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AMD is turning into Intel

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March 7, 2001 12:13:27 PM

"The microprocessor market waited eagerly for AMD Tuesday to kick off the next 1.3-GHz speed grade for its Athlon MPU -- but the MPU firm reportedly felt under no such pressure and continued to keep the higher speed chip in the wings."

Quoted from:
http://www.ebnews.com/story/OEG20010306S0065

While I find it minorly humerous to hear the term MPU instead of CPU (even if they mean the same thing, I haven't heard anyone call it an MPU in ... too long to remember), I find it immensely sad that AMD would take such a stance.

We all have enjoyed the battle between AMD and Intel because it kept giving us faster and faster chips. And this was very preferable to when Intel was the clear chip leader and dictated to it's users when they were ready for faster chips to squeeze the most money out of their existing chips. I doubt many people could argue that it wasn't annoying when Intel was doing this.

And now AMD is taking the exact same stance. They (supposedly) have a faster chip, the 1.3GHz Athlon. But they refuse to sell it because their 1.2GHz already beats the P4. (At least this is the reasoning that AMD President Hector Ruiz gives for it.)

So what is AMD doing? They are refusing to put out faster chips even though they have them just so that they can bleed the consumers dry.

Could anyone ask for more solid proof that AMD doesn't care about it's customers any more than Intel?

And no, I'm not trying to start any flame wars by acting as a such-and-such zealot. Obviously I've just pointed out faunts in BOTH sides. The only side I am on is that of the truth.

- Sanity is purely based on point-of-view.

More about : amd turning intel

Anonymous
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March 7, 2001 12:21:05 PM

I agree it's s**t but like a few of us have been saying for a long time AMD are no nicer than Intel , they don't feel they need to offer any more even though they can (that is if they are not having problems with production)
I hope this will show some ppl that seem to think that AMD are the good side in the battle that it's all bollox and nobody in this game is nice they are all here to take your money ......

M


Opinions are like arseholes .... everybody’s got one.... :smile:
March 7, 2001 3:19:37 PM

I don't think AMD really feels that way... that they don't feel any pressure to release 1.3Ghz Athlon because "1.2Ghz unit already beats 1.5Ghz P4."..
1.2GHz(266FSB)was announced...when was it.. last November? And it just started to appear on Pricewatch... is this the real "paper launch" or what...
In the real market, performance is not what really counts... MHz is the king, like it or not.

My guesses are :

1. AMD is having yield probs with 1.2G+ units.(especially 266 FSB ones)
2. AMD feels that if they release it now, they don't have anything else to put out for next few months.... maybe having trouble with Palomino? I don't know... Their roadmap says that Palomino is out next month, but it's been delayed for more than 3 months already...
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March 7, 2001 3:38:32 PM

You're both right. My point really was that either AMD is no better than Intel for trying to get every last dollar out of their customers, or AMD is no better than Intel for doing paper launches.

Either way the coin lands, AMD turns out to be no better than Intel in their business practices.

It's just sad, but amusing at the same time.

- Sanity is purely based on point-of-view.
March 7, 2001 3:41:53 PM

Slvr -

Could it be AMD doesn't really have the chip ready, but would rather put out this story instead?

beans
March 7, 2001 4:30:29 PM

I think that AMD is accurate in what they say - they have no pressure to release the chip. However I don't think that that is their reason for not releasing it. Everything of theirs lately has been relatively rushed and unorderly - they probably need some time to catch their breath and stabalize and improve things and let things balance out a little bit. Since they have a reason that looks good they are using it, its looks a lot better than saying 'we need some time to catch up and get things under control and make sure out 1.3 chip is good/stable".
Also I don't understand some people, talking about 'AMD cares about their customers and Intel doesn't'. Oh please people they are both business, and companies such as these have one goal and that is to make money. I mean look at waiters at restaurants. Do you really think your server cares about you, or just wants a good tip? Even if AMD treats customers better than Intel its not because they are nicer, its just part of their plan to make more money. Its always been like that and with businesses it always will be. Personally, I don't really care. Whichever has the better chip for the money wins my business. Right now it is AMD. If Intel released a faster, better, and cheaper chip than AMD I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to buy an Intel. People get way to upset and take this stuff way too seriously. The AMD vs Intel wars are laughable when you look at how upset people get over a COMPUTER CHIP. Goodness people get your priorities straight!!
March 7, 2001 4:44:05 PM

No proof for what I have to say on this subject, my opinion only. Here goes:

Everyone knows AMD chips run hot (right AMDmeltdown?). Higher speeds simply means more heat, and it's my guess that the 1.3Ghz simply gets too hot. Just like 1.13Ghz was beyond the capability of the P3, perhaps 1.3Ghz is too close to the threshold for the Athlon (without special cooling).

It's to AMD's credit that they did not release this processor and then have to recall it (sound familiar?).

I can't believe that AMD delayed this processor because the 1.2Ghz Athlons compete well enough with the P4. I don't buy that explanation. If the processor was solid, they would use it as a shovel to bury the P4.
March 7, 2001 4:58:21 PM

I still consider that to fall into the category of a 'paper launch'. The blueprints and engineering samples exist, but the production chips aren't available for sale.

I think it's likely that there is a problem with the chip. Maybe their yields are really bad. Or maybe the production chips are all unstable.

Personally, I don't believe AMD's excuse for one minute. We all know that as soon as a 1.3GHz Athlon becomes available, people all over will jump at the chance to purchase one. I'm sure it'd make more money to release it now than it would to release it once their .13 micron chips are out, because once those are out, everyone will want them, not the 'old' .18 micron chips.

Only AMD knows what the real story is. But no matter what it is, it doesn't have a positive side.

- Sanity is purely based on point-of-view.
March 7, 2001 5:04:27 PM

slvr -

I agree.

If they had the chip, they would sell it. They need market share; Intel didn't have that problem.


beans
March 7, 2001 5:23:44 PM

That's quite possible that the chip works, but is unstable. To stabalize it you'd have to up the core voltage. And if you do that, it just runs way too hot for a typical cooling unit.

So if AMD were to release a chip like that, everyone would KNOW that it's just an overclocked chip. And everyone would laugh. So AMD won't do it, hoping that when their .13 micron chips come out, we'll all forget about this.

"It's to AMD's credit that they did not release this processor and then have to recall it (sound familiar?)."

Yes, it sounds very familiar. Intel tried overclocking thier chip to 1.13GHz, failed, recalled the engineering samples that they had given out, and canceled orders for the chip. They didn't release the actual production models of the processor either.

Just like AMD is doing... With the exception that AMD (to my knowledge) didn't give out engineering samples of their 1.3GHz chip, so there's nothing to recall there. Heh heh.

But that in itself makes one ponder. Why didn't AMD give out any engineering samples? It makes it sound like they already knew that there was a problem... But if they knew that, then why haven't they just stoped the chip all together instead of only delaying the release?

Something there just doesn't add up. It almost brings up tangible suspicions that they actually plan to hide the fact that their 1.3GHz chip was a failure by producing a 1.3GHz chip using the .13 micron etching and just using an on-chip voltage adjustment to cut down the excess electricity that the .13 micron chip wouldn't need. Then they can release this mutant 1.3GHz chip that you can put into any system that supports their .18 micron etched chips. And they'll just hide the fact that the chip itself was actually manufactured with a .13 micron process.

It's pure speculation. But I'd have to laugh myself silly if that's what they're actually planning on doing. I mean it'd work, I don't doubt that. But everyone already knows that they could make a 1.3GHz chip using a .13 micron etching process. So if they did do things that way, then it really wouldn't have any meaning.

- Sanity is purely based on point-of-view.
March 7, 2001 5:40:44 PM

The main issue I have with what you're saying is that I have read Athlons overclocking to 1.3-1.4 GHz, and being stable without any special cooling. I mean, Tom got an Athlon to 1.6 GHz with special cooling.

Being that it is shown Athlons can get to atleast 1.3 GHz without special cooling, to say AMD isn't releasing a retail version because the chip doesn't work doesn't seem right to me. It is true, that their .13 micron process is coming out soon, isn't it? So, with the 1.2 GHz Athlon already the fastest (or closest to) chip ou there, releasing a 1.3 GHz Athlon on .18 doesn't make much sense as the .13 micron chip would be out shortly after, making the .18 chips sell worse and be pretty much pointless.

If that is the case, which does make more sense, that seems like a keener business move that a strategy to hide a failure... Then again, this is speculation as well but it seems a little bit more plausible to me than what you are saying.

Then again, when Tom reported the 1.13 GHz chip as being a faulty POS, I didn't really believe him until Intel actually adminted it. Then again, he's Tom and you're you :) . j/k

"We put the <i>fun</i> back into fundamentalist dogma!"
March 7, 2001 7:09:47 PM

Can everyone overclock an Athlon to 1.3Ghz and above? Probably not. For overclocking, failure is acceptable, as long as the chip runs at the rated speed. As a production line, perhaps not enough of the chips are stable. Again, this is all speculation.

I tend to believe there is a problem with the chip. After all, Intel is embarressed by the 1.2Ghz Athlon competing so well with the P4. It would be good business (from AMD's point of view) to dig deeper into Intel with a 1.333Ghz chip. But they haven't. Are they holding back because they don't need to, or are they just being polite to Intel?

I don't think AMD is concerned with being nice to Intel. The chip is probably not stable.
a b à CPUs
March 8, 2001 12:28:34 PM

AMD still must be careful since he is playing in the big leages, he cannot afford to make many mistakes. And I think it is preferable to re-schedule a launch to better test/improve the product than to call them back...

Still, if AMD end up with most of the market it will eventualy turn into an Intel and will gt it's ass kicked by some new company that can offer a batter quality/price product.

And now that the Mhz race is slowing down, AMD needs to perfect it's processor (they still have many details to improve). When they first released their Athlon processor, they were in a hurry to get a chunk of market, so they skipped many "optional" steps, that is why AMD processors heat so much and eat so much power. I can't wait to see what they will be able to do with the futur mustang core :) 
Anonymous
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March 8, 2001 12:47:44 PM

ok, i think that the 1300mhz amd will be released with more powerfull chips, like the athlon 1.5, 1.5 and the 1.6 ghz
so it will be the cheaper to the more expensive, and i think
that these chips will be released with the new p3 and p4 processors from intel, so it takes the market with theire athlons.
March 8, 2001 1:52:34 PM

Ah, but here is where your reasoning breaks down:

The .13 micron chips aren't supposed to be ANY different from the .18 micron chips. They're just on a smaller die and use less electricity, thus they generate less heat. But the entire architecture is supposedly going to be exactly the same as their current T-Birds.

So what this means is that from our point of view, it would be totally pointless to replace a 1.2GHz T-Bird with the new .13 micron chip at 1.2GHz because the ONLY advantage would be that it wouldn't run as hot.

If that is the case, then there really is no point in waiting for the .13 micron chip releases to release the 1.3GHz T-Bird because IF the .18 micron 1.3GHz chips work just fine, then there would be no performance difference between them and the .13 micron 1.3GHz chips.

So AMD would have to be crazy NOT to release the .18 micron 1.3GHz chip now because they simply have nothing to lose from doing so. And if they did so they would gain profit by giving us something new to purchase with before the .13 micron chip release. They would also bury the P4 deeper and deeper, shaming Intel and gaining yet more of the market from doing so.

AMD has nothing to lose and everything to gain from releasing the 1.3GHz T-Birds now.

Unless these chips aren't stable.

- Sanity is purely based on point-of-view.
March 8, 2001 7:39:53 PM

the palominao is supose to have a slightly difrent archaticture then the t-brid and i gusses they would proably use that in .13 micron becuase trhe palimono is spose to be .18 micron, the first slate .13 micron is the thorghbread (can't spell life depened on it)

also the palimino is spose to make less heat and maybe have heat protection on it to shut it down when it gets to hot
March 8, 2001 8:26:10 PM

have you looked into the appolooser?

"Amd cpu...Gone in 2 secs flat, it truly is a fast chip!"
March 8, 2001 11:26:31 PM

They could have the same issues the p3's are haveing heat.

SPUD

I saw the future intel was written all over it
Anonymous
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March 9, 2001 12:47:31 AM

The Athlon 1.33Ghz is being sold in japan, if you don't believe me check out www.hardocp.com they have a link there. And besides AMD has announced its releasing the 1.33 at a show (forgot what type) in about 1 or 2 weeks.

Microsoft: We not only make Windows hacking possible, we make it easier!
March 9, 2001 12:51:48 AM

You are correct. Under further researching the Palomino is going to be a .18 micron chip. But, there are going to be slight modifications to the core. It is rumored to have 2 extra pipeline stages for higher clock speeds and better performance, as well as the use of SOI (silicon on insulator) technology in the production process, reducing heat and power consumption. It is going to use the Mustang core (which is now discontinued), but retain the same size cache (Mustang was supposed to be the server chip, like Pentium III Xeon with 1MB+ L2 cache sizes).

The Thouroughbred core (Apaloosa is the Duron equivalent), will come out in 2002 based on AMD's new core design and .13 micron process.

It is a possibility that the chip isn't perfectly stable at 1.3 GHz. It is also true that AMD has no need to release the 1.3 GHz Athlon right now, as a cooler running, possible better peforming version (Palomino) will be out sometime within the next month or so. The fact that they aren't releasing it (unlike Intel with their 1.13 GHz Pentium III) shows they are not under terrible pressure to release the faster chip (unlike Intel was with the Pentium III).

It's not a win/lose situation for AMD right now. It would be if they were under pressure to release it, but clearly they are not. It was a HUGE win/lose situation for Intel with the Penium III 1.13 GHz and Pentium 4. By the way, I'm not trying to bash Intel saying that, just pointing out the differences in the situations.

One thing they do have to lose, however, is that making a new speed grade processer does involve new marketing, new manufacturing (connecting bridges differently, labeling the dies, etc.). True, they are very minimal but maybe the want to be able to do a Palomino launch with huge supplies in store, and releasing a 1.3 GHz now may make that supply harder to build up.

But, maybe thats a bunch of BS :) . Who knows? I guess in the next coming weeks we'll see what AMD is up to...

"We put the <i>fun</i> back into fundamentalist dogma!"
Anonymous
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March 9, 2001 1:23:46 AM

Simply put that ppl like us KNOW that mega(giga)hertz dont mean anything except that that the rest of the people out there don't. I think the reason is that AMD doesn't like releasing expensive chips. They hold the market by price only. If the p4 didn't cost a billion dollars it would outsell the athlon in a second. People out there think of money and power on the same level. they think... do i really need to spend $500 more on a p4 instead of an athlon that has only 2-400 megahertz less? no one wantsa to spend that much. I HATE TO ADMIT IT but AMD has the best chips out right now... I am a true blue but my morale is fading... and fast... if the pIII's cost does in fact go way down maybe it can compete with the durons, but as for the athlon... blue is the tortoise in that race...
March 9, 2001 1:52:12 AM

So all you AMD users beleive that cost is the big deal hmm intrigueing well its like the old saying goes "you get what you paid for" i sure the hell wouldnt buy a 10k bmw would you ?

SPUD

I saw the future intel's written all over it
Anonymous
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March 9, 2001 2:15:37 AM

Spud says:
Quote:
"you get what you paid for" i sure the hell wouldnt buy a 10k bmw would you ?

I disagree. In the computer world prices seem to be mostly governed by what people are prepared to pay. It's all about perceptions. You will always pay a premium for what is perceived to be the latest and greatest. Is the product worth that premium? It obviously is to the people who buy it. Does the manufacturer make a bigger margin on that product than standard product? You bet! Therefore, do you get good value buying the premium product? Probably not.

All that Intel's higher prices prove is that currently there are enough people willing to pay more for a product they perceive to be better. It doesn't necessarily mean that product is better in any way. If AMD had the same respect in the market-place that Intel currently enjoys, you can be sure they would charge more their products than they do now. Just because it is cheaper, it doesn't necessarily follow that their product is inferior.
March 9, 2001 2:35:59 AM

I never said that it was inferior of course i dont have to mention the k6 days now do i, but thats not the point the point is you do pay extra for quality because like it or not the computer industry is just like the motor industry you pay more for better and higher quality. Now tell me do you know what intel spends on r&d ... neither do i but i do know it is a huge ammount you gotta pay fer it someway and when its all said and done the silicon that runs yer machine has cost a heck of a lot more to make and develope than what you paid for it.
Oh and you must realize that a fabrication technique cant be copywrited so when intel get it down everyone on the block can get a peice of it and when they come out with new instruction sets everyone on the block can get it too.
If AMD spent what intel did on r&d they would most likely be equally priced.

SPUD

I saw the future intel's written all over it
Anonymous
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March 9, 2001 2:49:27 AM

Interesting point about the R&D. I would like to see the actual figures to back that up though. My guess is you are right in assuming that Intel would spend more on R&D. However, Intel would also spend more on a lot of other things including advertising.

I stick by my previous post and assert that the extra "quality" you get when you buy the more expensive processor is only a perception, not actuality.
March 9, 2001 3:24:14 AM

Intel spends about $4.3 billion in R&D, while AMD spends about $700 million. That's a pretty huge difference, but Intel has about 10 times the revenue as AMD.

"We put the <i>fun</i> back into fundamentalist dogma!"
March 9, 2001 3:31:54 AM

Thats sounds about right but um its still a huge difference when intel pulls in around 8 billion profits while AMD pulls 4 something i think (dont quote me) intel has other expenditures too 80 r&d labs is probably pretty expensive to run plus they have a ton of other companies too but thats the way business is.

SPUD

I saw the future intel's written all over it
March 9, 2001 3:52:55 AM

In 1999, AMD pulled in about $3 billion while Intel pulled in $30 billion. Intel had about $7 billion profit off that, while AMD showed a $90 million loss. So, about 1/4 of Intels sales was pure profit, while AMD was operating in the hole.

But, in 2000 things were a little better for AMD. Intel had $33 billion in sales with $10 billion profit. AMD had $4.6 billion in sales with a profit of $1 billion. AMD works off of a 20% operating and profit margin, Intel works off of a 30% operating and profit margin.

Those figures are why Intel processers are more expensive than AMD processors. It has nothing to do with quality or the cutting of corners. Intel sells their products for more so they can make a bigger profit. Just to even compete, AMD has to be cheaper or else they won't be able to compete because Intel is the 800-lb gorilla.

It is kind of a shame that that's the way things are. But, because Intel was basically a monopoly in the consumer CPU market before the Athlon came along, they got away with it...

"We put the <i>fun</i> back into fundamentalist dogma!"
March 9, 2001 4:02:06 AM

The figures look right but we best get this straight we the lowly customer does not get to know what what the stock holder knows we dont know where all that money is going we cant fairly assume the more money either company makes is what dictates the cost of them its what they spend in the end thats gonna be the cheif factor in final cost its economics (note i dont know much about it but i know enough to know how it in theory is supposed to work), for all we can know both companies maybe are over chargeing fr processors cant say for sure and go to the amd website and listen toone of there conferences they aim for the low cost market thats what they specialize in .

SPUD

I saw the future it had intel written all over it
March 9, 2001 5:05:19 AM

Actually, being publicly traded companies, Intel and AMD pretty much have to divulge everything. If you look hard enough, you can exact details on pretty much everything. Looking at SEC filings is a good way to do that. We know exactly what each company is doing. Intel is charging more for their processors to make more money, clear and simple. Intel makes 50% more profit on its products than AMD does. That's a huge difference. Pentium III's don't need to be 50% more than Athlons, but they are because Intel knows that they can charge more and sell them, because the average PC buyer doesn't know squat about computers. Business alliances with major PC manufacturers ensures that they keep the edge. Pretty much until the Athlon, Intel was the best choice. This idea remains in the PC industry, even though it is not true anymore. Only until recently have all PC makers begun using AMD chips. I think Compaq is the only one left that isn't (obviously because of a deal with Intel). NEC just announced they will use AMD chips in their European business market. It is very possible that one of the reasons Intel is in the trouble that it's in is because of AMD nipping at its heels, and PC makers really seeing that they have more than one choice when it comes to building quality PCs. We have to wait and see until Intel and AMD both release their quarterly earnings reports. Intel is obviously doing bad, with a 25% decrease in revenue over last quarter. If AMD posts the same trend, then Intels troubles are probably because of a slowing PC industry. If not, which was the case last quarter, the trend shows AMD gaining big ground on Intel, stealing more and more market share.

We can tell AMD is not overcharging for their processors. A 20% profit margin is fairly standard in todays business. In my company, I put a 50% markup over the physical cost of the goods I manufacture. After all total costs (advertising, processing, etc.), my profit margin is somewhere around 20%-25%. Even if both are overpriced, Intel's would still be far more overpriced than AMD's would be...

AMD is no longer in the value sengment. Instead, it seems like AMD is merging the value and performance segments together, by bringing excellent performance at great prices. And, it seems to be working.

"We put the <i>fun</i> back into fundamentalist dogma!"
March 9, 2001 7:16:36 AM

<b>I think Compaq is the only one left that isn't (obviously because of a deal with Intel).</b>
You meant <b>'DELL'</b> right? Because as far as I know <b>'COMPAQ'</b> has been selling Duron and Athlon comps for quite some time.
Anonymous
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March 9, 2001 12:18:09 PM

Any company has only two obligations to their buyers, 1)a good/reliable pruduct 2)at a fair and reasonable price.

We the consumer benefit from the battles waged between companies for our dollars. We should not complain when they
use a valid/sound stratagy to save or make money, if it was your company you would have done the same thing. I know I would have. It's the law of the jungle.

Take Care.

You might have a point. But who cares!
March 9, 2001 12:49:10 PM

<font color=blue>"intel has other expenditures too 80 r&d labs is probably pretty expensive to run plus they have a ton of other companies too but thats the way business is."</font color=blue>

Very often large companies venture into new business, and lose focus on their core products. This has happened to Intel. So while they may spend 4.3 billion in R & D, it is not all concentrated on their core (cpu chip) products.

The 5,000 employees being laid off won't all be from the core product, most will be from other business units. Expect Intel to sell some of these other business units as well.
Anonymous
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March 9, 2001 3:44:33 PM

Maybe so...

But if I saw you driving a $50K sportscar able to go 195 MPH, and I had a $20K sportscar that could only go 175 MPH, I wouldn't envy you. $30K for an extra 20 MPH of speed that I can't even appreciate (try going 175 MPH on the freeway and see how many cops come after you) is a waste of money.

That's what it comes down to. If I had a spare $1000 to upgrade my machine, I'd go with the Athlon and a good motherboard for it, because I could then afford a 19"+ monitor, a nice 64 MB video card, and a ton of RAM for the machine. But for $1000, I'd be spending more than half that just on the P4 processor alone, with most of the rest going to the motherboard and the Rambus memory. In other words, I'd be looking at an additional $500-1000 on a P4 system to get all the other goodies with the upgrade versus an Athlon system. Oh, and as far as benchmarks go, it's not the spread between the marks, it's the RATIO. Beating the Athlon by 30 points in a benchmark when both have a benchmark rating of 400+ isn't that impressive, because at best it's only a 7% difference. If I'm going to shell out twice the money for the CPU, I'd better get at LEAST 40-50% more performance, and preferably twice the performance. P4 doesn't deliver the speed for the cost.

The adage "you get what you pay for" doesn't always apply.
Anonymous
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March 9, 2001 4:05:33 PM

Which means that, while Intel spends more actual money on R&D, AMD spends a higher percentage of their revenue on R&D.
March 9, 2001 4:33:40 PM

Kinda. In 2000, or 1999 maybe, probably because of AMD, Intel increased R&D spending by some 32%!!!!!! At the same time, AMD CUT R&D spending by some 7%. Those are pretty impressive figures.

But, one thing is important. AMD and Intel don't only make CPUs. Intel has a huge telecommunications chip business, and both AMD and Intel are bi in the Flash memory sector as well. I do believe, however, that CPUs are both companies core business and bring in the majority of their revenue. It would probably be very difficult to find a breakdown of exacty what each company spends their R&D budget on.

"We put the <i>fun</i> back into fundamentalist dogma!"
March 9, 2001 5:29:21 PM

Since almost all Athlon 1.2GHz have proven to be easily overclockable to 1.3GHz or more (I hit 1370MHz without upping my voltage, on a 'B' CPU) without special cooling, its pretty obvious AMD has no problems meeting 1.3GHz production specs. AMD does not want to start a clock war right now, because it doesn't believe it can scale faster than Intel. The 1.3GHz would undoubtedly be met with a 1.6GHz or maybe even 1.7Ghz P4. The tbird core is getting fairly long in the tooth now, while the P4 core is fresh and built for scaling. Intel has always been willing to sit on potential clock speed to make more money. AMD will probably restart the war with a vengeance once their palamino core is released. AMD and Intel have to think not only of today, but of tomorrow and next month and next year as well. By scaling too quickly now they may leave themselves without an upgrade path down the road, and that means no revenue.

/Athlon-1.2GHz@1370MHz(137MHz*10)/Asus_A7V133/
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