Weekend tech reading: What went wrong with AMD?

By Matthew · 28 replies
Feb 19, 2012
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  1. AMD: What went wrong? Five years ago, AMD looked set to topple Intel. Now its very existence is under threat. Mike Jennings investigates what went wrong In 2006, AMD could seemingly do…

    Read the whole story
  2. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 856   +121

    When Phenom quadcores were announced, I built a $2000 rig centered around one of the most expensive AMD chips. It was the first "true" quad-core, as Intel had shared memory caches between cores.

    I put it together but it had intermittent issues. From years of experience, I replaced the most likely culprit one at a time until the only part left to replace was the CPU. Sure enough, it was a faulty AMD CPU.

    That was the last AMD I ever bought or recommended
  3. Nothing went wrong with AMD..They are STILL offering better bang for buck, even if the more expensive 8100 flopped more.

    And I still prefer their graphics to nvidia.
  4. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,486   +45

    Sorry Guest, but just because you're happy with your cheapo processor doesn't mean that AMD is.
  5. Justgivemeaname

    Justgivemeaname TS Rookie Posts: 36

    It's not fair to call AMD processors cheap. Intel processors are barely more expensive than AMD is. AMD processors are just inferior to Intel.
  6. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    What didn't go wrong with AMD? I used to market AMD based systems to my customers as a budget model, but after having to rma processor after processor, I quit selling them altogether. I also refuse to pay a premium for their graphics cards just because people can mine bitcoins faster with them (thankfully that scam is almost over with).
  7. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    It comes down to marketing too, which both Intel and NVIDIA are masters of. When's the last time you saw a TV ad for Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, that featured an AMD processor? I'm not saying that AMD isn't pushing their products, but it's just not good enough. Intel dominates the PC market with it's powerful CPUs, and with NVIDIA it's like 1:10 adoption by software developers. I stand behind Radeon graphics because I think they are great products with great features, but at the end of the day it's a numbers game; sooner or later something has gotta give. I think AMD has some serious remodeling to do as a company...
  8. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,486   +45

    Sorry I saw "bang for your buck" and thought "cheapo" would be an adequate description.
  9. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Hey c'mon, that's a pretty neat comic book.
    AMD's main failing with graphics is that they have always assumed that all the job entailed was to build the hardware. They have never been a software company. Nvidia on the other hand, recognised very early on that hardware needs a viable software ecosystem to flourish -both from a visibility and repeat custom point of view - hence the early and continued implementation of TWIMTBP and CUDA - the former aimed squarely at gamers, the latter at the pro graphics/workstation market. AMD's failing is to not recognise that high visibility = brand awareness= entrenched buyer brand preference -both through familiarity, and in the pro sector, inertia. AMD are hamstrung by a reliance on a slow moving, slow updating ( a year and a half between 1.1 and 1.2 ?!) OpenCL and a sometimes on-sometimes off gaming program depending on the whims of management.
  10. stan4

    stan4 TS Rookie Posts: 34

    I'm glad i don't own anything related to AMD, period.
  11. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,147   +915

    After getting my first Phenom II x4 3 years ago or so I have to say it was a little work horse, It never felt like it was slowing my system down, things like Crysis ran between 22-27fps and video encoding and music encoding never really felt sluggish, I just had to leave it a little while depending on quality settings.

    November last year I upgraded to a core i7 2600K, I will never EVER look back, everything is pretty much instant or takes a few seconds, Crysis now runs between 35-45fps :)

    Bye Bye AMD, you have been my friend, but you seem to have turned into a Waster on the side of the street getting drunk, once you've cleaned yourself up then I might consider you again.
  12. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,147   +915

    On Another note, If Microsoft could bring Microsoft Office to the iPad and do it well, I would buy the app for £10 :) that would have to include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

    Would be nice to have Access, Publisher and Visio but not necessary.
  13. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    They're not that bad. They're just not that good either. I guess its a question if you have that extra hundred bucks around that it would take to go Intel.

    The first few times I went AMD it was strictly due to money issues. But I always advised people to save up a bit more and get Intel, especially if they're building something they're going to play games on.

    I suppose if they're good for anything its to have Intel keep their prices lower.
  14. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Good to see the Guests making horrible incorrect posts as usual.
  15. jarulezz

    jarulezz TS Enthusiast Posts: 48

    AMD make great graphics cards for a good price. AMD > nVidia
    Unfortunately, their CPU's are not as good and stable as intel. AMD < Intel

    I think they should just quit the CPU market and concentrate on graphics cards, but then that would let intel set their prices as high as they want because they would not have any competition.
    This wont turn out well for us, consumers.
  16. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    I've had a lot of experience with AMD's processors. To be fair to AMD, other than Bulldozer, I've never been let down by them.

    I have a really old computer built around a single-core Athlon 2400+ which still works. I like using it for it's vintage value :D

    A computer I built 5 years ago had an Athlon 64 X2 4400+ 2.2GHz dual core installed into it. It's still running strong now. 5 years of forcing it to play Crysis, Half Life and CoD1 and 2, with a GeForce 8500, and it still works fine.

    My current computer has a Phenom 955 quad core, nicely overclocked to 3.8GHz. Runs most games at high detail with an AMD Radeon 6850.

    Unfortunately, I will be turning my back on AMD for my next computer. They don't have anything in the upper tiers of performance anymore. That's intel's turf.

    My next computer will be Ivy Bridge-based.
  17. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    Radeons are awesome. I've always prefered them to Nvidia.

    The 6850 is just over £100 and it's an awesome graphics card. It runs just about anything I throw at it. Crysis 2 at maximum details runs nicely.
  18. ddg4005

    ddg4005 TS Guru Posts: 384   +54

    The problem with AMD is lack of marketing. Back in their K6 days (around '98)they advertised their processor as an alternative to Intel's expensive offerings. Since then they've done nothing but fumble the ball at the goal line. Had AMD not purchased ATI back in 2006 they'd be dead already.

    As it stands their recent announcement that the company will focus on the mobile market (which is already dominated by ARM and Tegra chips) is basically a concession to Intel's dominance (they don't want to be hurt no more). Unfortunately I think it's only a matter of time before they die and their carcass is divvied up between Intel and Nvidia (for graphics and CPUS respectively).
  19. AMD isn't dead, intel have kick *** high end processors, but at the mid range in price and performance AMD is equal if not better than intel. Even in graphic performance their processors kick intel *** pretty hard.
    What AMD sucks right now is in the high end, and worst since the commint the stupidity of saying than they will not compite with intel in performance in the future. Since them I believe everyone with performance in mind will think 10 times before buying their next mobo.
  20. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +241

    After reading the whole article yesterday I think I came up with 2 key impressions: first, my impression about Intel changed radically for their dishonest actions [read the part of "Bullied by Intel"] and I started asking myself how would it have been if not of those dirty Intel's actions.
    Second, other thing I didn't quite know for true about the design of Bulldozer is that they used part of the automated ATI's engineering for the design of the processors, and from my point of view ATI is not the most reasonable option to design "few" [in comparison with the hundreds they use on graphics] high performance cores. Just compare: "ATI" uses more than 1600 stream processors on their most powerful consumer graphics cards, while NVDIA can challenge that performance with 512 stream processors. AMD has based most of its marketing and way of thinking in the numbers [watch the specs for AMD vs NVIDIA and the Bulldozer marketing specs vs Intel -8 MB of L2 caché and "8 cores", wow!!], which contradicts their successful and past way of thinking about the MHz myth. Now it's all about supporting higher frequency RAM memories natively, more caché, more GHz, more turbo frequency, more cores, etc. etc. etc. on both processors and graphics cards.

    In conclussion, they can still gain terrain if they think more careful on architecture design like they used to do, optimize what they use [XDR2 memory, the difference on cores and frequency] focus in added value like software support in the case of graphics, something like PhysX, etc. etc. several improvements they can exploit and not just build thing with huge numbers. There you have the clear difference [in specs] and still competition of NVIDIA using GDDR3 and less than 400 stream processors vs the back then AMD's implementation of GDDR5 and more than 800 stream processors.
  21. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    The more you like Intel, the more you should root that AMD keeps nipping at their heels. Competition keeps prices down.

    I've used AMD in 4 out of my last 5 builds. AMD's lower prices couldn't compensate for the 2500k's far superior performance. But that computer wasn't for me. I don't need top of the line performance, and I love having the AMD option with 1 step down in performance for 2 steps down in price.
  22. Don't forget about AMD's APU. AMD APU>Intel hd solution>Tegra/ARM
  23. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,320

    I think what guest was trying to say is its either (for example) a fx-4100 or an i3...and quite frankly, i would rather have a fx.
  24. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    But there was a time where they weren't. Maybe if you look at the ultra high end then Intel was ahead.. But, I do know that when I had a 1Ghz Athlon Thunderbird that it was a better processor than a 1Ghz Pentium 3.

    AMD was ahead of Intel in the early Athlon days. Really until the Core 2 Duo came out Intel was playing catchup. AMD even had mainstream 64bit processors in the early 2000s, they just paid the price on those because Microsoft didn't have a mainstream 64bit OS until about 2007.
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,028   +2,558

    I thought the Japanese Admiral was quoted as saying after the attack on Pearl Harbor, "I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant"......Um well, that's what happened to AMD...!

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