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AMD Slams Intel's Atom S Processor: ''Too Little, Too Late''

By - Source: AMD via email | B 56 comments

AMD reacted to Intel's announcement of its Atom S microserver processor today with a rather interesting email that was sent out to media.

 The nature of this email left us somewhat speechless, so we would like to share this email with you.

" In a radical about face, Intel tomorrow is planning to announce a new Atom-based processor for micro servers.  Intel is finally acknowledging the micro server party, although we do wonder if it’s 'too little, too late?' In a veiled attempt to rewrite history, last week Intel drug a fairly unknown engineer out of its labs to talk about its “history” in micro server development.  But don’t let this fool you. Intel’s 'history' with micro servers has been very short.

A few points to keep in mind while participating in the press conference and writing your stories tomorrow:

- The original SeaMicro SM10000 server used Intel’s Atom processor, but Intel was not supportive of this.  For years, the company fought SeaMicro on their choice of processor.

- Almost two years ago, Intel had a 64-bit, dual-core Atom processor part made for SeaMicro, but this processor was not promoted by Intel.

- Intel has insisted for years that micro servers not be more than 10 percent of the market. Are they back-peddling?

Intel is way behind on small cores. They have no cell phone market share, little tablet market share, and now they are threatened that they will lose server market share. AMD and its SeaMicro technology are leading the charge in micro server technology and development. We recently announced a technology partnership with ARM and plans to roll out micro servers using ARM technology. It’s understandable that Intel is threatened, but we would like to make sure that everyone has the facts straight.

Andrew Feldman, former SeaMicro CEO and now AMD’s GM of its Data Center Server Solutions group will be available to speak to you about Intel’s announcement. Please let me know if you are interested in a short 10-15 minute call with Andrew tomorrow, Tuesday, 12/11 between 10 am and noon Pacific for his comments."

In AMD's defense, such emails that preempt major product launches of its rival are considered a tradition and I can remember receiving such notifications for the better half of the past two decades. It is also important to understand that AMD's SeaMicro unit is probably the most passionate and nimble unit inside AMD these days, and received significant attention when AMD CEO Rory Read said that microservers would be one of the key pillars of AMD's restructured business in 2013 and beyond.

However, I am wondering if AMD can retain the enthusiasm for its brand and maintain credibility when it makes statements that could be interpreted as blatantly false?

It is surprising that AMD would call Intel's micro server processor, a 64-bit variant of its Atom chip "too little, too late," when AMD does not have a comparable processor at this time itself. SeaMicro GM Andrew Feldman has been very vocal about the fact that Intel did not exactly support him in using Atom processors for his servers, but it is a fact that AMD has bought itself (probably too late) into the ARM market and will not have commercial ARM 64-bit processors in volume shipments available prior to the end of next year.

Of course, it is silly to ridicule Intel for having little to no market share in smartphones and tablets. How much market share does AMD have? Does it make sense to accuse Intel of being behind on small cores? Intel surely has to prove that it can trump ARM architecture in ultra-compact devices, but AMD is the wrong company to make that accusation, as it has little to show for in these markets. And let's not forget that it was this kind of attitude that sent the company near bankruptcy back in 2006/2007. If you provoke Intel, you better have the technology to back it up.

Another interesting note could be the 10 percent claim: Intel recently confirmed to me that this claim has not changed and they still do not know whether the market can exceed 5 or 10 percent of the entire server market. However, Intel is very protective of its server revenue and their approach is to compete just in case the market develops. From Intel's perspective, it would be foolish not to react to a market trend that affects one of its key businesses and it would be foolish from a competitor's point of view to expect Intel wouldn't protect its business. ARM and Intel, by the way, are very cautious of each other, as aggressive as they may seem in the public: Intel knows very well that ARM has the lead and experience in low power consumption in dense environments, while ARM knows that Intel has the lead in performance.

AMD's SeaMicro unit has a one huge advantage in this market, which is surprisingly left out of AMD's media alert. Micro servers are not just about micro processors - it is about the fabric that enables ultra-dense servers and high-speed connectivity that scales to potentially thousands and tens of thousands of cores in data centers that are targeted at cloud applications. AMD has this fabric, including super-compact motherboards, and it is patented. Integration is the space Intel has to catch up on, not architecture.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    Hellbound , December 11, 2012 9:35 PM
    At this point Intel could probably purchase AMD...as terrible as that sounds....
  • 23 Hide
    NightLight , December 11, 2012 9:32 PM
    i think amd needs to work on it's own issues before mouthing off...
  • 22 Hide
    stickmansam , December 11, 2012 9:46 PM
    HellboundAt this point Intel could probably purchase AMD...as terrible as that sounds....

    There would be issues with anti-trust legislation and bad for us consumers as a whole due to lack of competition (already signs of this in the high end).
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    NightLight , December 11, 2012 9:32 PM
    i think amd needs to work on it's own issues before mouthing off...
  • 26 Hide
    Hellbound , December 11, 2012 9:35 PM
    At this point Intel could probably purchase AMD...as terrible as that sounds....
  • 11 Hide
    memadmax , December 11, 2012 9:37 PM
    Intel is like a steamroller.
    If it didn't aim for small server market, then it simply didn't want to.
    But now that it does, watch out.
    Intel has a tendency to come in and take over any segment it desires lol
  • 22 Hide
    stickmansam , December 11, 2012 9:46 PM
    HellboundAt this point Intel could probably purchase AMD...as terrible as that sounds....

    There would be issues with anti-trust legislation and bad for us consumers as a whole due to lack of competition (already signs of this in the high end).
  • 3 Hide
    dkcomputer , December 11, 2012 9:53 PM
    Intel should come back with a press release on how AMD has somehow managed to release new, lower performing, higher wattage processors, than the crap they made 3 years ago
  • 22 Hide
    joytech22 , December 11, 2012 9:56 PM
    Quote:
    when AMD does not have a comparable processor at this time


    AMD E-Series anyone?
    They may be the consumer part, but they are certainly comparable to anything Atom.

    Also..

    Quote:
    AMD has this fabric, including super-compact motherboards, and it is patented.

    AMD.. Maybe you should advertise these things instead of hiding them away?
    Oh and P.S.. Piledriver is great and all, but why not develop full-size cores instead of the two cores per module approach?

    Imagine the performance from four full cores based on the modified architecture, likely on-par or faster per-core than Ivy Bridge..
  • -8 Hide
    Yuka , December 11, 2012 10:00 PM
    "Integration is the space Intel has to catch up on, not architecture."

    So many lost words to point out the obvious? Jeez... I'm guessing the AMD slapping was just part of the inside blue joy (or jew?), bwahahaha.

    Cheers!
  • 2 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , December 11, 2012 10:08 PM
    AMD has a market share of $1.66 billion while Intel has $102.75 billion. Its like North Korea bad mouthing the US at who is better at annihilating a country.
  • 0 Hide
    photonboy , December 11, 2012 10:21 PM
    Points:
    1) Intel has HASWELL coming to compete in the mobile space, as AMD well knows. Wait another year and see what happens there. I know I'd like a 12" Transformer tablet (tablet/laptop) with an x86 version of Windows 8 rather than RT.

    2) Anyone buying a SERVER device is likely to be somewhat computer literate. I doubt a letter like this will have little impact.

    3) AMD is supposed to be badmouthing Intel, but then make a point of referring to Intel products like the dual-core Atom while saying nothing about their own products? Weird. And they say Intel was "not supportive" (whatever that means).

    *What I did NOT see in this article was ANY solid reasons why Intel could not compute, or why AMD was a better choice. Sigh.
  • 5 Hide
    stickmansam , December 11, 2012 10:23 PM
    joytech22AMD E-Series anyone?They may be the consumer part, but they are certainly comparable to anything Atom.Also..AMD.. Maybe you should advertise these things instead of hiding them away?Oh and P.S.. Piledriver is great and all, but why not develop full-size cores instead of the two cores per module approach?Imagine the performance from four full cores based on the modified architecture, likely on-par or faster per-core than Ivy Bridge..


    AMD has replicated most of the core, might as well replicate the rest
    But I think they want to use HSA and use the GPU in APU's for the floating point stuff
  • 11 Hide
    acadia11 , December 11, 2012 10:43 PM
    I don't think AMD is arguing it has alot of market share in those areas. I think the argument was that the (lightweight core) market can be broken into 3 segments, phones, tablets, and micro servers. And Intel having failed in the first 2 are now jumping their hat in micro servers where AMD feels it has a leg up as it recognized it as a nascent but important market far before Intel did. Maybe that was the point that AMD was trying to get across. Hence, their acquisition of a key micro server player more than a year ago.
  • 4 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , December 11, 2012 10:45 PM
    it's about time amd regrows a pair. for years they kep silent they need to do more of this arggressiveness like they did back in the old k8 days. Someone needs to light a fire under amds butt again.
  • 20 Hide
    lpedraja2002 , December 11, 2012 10:46 PM
    Stop babbling AMD and make a killer APU with good CPU performance.
  • 0 Hide
    acadia11 , December 11, 2012 10:50 PM
    AMD has succeeded when it bought up good companies, the K8, came from the work of DEC Alpha which they purchased and poached their engineers from. The graphics came from ATI. What AMD needs to do as a strategy is work on getting good people, they got SeaMicro. They should have looked at buying ARM long ago when they would have been affordable to them. I don't think AMD has success when they try and create on their own ... had I been CEO, I'd have just been looking for solid companies and snapping them up and adding to their IP, which is why Intel really kicks their axx, not only do they have the manufacturing prowress but they have a huge leg in research.

    Had AMD had this approach long ago they'd be solid, it seems they don't cultivate or acquire talent very well by just hiring them to AMD.
  • -5 Hide
    tomfreak , December 11, 2012 10:51 PM
    StickmansamThere would be issues with anti-trust legislation and bad for us consumers as a whole due to lack of competition (already signs of this in the high end).
    imo, AMD as a whole is worthless to Intel now, if anything it is their GPU department that Intel might want.

    u cant really get anti-trust buying their GPU only :p 

  • -6 Hide
    rds1220 , December 11, 2012 10:52 PM
    Hey AMD how about you fix your own problems with your crappy CPU's before mouthoff at Intel. AMD sounds like a whiney little punk who doesn't get his way on the playground.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 11, 2012 11:01 PM
    Put an Intel Atom and an ARM chip on the same process node and run them a full load and the chip with the lesser amount of transistors will win the low power race, unless Intel has access to some sort of dark energy component! AMD's SeaMicro interconnect tech puts themin a good position to compete! Put an Intel next to an ARM or AMD x86 and the price war is Intel's loss!
  • 3 Hide
    randomizer , December 11, 2012 11:03 PM
    Pot, meet kettle.
  • 8 Hide
    sykozis , December 11, 2012 11:04 PM
    You guys seem to be missing a major part of this.

    AMD owns SeaMicro....
    SeaMicro still depends on Intel's Atom processor....
    AMD profits from SeaMicro's business

    It's to AMD's advantage to poke and prod Intel. AMD knows if Intel gets serious about the Micro Server market, it will take off. SeaMicro isn't in a position to sell micro servers based on AMD products and as such, they need Intel to approach the market very aggressively. They need products that are very attractive and easy to market. AMD also needs time to develop a product suitable for the micro server market and they need SeaMicro to be successful in the mean time.
  • 11 Hide
    kingnoobe , December 11, 2012 11:26 PM
    LOL all these intel fanboys.. Maybe AMD wouldn't be so bad off right now if intel hadn't completely screwed them over in the past. I'm no amd fanboy (still rocking i7), but come the hell on. Don't act like intel are freaking angels.

    It's just the normal bs these companies do nothing more nothing less.
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