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AMD's Barcelona Chip

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June 29, 2007 1:24:35 PM

From the WSJ. Enjoy:

AMD's Barcelona Chip To Be Slower Than Expected

SAN FRANCISCO -- A long-awaited chip dubbed Barcelona from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. will initially be a bit slower, and arrive a bit later, than some people expected.

The forthcoming microprocessor -- a badly needed weapon to counter recent gains by rival Intel Corp. -- will go on sale to computer makers in August at an initial clock speed of up to two gigahertz, said Randy Allen, corporate vice president in AMD's server and workstation division.

AMD had not previously spelled out the expected clock speed of Barcelona, a code name for an addition to AMD's Opteron line that packs the equivalent of four electronic brains on one piece of silicon. But Mr. Allen acknowledged that some industry watchers had speculated AMD would initially deliver clock speeds of 2.7 gigahertz to 2.8 gigahertz.

Clock speed, or operating frequency -- a measure of internal timing pulses in a chip that is sometimes compared to revolutions per minute in a car engine -- is only one contributor to computing performance. Mr. Allen estimated that the first versions of Barcelona still will be 40% to 50% faster than existing Opteron chips, which have two processors.

But any initial performance advantage over Intel will be less clear-cut. On some jobs, Barcelona will beat Intel's fastest chips, and on some jobs Intel may report better results, Mr. Allen said. In February, by contrast, AMD had asserted that Barcelona would have a 40% performance advantage over Intel's products.

AMD expects to follow with faster clock speeds later in the year. "As we go into Q4 and ramp up these frequencies, we will separate ourselves" from the performance of Intel chips, Mr. Allen said.

Initial Barcelona models will hold a more clear advantage when power-consumption is factored in, a metric called performance per watt, Mr. Allen said.

Rumors of delays in delivering Barcelona have popped up repeatedly in recent weeks. AMD has said it would deliver the product in "midyear," though it never specified the precise month. Nevertheless, some analysts had inferred AMD's phrasing to indicate volume shipments of the product in June or July.

Now AMD is disclosing that Barcelona will ship to computer makers "for revenue" in August, Mr. Allen said, timing that he characterized as "aligned" with the company's predictions. Server systems using the chip will not begin to go on sale until September, he added.

A "relatively modest" number of Barcelona-based systems will be available that month, but a "quick ramp" will boost that number through October and November, Mr. Allen said.

Intel, instead of racing to place four processors on one chip, last fall opted to package two dual-processor chips together to create what it calls "quad-core" products. It claims to have sold more than one million such products already.

Intel's strategies have been aided by a lengthy head start in perfecting manufacturing technology that shrinks the dimensions of chip circuitry to 65 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, from older 90-nanometer technology.

AMD is just gearing up 65-nanometer production now. In the second half of the year, by contrast, Intel plans to shift to an even more advanced production process, rated at 45 nanometers, that its executives have said will help Intel's chips counter any technical advantages of Barcelona.

More about : amd barcelona chip

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June 29, 2007 3:29:21 PM

Ouch...

First they hit a rock with the Radeon HD 2900XT and now this. Man, AMD are having hard times.

You know the one big contributing factor to all this is Otellini taking power over at Intel and changing the way Intel did business. He should get a freaking medal for all the pressure he's able to put on AMD.
June 29, 2007 5:10:23 PM

God I feel bad for AMD, I really really hope Barcelona takes off. I'm just about ready to buy a bunch of AMD CPUs just to keep them afloat lol
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June 29, 2007 5:10:44 PM

It's interesting how that sounds like it won't reach performance estimates rather than to say:


Barcelona will release at ONLY 2GHz, contrary to industry estimates.

I'm still confident. This is obviously a side effect of the lower cash flow due to the price war. I notice also that they say AMD is just getting 65nm, but Brisbane was available from the beginning of the year in the US and Toshiba is shipping 65nm Turion X2 (TL64).

I'm sure that part of the deal was that they would get 65nm chips. I guess it's too bad laptops don't have OC BIOS'.

It seems obvious that they are getting those out for the HPC crowd like Cray and Sun, since 32,000 chips (Sun Constellation) will be fine at any speed.
June 29, 2007 10:09:08 PM

Yea Otellini has really done well with the Empire. lmao!

Best,

3Ball
a b à CPUs
June 29, 2007 10:11:32 PM

Darth Otellini :p 

June 29, 2007 11:27:10 PM

why AMD has always at 2 GHz their processors? or something in the 2 GHz range??? wtf?? oh well yeah i forgot intell had them just like that also but oh well... what else can i say guys???

soy Salvadoreno!!! :)  :twisted:
a b à CPUs
June 29, 2007 11:43:31 PM

Its getting really tough for AMD. They are way over due on the CPU and many people already have C2D based rigs. What are the chances thet C2D owners will do a CPU and a Motherboard upgrade just to get a Barcelona???
June 29, 2007 11:52:21 PM

AMD is releasing half cooked CPUs at low frequencies. They needed to release <i>something</i> or else they will keep on losing marketshare. Surprise surprise, Randy Allen talking about how K10 will outperform Intel's best offering by 40%+. What a joke! Now, it's not even about performance, it's about performance per watt. Forget Penryn, I believe K10 has already been pre-fragged by Clovertown and Kentsfield.

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=40606

Wow, 120W at only 2.4GHz? Imagine 3GHz... That's some hot stuff. :lol: 
June 30, 2007 12:41:25 AM

punk'd
June 30, 2007 12:58:53 AM

Quote:
This is obviously a side effect of the lower cash flow due to the price war.


Ah yes. The fact the Barcelona is going to be a late dissapointment with yield issues is of course the fault of the mighty Intel!
June 30, 2007 1:28:30 AM

I´m quite pleased that they got it to 2.0 Ghz. I was expecting something along 1.6 Ghz in 2008. Well, it has yet to be launched and until i read in a more serious publication i will stick to my estimation.
I´m also eager to see if their "40%" claim is true. That would mean a 2.0 Ghz Barcelona should beat the 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Quad by a long shot.
June 30, 2007 2:39:59 AM

Quote:

I´m also eager to see if their "40%" claim is true. That would mean a 2.0 Ghz Barcelona should beat the 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Quad by a long shot.


How do you figure? Allen is claiming quad-core Barcy at 2.0GHz will beat dual-core Opty at 3.0GHz by 40-50 percent.

From that, you are able to deduce what its performance will be relative to Clovertown/Kentsfield at 2.4GHz?

But why are you comparing it to a 2.4GHz Xeon in the first place? The top of the line Barcy is 2.0GHz. It's real competition at launch will be running at 2.93GHz or 3.0GHz.

We'll leave out 45nm Intel quads at an expected 3.33GHz since these are vaporware at this point.

Hmm, I'm really curious: anyone feel like doing the math?
June 30, 2007 2:45:56 AM

2*3 K8 Ghz=6 K8 GHz. K10quad@2GHz is ~45% (says Randy) faster than K8dual@3GHz. 6 K8 GHz * 1.45=8.7 K8 GHz=performance of K10quad@2GHz. 8.7 K8 GHz/4 K10 cores=2.175 K8 GHz per 1 2GH K10 core. 2.165/2=8.75% per core advantage of K10.
June 30, 2007 2:59:49 AM

Quote:
2*3 K8 Ghz=6 K8 GHz. K10quad@2GHz is ~45% (says Randy) faster than K8dual@3GHz. 6 K8 GHz * 1.45=8.7 K8 GHz=performance of K10quad@2GHz. 8.7 K8 GHz/4 K10 cores=2.175 K8 GHz per 1 2GH K10 core. 2.165/2=8.75% per core advantage of K10.


Hmm... 8.75% isn't nearly enough to match, let alone exceed, C2D levels of IPC.
June 30, 2007 4:21:25 AM

That's supposed to be 2.175 not 2.165 btw. Those numbers assume that AMD isn't sandbagging. Assuming it isn't, I say that that is poo for dualies period, and higher clocks are needed for quads.
June 30, 2007 8:35:48 AM

I am surprised by how tame this and similar threads are developing on the forum. I would expect a lot more bravado and bashing. The whole “Core Duo Strikes Back” to the “A New Hope” Barcelona chapters in the Intel vs. AMD saga has been very "soap operaific". Posters have been getting so feisty over rumors and secrecy over the last 6-8 months. It’s been interesting and kind of fun to watch.

Today’s news seems rather huge for one who is invested in the story. AMD showed their hand today. Not completely by any means, I know, benchmarks, benchmarks, benchmarks. However between the stated frequencies of K10’s first release and the lack of any language making comparisons to Intel, I think it is apparent that AMD’s hand was folding to play another round later.

So where is the hub-bub, the I told you sos and the vociferous defense of the yet to be benched chip. Not too many daggers flying around here yet.

Is it AMD fatigue? With the past six months of negative Barcy news and a whole lot of AMD\ATI heat to boot, are even Intel Fanatics getting tired of the same tune. I think it must be that. The other unlikely option is that people are genuinely feeling bad for AMD right now. It’s like they're just very sad and it’s too heartless to make fun of them. AMD is “special” in a depressing way right now. They need corrective shoes and a speech therapist.

That’s my thoughts

dung
June 30, 2007 5:00:44 PM

I think you have the right idea about the mindset, but after Computex, and the AMD showing (and subsequent tech articles about Barcelona), some people probably lowered their expectations a bit.

Also, after some spotty launches (R600, 65nm X2s), I don't think this announcement generated a lot confidence (at least what I've read) in either a timely or quantity (or both) type of launch.

Hopefully, AMD does launch with more than enough CPUs for all that wants one, and not just to T1 OEMs.

One a side note - I think the whole AMD vs. Intel thing has been overdone and is somewhat burnt out right now. When 3rd party benchmarks are released, then it might start up again for a bit.
June 30, 2007 9:06:21 PM

Quote:
It's interesting how that sounds like it won't reach performance estimates rather than to say:


Barcelona will release at ONLY 2GHz, contrary to industry estimates.

I'm still confident. This is obviously a side effect of the lower cash flow due to the price war. I notice also that they say AMD is just getting 65nm, but Brisbane was available from the beginning of the year in the US and Toshiba is shipping 65nm Turion X2 (TL64).



Still don't get it, eh Baron? Let me simplify it for you. Essentially what this means is that AMD has to price their high end chips to compete with intel's mid-range, thereby further delaying the gross margin and profit recovery at AMD until at least 2009. The only way AMD gets out of this is if intel seriously screws up on penryn (not likely).

Intel has AMD's balls in a vice and is steadily cranking the handle.

I think we are about to see big changes in the way AMD conducts business They simply cannot keep this up for much longer.
June 30, 2007 9:17:59 PM

At the risk of repeating myself ... that avatar scares me, man :lol: 
June 30, 2007 10:01:24 PM

Quote:
At the risk of repeating myself ... that avatar scares me, man :lol: 


Your avatar either makes me want to vote or join the military, I can't decide which.

(I always vote! Even school board elections!)
June 30, 2007 10:08:36 PM

LMAO!
June 30, 2007 10:20:01 PM

I have to agree with you. AMD will never reach the end of their projected road map at this rate. Future advances with Intel could even the playing field in 4-way and 8-way processing which will make them all but irrelevant.

On the positive side they could start focusing on the thin client environment which is set explode in the next 2-5 years. More and more business models show the desktops in the business are under utilized and extremely expensive to maintain. Virtualization technology has advanced to the point where it will sweep the industry over the next two refresh cycles (3-6 years). These new solutions can even handle power users such CAD designers unlike terminal services and Citrix.

If Google virtual OS is a success the same could happen to the home market. Many people would be happy buying $200 terminal for office apps, email and Internet access.

While the home market is uncertain I pretty sure that business market will convert thin clients which will be bad for us IT folks. With a service life of 5-7 year per solid state device at a cost a low a $130 the will be truly be disposable assets. Via and AMD current make the CPU's for these devices. I'm sure the margins aren't all that great though.
a b à CPUs
June 30, 2007 11:42:51 PM

AMD seems to be talking a whole lot more about Barcelona than they are Phenom.

If Barcelona will be 40% faster than Intel then could we expect the Phenom processors to be 40% faster than the Core2Duos when clocked at the same GHz? I mean I would guess that Barcelona and Phenom would be based on similar design.

I do feel sorry for AMD. I think it is only a matter of time before they are going to have to seek finanical backing of some sort.

Intel is beating them on one end while Nvidia is beating them on the other. They are being double teamed.

I hear that in September AMD will have a x2950XTX which will beat the 8800GTX by a good margin but then you will have the 9800GTX coming out in November which is promising to be at least twice as fast as the 8800.
June 30, 2007 11:51:59 PM

Quote:

If Barcelona will be 40% faster than Intel then could we expect the Phenom processors to be 40% faster than the Core2Duos when clocked at the same GHz? I mean I would guess that Barcelona and Phenom would be based on similar design.

The 40% performance difference has only been for SPECfp_rate, which is a highly memory bandwidth dependent test and will be one of the best case scenarios for 2 socket Barcelona vs 2 socket Clovertown.

It also doesn't correlate with desktop applications because the Quad FX-74 beats the QX6700 by about 50% in SPECfp_rate but the QX6700 crushes the FX-74 in desktop applications.

Personally, given the simulated results for integer benchmarks and the POV-Ray/Cinebench results I expect the C2D and C2Q to beat the dual-core and quad-core Phenoms clock for clock on the desktop. If AMD can't ramp the clockspeed, the 6000+ may end up being faster than a dual-core Phenom.
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July 1, 2007 12:22:42 AM

AMD has always been good at adding features and extending there cpus BIT BY BIT, K6 was 686, K6-2 with 3D-Now and more clock speed, K6-3 with on die L2 cache, K7 with a DDR FSB, K8 with an Integrated Memory Controller and HT, but now the new chip with a new name, twice the cores, L3 cache, all sorts of other stuff - they should have done quad core K8's first, THEN improved things after some experience.
July 1, 2007 12:24:46 AM

The thin client argument has been raging ever since the first pc's started replacing terminals... I'd not be worrying about the desktop IT crowd just yet.

But back on topic, a 4 core Barcelona only 40 to 50% faster than a 2 core opteron? What does the 4th core do, play solitaire?
July 1, 2007 12:31:22 AM

Quote:

But back on topic, a 4 core Barcelona only 40 to 50% faster than a 2 core opteron? What does the 4th core do, play solitaire?

With a 3GHz to 2GHz disadvantage, each Barcelona core is probably slower than the K8 core.
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