back to article Is that light at the end of AMD's dark tunnel, or God sparking up a cig?

AMD claims there is light at the end of its tunnel, but the beleaguered chip maker is having a hard time pointing it out. The Intel rival's share price was down 6.15 per cent to US$1.83 in after-hours trading on Tuesday; investors quickly moved after AMD published the financial figures for its final quarter of 2015, and for …

  1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    I hope that light is real. If not who will pull us out of the shit when Intel screws up again like they did with 64-bit transition?

    1. Lysenko

      Qualcomm? The x86 assault on mobile and embedded essentially failed, we've yet to see how the ARM counterattack on the server market will pan out.

      1. Code For Broke

        @Lysenko: Not so sure that x86 for mobes has "failed." On the contrary, anecdotal evidence (Asus and Acer's new product offerings most notably) is that ARM is losing a lot of ground to Intel in the mobile department.

        It was inconceivable to me that Intel was going to be able to make chips that even physically fit inside a mobile device and didn't require a separate cooling mechanism. But they've done it, and watt for watt (watt it's al about these days - Harhar) Intel goes significantly farther than ARM.

        1. Lysenko


          Even if Asus & Acer were 100% x86 (they aren't) their combined sales would still be a rounding error in phones. Apple going x86 would only give 14%.

          Anecdotally, in tablets, I have three Atom units (Lenovo and Linx) running Win8.1 but I'm the only person I know who does.

          In embedded, where I know the hardware better, iMX6Q boards eat Galileo's lunch (FreeScale ARM7 vs. Intel's offering) in both electrical and computing power and Intel has nothing at all in the STM32 or CC2650 space (to run IoT from a coin cell).

          I even use ARM for half my desktop stuff because switching back to the main x86 machine and cross compiling is slower overall than compiling in situ (SECO A62).

    2. Known Hero

      I also hope that light is real as I will be upgrading to ZEN mainly due to the fact I want to support AMD.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Competition is good, so I hope AMD survive.

        Intel and nVidia are both looking for pastures new. Intel are looking at IoT silicon, though they seem to have gone quiet about their efforts to encroach on ARM's phone and tablet territory. nVidia are looking at making silicon for assisted/driverless cars.

        The current generation of games consoles have been good for AMD, and current generation console sales are still strong, perhaps because they are cheaper than a year ago and more game titles are available. Prices will only fall over time though, and it will be a few years before 4K/HDR televisions will be ubiquitous enough to warrant a new generation of consoles.

        When the Mac Pro was released, BoM estimates suggested Apple were getting the AMD FirePro GPUs very cheaply. However, it did benefit AMD because it forced OSX software vendors to support OpenCL instead of just nVidia's proprietary CUDA. This gives Apple the choice of GPU vendor in the future.

    3. mi1400

      Pardon for repost .. but following historical blunders must cling to them and haunt them to help them reform and get spanked out of self pity..

      Benchmarks blame game acquisition to Intel:

      Would AMD also show the benchmarks' bar graphs they used to magnify only at peaks to bluff users they are massively ahead in that benchmark. for example say Intel benchmark bar was 10 value and AMD was 10.1 ... what AMD doing was chop/crop that benchmark picture upto value of say 9 ... then zooming at remaining 1 and 1.1 portion that bar's peak which on computer screen looked 0.1 difference quite far behind unless he focuses on small numbers on far side. eat that bitch. I am no fan Intel either. all this text is just shake AMD from sleep and drag them from collar on road and tell them most people are not short sighted/termed-memory ... many remember the history. So stop pretending victimized.

      In response to a news "Double blow for AMD as CPU brainiac jumps ship to rival Nvidia"

      What good does he or any of his pals has ever done while feeding at AMD !?! they are all intel's slaves and orphans finding temporary shelters and orphanages here and their.. what good this guy or his ancestors/cousins or other orphans at AMD have done or are doing to break free from enslavements or even somewhat innovate over Intel's ultrabook say making hyperbook. lemme quote the quickest story first and lengthier one next...


      AMD is delivering graphics via MXM modules

      MXM is no longer supplied freely by Nvidia but it is controlled by the MXM-SIG controlled by Nvidia. Only corporate clients are granted access to the standard. The MXM 2.1 specification is widely available

      I have been reading on techsites who read between the lines that MXM is NVidia controlled and monopolised architecture... why is AMD sticking to it and is the reason that most of the laptops in world are fitted with nVidia instead AMD... dont know why they always something to fuck them .. sometime they seems to have developed taste for breadcrums from floor (my comments here and sometimes they seem to have developed psychological disease of self-inflicting-harm like sticking to MXM knowing they are being stabbed on this..


      AMD ... Intel's intentionally brewed "Anticompetitiveness Manipulation Decoy"

      An excerpt from my Dec 2, 2007 post...

      I am personally an AMD Fanatic but AMD's lately Apple like reasoning have made me so disappointed, like ... Intel-like-Quadsicore approach is not an "Angelic" approach (recently Intel has spoken out on record that it was near impossible for AMD to solder two X2 like Intel beacuse of integrated HyperTransport etc) ... then AMD's stance that Phenom is also not an Angelic-way to empower notebooks. I usyually say AMD has developed taste for eating breadcrumbs from the floor. and perhaps Intel-AMD's 1999 secret agrement is hint/factor of why SSE4a lags SSE4.1 hence keeping AMD walking leaning-head behind Intel and thrusting ancient 4000+ X2 bases notebooks on Enthusiasts, this also confirmed their TDP charm is broken and was a myth. Intel has silently opened a new front in notebooks and AMD is still not getting out of Angel-ic/Apple-ish phobia. Rememebr when AMD had upper hand in Anthlons Vs Pentiums they put a patetion (Anthlons Pentiums Duel) on thier site for fans to sign in convincing Intel to show up with its Pentiums to get humiliated infront of whole world and the Flash video on did just that, now when the tables are turned Intel has not posted such patetion thing to call for it fans join the AMD-humiliation competition. I think we should abandon fanfare and become wise-customers thinking from brain not heart.


      Does anyone remember the AMD's MegaHertzigovinia (MegaHz-igovinia) video pun to Intel too ... anyone share an article on secret enslavement agreement where by AMD is bound to keep its SSE throttled behind Intel's SSE or was it related to floating point calculation throttling !?! ... anyway it is the true face of AMD and just an Intel's Decoy to keep anti-competitive monitoring courts shut up .. saying look we have shared the patents satisfying FRAND clauses and camera focuses AMD in court's corner where It's eating something from floor with diaper all filled with pee and feces .. looking toward Intel with all the gratitude to let it live no matter on these breadcrumbs.

  2. PleebSmasher

    the art of zen

    Zen will skip from 28nm down to 14nm, and maybe deliver as much as a 40% increase in IPC. Needless to say, I won't be touching Carrizo or any of their other pre-14nm offerings.

    1. twelvebore

      Re: the art of zen

      40% increase over what though?

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: the art of zen

        The problem is 40% brings them near to where Intel started 2015, won't take long for Intel to pull away again. So AMD are still relying on higher core counts and most uses/users still don't benefit from that.

        I have a suitable workflow with Visual C++ and massive compile jobs keeping all cores at 100%. My 8 core FX8370 OC'd to 4.5Ghz on all cores is still 10-20% slower than the stock mid range Intel quad cores others in the team are using.

        I also won't be surprised if the 40% IPC hike is rather less for single thread performance, AMD are still trying to correct the performance problems their module architecture brought.

        1. PleebSmasher

          Re: the art of zen

          @twelvebore: 40% more IPC than Excavator-based chips. They are moving from Clustered Multithreading (the maligned dual-core "modules" that got them sued) to Simultaneous Multithreading. So their previously garbage modules will begin to look much more like Intel's implementation of cores. Maybe we can actually compare a quad-core Zen chip to quad-core Skylake and so on.

          @Code For Broke: Wait for benchmarks and tests before buying it. Anandtech and other outfits will do detailed analysis of everything including power consumption over time.

          @Paul Shirley: Even approaching Intel's chip performance is a massive victory for AMD. AMD does integrated graphics well, and with the improvement in CPU/IPC, Zen could be the performance/$ chip of choice for $200-$1000 laptops. The move from CMT to SMT could make their core counts actually comparable to Intel core counts. So if you use a quad- or octo-core Zen chip, it could actually compare to higher-end Intel chips. Ideally, an octo-core Zen would outperform quad-core i7 Skylake... that's probably way too much to ask, but we can dream. Also, don't forget that rather than Intel pulling away, Intel has delayed a move to 10nm Cannonlake chips by a whole year. 14nm Kaby Lake is unlikely to make massive gains over 14nm Skylake. It might simply tweak clock speeds upward slightly.

    2. Code For Broke

      Re: the art of zen

      Wasn't ARM having trouble trouble with junction leakage on their past several die size diminishments? The last thing I want is another ARM chip that runs hotter than hell, uses twice the electrons as the nearest Intel chip and still isn't nearly as fast.

      1. druck Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        @Code For Broke

        ARM don't manufacture chips, your comments do smell of fish.

  3. cmannett85

    "Design win momentum"

    So that's where they've going wrong, they're not designing enough win momentum. Of course.

  4. Peter G Green

    I've been waiting for 3 years for a replacement for the 28nm AMD cpus. If Zen doesn't perform (and it needs to be within a sensible percentage of Skylake performance) then I feel this may be the end of AMD. And that would make me sad...

  5. IHateWearingATie

    We need AMD and competition

    Although I have an Intel 2500K in my desktop at the moment, the reason is it is one of the best processors for overclocking I;ve ever used is Intel were feeling the heat from AMD so upped their game considerably and produced Sandybridge (and a few of of its predecessors). A weak AMD likely to mean less pressure for innovation

  6. Dave K Silver badge

    It's very sad to see. I've always had a soft spot for AMD and have had numerous AMD CPUs over the years. My current CPU is an Intel Core i5, but I've stuck with AMD for the graphics card. I would very much like to replace both components within the next year or so with AMD ones if they can turn things around.

    Let's be clear, Intel and Nvidia need some decent competition. Without AMD's work during the early to mid 2000s, Intel wouldn't have pulled their finger out so quickly and dumped the P4 for the infinitely better Core 2 Duo...

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Without AMD out 64-bit workloads would have been on Itanium chips (maybe bought a bit more time for Power & SPARC of course).

      Now how do you all feel?

  7. HamsterNet

    Sad times

    Its not looking good.

    Nvidia are touting x10 performance with 14/16nm and HBM2.

    AMD are touting x2 performance per watt - which is the same thing on thermally limited graphics chips. Both are their respective marketing departments hype, but the current Nvidia DDR5 cards out perform the AMD HBM cards.

    On the CPU side the road maps have an 8 core replacement for my old old 8350, but nothing more. Intel have a 2 year head start on the same node size. So unless AMD shove 32 cores on the same size dye its hard to see them taking a lead here.

    I do hope AMD can do something to survive, but this years gamers spending spree will vote for pure performance because VR is going to require 2x1080 at 90fps minimum frame rate and nobody like turning it down from Ultra settings.

    1. PleebSmasher
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Sad times

      "Nvidia are touting x10 performance with 14/16nm and HBM2."

      10x performance? 10x performance per watt? I seriously doubt either and I have not seen any such claims about Nvidia Pascal chips. Link?

      1. HamsterNet

        Re: Sad times

        Evidence: GTC Keynote March 2015. The Pascal GPU will be "10X faster than Maxwell".

        1. PleebSmasher

          Re: Sad times

          "While that was admittedly a rough high-level estimate, and applied to niche purpose 'deep learning' calculations, it does at least sound like a very significant performance jump."

          Your source finds it hard to believe, and it looks like it applies to FP16 operations, not the FP32 ops used for graphics or intentionally crippled FP64 ops used for high performance computing and science.

          ...Ok, it's worse than that, check this source:

          "Pascal will feature 4X the mixed precision performance, 2X the performance per watt, 2.7X memory capacity & 3X the bandwidth of Maxwell. All of this was just revealed here at GTC."


          "Nvidia’s CEO went on to state that pascal is “10X” what Maxwell is and he arrived at this conclusion via what he calls “CEO math”. Obviously this was just a humorous way to impress the crowd at GTC 2015 and is based on what was described as “very rough estimates”. The idea is that if we look at all the improvements coming up with Pascal compared to Maxwell, they will collectively add up to 10. Pascal will feature 3x the memory bandwidth of Maxwell, 2x peak single precision compute performance and 2x the performance per watt, together those add up to 10."


          "Admittedly Nvidia concedes that it’s unrealistic to see anything like a 10X faster performance in the real-world, except in a select high performance computing and super-computing case scenarios. Where getting rid of the massive communications over-head between the various processors and the Nvidia GPU accelerators may contribute greatly to reducing the total time and energy needed to complete the necessary work."

          That isn't to say that Nvidia doesn't have a better shot at making a superior 14nm GPU than AMD. They have already led in performance per Watt and made better performing flagships. But AMD has a much better shot of matching or beating Nvidia than it has at besting Intel.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Global Operating Devices Giving IT AI Voice with Immaculate Sees

    GOD Sparking Joint AI Venture Adventuring is something Perfectly Real 42 Virtually Ponder.

    Onward Good Christian Soldiers ..... FOB Stalwarts ...... Ab Fab Fabless Survivors and Masters with Mistresses in Prime Jointly Satisfying Future Command and Control in whatever Virtual Fields one is a Person of Prime Interest in.

    The Church is deafeningly quiet about celestial orders revisited for revision and retelling, and leading/following leads with practical application and airing of virtual memes for remote means ...... AIDirect Secure Quantum Communications Link for BroadBandCasting of Future New WWWorlds.

    And Cast Perfectly with Heavens' Bounty rather than delivered as Free Gratis Perks to Hells' Pain.

    1. Tail Up

      Re: Operating Sees

      "And Cast Perfectly with Heavens' Bounty" -

      This is a better English to enjoy. I wish I could cast out anything nearly this perfect.

      Does The Church read The Register? If it does, it has nothing to say, as was it in more frank cases.

      Stalwarts might get with Gift Of Forest Company or whatever form it may appear for its better appearance on Stage/Board/Chessboard. The number is well-known amongst the Services. Just get a grip at it and push the buttons first.

      DM, A Question Of Time.... and one has it learnt pretty well.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No real surprises here

    Intel isn't doing all that great either as the PC market has plateaued. At least AMD has started generating new revenue streams in non-PC areas that have a lot of potential. Until Zen ships in volume AMD won't be able to even think about getting into the black again. AMD really needs to start shipping Zen desktop CPUs in March of '16 but they are not scheduled according to most reports until Q3 of '16. AMD has some very good products but they have got to bring them to market on time, every time starting this year.

    1. James Loughner

      Re: No real surprises here

      Has AMD ever been in the black?? Have we not seen the same store year after year for 20-30 years?? Yet AMD seem to manage to still be in business and still innovates. .

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. DanceMan

    Ex-AMD fanboy here. Didn't dislike Intel's cpus, just the business practices and potential monopoly. Well, except for P4. My sympathies lie with AMD, but using mostly laptops I would not buy a new or used AMD laptop now for heat, power usage and performance reasons. I keep hoping they can catch up, and they keep falling behind. As the others have said, we need them. Here's hoping.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zen is sampling?

    The article quotes CEO Lisa Su as saying that "a number of server makers and cloud providers are test-driving Zen-powered systems."

    1. PleebSmasher

      Re: Zen is sampling?

      If Zen's consumer release is around Q2 or Q3 2016, it would make sense that some of the enterprise customers are sampling now.

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