CPU/Mobo Does Barcelona / Phenom Really Help AMD??

sunbiz_3000

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While reading Inq Charlie's post - having lunch with AMD, I got this idea that AMD is in some deep trouble!! AMD launched it's Barcelona processor (3rd generation server CPU - Opteron) on Sep 10th, 2007 with a lot of excitement and with a hope to become competitive with Intel's (Clovertown) Xeon processors. And frankly, it does bring a lot of performance improvement by increasing the IPC, and gives better power usage. An overall 124% improvement compared to the previous generation of Opterons. Clock-vs-Clock AMD beats Intel hands down!! Everything seems to be perfect for AMD... Doesn't it??

But on launch, Barcelona doesn't beat Clovertown in the benchmarks. Know why?? B'Coz the Barcelona is clocked at 2Ghz while the Clovertown is at 3Ghz. But that's truely not the bad news for AMD. By the end of 2007 AMD may have a processor clocked at 2.4Ghz and will then beat or equal Intel's new Xeons at 3.2Ghz. So really the clock-speed is a short-term issue!! So do AMD fanbois start dancing??... No, there is another problem and this one is bigger and a long-term problem. Its not related to the server processor (Opteron), but to the desktop-variant of the Barcelona called Phenom X4.

Since Intel released the Core 2 lineup in 2006, the Athlon64 X2 has failed miserably. The result is that AMD today sells the Athlon64 X2 at very low margins and Intel hasn't helped AMD's cause by creating a regular price war. This means AMD doesn't make profits as much as it should to run the R&D and fab maintainance/upgrade.
AMD's desktop-variant, PhenomX4 will be released by year-end and will have to compete with Intel's Peryn CPU. The Peryn is not much of an upgrade but is a die-shrink of current Core2 Quad to 45nm (basically means smaller processor size i.e. die size). On the other hand, if we look at PhenomX4, its actually quite large compared to the current Athlon64 X2. In the processor world, larger the die-size, its generally accepted that the cost to manufacture is higher. This means that the cost to manufacture PhenomX4 will be higher than the current Athlon64 X2, while the cost to manufacture Peryn will be lesser compared to Core2 Quad. Now ask AMD to get into a price war with Intel!! Let's try to sell PhenomX4 at the price of Peryn!! For AMD, it'll mean even smaller margins than today while Intel can still keep its current margins for selling the CPUs.

The reason why this is a long-term issue for AMD because Intel is moving really fast in upgrading it's fabrication plants (processor manufacturing plants) to a smaller process, while AMD has already mentioned it needs some more time to upgrade. AMD also has a cash crunch, which means for the next upgrade, it needs some more time until its coffers fill again. So AMD is really not helping itself by releasing a larger-sized processor, but it may be the only option to survive the Intel performance assault!! Goodluck AMD!!
Source: Sunny Talks Tech: Does Barcelona / Phenom really help AMD ??
 

aceman

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a)Clock speed is important , so is performance per clock.

b)AMD always had clocking problems with the first revision of its silicon.The next revision would/should be what the doctor ordered.

c)Die size is improtant , but even more so is the yeild.Intel can have all the 45nm,35nm...etc but if the yeild is not good then it will cause a increase in cost.I am not an expert in fabs but a initial run at 45nm will have yeild problems, not so for the tested and working 65nm process in which the barcelona will be fabed.Looking at the schedule It does not look like like pernyin will flood the market anytime before Q12007.

d)Die size is more improtant to reduce the power consuption,increase the Tx'r count....etc.

e)There are also physical limitation once a processor hits the 3.5 Ghz-4.0 Ghz barrier, thus all Phenom has to do is to touch ~2.5Ghz to 3.0Ghz which should be enough to beat any intel derivative.

f)AMD going to the 45nm fab is not as longer as you think.This would be available in the Q1-Q2 2007, a six month lead at the maximum for intel.

g)AMD's starined silicon (in my opinion) is much better than Low-K fab's of the intel.

h)It is not all rosy for AMD but neither it is Doomsday lurking for them either.
 
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leomax

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There are quite a lot of problems there,first AMD's 65nm yields are poor compared to intel and the silicon isnt exactly in best shape (as we can see from barcelona's initial clocks).

SOI is having problems,if you look close enough,you can see its not amd alone,their partner ibm also has problems with 65nm SOI tho not as much as amd.. 65nm isnt good as they want/like to at the timeframe..

well,that was few months ago,we can assume they might have fixed those,at least partially.

and on top of this barcelona has a huge die,as you can see.I can be pretty sure there are problems with yield of barcelona and its pricing.

Due to cut throat competition,they cant sell barcelona at as much $$ as they want to..

If im correct,they have perfected (for intial production,maybe not 'perfect') at D1D and starting to mass produce/mass producing 45nm uP's according to priorities (read servers,silver throne).There was a news that Fab32 will be online in another 40 days.

AMD's 45nm,correct me if im wrong,they has lower density than intel 45nm for SRAM that was demo'ed.. There are more problems ahead,they are using immersion litho for 45nm,intel is using dry for 45nm..

In the end,barcelona isnt bad,but its a bit late and poorly executed IMHO..
 

sunbiz_3000

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yes... I think leomax put it very correctly... The AMD 65nm yields are not good!! Also it'll be Q3 '08 when AMD moves to 45nm and by time Intel will b nearly finishing atleast 1 fab to 32nm!! So intel really has the manufacturing advantage that AMD doesnt have!!
 

Aces170

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c)Die size is improtant , but even more so is the yeild.Intel can have all the 45nm,35nm...etc but if the yeild is not good then it will cause a increase in cost.I am not an expert in fabs but a initial run at 45nm will have yeild problems, not so for the tested and working 65nm process in which the barcelona will be fabed.Looking at the schedule It does not look like like pernyin will flood the market anytime before Q12007.
That wont be an issue, as a Co. Synopys which basicially test designs I/c's and semiconductor hinted that it has successfully design tested processors at 32nm !!! so theorotically it should have yield issues. 45nm hence should not be an issue whatsoever

d)Die size is more improtant to reduce the power consuption,increase the Tx'r count....etc.
Can you elaborate more, I always wondered how reducing die sizes reduces power consumption and finally thermal envelopes, as AFAIK smaller die size indicates higher current leakages...
 

sunbiz_3000

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aceman said:
c)Die size is improtant , but even more so is the yeild.Intel can have all the 45nm,35nm...etc but if the yeild is not good then it will cause a increase in cost.I am not an expert in fabs but a initial run at 45nm will have yeild problems, not so for the tested and working 65nm process in which the barcelona will be fabed.Looking at the schedule It does not look like like pernyin will flood the market anytime before Q12007.
I guess you have no idea how much AMD can loose in 6 months if it plays the same price game with Intel like it is cuurently doing!!
aceman said:
g)AMD's starined silicon (in my opinion) is much better than Low-K fab's of the intel.
Read here, IBM-AMD will also be using High-K DiElectrics, just like Intel is using... they may have APM which is an added advantage, but larger the die-size generally means lower yields...and its been observed lately that IBM is also not doing to well with its Power6 yields... So its a really serious problem for AMD... Mayb even worse than having a bad performing processor!!
 

SharekhaN

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What AMD really needs is another AMD Athlon 64 was to then the Pentium 4 single core . The performance gap should be atlest bigger than a generation and only in that case will AMD be able to flourish . neck to neck competition , is not good for AMD simply because Intel will be able to sell more , cutting its already small market share .

In addition to severe financial troubles, Intel has been relentlessly pursuing AMD. Intel gained back 4.5 percent marketshare in the microprocessor market last quarter, and now controls 80.2% of the total processor market.
source - HardwareUpgrade .
From what i hear ... AMD is probably going private , reason - disaster of a quarter losing in free cash flow greater than 883 Million $ .
 

evox

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Barcelona and Phenom will temporarily stop the nails from reaching the coffin. that's all. Unless AMD suddenly summons an Incredibly power processor that'll beat C2D and actually manages to launch It in time (for once, please?) AMD is history, Not as a company but as a processor giant that gave Intel Execs Sleepless Nights. the problem with AMD is that, they're in a position where they want to launch products, but they don't have sufficient fundings at the same time, not launching new products is hurting them. It's like "Damned If they don't, Damned If they do" they're stuck in a really bad middle-ground. It'll be sad to see AMD Die off, especially considering it's legacy and that It has always continued to bring great products that don't hurt the pocket. I don't know If anyone here read the story or not, but AMD Apparently sold-off one of their large properties in California due to lack of fundings.
 

Yamaraj

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evox said:
Barcelona and Phenom will temporarily stop the nails from reaching the coffin. that's all. Unless AMD suddenly summons an Incredibly power processor that'll beat C2D and actually manages to launch It in time (for once, please?) AMD is history, Not as a company but as a processor giant that gave Intel Execs Sleepless Nights. the problem with AMD is that, they're in a position where they want to launch products, but they don't have sufficient fundings at the same time, not launching new products is hurting them. It's like "Damned If they don't, Damned If they do" they're stuck in a really bad middle-ground. It'll be sad to see AMD Die off, especially considering it's legacy and that It has always continued to bring great products that don't hurt the pocket. I don't know If anyone here read the story or not, but AMD Apparently sold-off one of their large properties in California due to lack of fundings.
I blame it all on so-called "enthusiasts", their misleading opinions, reviews and conclusions posted on numerous hardware forums and sites, including this one. Current crop of AMD processors are nowhere near as bad as some of the Intel products only a few months ago. On the contrary, they are the real VFM solution right now, if we take into account the average Singh, Prasad and Reddy. Everyday computing is not about overclocking, or b**ching over 2 FPS gain in BioChoke.

I use both Intel and AMD, and have never been a fanboy. Intel sure is shining with its C2D and C2Q offerings, but let's not forget that all this fun and party exists because of AMD. The moment AMD ceases to exist, crappy Intel solutions, like Celeron, is all what you'll get.

I am buying AMD, again.
 
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skada

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I dont think any manufacturer goes to lower sizes before ensuring perfect yield... AFAIK the larger size componmnents are created first and then their lower size counter parts as the fab process improves so the stability and yield..

lower die sizes means lower power transistors .. some electronic jugglery to do more in small space .. like votage isolation/islands , different power supplies for diff part and different gating with lower voltages and may be thinner wafers..
the current leakage doesnt happen bec of quite small voltages compared to larger sized ones ...

I sincerely hope that AMD's processor gives quite a competition to Penryn (and so does ATi's new graphic card)
duh.. we need some serious competition...
 

Striker10

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Aces170 said:
I always wondered how reducing die sizes reduces power consumption and finally thermal envelopes, as AFAIK smaller die size indicates higher current leakages...
that is why Intel is moving to High-k Dielectric(read ). go through the other thread on TE "45nm in 45 days" also Meet the World's First 45nm Processor

Intel said:
The combination of the metal gates and the high-k gate dielectric leads to transistors with very low current leakage and high performance.
 

sunbiz_3000

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The Sorcerer said:
Best if one waits for barcelona's review. There is no solid evidence or facts. Lets wait and watch....
We have a lot of Barcelona reviews already!! and all the stuff mentioned above is about Phenom X4, the desktop variant
 

Striker10

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aceman said:
f)AMD going to the 45nm fab is not as longer as you think.This would be available in the Q1-Q2 2007, a six month lead at the maximum for intel.
amd is already cash strapped plus their current desktop models are being sold at a low margin in order to compete against intel . intel forecast is looking damn good...

Intel's initial 45NM test processors have already been tested in January itself and proved successful . thats why they invested 3 billion $ on building a 45nm fab.
 

sunbiz_3000

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The Sorcerer said:
I meant phenom my bad. I still feel that amd could pull it off.
The point here is not if AMD can pull it off or not... Even if AMD beats intel, (surely it will beat Intel's Peryn atleast by 10-20%), the problem is that if Intel decreases the price... AMD will have a really really hard time selling at that price which means that the next generation of processors will have less money for R&D and more time for newer fab investments!! :(
 

Naga

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Dunno about VFM, for my gaming rig, I'd go for the better performer. But for my office/daily usage machines, I'd rather go for AMD. My way of contributing to the development of faster and faster proccies.
 

SharekhaN

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^^ not clock for clock . clock for clock AMD desktops come cheaper . ie whole solution .