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Where does AMD fit in today?

In a market full of multi-threaded CPUs, where do we find AMD and their native multi-core products?

| Editorials in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: May 12, 2010 6:36 am

Introduction

 

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A few days after our review of the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T, we received a call from AMD. The call was some commentary on the actual review (okay, really it was of complaints).

 

The first thing that was said was that we were wrong in our premise that we needed more voltage to get higher clocks on the PII X6. At the time of this writing we cannot debate this claim. AMD maintains that their silicon is mature enough that the CPU does not need extra voltage to attain higher speeds. The claim about maturity is true; the PII CPU is a very mature design (bordering on old in CPU terms). It is also being made in FABs that have the lowest failure rate in the world.

 

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When Global Foundries was created they inherited from AMD FABs the ability to achieve a zero defect rate per wafer. So we know the silicon is good. The issue is that when we tested the PII X6 at stock voltages it would not clock over 3.4GHz. This is a very poor showing. It was not until we pushed to 1.42V that we saw the 3.9GHz used in the review. However, we are working on some alternate testing to verify AMD's claim (remembering the 62c thermal max).

 

Next was a complaint about the number of multi-threaded apps that we used. This one I take exception to. I mean, "Come on AMD; it is a six-core CPU. It should be able to handle multi-threaded apps. If it cannot there IS an issue". But I will not belabor that point. Instead I will talk about the market position that AMD now finds itself in after some poor management decisions (poor decisions in both my and many other analysts' opinions).

 

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