon guts Athlon CPU with aluminum heatsink sword]...

    The CPU ID [Xeon looking back at you, raising one eyebrow, like she knows the viewers every move]...

    Her courage will change^H^H^Hrge your credit card!

  • ...since a bunch has already been said, but here is something a lot of us might be forgetting - at least in the US market.

    Lets look at both the average consumer and the large corporation.

    Most households which would buy a computer have bought a computer. My parents finally put a 286, bought in '90, to rest and bought a new computer. They were happy with it, it did everything they wanted and finally stuff started to die and they - finally - bought a new one.

    when I was home during breaks and holidays through college, teaching them how to use a computer was one thing, now they are re-learing absolutely everything and I'm 1,000 away working - it is a whole hellova lot harder...

    Anyways, what's my point. The average household has purchased a computer by now and they expect to get a bunch of years out of it - not the six months propellor heads (like me) expect to get out of a machine. My parents had their computer for almost nine years. They, like most computer quasi-pseudo-non-literate people see a really fancy TV when they look at a computer. They expect it to last them about 9 years... Yes, now they are on the internet, and yes they now find it really cool, but there is little technology has to offer them in terms of hardware that their Pentium III-450 (or even if they had only a Pentium I-166) would not be able to offer them. They are not writing code, making cad drawings, or playing quake 'til 3AM or their eyes fall out (which ever comes first). They, like most America, has what it needs - something to surf the webwith, something to do their taxes on, and something to play solitare with (since everyone knows you can't use a real deck of cards anymore).

    They will not purchase an Anthalon.

    From the business side...

    Businesses just finished dumping money into Y2K compliance for every single system. In most cases, desktops which posed a possible threat to Y2K compliance were chucked, and computers were upgraded. Businesses spent the capital on absolutely everyhing. Here's a hint - only tech industries need the latest and the greatest machinery, and they probably don't really either.

    What I'm saying once again, is that expect not too too many Anthalons to be bought for corporations (or at least not as many as AMD would LIKE to be bought).

    What does this really mean? Hardware has fast outgrown itself - dangerously. While I hate marketing -especially intels, intel has recognized this and has worked to establish a desire to still upgrade (don't get on the internet, get into it). At best, people with early pentiums and late 486s will buy it and donate their old ones to good will (oh yeah and avid gamers will chuck theirs too, and try to sell their old crap on ebay - since they have to have the latest and greatest pc).

    What I'm talking here is at best trickle down economics for PCs. The ones who loose are the chip manufacturers - hands down.

    So, if AMD is banking everyting on the Anthalon, kiss them goodbye. If intel thinks that their going to continue to get a better market share - guess again. If a tech recession is going to happen, this is where it will start.
  • The average buyer has no clue about performance and will believe the FUD that is shouted the loudest

    Not necessarily. I think the average consumer measures performance. Granted, it's on a purely MHz-rated scale, but they do. They may not know that an Athlon is faster clock for clock than PIII (in fact it's likely they don't know). I don't see the FUD-factor as being all that strong here. Whoever has the most MHz will be seen by most consumers as being the fastest.
  • >>I mean, based on everything I've seen, it's a far superior chip for far less money. C'mon - the Athlon is impressive, no doubt. But it's not "far superior for far less money". At same clock speeds, the Athlon provides a *few* more fps in Quake3. But the P3 is faster in Photoshop. And the price differences aren't that drastic - in some clock speeds, the Athlon is cheaper. In others, the P3 is.
  • Exactly. The word-of-mouth factor here is especially useful because a lot of people who aren't knowledgable about computers have a friend or relative who is, and will ask their advice about a computer purchasing decision. They'll ask who makes the best stuff, and if the advisor is indeed knowledgable they'll tell them the AMD not only offers the fastest products, but offers the best bang-for-your-buck on the high end (and maybe low-end, but they've got competition with the Celeron). So word of mouth can work wonders even if the average consumer doesn't initially know the Athlon is better.

    The situation is a little different with corporations, though. But I think that companies have seen that AMD's chips are reliable and less expensive than Intel's. And now, the chips are more powerful than the PIII family, and are being produced in quantity. The only problem I see, which is not a small one, is the fact that many major OEMs aren't building Athlon systems (for example Dell). This might hurt Athlon sales in the corporate market.
  • After all, the average buyer will only care about three things:

    ... and that's pointless, because you forgot the point that the average buyer is a corporation, which cares about completely different things. Say, for instance, their past experience with intel has been that they've been using intel x86 chips in their servers and workstations for the past 10 years, and they've generally been reliable. Why risk it and change, when you can stay with something you know?

    This is the major problem AMD faces.

  • >This is exactly what I would expect from MicroSoft, not Intel.

    Intel has been getting away with being the ``good cop" of the Wintel alliance for years, but they can be just as sleezy & cut throat as their Redmond ally. The book _Inside_Intel_ documents a number of these practices, which apparently consists of -- but is not limited to -- screw your competition, screw your partners, & screw your employees.

    Then again, name me one major high tech company that doesn't practice these kinds of treatment; _Inside_Intel_ is equally harsh on AMD.

  • You think superior product always wins?? Far from it. It may win with us geeks, but the average user will actually buy into the Pentium 3 advertising. You think it's really that impossible to imagine a comsumer going into a store where both Athlon and Pentium 3 are and then they choose the Pentium 3 because they want to get onto the internet??

    Marketing is more important than product in many ways. What good is having a better product if no one knows about it or buys it? Combine that with M$ tactics that they are using on AMD and if something doesn't happen the only ones buying Athlons will be the geeks. AMD needs some good marketing...if they can even afford it. All their eggs are on one basket. Athlon fails, AMD fails. You know what happens when AMD fails, complacency. For those who point out the Alphas. They are immaterial because they don't run windows 95/98 and cost too much. That will change only when linux wins on the desktop. Oops wasn't I supposed to say if. :) Paul

  • All I know is that once upon I time, I purchased an AMD chip/motherboard combo, mainly because of the price (I was a student at the tme.) I had no problems with it either, until Command and Conquer was released.

    Well, try as I might, Command and Conquer would not run reliably on my system. If I chose sound, the mouse wouldn't work. If I disabled sound, the mouse would work, but I wouldn't be able to hear if I was being attacked. This was a royal pain in the butt. Anyone who's played Command and Conquer will agree that sound is a somewhat important and/or helpful thing to have in this game.

    After many frustrating attempts to get it to work, and several messages to Westwood support, I gave up. A couple weeks later, Westwood added a section in their Command and Conquer FAQ describing my problem, and stated that it was an issue only with those people that owned a system with an AMD CPU.

    Now, a lot of you are probably saying "so what, it's just a game". Well, yeah, it is just a game, but my point is it's just one program out of many that "could" have a similar problem. The end result now, is that I have not bought any other CPU since then, aside from one made by Intel.

    Note, Intel may have a good reason for using FUD tactics against AMD now, but that still won't make any difference to me. My problems with that one game have done enough damage to my impression of AMD, that it will still take some time before I take the plunge and buy another of their CPUs.
  • or winchips...mmm...winchippy
  • Quite so!

    I recall seeing an announcement for the K6-IIIp 380 MHz a while back, but never saw much in the way of notebooks, except for a smattering of the "lower end" sumo size and weight variety...

    I really was hoping for something nice from AMD in that arena.

    Now that Celeron's and PII's are gobbling up the low end desktop away from the K6, the Athlon has but a short window to shine like the star it is before the magical marketing bean 1000 MHz Intel chips eat everyone's lunch. AMD has suffered so many loss making quarters that it's doubtful they can stand many more rounds in the ring with the 800 lb gorilla.

  • Every day on my way home from work I see this huge billboard. Last month it was American Beauty. Before that, iMac. Right now, it reads:

    ATHLON: The fastest CPU in the world.

    Between that and all the writeups that are being done, it sounds like publicity to me...
    Of course, I haven't watched TV since the Athlon came out so, I don't know, maybe Intel has the edge in TV ads.
  • AMD is planning on releasing the Athlon for notebooks sometime next year.

    The Register mentioned it in a piece recently here [].
  • Unfortunately this is very far from the truth. The average buyer has no clue what they are actually buying. They go with what the big brand copanies tell them is good. As long as the big coperations have control over the media the process of facts and well informed people making new trands is always going to be slow.

    I've been trying to convince the pointy haired managment in our company to go with ATHLON for months. To them Intel for CPUs is like Rolex for watches they won't look at facts and listen to reson. FUD is God.

    There is also another factor. Even though Intel is clearly behind, their chips are still decent. Meaning the difference is not easly noticable by the uninformed masses. Therefore it will take time, time which AMD doesn't really have.
  • A few years back, at a North Texas PC Users Group meeting, a nice young lady from Intel gave me an "Intel Inside" badge. I treasured it. At the time, my home computers had Harris, AMD, and Texas Instruments CPU's. I still have Intel competitors in most of my equipment. Price rules, other features are minor considerations.
  • There's really no need to get nationalist here, as far as I can see.

    First off, Britain is not really terribly socialist. But that's really neither here nor there. What's really more relevant is your list of inventions, and how you seem to have missed my point.

    Yes, the computer, the steam engine, anesthetics, and many other useful inventions have come out of Britain. But that was effectively prehistoric as far as the current pace of technological advance, particularly with regard to microcomputers, which is what we're talking about, right!?!

    The computer may have been invented in Britain. But where is all the current activity taking place? In this 'rampant capitalist' country. Where are Intel, AMD, Sun, and for that matter, Cicso, Lucent, and other companies where the current rash of improvements and innovations being made? Smack-dab in the middle of the a capitalist economy!

    Of course, you're right, Linux was not created in the US ... but where is its creator currently employed? You guessed it ... here in this evil capitalist empire ... (/sarcasm)

    It is only in a successful capitalist free market like that in the United States where we have this fascinating ecology of technological companies and opportunities, because it is in an environment like this that people have easy access to talent (note the massive influx of technology talent from elsewhere to the US) and capital (look at the sheer amount of venture capital in the markets right now). Most of the interesting stuff that's taking place is taking place here.

    That was my point. This ecology of tech companies flourishes because of the freedom of the market. The marketing and such that you appear to disdain so greatly is part of that ecology. So far, it's been a really successful environment ... so don't whine about the parts you don't like unless you're prepared to do without the parts you do.

    Also, out of curiousity, I guess you're a big fan of intellectual property law, then, eh? I personally feel that people should be free to innovate on other's ideas ... I think that can only augment discovery and useful invention. But I guess you'd just call that 'stolen technology, acquired ideas, and blatant copying'...

    By that logic, only Britain should have computers, steam engines, jets, anesthetics, etc., right? They thought of it first!
  • Well, that several thousands $$$ is an investment in a multi-purpose entertainment device.

    Umm.. it's just a tv with a nice picture. I thought my PC was a multi-purpose entertainment device. I can play music on it, games, surf the web, watch tv, watch a movie, and even do real work! And it costs less than an HDTV. (although the picture is a few inches smaller)

  • I'm not knowledgeable enough to build my own K7 based system. I want to support AMD to keep competition on Intel and I have been waiting months to shell out the money for an K7 based system. I keep waiting because of all of the talk about motherboard problems. Or is just this FUD?

    I'm going to have to buy a prebuilt system. I want it to be a K7. The problem is that the better known companies like Compaq and Gateway 2000 have dumped AMD products for Intel (correct me if I'm mistaken). Can anyone suggest a reliable manufacturer of prebuilt K7 systems?

  • I mean, based on everything I've seen, it's a far superior chip for far less money.

    But they've got a lot of cash to spread FUD with, so I'm sure they'll try. In some ways this can backfire, in that people wonder WHY they are so worried about Athlon - and then check it out.

  • Maybe I'm mistaken, but isn't AMD going to use Slot B on their SMP mobo's? Seems like I've heard of chipsets being designed to handle both K7 and Alpha.
  • It might be better in the long term to spend the money on improving the product, developing new technologies, and refining production techniques.

    However, it's cheaper to throw mud at your opponent and try to grab their sales. A price-war helps with this, too.

    It's classic economics. Short-term gains look better than long-term progress.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    1 word: illuminati.
  • The preview button is your friend. ;-)

    Last time I spent real money on hardware, I did that exact thing: I bought a box with an AMD processor. Unfortunately for AMD, I am nowhere near starved for cycles yet so I have no reason to buy an Athlon anytime soon.

  • by MillMan ( 85400 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @09:41AM (#1580428) has an editorial on the same thing...

    I haven't read the Ars Technica article yet, but the focuses on the idea that intel is strong-amring the tiawan board makers into not making boards for the athlon, lest intel withdraw their support for the company. Worth the read.
  • "The chipset (EV6) is the same. However, the slot for an Athlon is Slot A. The 21264 Alphas use Slot B."

    I'm probably going to be moderated down for repetition, but isn't a Slot B Athlon in the works for SMP machines?
  • They prove themselves to be in no way better than Microsoft with mob like tactics. (Hmm, you want to make motherboards for the Athlon? YOu have a nice business, would me a shame if something would happen to it).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And loki at Ace's says he fears his readers will think he is going 'Tom' on them... ;-)
  • Not if Intel kills AMD. THen our choices will again be limited.
  • by Rabbins ( 70965 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @09:43AM (#1580435)
    Well the chip market is expected to grow 15% this year. That is certainly less than previous growth rates, so I am sure they are starting to feel the need to be stealing some market share back.

    I am of the opinion that Intel somewhat gave AMD a nice market share in the low-end/low-profit business last year just to keep the regulators of their back. They are pretty shrewd. Plus, when they started taking heat, they simply settled out of court instead of losing face like Microsoft in a drawn out court battle.
  • Well asus may be scared but FIC isn't. I really wanted a k7 when they came out, but it was impossible to find a MB for it here. I was finally able find people selling the FIC SD-11 for about $150. Let's just say it's very nice. Check out . 1.44Mkey/sec @ rc5 and 37 seconds @ the povray test! BTW the povray test was 10 seconds faster than windows on the same machine :)

  • by JPMH ( 100614 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @10:27AM (#1580437)
    The Register [] has been enjoying all Intel's recent little difficulties as much as anybody, and they have been doing a fine job exposing how Intel has been trying to compensate with pure hype.

    But it's well worth reading yesterday's opinion piece Athlon no threat to Intel World dominance [], and today's follow-up story [] to get one's feet back on the ground.

    Intel's market share is overwhelming. Albeit sadly, that isn't going to change any time soon. (With or without the "Itanic" :g )

  • Well, to answer this honestly, the Athlon requires much more voltage than a coppermine. It also produces much more heat. This is simply unacceptable in a notebook. AMD is more worried with stealing Intel's market in the high-end business machine/workstation, game box, and low-end server than worrying about laptops at the moment.
  • I don't like AMD, but because they out-and-out stole their chip designs right up to the Athlon. I'm never one to knowingly give a thief my money so I didn't buy AMD. Along the way I've seen many flakey AMD machines, right up thru their K6 series. BUT...
    That was then this is now. Don't hold a grudge because your AMD chip back in '95 didn't work right. It was a great argument against AMD then, but it just sounds bitter now.
    If I ever get to play with an Athlon and can confirm these amazing benchmarks firsthand and can see it run stably; I'm there. This is a new chip created honestly with ingenuity not thinnly vailed theft.
    To sum up my rambling, the Athlon marks a new era for AMD. Give 'em anohter chance, I'm going to.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Kudos to AMD for creating a chip that seriously competes with Intel's best. When you have a serious competitor like Intel now does, it makes sense to distribute marketing documents to present a case of why your product is better than theirs. Marketing departments always bend the truth. It's a fact of life. Get over it. People wouldn't be nearly so worked up if AMD had published a similar document.

    One thing Intel is not is running scared. They have a cash cow of a business, and they are diversifying to find more ways to make money (anybody notice the way they are buying up networking equipment companies?). They have a ton of cash, almost no debt, and a ton of market share. They can afford to stumble every now and then (the Pentium floating point bug comes to mind).

    What I don't get is all the INTEL SUCKS rhetoric flying around. Intel got to the top by running a smart business and making very good processors. Instead of bashing Intel for no longer being #1, why not be happy about the fact that they've got some serious competition, which will maybe drive R&D a little harder, and drive down processor prices from both companies?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sorry if this has been said in the past, but I think this Might be and Interesting point.

    The way that Intel and AMD are fighting this out is alot like the way Micrsoft is fighting the Linux community. What Intel is doiong is using their reputation as a well known chip maker to try to push out a product that in some cases (If not many) is far Superier than their own Chip. However AMD is not really fighting. They are Relying on people that 'Care/Know' (ie. people that read /., Toms, sharky etc) to purchase their product. I fell that AMD is just going to Sit back and wait for Intel to Shoot themselves in the foot, and then take over a fiar share of the market.

    People Run Microsoft products not because they have to, But because they don't know any better. And truely, people that Run Linux (mostly)Don't do it because they hate Microsoft/Bill Gates/Etc, but because they researched and know it is a better product and more reliable.. [Please don't bust my chops for that statemeant.. I know it is opinion... ... or is it... ;)] And now, because of this, the Linux community has a VERY high respect, and they are finaly getting the respect/marketshare they deserve. And this all was done out of respect... not because of a Huge ad campaign, or some juiced articles on MSNBC..

    What I'm trying to get at here, is that, AMD is playing it cool.. And I feel that because of this, they know they have a Damn good product... And becuase of the History of they way the Computer market works, I think Intel is going to Mudsling themselves into a position where they are no longer respect as the "FPU Kinds..."

    So in conclusion, I feel that INTEL is going to Put themselves in a rut because of AMD; just like the Linux community has the potential to put microsoft in a rut.

    Anyone see what I'm saying?

    -- Miker
  • AMD has already made a chipset of their own, VIA is almost done with their chipset and there are 27 known mainboards that are in development or shipping now for the Athlon. Even if mainboard companies stop production of their Athlon mainboards, AMD has the capability to produce thier own mainboards.

    Besides, Fab30 is online. I fully believe that AMD has the capability to start shipping a 1GHz .18 copper Athlon right now. They aren't because they realize that Intel is stumbling over themselves right now and AMD can afford to sit back and wait a while. In the meantime, Fab30 get's all the bugs worked out. However, AMD cannot afford to pull a Camino like Intel did.

    At any rate, Intel, just like Microsoft, is not going away any time soon. They are still going to be a major player for a couple years to come at least, even though they are getting their butt kicked right now.
  • You're right. They do use the OpenPIC standard. I've been looking for a socket-7 motherboard that uses this standard for something close to 3 years now, and I haven't seen a single one. I wanted to use it with Cyrix chips (the original 6x86), and with K6-3 -- they're nowhere to be found.

    If you see one, let me know. I'd love to buy one. Dual k6-3 would be awesome.
  • In several of Mark Twain's writings, he talked about "the mob" -- people that just band together and form a ruthless bunch because they are too afraid not too (see Adventures of Huck Finn chapter's 21 & 22). I think he calls them "cowards". I'm not saying anyone here is a coward, just part of a mob that they don't know how to stop sometimes. Someone shouts "So-and-so is trying to kill such-and-such" and everyone takes off with pitchforks, torches and knives to rally against the person pointed out as "evil" today.

    I'm not saying a lot of this isn't true -- but damn it, business is business. If you can't stand a little heat in the business world (hell if you can't stand competition period) then you don't belong -- go back to doing something that you *can* do, like picking daisies or berries or something that doesn't recquire any form of mental stress.

    Just don't complain about a company that has huge amounts of extremely loyal customers playing "dirty" when you are only a small pebble in a large field. Go out and start your own company that will defeat Intel, if that's what you really desire. Intel's doing MAN's work, making money. Doing that takes being a real man that makes real man decisions...

    In my personal opinion, I'd like to get an AMD Athlon, just 'cause I'm curious about it's architecture and would like to see how good it runs.
  • I think, The consumer should encourage competition. For quite sometime, Intel had a monopoly on the PC processor market. Now I am happy that AMD has better processor than Intel. So next time, when I buy a PC, I know, I am not been ripped off because of monopoly.

  • The problem with this comparison is that unlike AMD, the Linux community could afford to wait 8 years to be noticed. AMD probably can't.

    People who worked on Linux just had to give their spare time, but AMD needs to make money from their work, and they need to make a LOT of it. How many billions of dollars did that Fab in Germany cost them? How much do they have to pay their engineers per year? How much on misc. R&D?

    You're comparing apples and oranges here.
  • >Nor will there be...ever. Until the K7, AMD has
    >never included multiprocessor support in their >x86 designs


    This again.

    Yes, the K6 (and the M2) have multi-processor support. No, it's not the same standard as intel (for which they would have had to pay royalties), and noone ever made a chipset to support it. But the support is there on the chips (Cyrix & AMD even used the same standard, but I forget what it was called)

  • Folks, competition between Intel and AMD is good for us nerd-types, because it inevitably means better products, lower prices, and earlier relase dates. Although i don't always agree with the FUD and such used by Intel and associates, it makes for competition.

    If Intel and Windows Didn't have competition, we probably would be stuck in the age of the 486 and DOS. Thankfully, competition weeds out the crap (like Moderation) and keeps the developers on their toes.

    Don't knock the competition AMD is getting. Hopefully it will be good for the consumer in the long run. Look at how our processor line competion has benefitted us (G3, G4, Athlon, Pentium III, k6-2, et cetera), in a relatively short period of time.

  • Compaq sells boxed K7 machines. Check out the Presario 5800 series.
  • by Stradivarius ( 7490 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @01:44PM (#1580453)
    See, the K6 design just wasn't very superscalar. For those who don't know what that particular buzzword means, it refers to how many stages the pipeline is divided into. More stages means the processor does less things in each clock cycle, which means you can fit more cycles in a second

    Actually, the word you're looking for is pipelined. Pipelining is the technique of dividing the processing work into several stages, so that you can decrease the size of a clock cycle (increase the MHz). The term superscalar refers to how wide the processor is, as to opposed how deep (pipelined = depth, superscalar = width). As in, if I can fetch and execute 4 instructions per cycle, then it's order-4 superscalar. If an instruction takes 10 cycles to execute, then the pipeline is 10 stages deep (actually, this is a simplification since superscalar CPUs typically have multiple, diversified execution units, and different execution units have different number of pipe stages) The width is pretty much independent of the pipeline depth.

    So, say we have an order-two superscalar CPU (as a plain Pentium MMX is). Then you might have something like this (note this is not the actual Pentium, but a generalization):

    Stage 1 - Instruction Fetch
    Stage 2 - Instruction Decode 1
    Stage 3 - Instruction Decode 2
    Integer 1 | Floating Point 1
    Integer 2 | Floating Point 2
    ---------- | Floating Point 3
    Stage 4 - Writeback Results

    In the example integer operations take one less cycle than floating point. The above processor is two wide (ie Stages 1 thru 3 deal with two instructions at a time), so is order-2 superscalar. The pipeline depth would probably be considered to be 7 (3 fetch/decode + 3 FP execute + 1 writeback)

    You may be right about the K-6 pipe depth, I don't know offhand how many pipe stages it has. The P6 family (Pentium Pro, PII, PIII) is pipelined to the hilt, so you are correct in that Intel's chips are heavily pipelined. I just looked it up (I have a draft chapter about the P6 of my prof's book, the chapter was written by the P6 architects), and the diagram they give has 8 stages in the front-end (instruction fetch/decode), 3 on the back-end (instn retirement), and varying amounts in the middle (3 for basic ops, 6+ for multi-cycle ops, 5 or 9+ for various memory ops). So 14 is probably around a minimum as far as pipeline depth goes. I've heard Willamette is far deeper.

    As far as how superscalar-ness effects the manufacturing, becoming more superscalar is unlikely to be helpful. It actually increases the compexity of the CPU by a large amount, and thus will require more silicon area. More area generally leads to lower yields -> more manufacturing difficulty.

    It's more likely that AMD simply was inexperienced with manufacturing in the past, and had some bumps to get over. Their new fab, and the move to .18 micron should help out their manufacturing prowess (smaller processes mean that you can fit more chips on a wafer. This means your yield of chips is better, since if the area is smaller it's less likely the part will contain a defect caused by material impurities.) This also means your cost of production goes down, so AMD's profits should be improved.

    One other quick note:
    On the one hand, it happens to be true that the recent trend toward graphics cards with GPUs takes a good deal of the advantage off of the Athlon's superior floating point performance

    True to an extent, but there are still a lot of FP calculations involved in games and other apps, that aren't handled by the transformation engine of the GPU. So floating-point performance is still very important.
  • by EvilKarma ( 91072 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @10:36AM (#1580454)
    You're right your assessment. Also, I would point out that AMD went on a tour 3 years ago saying that they were going to take 25% market share from Intel capturing much of the low-end market. Now its true that they didn't make alot of money doing it, but remember this is Intel, the company the fights tooth and nail for 5% market share changes. Now AMD has a really good chance to gain further strength with the Athlon. With the credibility that Intel's lost due to the whole Rambus debacle, there are a number of OEMs and Resellers that wouldn't mind bypassing Intel completely. Expect good things from AMD in the near future.
  • it doesn't beat the Athlon, either.

    AMD has been swinging for years, but they finally made contact with the Athlon, and Intel wasn't able to make the counterpunch. We salute the new champ, because AMD wins in price and performance...
  • First, AMD didn't steal their designs. They had a licensing deal with intel for all designs based around the original x86 core (this was all chips through and including the 486). The K5 is a 486 with some serious tweaking (which is why it paled next to a real Pentium but did very well against a 486. The K6 was NextGen's chip, rightfully used because (surprise) AMD bought NextGen.

    Second, I owned a 486dx4-100 (AMD) and a K6-233. Neither have given me stability problems. Of course, C&C had a patch out already when I played it on the dx4, so that was probably fixed between the two.

  • "What does the average consumer want? A cheap, easy-to-set-up all-in-one word processor/game console/internet application."

    You're right about that, but I think you are forgetting one thing - your television isn't very good when it comes to surfing the internet or for wordprocessing - the resolution simply isn't good enough - for this to happen, HDTV is needed...
  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @10:39AM (#1580458)
    The latest issue of Wired has a very interesting article about Sony, which indicates that this is exactly where they want to go with the PlayStation. I've certainly got more faith in Sony to make a truly consumer oriented game/info device than in Microsoft doing it. Let's face it, it's not OK (if you have a choice, that is!) for your TV, stereo, game machine, internet appliance etc to barf and throw up a BSOD! Kind of wierd how people expect their entertainment devices to be reliable, but accept their PC being flaky!

    Of course Microsoft (market cap. $450B) could always buy Sony ($60B) if they do end up owning the infotainment business...

    Makes me wonder what an MS-AIBO would do when it crapped out... :-(

  • You must have never run an Alpha system. Many distributions are very broken on the Alpha. Some things refuse to compile, other things compile fine then core when you execute them. Not to mention hardware support isn't what it is for the x86 systems.

    The only way I'm going to run another Alpha is to buy one from Compaq with Tru64 on it.

    I give Linux another year before Alpha gets to the level x86 is at now.
  • My take: Yawn..., I'm still running a 166MHz non-MMX Pentium. Gets the job done.
  • Intel is running scared. AMD clearly has as good or BETTER products priced reasonably. After all the garbage they(Intel) have put on the market in recent years to cover their screwups, 386sx, 486sx, some of the celerons and/or pentium II, I guess they just had to stoop to the FUD thing. Seems like deja vu to me (the name Microsoft rings any bells here ?? )

    MY 2 bits
  • OK, now I may be completely off base here (if I am please let me know), but I was under the impression that the Athlon was designed to use the same slot and chipsets as the Alpha. This would mean that all motherboard manufacturers (that is, the ones that already make Alpha m'boards) would have to do is replace the BIOS. At the very least there would be off-the-shelf parts to use, instead of having to start from square one.

    Like I said, I might be completely misguided here...

    Comments Welcome!

  • by grappler ( 14976 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @01:49PM (#1580465) Homepage
    Head on over here [] and then see what you think.

  • Does anyone know if anyone is putting out an Athlon MB with ATA/66 connectors on it? I've looked around, but haven't found one yet. For some reason I haven't been able to boot to my ATA/66 drive with a Promise ULTRA66 card. They couldn't figure it out either. So, I figure I'll just buy a new MB with ATA/66 onboard. Since I'm definitely interested in the Athlon, I thought I'd look for an Athlon board while I'm at it. Anyone seen what I'm looking for?

  • >They've been appealing to the average ignorant >consumer by spreading FUD and marketing fluf for >years now, and it's worked for them (look at how >they've beat down other chips and systems >producers i.e. VIA, Alpha, IBM, cyrix just to >name a few) in the past.

    No. The Alpha was targeted for a completely different audience (top-end servers and labs).

    VIA, IBM, Cyrix: they just make bad products - more bugs and compatibility problems than Intel's or AMD's solutions. Also, incompatibility with a lot of software (anyone with a Cyrix processor must have run a "Cyrix patch" of somesort), the "Power Rating" (translates to "I can't produce high Mhz CPU's that run cool) and their poor(est)FPU performance just killed Cyrix. Nothing else involved.

  • I don't like strong-arm, quasi-legal, neo-soviet business tactics.

    Neither do I, but I like the Strong ARM ;)
  • Are they really similar? I mean, while we can see a David vs. Goliah in each case, there's a subtle but very important difference between them.

    Many of us choose Linux over Windows only because it is just more stable/robust and they don't care much about the availability of the souce code - as long as it works well.

    For me, I can't care less about performance as long as they are in the same order of magnitude (big-O anyone? =)

    This said, if NT were at least as stable as Linux many people wouldn't have jumped ship, because stability is their NUMBER-ONE priority.

    My point? Intel's chips are at least runs as stable as AMD's. Have you ever heard of app crashes because you have an Intel chip?

    I just can't see how the main reason why we prefer Linux to Windows apply to the AMD vs Intel war.
  • Its not just the advertising. The average user who buys a new computer, prebuilt, will likely get an Intel chip in it. Small shops will sell them K6s or Celerons, where anyone advising generally says the celerons are better, or a powerful machine. Thus, its between Intel and AMD. People know Intel's name, or the Pentium name, or just follow with whatever the shop, Dell, etc. base line is. They look at price, expect performance, and to do what they want/need. Even if the new Intel tweak are a flop, enough people will buy it in their new machines Intel won't feel any pains.

    The big issue is for AMD. They have to keep a product superior to Intel, which they are, but Intel is nudging up there. They need to keep it significantly higher and at a reasonably price to get enough buyers. And remember, this is an old architecture Intel is using, which performs close to AMD's new one. Sure, AMD's can be clocked far higher, but Intel has to release a new architecture at some point. Usually when an architecure is released, the next is well in developement. Maybe Intel lagged because they put to many people on IA-64.. but either case Intel should have an outstanding architecture if they've been hard at work on it. Last I heard its schedualed for 2001 (pitiful)... but gives AMD further pressure.
  • Try
  • Intel is NOT running scared. I wish they were (I use AMD stuff in many of my machines). Does the elephant run from the mouse? I fables, maybe, in reality, not a chance. THey might be annoyed by AMD's persistance, and bothered by their nice chips, but they are NOT by any stretch of the imagination running anywhere....and I highly doubt that they are scared at this point either.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The K7 is an amazing chip, and Intel knows it.

    It seemed like only a matter of time before something like this happened, and Intel probably knew this too.

    The actual item of interest is what Intel chooses to do about this. Naturally, they can't conceed defeat without serious economic results (unfortunately, Money seems to drive the market more than performance).

    As I see it, Intel is scrambling to produce a product that will compete with the K7 and K7 based systems. However being extremely rushed, they are making mistakes (on both processors and chipsets).

    This is all to be expected. It's obvious that Intel is worried. and I guess spreading FUD is one course of action that can be used to counter this threat.

    whether we (as in SlashDot Readers) agree with this or not is a separate issue with whether or not it works to save Intel from economic failure.

    Personally, I can't stand companies who do this. However, there is not much I can do about it. When it comes down to it, consumers are the ultimate judge to who wins or loses, since they shell out the cash to buy the products. This is definately nothing new to Intel. They've been appealing to the average ignorant consumer by spreading FUD and marketing fluf for years now, and it's worked for them (look at how they've beat down other chips and systems producers i.e. VIA, Alpha, IBM, cyrix just to name a few) in the past.

    Again, I hate it when companies do this, but: one, can you blame them and two there's nothing I know that can be done (if you know something please tell me!).

    -Too Lazy to create an account

  • There are probably fifty moderators out there, and whatever they did will be surely noted during the 'Metamoderation' stage. The boys in charge created it that way for a purpose. All you have achieved by whining is my notice and perhaps the vengeance of said same moronic moderator(s).
  • While the performance issue is true, there is a major price barrier to be broken for Alpha to be feasable as an Intel/AMD replacement. I have an Alpha, but I wouldn't say it is a performer (AlphaStation 233 anyone?)

    Alphas are better when you get into complex multi-threaded applications. Most of the power gets wasted on a workstation, unless you're doing some very intense graphical work. It is much simpler to get maximum performance out of an x86 box, fire up q3test.

    Alphas definitely scale better than Intel boxen. AMD has yet to get its Athlon Ultra out to the market, so SMP support is not there. Even on a top-of-the-line system, Intel only has 8-way Xeon boxen. Compaq has 14-way 21264 boxen, before it even goes to the TruCluster boxen.

    Our company was looking at upgrading our aging AlphaServer 4100, so I have done quite a bit of research on Compaq's new offerings, as well as many Intel boxen.
  • The phrase: "With Athlon AMD finally got Intel"

    Hmm.. I got quite a big experience with both AMD and Intel based machines. Intel's are mostly Celeron's frankly -> i.e. in the same price range with K6, K6-2, K6-III.

    Well, in almost every case AMD "old" chips are snappier and, well, more "pleasant" to use than Intel's. That's purely MHO, of course. But benchmark (compilation etc..) times are with me mostly. Not that I would trust them ;-)
    Especially, it's noticable when you have your software compiled with K6 optimization - K6 and Pii are quite different architectures. K6 is more advanced as far as I can understand them.

    Frankly, my dream machine (x86) for every task for today would be dual K6-III, but sadly there's no such MB's.

    Of course some difference comes with 3d games. Yet again - your videocard means more here than your CPU.
    And anyway I don't play them.
  • I like Intel products. In the past year or so, they've been very fast, and very reliable. Nonetheless, I'm pleased to see a changing of the guard, so to speak.

    AMD has released a superior product, no questions asked. As soon as the Athlon was released, thousands of testers went out and compared it to the existing Pentium III processors, and the Athlon kicked butt in every test, not only beating Intel in equivalent MHz rating, but often beating out superior MHz Pentium chips.

    So Intel got scared. The Athlon was much, much more than they expected. Intel was used to being able to charge more than AMD did for their chips, because Intel chips were "the fastest". Not anymore. Now that AMD has AT LEAST equally fast chips on the market, Intel realized that people might buy faster chips for less money. There goes market share!

    This is where Intel really looks silly. They pulled out all the stops, started there .18 micron manufacturing process, did the on-chip cache thing, and STILL the Intel chips, with significant speed improvements, were still ONLY AS FAST AS THE AMD CHIPS. When you stop to think about this, you realize that AMD has a .18 micron fabrication plant in the works, has engineers working on these solutions, and as soon as they release the Athlon-II, (or whatever they want to call it) Intel will again be up a creek, only this time they may not have a chip coming out on which to hedge their bets.

    The sad part here is that Intel's reaction is to try to choke AMD out of business. For the first time consumers are wildly impressed with AMD's product, and AMD hasn't fumbled of their own accord. So Intel, having no recourse, hits the motherboard manufacturers. Unfortunately, AMD has few motherboard manufacturers in its camp. So the motherboard manufacturers are all holding their collective breaths, waiting to see if the Athlon catches on before they irk Intel by producing a board. (Note: Asus unofficially has the K7M motherboard produced, but you will find no mention of it on their website.)

    This is a sad situation for we capitalists. I, for one, want to invest in an AMD K7 chip. They're fast, reliable, and kick-ass. But Intel has made my life difficult. Shame on them.
  • Actually, for many years those designs were openly given. The AM386 was the first AMD Intel-compatible chip which was not manufactured as a redundant Intel chip, I believe.
  • by chip guy ( 87962 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @11:11AM (#1580511)
    AMD's finances have been distressed before and they always seem to manage to pull through. If the motherboard and third party chipset issues can be sorted out and AMD can sell the parts they have demonstrated they can make it will go along way to ameliorating their balance sheet woes. The average selling price (ASP) of the K6 line is well below $100 while ASP of the K7 is well above $100. Granted the K7 costs a bit more to make than say the K6-2, but the big difference is the K7 is perceived as a very desirable processor rather than something someone buys because they cannot afford a Pentium III.

    If something unforseen happened that threatened to throw AMD into chapter 11 I'd bet dollars to donuts that you would see Compaq, IBM and HP get together and jointly invest $1 billion or so in return for an equity stake. Intel sells about $20 or $25 billion of CPUs per year and Compaq/IBM/HP probably account for at least $5 billion worth of that. If AMD went under how much do you think Intel would charge them then? Beyond the monetary fallout would be the shift in power in favour of Intel. As much as I'd like to watch Mike Dell finally discover that Intel doesn't have friends just interests, we don't need another M$.

  • Paul couldn't have been more correct. Every market needs competition, and AMD is it (RIP Cyrix, WinChip). But there's more to it than just dollars and investors and such. AMD is important from an idealogical standpoint. I have two Linux boxes at home that have zero Intel or Microsoft components in them. And I like that very much. Every time I use those machines, I'm reminded that I voted for choice with my dollars, and that keeps me voting (like the $3500 ballot I cast when I bought the parts for my K7/600 system a couple weeks ago). I don't like serialized CPUs. I don't like strong-arm, quasi-legal, neo-soviet business tactics. I don't like to be told what I want. I don't like paying a mint for CPUs just so I can fund some mindless "Our CPU makes the Internet better" campaign. You like giving Micros~1 the finger? Well Intel ain't much better than them. So give them the finger too and get AMD and Via and Linux all together. If you do, you're casting your vote for freedom, choice, quality, advancing technology and lower prices. P.S. The "major motherboard manufacturer" the Ars article mentioned is Asus and the mobo in question is called the K7M. Gamer's Depot has a review, as do many other sites. See []AMD Zone for more news about all things AMD. And has a []complete list of all the Slot A motherboards. Which makes it an interesting comparision to []AMD's list. []


  • From what I've heard (word of mouth), AMD is getting an amazingly low scrap rate on the K7's. So much, in fact, that they have been able to drop prices and not affect their profit margin. This also means more chips for do-it-yourselfers. Originally, I heard that AMD wouldn't even *consider* selling to VAR's until at least December. As of a month ago, several local places have them, and at reasonable prices--not to mention about 25% less than those aluminummines =P

  • People buying high-end workstations and servers generally don't build their own. Most people with 3+ grand to blow on a machine are doing it because they really need a high end workstation/server for work and don't have time to mess around with DYI. Corporate customers buy assembled boxes from known companies, usually with service contracts. Even if you can get motherboards, AMD can't live off of the super duper hard core gamers market (i.e. the guys who'll blow a few grand building the ultimate quake box).

    A quick look at (not where i shop but where lots of "tyical" customers shop) shows the following brands of PIII Xenon Workstations: Compaq, HP, IBM, MidWestMicro and SGI
    and for servers: Compaq, Dell, HP, IBM, MidWestMicro and Vision Computers.

    for Athelon Workstations the list is a bit different: 1st ACS Computers, Amtron, Axis Systems, Cyber Max, Micro Trends, MidwestMicro, Multiwave Technology, Royal Computer and Xxera.
    And there is no listing of Athelon Servers.
  • by Wee ( 17189 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @11:44AM (#1580519)
    Paul couldn't have been more correct. Every market needs competition, and AMD is it (RIP Cyrix, WinChip). But there's more to it than just dollars and investors and such.

    AMD is important from an idealogical standpoint. I have two Linux boxes at home that have zero Intel or Microsoft components in them. And I like that very much. Every time I use those machines, I'm reminded that I voted for choice with my dollars, and that keeps me voting (like the $3500 ballot I cast when I bought the parts for my K7/600 system a couple weeks ago).

    I don't like serialized CPUs. I don't like strong-arm, quasi-legal, neo-soviet business tactics. I don't like to be told what I want. I don't like paying a mint for CPUs just so I can fund some mindless "Our CPU makes the Internet better" campaign.

    You like giving Micros~1 the finger? Well Intel ain't much better than them. So give them the finger too and get AMD and Via and Linux all together. If you do, you're casting your vote for freedom, choice, quality, advancing technology and lower prices.

    P.S. The "major motherboard manufacturer" the Ars article mentioned is Asus and the mobo in question is called the K7M. Gamer's Depot has a review [], as do many other sites. See AMD Zone [] for more news about all things AMD. And has a complete list [] of all the Slot A motherboards. Which makes it an interesting comparision to AMD's list [].


  • Yeah, you're right on the money there. I had a semi-revelation last week when I went with my new brother-in-law to help him purchase a new PC (he turned down offers to let me build one).

    He is your average brand-conscious american, I guess. AMD doesn't have any disco-dancing mascots so the only thing that stuck in his mind was the "Intel-Inside" and bunny people marketing ads. Guess which PC he bought? (hint: he was gouged for roughly $400 )

    "well, this one is 500 Mhz and has an Intel processor sir, this other one is not an Intel and is only rated at 400 Mhz" (god I almost killed that fat jerk salesman)

  • by whoop ( 194 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @11:50AM (#1580521) Homepage
    On Ars, just below this story is one on these Coppermine CPUs. Intel has disabled any SMPness for the PGA models. No doubt they want you to spend a few grand on two real P3's. My only advice, is for all you anti-AMD pushers to think which company has a better model for hardware. Intel likes to threaten motherboard makers, disable various overclock/SMP features in chips just to thwart the gamer/hacker, spread this FUD like 3DNow is only for games, but SSE is for every app.

    I'd swear I've seen this same behavior in the software world too, but I just can't think of who it was...
  • by Enoch Root ( 57473 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @09:44AM (#1580522)
    Well, like the editorial pointed out, this just means one thing: Intel is running scared of the Athlon.

    I don't know if it's because I've followed the OS wars more closely than the hardware wars, but it seems to me like there's less impact to be had on the public with FUD. After all, the average buyer will only care about three things:



    A good household name they can recognise

    It's not like the Intel chips have anything like fancy shmoozy GUI's or little singing paperclips. Right now, Celeron and Athlon are names people are beginning to recognise. Most people figure that they can go for a cheaper chipset if it's more or less the same quality, because they don't need high-performance machines, just something that can play Quake III reliably well.

    Let's face it: Intel is seriously losing ground, and their last hope is to milk for all they're worth the people who want that silly "Intel Inside" sticker because they figure it means quality.

    Cause otherwise, they lost already.

    "Knowledge = Power = Energy = Mass"

  • forget these x86 chips, just buy a nice Alpha

    A nice Alpha will run circles around both of these chips anyday. Now that Compaq is putting resources towards Alpha Linux, I think it will have even more of a footprint in the market.

    (Then again, this only works if you dont consider cost to be an issue)

  • by Tarnar ( 20289 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @09:49AM (#1580529) Homepage
    It's unfortunate to say the least. But unfortunately, AMD has had a history of plain out being second best. From the K6 onward, expectations were high, but yields and speeds were a little lower then what it took to unhorse Intel. The price may have been right, but that didn't mean AMD was ever the best of the best.

    Then comes Athlon. A serious ass-whipper of a product. But the only real advertising AMD has going is word of mouth. And all along, Intel has built a pride reputation. Intel Inside actually MEANT something, and while the quality of commercials has certainly degraded (Better on the internet my A$$), the reputation for making the best of the best still stands among the largely unwashed and ininformed.

    Only for once, Intel has real competition. And they've responded twofold, first releasing an Athlon killer, and now through marketing. That's twice as much as M$ ever did.

    It's still despicable. I respect them for responding to competition with a better product, but FUD just sucks. However, it's the way the business world works. You might not win with JUST marketing or JUST with a better product, but hell, you'll do better with both.
  • Spreading misinformation is evil, offering the facts is righteous.

    People like to bash companies when they're abusing their position. Only successful companies have a superior position to abuse from. People like to bash evil companies that also happen to be successful.

    Microsoft is evil, as evinced by their actions. People like to bash them. Apparently, when Intel has competition, they act the same way, and are therefore evil. We just didn't know it before because of their x86 monopoly. (Sometimes monopolies are okay, when the entrance barrier is high, which it was in the past. Now it's lower, and Intel is starting to feel the effects.) Remember, Intel's products *are* overpriced. That was AMD's biggest gripe against them in the first place.

    Releasing benchmarks is always better than offering no real information at all besides "I'm better". That just turns into a shouting match. However, if no one can set up a fair test platform that can approximately reproduce said benchmarks, then the benchmarks are just as bad, and should be responded to with accurate benchmarks.

    Intel should be condemned for making it harder for their customers to find the right information. Say that your new processor is 20% faster than a PIII/whatever, instead, and remind them that you're Intel, or something, but don't lie to them.

    Intel is trying to hold onto its monopoly, and not in a graceful fashion. They aren't used to real competition. Sound like Microsoft yet?
    pb Reply rather than vaguely moderate me.
  • by Zagato-sama ( 79044 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @09:50AM (#1580533) Homepage
    Do you really expect Intel to come out and say "Oh the Athlon is better then our p2/3 line" ? That would be like Linus making a public speech about the shortcomings of linux and not using words like "But we're working on it (tm)" "It'll be in the next release (tm)" Cyrix and AMD used to publish that their last generation processors were on "par" with Intel's offerings, what they didn't tell you was that there are no SMP boards for their offerings, their FPU stunk, etc etc. Such is the buisness world folks. There are no "innocents"
  • by Jordy ( 440 ) <jordan&snocap,com> on Thursday October 28, 1999 @11:15AM (#1580546) Homepage
    You know, I really find it amazing how much people like to bash successful companies.

    First, the very idea that Intel could prevent every single one of the 150+ motherboard manufacturers from building an Athlon board is silly. A good portion of these motherboard manufacturers don't even use Intel parts (other than the CPU) on their boards making them completely independent from Intel. The high costs and lack of availability have more to do with demand and costs of building and producing the motherboards.

    Second, I'd like to say that Intel is doing nothing immoral. They have a product which is no longer the fastest but they want to maintain public perception that it is. There's nothing wrong with this. They didn't pull an Apple and put out junk benchmarks that show their CPU 8x faster than the Athlon. In fact, as far as I could tell from their little search engine, their web site has no mention at all of the Athlon.

    Third, marketing an inferior product heavily to drown out AMD is not evil. If the consumer is stupid enough not to do research when it comes to buying a very expensive little piece of hardware, then so be it, but Intel shouldn't be condemned for doing what every single other company on the planet would do in their place.

    Sure, the underdog is always rooted for (at least in the US), but this sort of article posted to slashdot makes it sound like Intel is some sorta evil minion of satan using Microsoft-like business practices. Frankly, as far as I can tell, Intel is just trying to keep itself associated with quality & speed until the Itanium launch.

    Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong... :)

  • You're right about this being "the way things are", as I would put it. But intel *is* being immoral. Isn't that what misleading people is? Perhaps you mean it isn't immoral as far as standard business practices go, you're right if that is the case. Of course AMD would be doing the same thing if they were in the same position Intel is in now.

    There is a fine line between accepted FUD practices and breaking the law, however. If they are strong-arming a few of the larger board makers like ASUS, that is totally illegal. THAT is EXACTLY a microsoft like practice, and part of the reason for the case against them. Of course it is hard to prove this, and no one has any concrete evidence that I've seen. To me it's almost a given that this is going on however, given "the way things are". Another possibility is that ASUS and others are practicing "self-censorship", ie, they know the possible ramifications if they go all out in support of Athlon motherboards, thus they keep the operation small and quiet. These companies don't exist without intel. That would only change if AMD had a large market share, probably on the lines of at least 30%. AMD has nothing near that right now.

    I cheer for AMD because they need to do good in order for us to have good competition in the processor market. I buy their products because they are generally cheaper and yet still deliver the goods. I don't like paying a premium for a brand name. Brand name recognition means nothing to me, I don't care if a company was the best 10 years ago or even yesterday, I want what will deliver the goods today at the lowest price. You *might* be able to argue that the celeron is a better deal, but hey, I got my k6-2-350 for 50 bucks about 4 months ago. I'm a poor college student.

    Of course most people don't think this way, if it were, advertising and FUD would be irrelavent. Thats why it's up to people who understand to tell the masses the way things are.
  • by ToLu the Happy Furby ( 63586 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @12:07PM (#1580561)
    I have to say, I really just don't get the PC hardware industry. That is to say, in my heart of hearts, I have close to no doubt that Intel seriously pressured all the mobo manufacturers not to make/market Athlon boards, and, gross as that is, I of course understand it.

    What I don't get is, if that indeed happened, why has none of them just come out and said so? Honestly, this isn't as stupid as it looks. Let's count the reasons why not:

    1. The Athlon is a superior product. Yes, a 133MHz bus Coppermine on an i820 mobo is just about at parity as far as performance/MHz goes. (Benchmarks I've seen--a lot of sites had prerelease i820s they used for testing (with only 2 RIMM slots filled of course)--put the CMines faster at office type stuff, the Athlons whipping up on FPU benchmarks and rendering type stuff, and the two about even on Q3ish stuff, which at this point is not yet optimized for the Athlons new FPU pipeline and expanded 3DNow set.) But the only reason AMD's pausing at 700 or 750 MHz for now is because they're ramping up their .18u copper (i.e. like the metal) parts. From what I've heard, they'll hit 1 GHz about 2 months faster than Intel (I read that AMD'll prolly get there in 2/00, Intel in 4/00), and the gap should only grow. After all, unless you believe the Register that Intel's gonna launch Willamette in December (Note: Are they nuts?!?! On second thought, this wouldn't be the first time the Register has inexplicably been unable to understand the difference between taping out and being available from Dell...) then you have to accept the fact that Intel will be stuck with an amazing-for-its-time (remember, Coppermines have the same core as a PPro from way back in 1995) but still less scalable, not to mention not copper, core until probably next fall. Point is, it's a pretty safe bet that the Athlon will be the faster chip for the next 9 months. And even safer that it'll be better price/performance.

    2. People know this. Certainly if there are enough people who know what they're doing and want speed for mobo manufacturers to build high quality boards specially for overclocking, and even dual Celeron boards, then there's more than enough market to justify making Athlon boards.

    3. AMD is not having any production problems. While this may surprise the ignorant among us who just assumed that AMD was a bunch of blubbering idiots for not being able to keep the K6's up to MHz with PIIs, it's really no surprise at all. See, the K6 design just wasn't very superscalar. For those who don't know what that particular buzzword means, it refers to how many stages the pipeline is divided into. More stages means the processor does less things in each clock cycle, which means you can fit more cycles in a second. The downside is higher latency when a prediction misses, but as it turned out, branch prediction is good enough that deep pipelines/high MHz works better than low latency/low MHz. So anyways, the K6 designers guessed the wrong solution to that one, and ended up with a 6 stage pipeline in comparison to the P6's 13 (IIRC) stages. Hence, the fact that AMD was able to stay within one or two speed bins of Intel for all that time is actually a testament to the high quality of their manufacturing capabilities. As for that huge shortage this February...well, consider the fact that up until a couple months ago, AMD had exactly one fab, and a small one at that. Intel has eight. How much would you like to bet that, at one fab or another, Intel has problems just as severe as the AMD ones all the time, but you just never hear about it because they can shift production to another plant? Of course, now that AMD has a second fab, and, not only that, but a huge state of the art one, the all-eggs-in-one-basket problem is pretty much solved as well.

    4. Intel has screwed the mobo manufacturers over big time. This i820 thing is a huge huge huge debacle, and it's all Intel's fault. Furthermore, no one in the industry can be happy that Intel insisted on switching over to RDRAM well before its time, either. Fact is, with proper economies of scale (that is, if the mobo manufacturers would just make the damn things), an Athlon motherboard and RAM could sell for about half the price of an i820 with RDRAM. Why anyone would be scared of burning bridges with Intel after what Intel's just done to them is beyond me.

    5. Intel's under major antitrust scrutiny. I mean, if they were bullying mobo companies into shelving, overpricing, or undermarketing their Athlon boards, why on earth wouldn't one of them just pick up the phone and call the FTC? Or better yet, The Wall Street Journal?? And yet they appear to think they're in a better bargaining position if they just keep it to themselves and maybe grumble off a few anonymous leaks to hardware fan sites on the web?? Huh???

    So what's going on here? I honestly don't know. On paper, and in the benchmark labs, and on the roadmaps, AMD has Intel blown out of the water for quite some time. On the one hand, it happens to be true that the recent trend toward graphics cards with GPUs takes a good deal of the advantage off of the Athlon's superior floating point performance, but you'd be pretty hard pressed to say that, from a theoretical perspective, things look anything but shitty for Intel. Except that, possibly due to nothing more than some well placed, and presumably illegal, intimidation (and not just directed at the mobo people; witness Dell and Gateway, the sort of names average people think of when they think of fast high quality computers, not offering any Athlon systems), things look just fine for them.

    It's a pretty scary thought that this sort of thing could still go on right after the MS trial. But I just don't have any other explanation.
  • Go ahead and try to find a K7 board from Asus. It isn't easy if you live in the states. Asus apparently makes two, the K7M and the K7V, but they aren't mentioned anywhere on their US site. Initially rumor had it that Asus would be releasing their K7 board(s) in the US in November but would be using a different company to market them so they didn't "insult" Intel.
    Given the quality of Asus boards I personally planned on buying one regardless, however now I hear they will be openly marketing them themselves, so perhaps there is hope for Asus yet.
  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @12:07PM (#1580574) Homepage Journal
    I don't think so. MS doesn't have comparable physical assets- their valuation is so overinflated even Steve Ballmer admits it (!), so they couldn't possibly buy anything as big as Sony without risking a collapse of the bubble. It's not reasonable.
  • I've said for years that there are only two things that really matter in this industry: Marketing and installed base.

    Computer technology is so complex, and is so often hidden in a black box that you cannot open, that marketing propaganda is far more powerful then it is in most industries. Do car commercials really convince anyone that Brand X is better then Brand Y? Nope. But "Intel Inside" has left a lasting impression on the average PC buyer. I know people who work in retail. When they go to sell a PC, everyone goes for the cheaper model with the faster clock rate, right up until they hear that it doesn't have Intel inside. Then they say, "I don't want any of this AM-whatever stuff, give me the Intel Inside thingy."

    Marketing works in this industry. Quality and volume of marketing is a direct function of money put into it. And guess who has the most cash? That's right, Intel.

    Moving on to installed base, AKA existing market share. Basically, the more market you have, the more market you gain. Part of it is network effects, part of it is economy of scale. Because Intel owns so much of the CPU market, they continue to own so much of the CPU market. AMD is doing their damndest to chip away at that wall, but it is rather like the sea breaking upon the shore -- it takes a loooong time to gain any ground.

    Oh, to be fair, there are other factors. Intel has very deep pockets, so they can afford more research, higher pay for better workers, and the old fashioned "throw dollars at it until the problem is solved" approach. And, unlike a popular software monopoly I know and hate, Intel's stuff actually works pretty well in many cases.

    But "sundling" is right. [] AMD has bet the farm on Athlon. The other x86-clones have already fallen to the irresistible march of Chipzilla []. If Athlon fails, so will AMD's CPU offerings. That leaves a single player to control the future of the most popular computer architecture in use.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid. Chipzilla is far from dead.
  • Head the above poster's advice, since I don't have a clue. :-)

    The problems with the motherboards were quite true. The main one being, none existed. A few came out, and they're ok. I'd recomend reading Tom's Hardware Guide, because this is one of the few things I'd actually trust him on. Get the board you like better and that's recomended by other users.

    But then, if you want a pre-built, don't worry and just make sure to have a nice warrenty. When little things go wrong, they're just nicer to have.
  • Actualy, wattage is a direct mesure of the heat produced in any non-mechanical device. With an athlon, you'd need to remove 60 wats of heat, or 60 jouls of energy per second. The in order to figure the change in temprature you'd need to know the size of the case, how much ventilation there is, etc.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • by David Greene ( 463 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @10:03AM (#1580591)
    According to an Intel employee who recently visited these parts, Intel is not overly concerned about AMD.

    What they are concerned about is Playstation II. If Sony can actually mass-produce the Emotion Engine, it is going to give Intel (and other chip makers) serious headaches.

    What does the average consumer want? A cheap, easy-to-set-up all-in-one word processor/game console/internet application. Playstation II fits the bill. There's no OS to hassle with, no IRQ's and memory conflicts. Just turn it on and it goes. It's what the iMac dreams to be.

    AMD may have come out with a superior desktop processor just at the point when it doesn't matter anymore.


  • by sundling ( 92926 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @10:03AM (#1580592)
    Everyone is still complacent and saying let them fight it out... The one thing we all need to remember is that if you like Intel dropping it's prices, you better buy an Athlon. Otherwise, you can forget the dropping prices as this stint of competition will be over. Don't forget that AMD has bet EVERYTHING on the Athlon. They went deep into debt on Fab 30 and they have been losing money for the last several quarters. They have even announced they are going to sell one of their non-chip divisions which is profitable for cash to continue to fund their chip business. AMD is doing well on the technical side, but if they can't succeed with the Athlon, AMD is history. If it weren't for AMD there wouldn't have been low cost Celerons available to compete with their K6-2. If it weren't for the Athlon, Pentium 3 prices would still be much higher. This is not the first round of this fight. This fight has been going on for years, so many may be complacent that it will continue. You think AMD will always be around? Trust me, you will miss them when they are gone. If they lose this round, there won't be another one. Paul
  • Word of mouth is perhaps the best advertising money can buy, because normal marketting usually does not say much, and people who are excited about a product usually do.

    Considering that the released athlons are arguably a better proccessor than any of intels released stuff, and definately a better price/performace ratio, intel won't win this one by FUDing. Its not like an OS, your (x86) software will run with either chip, it just might run better with one or the other.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.