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AMD memo leaked to DailyTech shows Phenom availability

AMD and Intel have historically traded the title of the best performing CPUs. Recently, however, the battle has been largely one-sided with Intel taking the volume and performance crown.

AMD hopes to change that with the release of its new Phenom processors. MSI was the first mainboard manufacturer to announce an RD790 mainboard, the K9A2 Platinum, for the quad-core and tri-core Phenom's. Mainboards from ASUS and Gigabyte based on RD790 were announced in October and also support Phenom quad-core processors.

More details of the AMD platform launch that included the Phenom, the RD790 chipset and the RV670 graphics processor surfaced early in November. DailyTech reported early in November 2007 on the pricing structure of the Phenom processors ranging from about $280 to $330 USD. 

An AMD internal memos hows the AMD Phenom 9700, 2.4 GHz processor is slated for mid-December availability. Allocation for the Phenom 9600 running at 2.3GHz has been pushed back to a Q1 2008 date.

The Tech Report, in an interview with AMD's desktop product marketing manager Michael Saucier, confirmed an erratum for all Phenom processors that will cause the system to hang due to an L3 cache miss.  The Tech Report claims this fix will degrade performance as much at 10%.

The mainboard favored by AMD, the MSI K9A2 Platinum is impossible to get currently since it is out of stock. MSI confirmed to DailyTech that this board will start shipping again next week, and that the board itself is not with any defect, but just in high demand and low availability.



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kinda..
By Oregonian2 on 12/4/2007 1:47:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
AMD and Intel have historically traded the title of the best performing CPUs. Recently, however, the battle has been largely one-sided with Intel taking the volume and performance crown.


Only for the couple years prior to release of Conroe did AMD ever have the highest performing CPU, that I recall. They've long had the best performing at any given price level (below the top level), but not the best performing "period" other than for a relatively short period of time. Am I forgetting some other high-end blip for AMD (faster 8080's?)?




RE: kinda..
By DM0407 on 12/4/2007 1:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
I think he meant clock for clock their technology leapfrogs one another.


RE: kinda..
By Oregonian2 on 12/4/2007 3:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
Clock for clock really means little (speaking as a digital designer) other than inferring how much pipelining is going on.


RE: kinda..
By SoCalBoomer on 12/4/2007 2:02:11 PM , Rating: 5
"Best Performing" has always been vague enough to allow for interpretation - best per clock cycle, best per dollar, best for gaming (which was AMD for quite a bit), best for server applications, best for peanut butter, best for jelly . . . :D


RE: kinda..
By Omega215D on 12/4/2007 3:17:10 PM , Rating: 5
I wish you didn't mention the last two...

IT'S PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!


RE: kinda..
By cochy on 12/4/2007 3:59:26 PM , Rating: 3
don't forget best per watt. That's the catch phrase of the day.


RE: kinda..
By gerf on 12/4/2007 8:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
And best per watt at idle, best per watt at 100%...


RE: kinda..
By zpdixon on 12/4/2007 6:12:13 PM , Rating: 3
Good point. I would like to emphasize what you said by giving 4 main metrics that matter to different groups of people:

1. Performance/dollar: usually what matters most to desktop/workstation users and small groups of servers where people don't care about the cost of electricity. (Note: perf/dollar replaced the perf/cycle metric a long time ago).
2. Performance/watt/dollar: usually what matters to laptop users where battery life is important, as well as the initial hardware cost.
3. Performance/watt: usually what matters to large datacenters where the hardware cost is negligible compared to other costs: electricity, A/C, floor space (related to power consumption per rack), etc.
4. Absolute performance: usually what only matters to some rich enthusiasts :P

Intel is certaintly not the leader in all of them.


RE: kinda..
By theapparition on 12/5/2007 9:47:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
4. Absolute performance: usually what only matters to some rich enthusiasts :P

I'd remove workstations from #1 and include in #4 since most "workstation class" hardware runs xeons or opterons and have quadro or firegl graphics.

quote:
Intel is certaintly not the leader in all of them.

I'd venture to say they do.
Your item 1 may be skewed a bit. While performance/dollar on the surface seems like a good metric, I think it is better suited as performace/budget. Most have a fixed amount in mind and try to configure the best performing system based on that budget. We know that most AMD processors offer better performace/dollar, but unquestionably, Intel rules this catagory by the sheer number of systems sold.

You'd be better off with a 5th catagory, price only. In that case, I'd concede that catagory to AMD.


RE: kinda..
By zpdixon on 12/5/2007 12:42:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

I'd remove workstations from #1 and include in #4 since most "workstation class" hardware runs xeons or opterons and have quadro or firegl graphics.


Yes, I think you are right.

quote:

I'd venture to say [Intel is the leader in all of these metrics].


Well it's arguable. About metric #1 for example (perf/dollar), Intel and AMD seem head-to-head. For example, I remember this extensive tomshardware.com review arriving to this conclusion: "The Phenom 9600 is about 13.5% slower than Intel's Q6600 in our benchmarks. On the other hand, its price is also 13.6% lower than that of its direct competitor. Thus, the two products offer practically the same performance for your money". See http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/19/the_spider_...

About metric #2 (perf/watt/dollar), Intel seem to have a general advantage (laptops, desktops, workstations and entry-level servers), except in the 4-socket quad-core server market where the only low-power quad-core Xeon is the L7345 (for $2301 !) while AMD offers the Opteron 8347 HE and 8346 HE (for $698 and $873). This matters to high-density blade servers for example.

About metric #3 (perf/watt), depending on the scenario being evaluated, it's either Intel or AMD who have the advantage. For example in servers with lots of RAM (8+ GB), an AMD platform would consume less electricity because Intel's FB-DIMM requirement means each memory stick will consume 7-9 W vs. only 1-2 W for regular DDR2 sticks. See http://www.theinquirer.net/en/inquirer/news/2007/0...

About metric #4 (absolute perf), Intel is the clear leader.

quote:

You'd be better off with a 5th catagory, price only. In that case, I'd concede that catagory to AMD.


Good idea. A 5th metric, "absolute price", would indeed be what matters to the entry-level market.


RE: kinda..
By Martimus on 12/4/2007 2:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
The AMD 80486 was generally faster than Intels. Also the K6 was faster than any available Pentium or Pentium Pro, although that only lasted until the P2 was released. I am not sure about the Athlon vs. the P3, or anything after that though.


RE: kinda..
By tayhimself on 12/4/2007 3:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also the K6 was faster than any available Pentium or Pentium Pro

Do not deride the Pentium Pro. The K6 came waaay after it. The Pentium Pro was the fastest chip *PERIOD* (Alpha was eclipsed for the first time). Everyone likes to say the Conroe is a derivative of the 686 core (or P6), and the Pentium Pro was the first 686 core chip.


RE: kinda..
By Clauzii on 12/4/2007 9:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
I would include the Pentium also.

A k6 200MHz was also upto 40% slower than the Pentium 200 MHz when doing FPU operations!


RE: kinda..
By Martimus on 12/5/2007 12:47:12 PM , Rating: 2
The way I remember it, the Intel chip was only better at MMX optimized applications, but AMD had better performance on just about anything else clock-for-clock. Of course, P2 came out soon after, and AMD didn't have an answer for it. Heck, Cyrix had some pretty powerful chips at the time, if they were at all reliable then they may have had the best value. Of course they were just known for being nothing but problems.


RE: kinda..
By Clauzii on 12/6/2007 1:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
No - I mean FPU..


RE: kinda..
By Martimus on 12/5/2007 12:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
I bought a K6 233 within a year of the Pentium Pro being released. In fact, I had thought that the K6 was released just before the Pentium Pro, but it was a long time ago, so I don't remember that well. Either way, the K6 was about 1/3 the price of a comparable Intel chip, and it did better on the benchmarks that we tried at the time. (I am trying to remember the two that we used to use to measure performance at the time, but alas my memory is not very good)


RE: kinda..
By thornburg on 12/4/2007 2:08:33 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, you are forgetting some. The original Athlon was hands-down faster than the Pentium 3s available at the time. There were many issues with the press coverage, and lots of fanboyism on both sides, but Athlons were faster until the best of the Coppermine P3s, IIRC. Then, for part of the P4 era, it depended on which benchmark you were running which CPU (AMD or Intel) was faster. And of course there was a time during the ridiculous P4 clock-speed ramp-up that AMD was the clear king, as long you weren't looking at cycles per second as the measure.

However, since the Core line was released, Intel has taken off. The Core processors were good, the Core 2 series are great. The question is, will the next major overhaul be another P4 disaster, or will they continue strong improvements?


RE: kinda..
By 91TTZ on 12/4/2007 2:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
AMD made the fastest 286, 386, 486 CPUs, usually coming late in that product's development. Their K6 was also faster than the Pentium for a while until the P2s and P3s came out.

The Athlon was faster than the P3, and until faster P4s came out until had no answer.


RE: kinda..
By Omega215D on 12/4/2007 3:19:36 PM , Rating: 2
The Athlon 64 dominated the P4 line. I believe the K6 3 was faster than the P2 and competitive with the P3 for a bit.


RE: kinda..
By MustangMike on 12/4/2007 7:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Athlon 64 dominated the P4 line.


I hate to be a nitpick, but your really comparing apples to oranges as the Athlon 64 is a 64bit cpu while the Pentium 4 was 32bit. Not only that but you're forgetting the Athlon XP Series. The Athlon series went up to 1.4GHz, the Athlon XP started ~1.4GHz and up to 2.2GHz When Intel came out with the higher P4 chips, AMD did respond with the Athlon XP series. Anyone remember the Quantispeed architecture and the ridiculous Model naming scheme. For example the Athlon XP 1800+ was running at 1.538GHz but due to Quantispeed architecture it was said that the 1800+ could beat a 1.8GHz Pentium 4. In the beginning it was the case but when you got to the 2400+ and up the numbers really didn't match up.


RE: kinda..
By MustangMike on 12/4/2007 7:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry about that, it seems I have a couple grammar issues.

quote:
but your really comparing apples to oranges as the Athlon 64 is a 64bit cpu while the Pentium 4 was 32bit.


Should be

but you're really comparing apples to oranges. The Athlon 64 is a 64bit cpu while the Pentium 4 is a 32bit cpu.


RE: kinda..
By Clauzii on 12/4/2007 9:29:15 PM , Rating: 4
Since most A64s are running 32bit OSes, this doesn't matter much.


RE: kinda..
By Locutus465 on 12/5/2007 12:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
It does for those users that plan to take advantage of it... I waited for Vista 64b to switch up to 64b, and was happy I did.


RE: kinda..
By Calin on 12/5/2007 2:27:36 AM , Rating: 3
K6-3 had better IPC than the P3 line. However, the K6-3 was a product with low availability, it ran on what was known as an aging platform, and was limited in frequency (clock speed).
While K6-3 might have surpassed in performance the P3 in some point of its life cycle (the fastest K6-3 ran at 450Mhz), AMD was already going after its Athlon (Socket A Athlon) line.


RE: kinda..
By jak3676 on 12/5/2007 10:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
It wasn't too hard for AMD to beat the early P4's. Intel's 1.13 GHz PIII was faster than the 1.2 GHz P4. Both were beat by the Athlon.


RE: kinda..
By Locutus465 on 12/4/2007 2:28:46 PM , Rating: 3
original athlon v. Pentium was a whole lot of back and forth, AMD owned all levels durring the Athlon 64 v. P4 Era and Intel has finally struck back with Core. If AMD gets on their manufacturing game we could possibly see another round of back and forth, but unfortunetly that is one area where AMD has historically been weak. Anyway, I plan to upgrade AMD again when the time comes thanks to Phenom, prior to that I was leaning towards intel.


RE: kinda..
By Lightning III on 12/4/2007 2:46:03 PM , Rating: 3
Intel had best at doubling for a space heater


RE: kinda..
By TomZ on 12/4/2007 3:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
Intel didn't have a monopoly on processors that could double as space heaters.

My last desktop had a pair of Athlon MP's in it, and that box did literally heat my office. With no other heat, that box kept my office warm in the winter, and uncomfortably warm in the summer. I was glad to replace that. But now I have a separate space heater!


RE: kinda..
By Clauzii on 12/5/2007 12:05:24 AM , Rating: 1
True, just as 1 CPU + 1 CPU = 2 CPUs ;)


RE: kinda..
By Clauzii on 12/5/2007 3:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, lame comment I know :( I must have been in some kind of HEUREKA moment :o

What I meant was that at least You needed 2 CPU's to do what the P4 did with one, and You were taking 2 CPUs into a 1 CPU comparison.



RE: kinda..
By robp5p on 12/4/2007 7:03:12 PM , Rating: 2
I remember convincing my friend to buy a 40mhz AMD 486DX when Intel topped out at 33mhz (back when AMD used the EXACT same designs as Intel). So there was at least one other period :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Am486


RE: kinda..
By martinrichards23 on 12/5/2007 6:57:32 AM , Rating: 3
Athlon thunderbird was faster both in clock for clock and in terms of mhz than the P3. Astonishingly, it was cheaper as well.


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