Anandtech used to be a good and honest website. However, since 2000 the opinions of Anand Lal Shimpi have changed nearly 180 degrees. This change in viewpoint has been accompanied by a similar change in quality and integrity.
It is difficult to place any crediblity in a website that says two completely different things. For example, Tom Pabst at Tom's Hardware Guide said in 2000 Intel Admits Problems With PIII:
- On Intel's VC820 platform Sysmark 2000 crashed consistently. I was unable to finish even one run of Sysmark with this CPU and I certainly tried about 20 times. As soon as I plugged a Pentium III 1 GHz into the system the benchmark would run all the way through.
- The most consistent error I got however was with my timed Linux kernel compilation. Even on the VC820 the Pentium III 1.13 GHz was utterly unable to finish the compilation even once. All other CPUs I used finished the compilation without the slightest flaw.
- Interestingly, stress tests as Prime95 or CPUburn under Windows98 would not get my 1.13 GHz processor to fail on the VC820.
This also lets us to limit the scope of this article to measuring power consumption at maximum and minimum CPU load, using our Prime95 torture test.
This is why Tom's Hardware Guide has little credibilty today. Unfortunately, Anand has done the same thing. For example Anand also used to criticize Intel on their paper launches.
Prior to Intel’s downward spiral, AMD would be the one we would accuse of “paper launching” processors, since you could never find a newly “released” AMD CPU until after its launch. Intel’s policy was exactly the opposite, upon the introduction of a new CPU, systems based on that CPU would be available the very same day.
Since the release of AMD’s Athlon, things have changed. Slowly but surely the roles of the two companies have reversed, now, Intel is the one being accused of “paper launching” processors while AMD CPUs are readily available and definitely affordable. These “paper launches” were at their worst with the release of the 1GHz Pentium III (March 2000) before the 850, 866 and 933MHz Pentium IIIs in an attempt to compete with AMD’s 1GHz Athlon that was released just days before. What began to make the community characterize Intel’s CPU releases as “paper launches” was the fact that you couldn’t actually go out and buy a 1GHz Pentium III whereas, by the end of the month, the Athlon was already available in speeds from 500MHz up to 1GHz in 50MHz increments.
Yet, Anand's criticism of this had entirely vanished when Intel sent out its P4 EE for review in 2003. The P4 EE was specifically sent out to compete with AMD's FX review but Intel didn't actually deliver it until months later in 2004 while the FX was available shortly after. Today, AMD's chips are always available the day of release while Intel's don't show up for as much as three months.
Anand's point of view has completely switched. Today he no longer criticizes Intel for delivering chips late after "release". He began being biased against AMD some time in 2002 when he began complaining about the late release of K8. When Athlon 64 was released in September 23, 2003 he said:
Fast forward to almost two years and the Hammer is just finally being released on the desktop as the Athlon 64 and the Athlon 64 FX. AMD has lost a lot of face in the community and in the industry as a whole, but can the 64 elevate them back to a position of leadership?
AMD has also priced the Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX very much like the Pentium 4s they compete with, which is a mistake for a company that has lost so much credibility. AMD needed to significantly undercut Intel (but not as much as they did with the Athlon XP) in order to offer users a compelling reason to switch from Intel. However, given the incredible costs of production (SOI wafers are more expensive as well) and AMD's financial status, AMD had very little option with the pricing of their new chips.
What Anand is complaining about is that AMD originally had K8 listed on their unofficial roadmaps as being released 1st Half 2002. However, just one month later K8 had moved to 2nd Half 2002. It was actually released Q2 2003. These roadmaps are not official documents so complaining about changes seems a bit silly. It is remarkable too that these types of complaints would be made at all because both Tom and Anand had the opposite view for Intel in 2000. Both said that it would have been better for Intel to have delayed the release of the PIII 1.13Ghz chip rather than shipping a defective product. Yet when AMD delayed launch of K8 to ensure quality and availability on the new SOI process Anand was critical.
Anand was also critical because AMD had planned to release the desktop Clawhammer first and then the server Sledgehammer later. Anand didn't like it when AMD switched and released the server version first. This is why he makes a point of saying "on the desktop" when Opteron had already been out for months. However, this contradicts what he said in May 14, 2002 after the release of Athlon XP(4):
The MP server market is a very lucrative business for AMD to get into since the profit margins are so high, just look at the profit margins off of Intel's Pentium II Xeon and Pentium III Xeon parts to see the potential for AMD there. However the Athlon 4 will only be a stepping stone for AMD into this market; AMD's 64-bit solutions will truly be the ones to lead the company in this area.
His criticism on price didn't make any sense either. Just a few years earlier he was concerned that AMD would be hurt by too low of a price as he said in October 17, 2000:
we were afraid at the end of 1999 that Intel would begin to compete with the Athlon in a price war, something which AMD, being a smaller company than Intel would have some serious problems with.
His criticism is even more ludicrous considering that AMD had problems with profitability all during 2002 and into the beginning of 2003. Yet, presumably he wanted AMD to sell its best and still low volume K8 at a bargain price. K7's were still the main chip even two quarters after this article was written.
In contrast, his views in 2003 have become much more optimistic about Intel and don't change even when his optimism is unwarranted. For example, both he and Tom believed that Itanium would be a desktop processor and would compete directly with Opteron. There was no criticism when this never materialized. There was no criticism when Tejas was canceled. No criticism when Whitefield was canceled.
Anand was optimistic about Prescott. In February 1, 2004 he said:
Prescott becomes interesting after 3.6GHz; in other words, after it has completely left Northwood’s clock speeds behind.
Yet, he took it in stride when Prescott topped out at 3.8Ghz.
I have to admit that I find this one particularly interesting because nearly a year earlier in 2003, I had said that I didn't believe that Intel could add another generation onto P4. At that time, everyone that I knew of was saying the same thing as Anand, that Prescott would be great, that it would clock as high as 5.0 Ghz and put Intel back into the lead. I don't recall anyone besides me who doubted Prescott before its release. My crystal ball has been pretty good since 2003. And, none of the big websites has had a track record anywhere near mine. That often amazes me because the big websites should have much more information than I do. I don't know what the reason for this would be unless a pervasive bias leads them to consistently overestimate Intel.
Anand Lal Shimpi reached his personal low when he put his name on Spring IDF 2006 Conroe Preview: Intel Regains the Performance Crown . In this article he tosses away whatever ethics he had remaining and essentially becomes a spokesperson for Intel. Both the Intel Conroe system and the AMD FX-60 system were built by Intel. Intel would not allow Anand to look inside the case or even look at the BIOS settings. They would not allow him to bring any of his own benchmarks and only let him use what they had installed. Yet, based on this entirely controlled Intel testing, Anand, nevertheless proclaims, "Intel Regains the Performance Crown". Gone is Anand's once strong critism for Intel processors that were not available four months after review. Instead Anand cheerfully comments, "keep in mind that we are over six months away from the actual launch of Conroe, performance can go up from where it is today."
Anandtech's credbility as a whole has continued to deteriorate since 2002. Today, they too use THG's highly unethical technique of comparing overclocked Intel chips against stock AMD chips as they do in Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 & E6400: Tremendous Value Through Overclocking. A fair comparison would have been to include overclocked X2 3800+ and 4200+ but this was not done.
However, the latest sad chapter in Anandtech's increasing bias and incompetence was this comparison of Woodcrest, Opteron, and Sparc.
The Intel Woodcrest system used the excellent Intel Server Board S5000. This motherboard uses the robust Intel 5000 dual bus chipset. This chipset gives each processor its own Front Side Bus to the Northbridge. This allows each processor to have excellent memory bandwidth.
The AMD Opteron system, however, used the MSI K8N Master2-FAR. This choice of a motherboard for AMD shows either extreme incompetence or an outright attempt to cheat in Intel's favor. From the time of Opteron's release in 2003, they have always had independent memory buses for each processor. However, this is a new thing for Intel and has only been available since late 2005. It makes sense that Woodcrest would use Intel's best dual bus chipset. However, the motherboard chose for Opteron was not (and still isn't) approved by AMD for use in servers. In spite of the fact that this board has two sockets for Opterons, it only has a single memory bus. In other words, Intel's chips got the newest and best Intel dual bus motherboard whereas AMD's chips which have always had dual buses were put into a stripped down, single bus motherboard. This forced the two Opterons to share the single memory bus and greatly reduced the speed of the second processor. This comparison pretty much stripped Anandtech of whatever shreds of crediblity they had left after Anand's participation in Intel's promotion of Conroe.