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General discussion on AMD and Intel Processors

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January 5, 2012 2:35:22 AM

I am not trying to spark an Intel vs AMD war here. I myself have an AMD build and have been a fan of AMD since the Athlon64 days. I remember every guy recommending AMD machines at that time and every game zone having AMD machines. AMD was pwning Intel processors at the time, so to speak.

But the times have changed. AMD launched its Phenom II line of processors with L3 cache and stuff and i couldn't help but upgrade my old PC (Pentium 4) to an AMD machine to get the ultimate performance (plus i liked the cool name : Phenom :-p ). But as i was in the market looking for AMD hardware (CPU and compatible motherboard) I heard vendors egging me NOT to buy AMD products. I just thought that they must be getting more out of selling Intel stuff than AMD. Plus the level of hardware i was getting for my budget with AMD was better than what i could get with Intel at twice the price. So I just went ahead and got the AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE and an ASUS M4A78T-E.

Recently i had some problems with the ASUS motherboard and then it just shut down completely. RMA'd the stuff and got a replacement. M5A88-M. This is one sweet motherboard.

On my way to buy my CPU, i had done a decent amount of research and found that the Black Edition Processors were boss. So i picked up the 550 BE. I have been happy with the choice as i also learned that the two dormant cores on mine are stable. But i really haven't been able to see a difference. Windows Experience Index gave Phenom II X4 B50 (unlocked 550 BE) 7.3 out of 7.9 that is just pretty damn impressive. But the same score showed when i was running it as an X2. I haven't noticed any real difference in gaming either.

I also heard about some problems with AMD chipests on their forums.

I also see a lot more of fixes for AMD / ATi graphics cards than for Nvidia.

My point is. AMD delivers top notch stuff. It has been in the business for a LONG time and is the only threat to Intel. But as current numbers and benchmarks are going, it really isn't. Core i series pretty much pwns all AMD processors, even the latest FX if i am not wrong (though their memory and cache benchmarks as compared to Phenom II processors are through the roof).
Why is AMD lagging behind ? or are they just concentrating on different stuff right now than Intel. Are the instruction sets different ? does that make a difference ? does the different architecture slow AMD down ? Or is it just that all benchmarks favor Intel Processors than AMD ? which is highly unlikely.
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January 5, 2012 8:57:01 AM

I owned Athlon64 it was an amazing chip. After that i saw Intel become more and more powerfull, i buyed Q9550 ,and for the last year i7 2600. It was expensive,that is the price if want performance. At the GPU point , i owned only Radeon video cards , first it was 9600 Pro , 4850,4890 and now 6950. Never i haven't an isue with drivers or other problems with my gpu's.
AMD cpu's are behind Intel because they try diferent architecture, what sadly is disapoiting,because they are far behind Intel cpu's.
I am not a fan boy , if AMD will come with cpu's what are better then Intel , ill buy AMD.
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January 5, 2012 9:38:52 AM

AMD doesn't have that much choice the way I see it. Intel is dominating the market and can spend much more money on research. If AMD just apes them chances are they will gradually just fall further and further behind. By being more willing to try new things they stand a better chance of catching up but it didn't seem to pay off with the Bulldozer. It might still turn out good for servers, and AMD do have their APU so they can compete in the budget market quite well. Intel will just own the mid and high level for quite a while it seems.
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January 5, 2012 11:16:30 AM

This is a rather pointless discussion. AMD is not a threat to Intel and has no hope in supplying a market share that would really hurt Intel. AMD's dilemma arose out of Intel parting company with the socket 7 arch and then refused the other major CPU manufacturers to make slot 1 processors.

AMD battled hard with the K6 series to stay alive and then was lucky enough to score a win with the new Athlon platform and beat Intel past the 1 GHz barrier.....this was AMD's real claim to fame.

The Athlon was able to compete well with P4 through a couple of socket changes, the 939 to 940 was a killer for AMD as many of us had a play with Core 2 since it was just as costly to go either way because you had to junk your entire system moving between 939 and 940......and the poor guys on 754 got a bum deal too....

Luckily AMD realized this was a stupid way of losing good customers and have been careful to watch that it did not happen again. They have become a lot more savvy in supporting prior tech with things like dual memory controllers and the like, but the cost has been in outright CPU performance, because they are providing retrospective technology support on higher micron arch as well as new CPU innovations.

In reality anyone can stick the best CPU with the most Powerful GPU and make toast, but the trick is hitting the sweet spot between performance, price, and knowing when to move up.

Today, with the purchase of ATi, AMD can now do what only Intel has been able to offer so far and that is a complete platform. From this point on they (AMD) are now independent from Intel.

When you then compare the platforms in their entirety, as I think should be done, then AMD has a clear lead over Intel, who IMO have fallen back to be something more of a CPU specialist these days.

The real battle is Mac Vs PC an area where pc's are starting to lose out for about the first time I can remember. Most games are already only ports from video consoles, so I will be very interested to see what Microsoft does with Win 8.0 to combat the rampaging Mac OS on everything from, phones, pads, laptops and desktops, and the rapid emergence of the GPU driven Android OS?

Let's hope that Microsoft doesn't leave gaming to their Xbox platform only, because then there won't be any incentive for most of us to building a fast desktop at all.
January 5, 2012 11:52:24 AM

@ harna what I said was "AMD is the only threat to Intel but according to the current numbers and benchmarks, it really isn't". What I mean is, commercially, there have always been two major processor manufacturers, Intel and AMD but I just had a thought of why AMD is losing out on Intel and as i know only the basics about "architectures" and "instructions" , I wanted to discern why AMD falls back on most benchmarks as compared to Intel processors at the same stock speeds. Mac vs PC is something i really don't know about and I really do not care. But yes, increasingly so, I have been hearing about Macs becoming more popular, especially in some of the universities my friends go to.
January 5, 2012 12:24:21 PM

Well part of it is true that vendors have Intel specific contracts, they had the advantage to begin with. AMD technically belongs in many more prebuilts as their performance hits the price point, but they aren't there. I mean Llano is a great tech for the average laptop user, but HP sells 21 Intel models and 4 AMD. It's also a pretty good for desktop prebuilts, put in an A8 and add a decent PSU, and that box can be "upgraded" with hybrid graphics down the line without the usual need of a new PSU. It can also be sold prebuilt with that claim on the box, I've seen builds actually doing that, using the lowest combo of a 6450 to claim crossfire. The average person however does not even know what AMD is, and the average sales clerk has 5x the Intel models to sell, and a higher price range to sell them in. They're going to sell the Intel. Vendors do not WANT to sell budget friendly models, they want to talk you up. They want you to see the power of an i7, not the value of an A8.

I don't think people want to face it but AMD, as stated above is just going in a different direction. Bulldozer is not "awful", but it isn't what people had worked themselves up for it to be. It isn't a competitor for Intel's high end models. It's the first step in new architecture, more like a test. Llano is the same in a way, recycling old architecture to perhaps prove the concept. Ideally, these two are the starting point for AMD's future designs, but they themselves are not the future. That future design however will likely be APUs, but not high end CPU parts. One thing about AMD though is, they fail on the software end. They took over ATI, now the drivers are flaky. Hybrid Crossfire is a great idea, but it doesn't seem to function without a lot of effort. Their multicore designs are pushing the power of the CPU, but at the same time aren't realistic with what programs are currently utilizing. Bulldozer performs pretty well in POV Ray, because it can actually use multiple cores. If everything utilized the cores like that, BD would be viable. Games that were started years previously however, cannot use the multiple cores. Did AMD really think that they could sell something with 6-8 cores in a market where nothing needs 8 cores? Do they think a Piledriver with 10 cores is going to be used properly by anything?

I think AMD's present is going to lead to a good future with what they're doing. I do think the BD architecture will be improved upon and may show it's worth eventually. I do think APUs are a good idea, but Llano falls in an odd spot. It's almost a bit too much power for an HTPC, but not quite enough for gaming. If they offered something along the lines of a 6770 as the GPU and that were crossfired, then gamers would be a bit more interested. A 6550 just isn't "enough" to justify the cost for many, when they really want to put in a better discrete that won't be utilized. The people who lose the most are going to be the Intel supporters, lack of competition is going to put them in the position once more where they no longer strive to compete.
January 7, 2012 2:56:12 AM

@kinggraves true ! A couple of friends of mine were in the market to buy a laptop recently. I suggested they get one with an AMD processor as I have had a good experience on my desktop with it. But the problem is that not many OEMs (hp, DELL, etc) have AMD on offer and they are way too low on their stock speeds as well. That may be to have a longer battery life, but that is what AMD developed CnQ for i guess. I use CnQ and find it really convenient. I had CPU-Z open the whole time just to check whether it really made any difference. While I was just browsing or clicking on some stuff, I noticed my multiplier, stock speed and the voltage were reduced. This is great ! AMD needs to step up in the laptop department IMO. And yes. I don't really get the point of an 8 core processor. What would probably use 8 cores on a home machine ?! Probably only the ones doing some really heavy encoding or graphics designing would need it, though i doubt those softwares would be able to utilize all 8 cores. Plus a little bit of promotion wouldn't hurt either. I live in India. And all i see is Intel ads. never have i seen an AMD ad. hp aired an ad once for their new laptop having an AMD processor, the next time i saw the ad, they were airing it as having an Intel processor.
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January 7, 2012 8:46:01 AM

as far as I can tell, AMD invested a lot into phenom x4s which they called the first true quad cores. It failed miserably due to the tech being different, the process unrefined, the cold bug and the fact that c2qs were still very good processors even tho they weren't true quads as they were 2 c2d stuck on the same die.

AMD tried everything they could to come back but the c2d and c2q era was just too much of a win for intel. When phenom II launched they were great cpus and made AMD look like they were finally going to catch back up but Intel has been sitting there for 3 years making the i7 920. AMD's return was short lived.

Im guessing AMD looked at the threaded results from the 920 and thought they need something that would compete with hyperthreading on multicore cpus. They came up with the concepts for bulldozer which aren't bad on paper, due to technical difficulties, just didn't fly as well as AMD hoped.

So AMD is pretty much in the dumps, they have been losing shares since 2006 and their newest cpu architecture is a fail. They can't produce good cpus for good prices and even then they are sold out because thats how few cpus they actually can produce do to the failure at Global Foundaries.

The 32 nm process there is a fail and amd invested everything in it. It was supposed to be able to clock bulldozer through the roof. instead they have leaky transistors and a badly handled process. Right now AMD can only play the waiting game until they can either abandon glofo or get glofo to fix everything.

It might be a while before AMD can compete with intel again. Even though they say they aren't going to try, I think they would do it if they actually could.
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January 7, 2012 11:35:27 AM

It's been a long time since I've used an AMD processor; Athlon XP 2600+ if I am not mistaken. I had a Pentium III before then.

I was going to upgrade to an Athlon 64 X2, until Intel released some preliminary benchmarks for the 1st generation C2D CPUs. I decided to wait the 6 or so months for independent benchmarks to hit the web upon the C2D retail release. That's when I decided switch back to Intel and bought a C2D E6600.

!