It seems that at least one person is rather annoyed at AMD for making claims about certain FX series CPUs running Bulldozer cores. On November 4th the news went out that Tony Dickey had filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of himself and others. The suit was actually filed back on October 26th and alleges violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. This act covers misrepresentation and false advertising. Dicky alleges that AMD knowing mislead consumers about the number of functional cores Bulldozer CPUs have. AMD claims that Bulldozer has eight independent cores, Dickey says that there are only four that are functional.
AMD fans might have some good news for them in the next few months. It seems that one of the geniuses that helped to bring the K7 and K8 CPUs to the world, Jim Keller, is back at AMD and will be working on the next generation of CPUs and APUs. AMD (as many will remember) got themselves into trouble after they scooped up ATi for a cool $5.4 Billion dollars. This move was intended to bring AMD more in line with what Intel had (and had planned). In the end the buyout hurt both AMD and ATi putting both behind their rivals for more than a few years.
At Supercomputing 2011 both Intel and AMD showed off their latest in HPC (High Performance Computing). From AMD we got a look at their new Bulldozer based. These new CPUs will ship in 8 and 16-core varieties. The 16-core flavor called the Opteron 6200 will also have four memory channels (like the Intel 3960X), 1MB of cache per core (level 2), and will top out at 3.3GHz. The 8-Core version will be the Opteron 4200 and will only have two memory channels, but will still have 1MB of L2 cache per core and a top clock speed of 3.3GHz.
Word has reached us that AMD has cut their PR and Marketing department and as of this writing only three unnamed executives are left there from the original team. This is very interesting news for us out here especially anyone that has been dealing with AMD for any length of time. The cuts were originally blamed on a poorly performing PC market and increased interest in tablets and smart phones. This sentiment was shouted down by some in the press who wanted to know how both Microsoft and Intel managed record quarters if the PC market was down. However the original stories (published by some) were quickly updated to tone down these remarks. Of course considering where Read came from and some recent statements (and rumors) that AMD is going to try and push into the SoC market I am not surprised to see this type of spin on some of the articles.
I have to say that I knew something was going south when I received an email from the long time New Products Release Manager (many of you will know who I am talking about) that he was leaving AMD. I was introduced to two new people that I had never heard of before. After that I did not hear anything from AMD until I ventured the question about a possible AMD FX Sample for review. The reply was short, professional and rather cold considering the history I have with AMD (I have been working with them since launch of the Opteron). But as this is a new site and I had ventured out on my own I was not surprised, disappointed yes, but again not surprised.
However, looking back I think that was an indicator that things were not as they should have been. After all you do not just up and leave after 10+ years for no reason. Something had to clue him into changes being made. Then the response (or lack of response) to my emails after the terse “sorry we do not have any more CPUs, good luck” email was also surprising as even when I have annoyed people at AMD they have always communicated with me.
Still with this move I have to hope that this is a change for the better. In the past AMD has been exceptionally xenophobic about who they talk to, and who they work with. They ended up dragging ATi into this way of thinking as well and pushed many good PR and Marketing people off into other less impressive positions. We can only hope that the three people left in charge are not the ones that I have recently dealt with, if they are then Rory Read’s sweeping action may just end up getting him more of the same and possibly end up netting him even less coverage for the products that AMD is pushing out or will push out.
In the end it is sad that some 1400 people are out of work and that AMD continues to step all over their own feet with one bad move after another. We just hope that this one is not another blunder to go into AMD’s top ten.
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Normally I do not think that a CPU running at a massive clock speed is very news worthy. This is even more true when the speed in question cannot do much more than verify “yes this was my clock speed”. However, when the same model and style of CPU breaks a world record twice in around two months… well that is something a little different. I decided to take a look and see what was going on.
It seems that back in September an overclocker by the name of Macci (aka AMD_FX-FX_chew*_macci_hardman_64NOMIS_AJS) posted a verified CPUz for the AMD FX-8150 Octo-core CPU of 8.429.38 MHz (8.429GHz). This speed was achieved by using a staggering 2.016 volts on an Asus Crosshair V Formula. This is not a bad clock at all, but we did notice something very interesting.
If you look at the screen shot above you notice that despite being listed as an “AMD FX-8150 Eight-Core Processor” CPUz only lists two cores and two threads. This would seem to indicate that to reach this speed Macci had to shut off three other cores (there are two “cores” per “core) bringing it down to just the two single cores inside one CPU module on the processor die. Now, before you fire off that nasty email of start warming up the flame thrower, I want to be clear on something; this speed is extremely impressive. No matter how thin you slice it, but it does bring up something though. On the Phenom the crossbar that talked between CPU cores would often fail to respond in a timely manner between all cores. This would cause a BSOD and mean that that high clock speed you were going for was out of the question. (Before anyone says anything, I know this happens on Intel CPUs as well it is just not as common).
Last week another overclocker by the name of Andre Yang pushed the FX-8150 (Dual Core) CPU past the 8.42 mark to 8.46GHz. This time the high Clock speed was reached with a voltage of only 1.992 Volts, but still using the same motherboard. These two clock speed are very impressive in terms of simply going for that top spot, but what is missing right now is the performance side of overclocking. Where are the low SuperPi Scores, the high PCMark Scores, and PiFast numbers?
While I would never take away from the accomplishments of these two overclockers, I will say to AMD that overclocking is not only about the clockspeed. You have to have performance to match these numbers, and from what we are seeing… it just isn’t there yet.
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There is a ton of contradictory information on the net today about just exactly what AMD and Globalfoundries are going to do with the next process. As we already know AMD’s next gen CPU Bulldozer will be a 32nm 8-core monster that has the potential to turn things around for AMD (at least on paper) that is if they can correct some of the past issues with memory performance. What happens from there we are not so certain about, nor is anyone else for that matter. This is despite the fact that multiple journalists ended up at a press event hosted by Globalfoundries.
So far the rumors run something like this; AMD and Globalfoundries are moving away from SOI (Silicon on Insulator). SOI has been the basis for AMD CPUs for some time and to see them move away from this is a little shocking. Oh, wait; that rumor was contradicted by Globalfoundries who now say they will be sticking with SOI moving forward. Next we hear that AMD won’t move to the next node (28nm) until 2013. This is actually somewhat believable as AMD tends to try and get the most money out of any process move. After all they have been on 45nm for a number of years! To think they won’t move to the next process node until 2013 is not unreasonable (although I really think 22nm is much more likely).
To add to this are the usual suspects commenting back and forth about what they think of each article or the writer in general. It makes trying to find out real information a tad tedious. To be honest about the only thing we know for certain is that AMD will launch Bulldozer sometime between the middle of September and the end of the Year. It will have 8 physical cores (in four CPU clusters) improved core to core communication and a few other tricks up its sleeve. We do not know much about the memory controller, but it appears from looking at the design to be a slightly modified revision of the one in the Phenom II. If this is the case and the optimizations are not spot on we could see this hinder what is certainly a bold CPU design from AMD. I guess we will all find out what is going on around the middle of September. We hope to be on the very short list of sites to review this new CPU for you, but again time will tell on that.
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There were some interesting announcements for AMD at the Globalfoundries event today; although it was not AMD that made these, but Greg Bartlett, Senior VP of Technology and Integration Engineering at GF. Gregg was showing off a few slides of upcoming technology that GF will be involved in and let some things out. We are certain these were previously approved by AMD that would like as much press as possible about their new APUs (which appear to be very good).
The things that were let to slip were the fact that AMD’s next generation Trinity will be 32nm instead of 22nm or even 28nm. The new Trinity will be based on a derivative of the Bulldozer core architecture and, according to AMD, will be roughly 50% faster than the current Llano APUs. The new APUs will feature AMD’s next generation 28nm HD7000 series graphics (which was another confirmation although not a formal announcement). The trinity parts are slated to be pushed towards the mobile market (where AMD seriously needs a better offering) and should begin shipping in early 2012.
It will be interesting to see AMD and Intel compete for this new market space. We have already watched some entertaining Facebook posts from both sides about this very issue.
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With AMD’s 8-Core Bulldozer getting ready to hit the streets we now find that we may have a potential price for this new CPU from AMD. According to a contest being held by AMD for fans in the US and Canada the new FX 8150P Bulldozer CPU should go for around $300. This little bit of news popped up on the net after the gang over at insideris.com dug into the announcement of the contest.
When looking at the contest page (and scrolling down a little) they found that AMD dropped in a line that stated “Top tier prizes: Five (5) AMD FX series eight-core processors. Approximate Retail Value: $300 USD each”. This puts the new 8-Core (Octo-Core) CPU in the same price range as the Intel Core i7 2600k. The question now is, can the Bulldozer keep up with the 2600k? After all we have seen what this CPU is capable of and know that even at stock speeds it is very powerful. We do hope to get one in the lab to find out the answer to this question and you can bet we will be sure to pass this on to you once we find out. For now, I guess we all can speculate and listen to the Intel Vs AMD rhetoric (and secretly get a kick out of it).