The Rise And Fall of AMD (Ars Technica

#1 Posted by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/04/the-rise-and-fall-of-amd-how-an-underdog-stuck-it-to-intel/

If some want to know some of the "ancient" history of one of the biggest movers in the PC Hardware, Ars Technica is doing a two part feature on AMD. Part 1 is out now and goes into the K6 and K7 which were both wildly successful. Importantly this also shook up Intel. On the third page it suggests where things went wrong for AMD: No real long term plan, Sanders seemed to have a peculiar leadership style, and the revelation that AMD was actually doing more work in memory than anything else and finished with the "ominous tone" as they end on the K8.

Its a fun read for those who remember this time in PC hardware and wonder how AMD went from being so right sticking it to Intel to where they are today.

#2 Posted by TehBuLL (589 posts) -

Whoa wait...that title is a bait. Fall of AMD? Sure, currently they can't keep up pure processor wise but their vision and work on a single chip solution for video and processing will prove them to have incredible foresight into the market of mobile and smaller devices. APU's are the future, just not yet. Their APU won them Sony and this is early tech. Just because AMD is currently in a quiet period doesn't also mean they have given up on defeating Intel. Ugh again, I didn't read your link, because the title is pure bait that I fell for.

#3 Edited by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

...what? I wasn't "title bating" since that was the title of the article. This is a series of articles that go into the rise and fall of AMD...what is the bait and switch?

If you read the article (or were actively building stuff then and experienced it for yourself), AMD is a shadow of its former self. The K6 swept aside Intel and nearly an entire generation of Pentium which had a profound effect on both and the K7 was also huge and forcing Intel to "abandon" their 64-bit architecture. x86-64 is very much an AMD creation is everywhere while no one uses Itanium.

Today they are just a shell of that former "glory". Whether or not Intel "paid off vendors" to stick with Intel is a perspective thing but no one should deny the Opteron has problem which never really got a address and instead worked around. The acquisition of ATI seemed to not help at all where even Nvidia is doing more with ARM than AMD/ATI could. AMD is being killed on the PC by Intel and going nowhere on the mobile side which is where the money really is right now. I suspect consoles are going to be "soft" where scoring platforms like the PS4 is good but not going to be the money maker it used to be.

If you read the hosted comments, no one wants to see AMD die but very few stick up for AMD as well. Many feel, along with me, they've lost their way chasing fast money.

#4 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4328 posts) -

@tehbull: If by quiet period you mean hemorrhaging money then yeah sure. And the reason why they "won" Sony (I'm assuming you're talking about the PS4) is because they were a lot cheaper versus going to Nvidia.

#5 Posted by Jams (2959 posts) -

@tehbull: If by quiet period you mean hemorrhaging money then yeah sure. And the reason why they "won" Sony (I'm assuming you're talking about the PS4) is because they were a lot cheaper versus going to Nvidia.

Nvidia didn't want it. I think it had something to do with not being worth the effort or money or something. I think there's an article out there that explains it beyond, "Nvidia didn't want the gig".

#6 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4328 posts) -

@jams: It was because they didn't want to make that stuff for the price that the console makers wanted. Sure they turned it down but saying "we didn't want it" is kind of just PR talk.

#7 Edited by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

Updating for Part Deux: The Rise And Fall Of AMD: A Company On The Ropes

The interesting thing I learned was that after the drumming Intel got over Pentium 4, they go to Core Duo/Core Duo 2 by going back to the Pentium 3 and adding x86-64.

As I had known and suspected the buying of ATI damaged both ATI and AMD since they were never merged as much as "coexisted". And points out that although the deals with Sony for PS4 and widely expected deal with Microsoft for the next XBox graphics hardware this is a drop in the bucket compared to the PC market.

Because of the monkeying around with ATI and screwing around with their fab (which they ended up spinning off anyway) products like Bobcat where too late to take advantage of "netbook craze" that struck a few years back and Bulldozer was a mess (some call it a disaster but I wouldn't go that far). AMD's current gamble on "Micro-Server" style architecture is just that: A big gamble that no one is sure will take off. It may be a very lucrative market or it could be another expensive boondoggle.

#8 Edited by Zirilius (567 posts) -

Let me preface this by saying I neither find Intel products bad and I will buy one if the price is right but I smiply prefer AMD over Intel. Just like I prefer Nvidia over ATI simply cause of brand favoritism. I have had very few issues with either product with the games I play and even the issues I have are minor. It's a shame AMD is where they are today but they could, however unlikely, recover to their point of glory.

#9 Edited by EXTomar (4450 posts) -

Other comments also point out why the ATI acquisition was so odd: A $2+B company acquires a $5+B company where the net result is a company structure that is less than than $2-B. That is not good by any measurement.

#10 Edited by WasabiCurry (419 posts) -

I didn't really know about the history of AMD. I was happy and a bit sad now on why they are in the state today.

Good read for those who are willing to learn.

#11 Posted by Mirado (983 posts) -

@extomar said:

...and Bulldozer was a mess (some call it a disaster but I wouldn't go that far)....

A processor that no longer offered a price/performance advantage to the main subset of people who looked to AMD for that very reason, single thread performance that lagged behind the previous generation of AMD CPUs, multithread performance that at best tied Intel's mainline offerings (at a worse price point), and extreme power consumption in comparison to Sandy Bridge (especially when overclocked)? What part of Bulldozer wasn't a disaster? Was it the part where some FX chips threw a fit with Steam, of all things, and AMD needed to release a BIOS update to certain boards to handle it? Or the part where, in trying to show that the sky isn't falling, they had to release charts which showed that yes, under some applications, these new chips could beat the old ones?

When you cut to the heart of the matter, Bulldozer was an absolute nightmare for a person wanting an AMD CPU in their system, for whatever reason. The 2500K (and to a lesser extent, the rest of Sandy Bridge), allowed Intel to laugh all the way to the bank even louder than they usually do, because if you are giving up the price/performance crown to them, of all things, what did AMD have left to fight back with? In that generation, nothing.

I don't want AMD to die. Choice is only ever a good thing. And I know AMD is never going to be able to topple Intel in a performance battle; even in their heyday, it was a brutal race. But Intel learned well from their failures, and I want to see AMD do the same by winning back the small market segment they had (price/performance minded consumers) and by taking a page from Intel's book and integrating some aspect of their competitors strategy for their benefit. Itanium was a total flop, so Intel nabbed x86-64. AMD needs a similar caliber move if they want to stay relevant in the mainstream CPU game, and they need to be a lot lighter on their feet if they want to avoid missing out on opportunities like they did with netbooks.

#12 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@tehbull said:

Whoa wait...that title is a bait. Fall of AMD? Sure, currently they can't keep up pure processor wise but their vision and work on a single chip solution for video and processing will prove them to have incredible foresight into the market of mobile and smaller devices. APU's are the future, just not yet. Their APU won them Sony and this is early tech. Just because AMD is currently in a quiet period doesn't also mean they have given up on defeating Intel. Ugh again, I didn't read your link, because the title is pure bait that I fell for.

I don't know.. I like AMD but Nvidia´s tegra and Intel HD series are doing pretty good too. No to mention they far from the whole ARM craze, bussiness wise seems to me they in a very bad spott right now.

#13 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@mirado said:

@extomar said:

...and Bulldozer was a mess (some call it a disaster but I wouldn't go that far)....

A processor that no longer offered a price/performance advantage to the main subset of people who looked to AMD for that very reason, single thread performance that lagged behind the previous generation of AMD CPUs, multithread performance that at best tied Intel's mainline offerings (at a worse price point), and extreme power consumption in comparison to Sandy Bridge (especially when overclocked)? What part of Bulldozer wasn't a disaster? Was it the part where some FX chips threw a fit with Steam, of all things, and AMD needed to release a BIOS update to certain boards to handle it? Or the part where, in trying to show that the sky isn't falling, they had to release charts which showed that yes, under some applications, these new chips could beat the old ones?

When you cut to the heart of the matter, Bulldozer was an absolute nightmare for a person wanting an AMD CPU in their system, for whatever reason. The 2500K (and to a lesser extent, the rest of Sandy Bridge), allowed Intel to laugh all the way to the bank even louder than they usually do, because if you are giving up the price/performance crown to them, of all things, what did AMD have left to fight back with? In that generation, nothing.

I don't want AMD to die. Choice is only ever a good thing. And I know AMD is never going to be able to topple Intel in a performance battle; even in their heyday, it was a brutal race. But Intel learned well from their failures, and I want to see AMD do the same by winning back the small market segment they had (price/performance minded consumers) and by taking a page from Intel's book and integrating some aspect of their competitors strategy for their benefit. Itanium was a total flop, so Intel nabbed x86-64. AMD needs a similar caliber move if they want to stay relevant in the mainstream CPU game, and they need to be a lot lighter on their feet if they want to avoid missing out on opportunities like they did with netbooks.

Vishera is a pretty decent improvement over bulldozer. I have a 8350 for Vray in the studio and it works on par with far expensier i7 for productivity.

I can see them doing a nice comeback If they manage to optimize single thread performance a bit more.

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