AMD – you were supposed to be the chosen one! Don’t turn to the dark side to beat Intel


Maybe it's the fact that the IFA 2019 melted my brain, but I've been thinking a lot about the AMD-Intel processor war and how it's mimicking a certain space-based series of movies playing in a far-flung galaxy.

While it's a bit too simple (and easy) to label Intel as the big evil empire and AMD as the brave rebel alliance that wants to overthrow the tyranny of Team Blue, I do not think AMD's story resembles – at least for the moment original Star Wars trilogy.

Instead, I'm worried it's more like the prequel trilogy. And yes … that is, it's not good news.

In this scenario, AMD is Anakin Skywalker, while Intel is the Emperor. I think that's what Qualcomm Jar Jar Binks is doing.

You may think that comparing Intel to a bad guy with a melted face that shoots a bolt of lightning is just as much of a sacrifice as comparing it to the Empire. But what do you expect from someone who just made a Jar Jar Binks joke in 2019?

Anyway, listen to me. The point is that AMD is struggling to defeat Intel, but there are worrying signs that trying to defeat Intel is turning to the dark side. The thing is, AMD should be the good one.

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Bulldozing his way to victory

AMD has enjoyed an excellent press for several years. His keen threadripper CPUs have shown us that you can have huge numbers of consumer processors, yet are (relatively) affordable, and his latest AMD Ryzen 3000 processor series has been very successful (as opposed to the prequel trilogy) brought.

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This has led to excellent sales. AMD's deliveries of the Ryzen 5 3600 chip are equivalent to almost all of Intel's CPU sales in some markets. Given the long dominance of Intel, this is a remarkable turnaround.

And so AMD was celebrated as Anakin as the chosen one. In Star Wars terms, AMD now had Midichlorians from the Wazoo.

But like Anakin, AMD liked his taste of power and wanted more, and the dark side was there to try (do not worry, I'll probably drop the Star Wars stuff now, because I'm even bored with it).

The first sign of trouble was the news that a long-standing class action lawsuit against AMD had been settled because of his claims for his bulldozer CPUs – AMD had to pay out $ 12.1 million.

When AMD launched its FX Bulldozer processors, the company claimed it was the "first native eight-core desktop processor" in advertising, with the clear objective of soliciting customers from Intel.

"In Star Wars, AMD now had Midichlorians from the Wazoo."

While AMD argued that four Bulldozer modules, each with two CPU cores, were enough to call the FX Bulldozer an eight-core processor, many customers felt misled because they were not "real" cores as they shared resources including a single floating point unit (FPU).

Being brought to court by clients who felt fooled (and lost) by their marketing is not a good thing, and AMD probably hoped it would all be forgotten.

Maybe we would all continue, and AMD would quietly learn his lesson about the Promise to win against Intel.

The only problem is … that did not happen.

AMD – you were supposed to be the chosen one! Don’t turn to the dark side to beat Intel 1

(Credit: Shutterstock)

It's like poetry

Instead, AMD got hotter and faster after it was determined that the Ryzen 3000 CPUs were not reaching the specified boost speeds.

A well-known overclocker, Der8auer, surveyed just over 2,700 users and found that only 5.6% of Ryzen 9 3900X owners stated that their processor had reached the set boost rate.

Derauer found that only 14.7% of the chips achieved the announced boost speed of 4.4 GHz or more (only 1.8% of respondents actually exceeded that speed with their processor). The overwhelming majority – 85.3% – has never reached the announced boost speed in any core.

Has AMD sold processors at a speed that its products could not achieve? Unfortunately, it looks like that was the case. The rage about it has increased and Intel has even thrown a hit on AMD when it was announced that the upcoming Core i9-9900KS processor will reach 5 GHz everything Cores.

"I love the fact that AMD gives Intel the heat – but I want it to do that without resorting to cheap tricks."

It was even talked about Another AMD is in litigation, although of course there is a risk that this is just a disappointing result … Oh, I dropped the Star Wars traffic ticket, did not I?

Anyway, AMD has promised to improve the speed. The company claims a firmware problem is that the chips do not reach the specified speeds.

Well, I tend to take AMD by the word. So maybe this was not the sneaky move some people blame. But it is still very angry how AMD kept silent about all this.

I love the fact that AMD brings Intel the heat – but I wish it could be done without cheap tricks. It's better than that. Stay up, AMD. We all know how that ends.

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