AMD annoyed...

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Sat Mar 17 15:11:57 PST 2001

On Sat, 17 Mar 2001 lowther at wrote:

> "Robert G. Brown" wrote:
> >
> >
> > Bemusedly yours,
> >
> I saw the page briefly before it came down.  Would it be 'out of bounds'
> to give a hint for those waiting whether or not AT THIS MOMENT it is
> wise for them to wait longer or would they be just as well off going
> ahead with their projects based on currently available technologies?
> I'm sure if  you had a glowing report, they wouldn't be upset at all if
> you were to say something positive based on what you know.  After all,
> those waiting know the performance of a single processor board and just
> need to know in a price/performance framework whether or not they can
> get at least, say 190% performance gain before they should consider
> single board solutions?  Not that anyone should take your silence as
> anything other than a gentlemanly agreement with AMD.

I'm less optimistic than you are about what they would or wouldn't be
annoyed by, but let's try it.  After all, I have no agreement with AMD
at all -- they haven't even talked to me in person.  I only have heard
through "channels" that they object to my publishing free advertising in
a venue rich in large scale and technologically knowledgeable purchasers
(turnkey companies and end users both) that they couldn't pay an agency
any money to penetrate and which, if they did, nobody would take

My summary report would be that folks interested in running CPU bound
code are (as one might expect) perfectly safe waiting for the dual
Athlon if its release time and expected price point match their needs.
I saw nothing at all that would make me hesitate to get it for CPU bound
code.  For code that is mixed CPU and memory bound code the picture is
less clear.  Very subjectively it had no major "problems" but OTOH its
performance curve was, not unreasonably, quite different from Intel
duals.  I experienced no system instabilities (the test system didn't
crash even under 100% loads over 20 hour periods), although in three or
four days that may or may not be significant and there were subsystems
I didn't test at all.

If your code is expected to be heavily memory I/O IPC bound -- two
processors doing a lot of talking to each other on the same system --
then you might do better with Intel.  Or you might not -- one reason AMD
is probably worried about the pre-release numbers is that they are
pre-release, and they may be working on specific subsystems that would
significantly alter these numbers.  Also, we're talking about a
performance >>profile<<, which is a very nonlinear function.  Intel
might be optimal in one region and AMD in another.

For folks in that situation, I'd say that the preliminary numbers I had
posted might well convince a lot of people near a neck in the (beta)
profile to wait, and would definitely convince people who are already in
productive territory to wait, but since AMD won't let me post the
figures and numbers, we'll never know who is who...


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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