Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Phoney Forecast Game

I've noticed an interesting trend in forecasts for Intel and AMD. No matter how Intel performs the forecasts tend to be positive and no matter how AMD performs the forecasts tend to be negative. AMD has come a long way since it was a full generation behind Intel with the K5. AMD has now caught up to Intel in servers and mobile and in 300mm FAB production. AMD's current position is much more positive than it was five years ago. However, you wouldn't tend to know this from the many biased forecasts that lean toward Intel.

The main difference between a phoney forecast and a genuine forecast is that a genuine forecast is based on a reasonable evaluation of where each company is and is likely to be. These types of forward looking evaluations seek to dismiss things that are not relevant or have little effect. These evaluations can sometimes be counterintuitive because they can take into consideration activity in markets like China which are not as obvious as what is on a shelf in a computer store or what commercials are seen on tv. This is a hazy subject of orders that may have been made months before and decisions made based on the strength of partnerships and profit margins rather than benchmark scores. These types of outlooks are often accurate but dull and sometimes difficult to understand without a background in business.

In contrast, the phoney forecast is often based on a trivial surface view of the market rather than anything in-depth. These forecasts are often grounded in emotion rather than analysis and are never counterintuitive to the author since they are often based on the author's biases more than anything else. The author may be very passionate about this view and feel very deeply that this view states what the market should do (or at least what he wants it to do). These phoney forecasts have been popping up all over the place lately and typically masquerade as genuiune forecasts. The difference can be difficult to tell but one strong clue is when the facts change but the forecast doesn't. In other words, an argument will simply flip flop in order to keep the forecast in line with the current circumstances. When this happens it is a sure sign of a phoney forecast.

For example, Intel supporters were often quite vocal in stating that Intel couldn't lose ground to AMD because Dell was Intel only and Dell had a very high volume. The association of Dell with Intel gave Intel a guarantee of a high volume customer and therefore lots of sales. Curiously, these same people are now saying that AMD is being hurt because of the supposedly low prices it is getting from Dell for its chips. This is an odd argument because these same people were never concerned about the wholesale price to Dell before. This is a good example of a Phoney Outlook. What was a strength for Intel is now flip flopped to become a phoney detriment for AMD. It is simply not reasonable to assume that AMD is hurting its profits by giving away chips to Dell at fire sale prices. This is a particularly odd argument because it is often accompanied by the idea that Intel will sell its massive overstock of Prescott based chips at low, low prices. Supposedly, this will take market share away from AMD. So, what we have is the argument that if AMD is selling at low wholesale prices to Dell that this is bad for AMD and the simultaneous argument that if Intel is selling at low wholesale prices that this is good for Intel. It should be obvious to everyone that there is no real logic in these two arguments.

Similarly, when many Intel fans saw the benchmarks for Core 2 Duo, they proclaimed that this would obviously reduce the demand for AMD processors. This half baked argument of course overlooked the fact that C2D would only reach about 30% of Intel's total production by the end of the year. People making this argument could never explain how the other 70% of Intel's production was going to reduce demand for AMD chips. Nevertheless, this statement has been repeated with great confidence by Intel fans since the first preview of C2D in March. The reality today is that AMD is actually short of chips because its processors are in such high demand that it cannot suppply fill all of the orders. This fact also negates the previous assumption that lower prices for Intel's overstock would also reduce demand for AMD chips. This simply is not happening. However, the current argument is that this is bad for AMD because failure to meet all of the demand will drive customers away. So, the argument has flipped from low demand will be bad for AMD to high demand is bad for AMD. This of course makes no sense. However, it also overlooks the fact that C2D itself has been in short supply and will be in short supply probably until end of Q1 07. It is curious that it is never stated that this short supply of C2D will drive customers away from Intel.

It was frequently suggested (and rightly so) that one of Intel's strengths was its chipsets. The low power chipsets for the Centrino line have given Intel based notebooks much better battery life than Turion notebooks. It was also stated that Intel's chipsets gave them an advantage with certain customers which was also true. Now that AMD is buying ATI it would appear that these would be advantages for AMD as well. However, now the argument has shifted to suggesting that AMD will be hurt by its purchase of ATI supposedly because of the cost. We might at first try to give this argument some credit. However, as Intel has spent down its cash reserves to less than half of what they had at the beginning of 2005 there hasn't been any criticism. Generally, this type of spending of cash is viewed as irresponsible however it tends to get brushed aside in Intel's case with suggestions that it is nothing compared to Intel's revenues. However, it is similarly considered reasonable to borrow money for capital investment as long as the amount is within the expected revenues, which it is for AMD. I would have to agree that while Intel's spending of cash is not great it does fit within their projected revenues and shouldn't hurt. Similarly, AMD's purchase, while large also fits within the projected revenues. I'm guessing that the main result of this will be the delay of the New York FAB. However, the ATI purchase does seem to be more strategic than just building a third FAB and AMD's capacity will increase rapidly anyway in 2008 with FAB 38. The New York FAB could be started late in 2007 and still be finished in time to take up the slack after FAB 38 tops out in 2009. So, it seems to be the case that the argument that AMD will be hurt by the purchase of ATI is just another flip flop of logic to turn a similar strength into a phoney detriment.

The issue of layoffs has been similar. I view layoffs and divestment as a good thing for Intel and something that makes it more competitive. I think AMD's divestment of Spansion was a very good thing and something that Intel should do as well. However, lately we've seen a much different treatment of layoffs between Intel and AMD. As Intel has announced layoffs this has been taken in stride even though most expect that more layoffs will follow. There has been little criticism of Intel and I think that has been correct. However, when rumors popped up about layoffs at AMD this was pounced on as though it were some glaring harbinger of doom for AMD. This is very odd since AMD stated that there would be some layoffs when it merged with ATI because of redundancies. So, basically, unnannounced layoffs by Intel have been no big deal while expected layoffs by AMD are seen as tragic. Something is wrong with this picture.

There are similar phoney arguments about partnerships and markets. For example, it seems to be the subject of great bragging rights when Intel suggests that it has signed X number of companies for initiative Y. These were often mentioned to proclaim Intel's support and standing in the market. However, Intel has driven partners away and seen increasing delays with CSI while AMD has gained traction because of HyperTransport. So, some have shifted this argument to the notion that Intel gains by having fewer partners because it can keep more of the market to itself. In other words, in a classic flip flop it is argued that having many partners means that Intel will sell lots of chips and therefore make lots of money, however it is also argued that having fewer partners and proprietary standards means that Intel will still make lots of money. We see an almost identical argument with licensing. AMD has had no licensing and therefore low cost to use HyperTransport technology. This has been countered by the notion that this is an advantage for Intel because it makes money off of licensing. However, now that it is suggested that Intel may be reducing its licensing costs to try to compete with AMD this is now stated as an advantage for Intel. So, apparently, both high and low licensing fees help Intel.

Growth has been another area of contradiction. If AMD does not grow quickly as happened from 2002 - 2004 this as seen as an indication that AMD cannot challenge Intel. However, AMD's growth in the past two years has been staggering. AMD has doubled in size in the last two years. This is a pace that has exceeded every other top 50 chip producing company in the industry. So, unable to criticize AMD based on growth, the forecasts now concentrate on size and suggest that AMD cannot continue to grow because it is already large. In other words, if AMD doesn't grow it is bad but if AMD does grow it is still bad. In a similar vein some forecasters try hard to associate the best FAB technology with Intel. However, there are two problems with this idea. The first is that AMD's FAB 30 has been the world's number one rated FAB for five years running which is why Intel keeps its FAB ratings secret. The second is that AMD has the very sophisticated APM control system for its FABs which will be a tremendous benefit once it has two 300mm FABs. This will allow production to move from FAB to FAB much more easily than it will at Intel. So, again, unable to associate the best FAB tech with Intel the forecast shifts to capacity and it is insisted that Intel will stay in the lead simply because it has more FAB capacity. Unfortunately, Intel has cut back on its capital spending severely while AMD has increased its by 50%. This would certainly suggest that AMD inteneds to have more FAB capacity in the future while Intel is cutting back.

Those are not the only contradictory gems that have been floating around. There are many others. For example:

If ATI can't sell chipsets for Intel processors then this will hurt AMD because of the loss of Revenue to ATI : If ATI sells chipsets for Intel processors then this will hurt AMD because ATI will be helping Intel.

If AMD can't gain share in the Chinese market this will hurt AMD because this is the fastest growing market : If AMD gains share in the Chinese market this will hurt AMD because this is a low margin market.

If AMD doesn't produce quad core processors soon this will hurt AMD because Kentsfield will be out in November : If AMD starts making quad core processors this will hurt AMD because it will use up too much of AMD's capacity.

If AMD cannot increase its Average Selling Price this will hurt AMD's margins : If AMD increases its Average Selling Price this will hurt AMD's volumes.


It does seem unfair that all of the phoney arguments that I've given are in favor of Intel and against AMD. There is certainly no shortage of biased statements made by AMD fans in favor of AMD and against Intel. However, these statments that favor AMD don't tend to travel very far. It is rare to see something of this nature picked up by the general web press or projected into the forecast of a financial or stock analyst. In contrast, phoney arguments that favor Intel seem to have much more stamina and can be repeated almost anywhere and by anyone on the web including by professionals. Since I don't know of any way to stop the internet press from repeating phoney arguments and outlooks the best thing is to recognize them for what they are and treat them accordingly.

To help illustrate, I'll give an example from Information Week.

AMD Seen Strong This Year, Intel Next

This article with quotes from Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and Reuters at first appears to be a professional outlook article. However, a closer look reveals that it is in fact phoney. The actual content of the article from Reuters is entirely biased in favor of Intel and simply seeks a rationalization to say that Intel will come out ahead. In other words, the outlook is decided before looking at the evidence and the arguments are simply used to try to fit the preferred outlook into the reality of the data. Essentially, the arguments become an adapter that allows the author to fit the square peg of Intel optimism into a round hole.

The first thing we are told is that AMD's stock has fallen because of fears that Intel's steep price cuts would reverse AMD's gains. This statement is irrelevant. AMD's performance is not directly rated to its stock value. This statement seems to work as a bandwagon fallacy to try to suggest that the author's view is actually common. The author has to use this irrelevant line because what follows does not support his bias.

Price performance continues to be better at AMD, even with all of Intel's pricing cuts.

AMD has been rapidly increasing its share of the PC processor market

Citigroup analyst Glen Yeung said he expected AMD to gain more share in 2007, thanks in part to a new supply agreement with the No. 1 PC maker Dell Inc.

"We expect momentum to favor AMD," Yeung said in a research note. "While the shares have already had a significant move so far in the second half of the year, we believe additional upside is likely through year-end."

At this point, the author has been essentially run over by the statements favorable to AMD. To try to get back to his original favored view of Intel he again talks about stock. He mentions that AMD's stock value is about the same as Intel's when compared with profit. This is statement is not only irrelevant, it is completely ridiculous. Intel moves most of its profits via stock buyback whereas AMD does not. If we were to actually follow his suggestion that the value of the stock somehow indicates a company's future performance then we would conclude that Intel's stock is actually selling for much less than AMD's after we included the amount that Intel spends on buyback. However, there really is no correlation as stock can rise and fall based soley on speculation of future stock value rather than company performance.

Next the Reuters IW author, Scott Hillis, makes a comment:

That's because despite taking a beating in the market share battle, Intel is slashing costs, jettisoning underperforming businesses and launching new chips that are faster, more energy efficient and, crucially, more profitable.

The problem is that this statement is wrong. AMD's biggest liability was its Spansion flash memory business which it divested. Notice that there is no mention of this. In contrast, Intel still retains its own flash memory business. Again, no mention of this. The reality is that it is AMD that has slashed costs while Intel has trimmed. There is no mention of the fact that AMD's chips will be more energy efficient just one month later when it releases 65nm. There is no mention that AMD's K8L architecture will be considerably faster in 2007. Nor is there any mention of the way that AMD's costs will drop all during 2007 as production ramps up on the 300mm process with FAB 36. Finally, the notion that these chips are more profitable for Intel doesn't exactly fit with the previous statement about steep cuts in chip prices. The author is therefore either biased or extremely ignorant of the subject that he is trying talk about. This tends to be the problem where inconvenient facts tend to be rationalized away in favor of pro-Intel biases. There is no reason why anyone should believe arguments based soley on pro-AMD biases however most people are far more likely to encounter arguments based on Intel biases.

38 comments:

Pop Catalin Sever said...

Hey Sharikou uses this technique all the time ;).
It's easy...out of an equation with two or more variables , simply forget to mention one of them. For example: "it will be bad for AMD to partner with Dell because of lower operating margin" lower operating margin is true, but is missing a key variable in this equation "volume".

I particularly liked this example:

"If ATI can't sell chipsets for Intel processors then this will hurt AMD because of the loss of Revenue to ATI : If ATI sells chipsets for Intel processors then this will hurt AMD because ATI will be helping Intel."

The first one is true,the second one is actually an inverted analogy and they are using the connection between CPU chipset to create a false analogy. It's CPU's market share that drives chipset sales not the other way around. Inverted hierarchy here. So the thing is that ATI selling chipsets won't help Intel CPU sales unless it can drastically move the price or perf. balance in Intel's favor which no chipset does.

"If AMD can't gain share in the Chinese market this will hurt AMD because this is the fastest growing market : If AMD gains share in the Chinese market this will hurt AMD because this is a low margin market."

Both wrong. The first one lacks two very important variables: AMD expanding capabilities and other market's expansion ratios. Not only wrong but absurd! No comment!

"If AMD cannot increase its Average Selling Price this will hurt AMD's margins : If AMD increases its Average Selling Price this will hurt AMD's volumes."

Those are pretty funny. There both right but none of them express how the actual revenue changes.

"So, apparently, both high and low licensing fees help Intel."

Yes they bot help :) but in different scenarios. When Intel had no viable competition licensing helped raise income. In the face o competition gaining market share low licensing fees also help, they help reducing market share loss :) and prevent competition market share gain.This time is more of an strategic gain than an monetary one.

... oh well there are way to many ways to degenerate the truth and and people using this usually target the weak minds, the ones that don't use logic very much or isn't their strong point. It's so darn easy to fool the fools :).

Anonymous said...

http://voodoopc.blogspot.com/2006/08/where-theres-smoke-theres-fire.html
I have no problem with Dell supplying AMD and I think they should..But Michael switched.. because Rahul told him that to be competitive in the enthusiast market with XPS,[where Dellienware is just an image, not a money making machine]he had to supply AMD. Desperate measures indeed, to be so stubborn in the past, yet listen to a random guy via email.

I wouldn't necessarily say that those betting against Dell and AMD were 'Intel supporters'. Adding AMD would lead to more R&D, over diversification[I believe those buying from Dell can't tell the difference between Nvidia+ATI].

This Dell+AMD deal does not look like a short term move, but the long term benefits to come if executed properly. Short term, AMD is losing. If Intel leaps ahead while they're selling tons for none to Dell and none to others, AMD could be in a deep situation.
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/95794/dell-speaks-out-over-amd-shortages.html
Nice article with Dell's position.

If they cannot supply high demand, then that will inversely cause low demand.

I don't know about cash reserves, but with all that spending, Intel is 10x AMD's market cap, while AMD is just twice ATI's.

I do not remember anyone saying Intel laying off was positive..Yes for their books, but shows weakness from within. Same with AMD.

Milk them while you can, they hug and make nice when you need to;) If their was just one CPU company;) I'm sure they wouldn't let others making money off of what they let others build on to.

I've never seen that argument that ATI Intel chipsets would hurt AMD. I believe Intel should also make AMD chipsets but neither side would want to.

??AMD's 65 nm was basically built for quads. How could they hurt capacity that was never there before?

..Ok:)You seem to be making up situations and viewpoints lately. But whatever makes them the most money. I'd rather spend $1 Billion to make 100K, rather than spend $1 and make 50K. Not really, but you get the idea.

Erlindo said...

Really nice post Scientia.

I do enjoy reading all the true hard-facts about AMD and intel and this one is no exception.

Looks like there's a new trend to bash AMD in every way possible (no matter how well they're doing). I guess it's hard for AMD to satisfy these "so-called" reviewers, journalists, analysts or whatever. :)

ashenman said...

Lol, blog spam.

Red, I enjoy your comments, but I dislike how they show your aptitude for skimming. I believe I already addressed that concern (HardOCP). I didn't mean via would become competitive, I meant that they would show others that there may actually be something to gain in terms of profitability by turning away from Intel. This isn't just with chipsets, but in other areas, where they also charge out the @$$ for licensing.

Of course AMD writes code that best optimizes there hardware. If you had code that you were asked to optimize, you would optimize it in the way that you knew worked best, which would happen to use more of the advantages of your processor. You fail to mention, that his happens more often with Intel than AMD on pretty much every piece of software ever. The fact that Shadow Ops allowed AMD to customize for them is a good sign, because it means people aren't just being Intel's little 817(h35.

On the scalability side of things. He also mentioned thread limitations. But ya, that's actually pretty accurate. AMD even has a bit of bandwidth limitation that makes its scaling less than 100% with dual core, but it's internal, and unrelated to the bus (at least as far as I understand).

AMD has the right to innovate on that technology, not just use. Then it has the right, along with the hypertransport coalition, to improve upon the technology, and then patent those improvements.

Assuming that Dell switched to AMD just because of one e-mail from some guy with a much smaller PC business that was about to be bought up by its competitor is just retarded, I'm sorry.

"I do not remember anyone saying Intel laying off was positive..Yes for their books, but shows weakness from within. Same with AMD."
Oh look, you're skimming scientia's posts too.

ashenman said...

To be a bit less hostile, I'd also like to point out that they no longer bench processors like that anyway. That's a pretty old article. You were right about AM2 that that was a change from their normal benching process, but that was my other point. Sorry if I offended more than necessary.

Anonymous said...

I didn't really understand what you said in the previous blog entry:( Please remind me why [H]'s review with top of the line GPU+top of the line CPU is fair when they conclude that you will see nothing on gaming when most of us are not rich and will not be bottlenecked by the GPU:) Unless you lay that to rest with your last post:)

Yep, I know AMD and Intel support developers for multi core..As well as make themselves look better;) Scientia disagrees. Yes I'm sure Intel does do this a lot more as they have more resources, but as long as they are not detecting AMD to cripple it..
http://techreport.com/onearticle.x/8547
http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/pentiumd-820/index.x?pg=10
And judging by the Intel compiler results, doesn't look like it.

Scientia basically picked the results that were not near ~100% scaling and labeled them bandwidth starved without explaining why or that they could possibly be thread limited. I would not automatically assume that just because AMD just got 30% that it was starved.

Yep, they have every right to develop upon their court awarded technologies;)
http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1030087587&postcount=113
Along with HT building blocks, seems Intel has the foundation for IMC of which.

Oh but that Dell is crazy:) I'm sure it wasn't simple as that, with Opteron and Prescott. But you may never know:D

DAAMIT will be eliminating All in Wonder as well as other 'software groups'. That's not exactly redundancy if you think I skimmed that.

[H] hardly reviews CPUs anyways it seems.
http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTAwMiwxMCwsaGVudGh1c2lhc3Q=
Ugh, hard to read/compare charts..

ashenman said...

I'm pretty sure those charts are easy to compare, especially with the heavy red and green lines showing weak/ excessive performance respectively. As long as there aren't massive amounts of time that dwell below the red one, it's playable.

All in wonder being eliminated had to do with the fact that it wasn't making much money, and that AMD's HTPC approach doesn't rely on the system having a tv tuner. ATI was already planning on getting rid of it before the AMD aquisition.

The person writing on that forum is pretty retarded. Innovation isn't just coming up with something new, but seizing an idea that was given up on and reshaping it into something that is practical. But I don't assume you referred to that for that reason.

Your compiler results seem contradictory. The first one talks about a guy finding code that forcefully hinder AMD processors for no reason other than that they're AMD processors. The second just shows AMD processors doing better than Intel's, which is highly inconclusive, because AMD processors could simply be good enough to overcome any hindrances placed on them by Intel's optimizations.

Anonymous said...

I remember someone saying that Intel has to start from scratch for CSI[and presumably IMC]. So there, an Intel worker's words:)

Rather than 1 chart to compare them all, you have to individually load each that takes up a separate window to compare.
From their latest CPU review..please tell me how I can conclude anything from this:)
http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/image.html?image=MTE1MjgxMTg0MnFWZ0d4dTdoRFlfNV8zX2wuZ2lm

The 2nd link was linked from the 1st link. It shows that with Intel's own compiler gives it a 25% boost, while AMD gains/loses 1 second here and there, basically doing nothing from Intel's own compiler. If they were good enough to overcome supposed Intel restrictions, they would have at least regressed, not stay the same.

ashenman said...

Okay, didn't see the part where it was linked through that (I don't click most links I see in articles, and was probably not paying alot of attention to that one because I was in a hurry, sorry about that). However, the first encoder is not a non-intel compiled encoder, it is just one that intel hadn't specifically optimized for hyper-threading. So AMD shouldn't see any different, because chances are, Intel wrote the compiler used on both, and only modified the parts that dealt with threading to allow the use of the extra logic threads in ht processors.

They're still essentially starting from the ground up when you compare CSI to what they did with conroe. They weren't using a system interconnect that was essentially the same thing as CSI. It was something they'd placed in some filing cabinet somewhere. Most of their workforce probably hadn't probably even seen those documents before they had to start CSI.

I think that the chart you linked is pretty easy to read. All the graphs looked almost exactly the same. I don't see what the problem is with opening multiple windows. It's not like they can stick all the graphs on one page and still make it so you can read them. You can, however, open any graphs you want to compare in different windows and put them side by side. The key, however, isn't how they look side by side but which has the most dwell time below the magic 30 fps mark. You can fairly easily spot multiple ones with much of that, then open them in separate windows and compare them. Graphs are actually better than tables, because the differences and problems you notice on the graphs are the ones you'll actually notice in game, while the ones you don't see are also ones you probably wont notice. Tables can only give numbers that are within a certain range of error and may or may not actually represent something you can see. For instance, games may end up showing a minimum framerate of 0, but provide a smoother experience that has a minimum of 10, because it only very shortly dips to that level.

Darth Solarion said...

Many of these analysts have questionable independence and objectivity. They could be owning Intel stock for all we know.

Erlindo said...

Many of these analysts have questionable independence and objectivity. They could be owning Intel stock for all we know.

Those were my thoughts. ;)

Anonymous said...

It says LAME MT is supposedly enhanced for hyper threading, yet the true dual cores from AMD and Intel are ahead. Notice that the X2s perform rather poorly at single threaded then get a huge gain from MT, more so than the P4s.
http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/pentiumd-820/index.x?pg=13
Also notice that in Sphinx, Intel's own compiler gives Intel virtually no gains, but gives AMD some[though slightly better, still basically nothing].

You have the right to fancy [H]'s charts just as I do to hate them:)

Scientia from AMDZone said...

Try to keep things civil, Red.

Also, in terms your arguments it would be nice if you could respond to the whole of an argument rather than one piece. I understood that you had a problem with my statement about DivX which is why I listed two other similar programs that also bog down.

Charlie predicted that Intel would release a great new processor in January of 2006. You could hunt up my comments on AMDZone where I said that his statement made no sense and he must be confused. Just as I had predicted, Charlie was wrong. This is why I never go by what Charlie says unless there is general support elsewhere.

I also understand that you like Tom's Hardware Guide and seem to trust their tests. However, I have written an entire article plus given examples several times of where THG is clearly either incompetent or biased. You in contrast have yet to give a specific criticism of any point I've made about THG. These two things are not equal. That is, your general opinion (while perhaps very important to you) is not the same as information that I have collected, organized, evaluated, and made public. You may disagree but unless you are willing and capable of making a similar comprehensive counter-argument you are wasting your time. I am not going to change my mind just because you like Tom's Hardware Guide nor am I going to tolerate any personal attacks because you disagree. If you want to be taken seriously then make a serious argument which you have supported with documentation.

Scientia from AMDZone said...

Yes, I've posted disagreeing comments on Sharikou's blog many times.

And, most things are indeed complex and both help and hurt. However, Intel must see an ATI contract as helping AMD more than it helps them because they canceled it.

It is a very similar situation with Chartered. If AMD gave up sales to let Chartered sell more processors then this would hurt. However, if AMD is maxed out then Chartered's sales help.

I have seen all of the arguments I've listed given at face value in various places. However, I am most disappointed that this would show up in a Reuters article which I would expect to be more professional.

Scientia from AMDZone said...

But Michael switched.. because Rahul told him that to be competitive in the enthusiast market with XPS,[where Dellienware is just an image, not a money making machine]he had to supply AMD.

I know why Dell made the move to AMD server chips. This wasn't unusual as IBM and HP made similar moves at the same time. However, I don't honestly know why Dell would be buying AMD for desktop and mobile. Maybe they lost their price breaks and just decided to diversify. However, I really disagree with Sharikou that this means that Dell is moving to AMD-only. I don't see that happening.

I wouldn't necessarily say that those betting against Dell and AMD were 'Intel supporters'. Adding AMD would lead to more R&D, over diversification[I believe those buying from Dell can't tell the difference between Nvidia+ATI].

Perhaps Dell didn't see the R&D as that much more for desktops since they were shifting to AMD servers and Alienware was using AMD anyway. The cost may also be lower because of the price of HT and no need for a Northbridge. I've always thought this should theoretically make AMD motherboards a bit cheaper. This of course, may not be the case if Intel boards have enough volume to make up the difference.

If they cannot supply high demand, then that will inversely cause low demand.

Then shouldn't this lead to reduced demand for C2D?

I don't know about cash reserves, but with all that spending, Intel is 10x AMD's market cap, while AMD is just twice ATI's.

Oh, there is no doubt that Intel is bigger, much bigger. I guess this would make Intel about 6.7X AMD/ATI. Curiously though, in terms of cpu revenue Intel is only running 4.4X AMD.

..Ok:)You seem to be making up situations and viewpoints lately.

No, these were all arguments that I've seen in various places.

Anonymous said...

That's strange, you post HUMONGOUS blog entries and yet I post a to the point, yet long[to match up with your entry] comment and it is removed. Yet a repeated comment stays and 2 spam stay;)

I have not proclaimed my love for THG:) I do not see why you are so upset that they include overclocked results compared to stock. It is not easy enough for readers to compare stock and overclocked?

http://www.hardocp.com/images/news/1149260964gKMXB1SZgn_1_1_l.jpg
Do you think that it is only THG getting love? Quite a bit of exclusive AMD stuff has been appearing on [H] lately. [H] changed their method of gaming review when Core 2 came. What do you make of that?

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8KBV7J83.htm
DELL+AMD=More R&D

Anyone that wants Core 2 can get them. http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=4478 Pentium E and Celeron D 400 will fill in the existing gaps.

The comment in regards to Intel's market cap is that AMD is buying a company ~half its worth.

Please find me some quotes where someone says 'x' then 'y' as you imply. I've never even heard a few of those.

"If ATI sells chipsets for Intel processors then this will hurt AMD because ATI will be helping Intel."
"If AMD starts making quad core processors this will hurt AMD because it will use up too much of AMD's capacity."
" If AMD gains share in the Chinese market this will hurt AMD because this is a low margin market."
"If AMD increases its Average Selling Price this will hurt AMD's volumes."

Anonymous said...

Please tell us how it would've been 'easy' for THG to distinguish between thread limited or memory stalling.
"No. I've already told you that it wasn't a threading problem. Most of the tests were thread limited but not DivX."
Explain. Showing that other programs bogged is not acceptable, as I showed in my first comment, which you deleted..
But, for reference..
http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/opteron-x75/index.x?pg=6
63% scaling for 2x275 vs 1x175
http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/opteron-x75/index.x?pg=7
67% scaling.
How is this any different than Kentsfield? Would you assume that they are memory starved because they didn't scale like your usual
95%?

Anonymous said...

"Charlie predicted that Intel would release a great new processor in January of 2006."

I post my proof, please post yours:)

Scientia from AMDZone said...

Yep, I know AMD and Intel support developers for multi core..As well as make themselves look better;) Scientia disagrees.

No, I don't. Any given game developer might choose to optimize for a given platform if it makes their game look better or if they can get incentives. This makes sense. However, once a program has been optimized for a given platform then it becomes untrustworthy to use it as a benchmark. I would say right now that if I had a game that was SSE intensive I would want it to run on C2D.

Scientia basically picked the results that were not near ~100% scaling and labeled them bandwidth starved without explaining why or that they could possibly be thread limited.

I have a pretty good understanding of cpu and system architecture as well as knowledge of assembler and high level language programming and some of processor and language theory. When I gave the link I had thought that the graphs at Hot Hardware were obvious and hadn't considered that they might not be to everyone else. My apologies. I'll see if I can run through it.

The first thing is that both the QX6700 and X6800 have the same FSB speed. This is important because changing several variables can make it impossible to tell what causes the change. The two processors are at different speeds but we can adjust for that.

When we multiply the Pov-Ray score for QX6700 by 2.93/2.66 and then divide by the X6800 score we get very close to 2. So, this is a good example of nearly perfect scaling. Obviously, Pov-Ray is very SSE intensive and is not limited by the FSB. It takes about 12 SSE operations per data word to give the cpu enough time to pull in the next word from memory. Fewer SSE operations than this will cause a memory bottleneck.

With 3ds Max we see an 80% increase. 3ds Max is made by Autodesk and supports at least 16 threads. By default it uses all available processors/cores. Therefore, thread limitation is not a problem. This program uses modeling and shading so it should be less computation intensive than Pov-Ray which does ray tracing. 8 or 9 SSE operations per word would be few enough to bottleneck memory to 80%.

Sony Vegas shows a 64% increase. The manufacturer says that it supports HyperThreading, multi-processor, and multi-core. If this program were thread limited then the QX6700 score would be lower than the X6800 score rather than higher. This is true because the QX6700 has a lower clock and the same FSB speed.

DivX shows a scaling of 55%. DivX also has support for both HyperThreading and multi-processor.

Let's consider the possiblities. It has been suggested that DivX has assymetric load balancing. However, this could not be true because the increase for the next two processors would be tiny, 10-30% rather than 55%. Could it be thread communication overhead? No, because the base value is for two cores. If communication were a problem then this would be true for two threads as well as four. At a high value of N, a table search would show logN scaling however this would be the case at a much higher value of N, like 100 rather than 4. This is why algorithms like QuickSort use BubbleSort at low values of N even though BubbleSort has a very poor scaling of N^2. At low values of N, this scaling doesn't show up.

What we see is nearly perfect scaling for software that is SSE limited and therefore memory can keep up. With 3ds Max we begin to see some memory bottlenecking but not a huge amount because 3ds max still does a lot of calculations. Vegas and DivX on the other hand are just format converters so they wouldn't need to do as many operations. It is reasonable that they would hit the memory bandwidth limit first.

Along with HT building blocks, seems Intel has the foundation for IMC of which.

Intel makes memory controllers for its Northbridge chips. They could simply take one of these and add it to the cpu die. This is not difficult and Intel could do it quite easily. The problem is that all of the current I/O and interprocessor communication are routed over the FSB. Intel would need to reroute this traffic to a point to point bus.

Now, the Alpha bus is actually similar in that it used the FSB for I/O and interprocessor communication. However, the use of MOESI stopped most of the cache coherency traffic. Intel still uses MESI. This is an important clue. AMD used MOESI on the Athlon MP because it was a forerunner to K8. The fact that Intel is still using MESI with Woodcrest even though the dual bus 5000 chipset is similar to the Athlon MP 760MP chipset is interesting. Apparently, Intel does not see the current Woodcrest as a forerunner to a CSI/IMC system otherwise they would have switched from MESI to MOESI.

The Alpha bus tech doesn't really help Intel as much as you would think. This predates the HT 1.0 standard and AMD is up to 3.0 now. Also, Intel is trying to make the CSI standard a superset of the PCI-E standard. The problem has been that PCI-E is woefully inadequate for this. The Geneseo initiative is basically an admission of this problem. Intel is hoping to replace PCI-E 2.0 with Geneseo which is much more robust. If this is approved then this would finally give Intel a path to allow the introduction of CSI. Without Geneseo Intel's CSI standard would be isolated to interprocessor communication only and not nearly as useful. If Intel can get Geneseo accepted this would make PCI-E mostly as good as HT 3.0 but still missing a few things. However, by the time it is accepted HT may very well be at 4.0. HT could even be at 5.0 by the time CSI comes out.

[H] hardly reviews CPUs anyways it seems.
http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTAwMiwxMCwsaGVudGh1c2lhc3Q=
Ugh, hard to read/compare charts..


The main difference is in the Anti-Aliasing settings.

Scientia from AMDZone said...

That's strange, you post HUMONGOUS blog entries and yet I post a to the point, yet long[to match up with your entry] comment and it is removed. Yet a repeated comment stays and 2 spam stay;)

Length wasn't the problem with your first comment. And, I did delete both the extra post and the spam.

I do not see why you are so upset that they include overclocked results compared to stock.

Because they never show overclocked AMD against stock Intel. This indicates bias and removes their credibility.

Quite a bit of exclusive AMD stuff has been appearing on [H] lately. [H] changed their method of gaming review when Core 2 came. What do you make of that?

Was it when C2D came out or was it when there were enough multi-threaded games to see a difference?

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=4478 Pentium E and Celeron D 400 will fill in the existing gaps.

Basically, P4 will be gone Q3 07. However, by then the Rev F 90nm X2 may be in Sempron range. This would probably put Rev G in the same range as Pentium E1000 in Q2 07. They would need an X2 3400+ to cover the same range. I'm really wondering how badly the Celeron 400 will be with 512K of cache.

Scientia from AMDZone said...

But, for reference..
http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/opteron-x75/index.x?pg=6
63% scaling for 2x275 vs 1x175
http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/opteron-x75/index.x?pg=7
67% scaling.


These are from last year when X2 was new. There is no reason to assume that these applications were optimized for threading at that time. Do you have results for AMD with a newer version? Or do you have results for C2D with the same version? We can't compare C2D results on a newer version with AMD results on an older version.

ashenman said...

As I said, alot of HardOCP's reviews are in response to the poor reviews being given of core 2 and of am2. They change review styles all the time anyway, so it would be really hard to show this.
I'm pretty sure you wouldn't just be blocked for long posts, since I've made some pretty long ones, and haven't been blocked yet (though that could be because me and scientia are sorta on the same side).
I'm also pretty sure Scientia wasn't saying you were proclaiming love for THG. Your problem isn't that you love them, anyway. It's that you give any of their results credibility without doing any research into it.

Scientia from AMDZone said...

I didn't block Red. I removed his first post because he made a rude personal attack suggesting that I had invented my own method of analyzing benchmarks which he referred to as Scientia's Law.

Not everything at Tom's Hardware Guide is bad. The problem is that, since you can't tell what they don't publish, there is no way to draw a general conclusion from their results. In a real review you could just average out the tests and come up with a reasonable estimte of performance. However, if THG is picking and choosing tests to specifically favor Intel then the notion of an average gets tossed out the window. This is what I'm talking about. I don't think that every test at THG is fake, however, without credibility they are useless to get an overall sense of performance. And, unfortunately, Anandtech is in the same boat.

Red keeps trying to argue that it doesn't matter what THG doesn't publish and this simply is not the case. It is specifically THG's lack of credibility that prevents me from giving full weight to their reviews. This is unfortunate because if THG were professional and ethical then I could read one of their reviews and give a much more solid estimate of performance. As it is, I have to try to consider what they don't show.

Erlindo said...

I'm starting to suspect that red is a member of forumz. I might be wrong, but maybe it could be JumpingJack, Joset or ElmoIsEvil (judging from their posting patterns which is anti-AMD).

Anonymous said...

'Twas just sarcasm. People can be so sensitive these days:)

What makes you think that these apps have been refreshed enough to have 95% scaling? And 95% scaling for what? Even if you have over 4 threads, you can't exactly double FPS.. If you don't believe in those ancient benchmarks, then how can you assume that Kentsfield is memory starved, while non existing 4x4/Opteron benches aren't?

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Intel-AMD-wow-Digital-Life-ftopict204643.html
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=119445
But if you're interested in a preview of 4x4..It is able to run 2 IE windows, 1 game demo, and encode, all non HD, all at the same time;)

An optimized version towards AMD/Intel does not necessarily mean degraded performance of the other platform. If there was an SSE version of 'x', but someone only tested the non SSE version to compare Intel vs AMD, do you think that is fair? It would be like down clocking Netbursts to K8's clock to compare. Though K8 is more efficient, the higher clocks can make up for that[at least pre Prescott].

THG showing bias? No way! I always thought that sites reviewed stuff for fun with their own unlimited funds:)
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/09/25/green_machine/
Where did this come from? They compare two different chipsets [could've at least been nForce] and mATX vs ATX.
"AMD retains its advantage in performance-per-watt when including the platform"
Err..There was no performance comparison.

I'd like more on your conspiracy that THG sweeps some benches under the rug. Time limited previews don't count:)

Please show some quotes by JumpingJack, Joset or ElmoIsEvil where they attack AMD baslessly:)

Scientia from AMDZone said...

I don't mind a dissenting opinion. And, Red, thanks for the Dailytech information about Pentium E which I was not aware of.

The mark of a true fan is someone who picks through information and only talks about the parts that seem to favor their preferred company. For example, an AMD fan could jump on the fact that AMD has increased its share in mobile while an Intel fan could pounce on the increased competition in servers or perhaps AMD's drop in ASP. However, I don't do either of these.

AMD is indeed facing increased competition in servers which is bad and increasing demand for mobile which is good. AMD is down somewhat in North American sales which is bad and up in Asian sales which is good.

Overall, in 2006 AMD has gained slightly ahead of Intel. Not by much, just slightly. Mostly what AMD has done is solidify the position that they had in Q4 05 while Intel has dropped. Basically, Intel's price dropping strategy has been ineffective. I think the good news for Intel is that they have hit bottom and are now growing again and I expect this to continue during 2007. However, where I disagree with some analysts is that I do not expect Intel to grow faster than AMD and certainly not twice as fast.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the Tigerton preview will turn out tomorrow:) We've yet to see Barcelona..They still have their analyst day in December though..

Back to [H]..
http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1029682700&postcount=98
Kyle, founder of it, benches game in his own personal time AFTER the essentially GPU review was posted and gets big gains. Decides to 'sweep' these under the rug as you would call it:)

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?p=1601659#post1601659
A more in depth look into [H]'s stank.

Well, if all you do is rant about Intel..:)I wouldn't call you a 'true' fan when there are others like Sharikou.
---
Current Celeron Ds also have 533 FSB as well as 512 L2.

VR-Zone's Wolfdale vs Antares comparison has a revised "> 3.0" for Yorkfield. I have a feeling that VR-Zone's reports are just viral PR to steal AMD's hype though they do have this unhypish report..
http://www.vr-zone.com/?i=4182

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=4589
I'm not sure what you're saying about 3.2 1333..They have 3.0 1333 coming Q307 most likely in the 'mainstream' segment, with extreme for Wolfdales.

The reason Intel initiated the price war was to dump the Netbursts. Though flash and chipset inventory is up, CPUs are down. Obviously it did something, making AMD tank 13%.

Scientia from AMDZone said...

What makes you think that these apps have been refreshed enough to have 95% scaling? And 95% scaling for what? Even if you have over 4 threads, you can't exactly double FPS.. If you don't believe in those ancient benchmarks, then

I'm just baffled how you can compare different versions a year apart and draw firm conclusions.

how can you assume that Kentsfield is memory starved, while non existing 4x4/Opteron benches aren't?

I'm having some trouble telling if you are asking real questions. Kentsfield is 4 cores on 1 bus. 4X4 is 4 cores on 2 buses. It does seem rational to assume that if an application is bandwidth limited that twice the bandwidth would be better.

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Intel-AMD-wow-Digital-Life-ftopict204643.html

Thanks for the info about registered memory; I'll pass that on to AZ. Well, basically, Kentsfield should be faster in SSE intensive apps and 4X4 should be faster in bandwidth instensive apps. I don't see a clear advantage for either.

An optimized version towards AMD/Intel does not necessarily mean degraded performance of the other platform. If there was an SSE version of 'x'

I have no idea what you are talking about. C2D is clearly much faster in terms of SSE. Much faster. However, you can't test memory bandwidth with SSE intensive apps.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/09/25/green_machine/

Frankly, I don't see the point of this article. Prime95 was proven not to be the best stressor by Tom Pabst himself back in 2001. Very litte real comparison is done. It was a trivial article.

I'd like more on your conspiracy that THG sweeps some benches under the rug.

I'd like you to show me where THG has compared overclocked AMD chips against stock Intel chips. If you can't then the bias is pretty clear. Also, maybe you could show me where THG has criticized Intel for paper launches lately? They stopped doing that about four years ago.

Please show some quotes by JumpingJack, Joset or ElmoIsEvil where they attack AMD baslessly:)

I assume there is a difference between ignorance and baselessness. Presumably, baselessness would require that the author knows that what he is saying is wrong whereas with ignorance he would not. At times, the misinformation about AMD systems on Forumz is staggering although off the top of my head I can't say that it was from those three. However, I can say that I've seen misinformation go uncorrected. Curiously, I've seen misinformation about Intel corrected quickly on AZ whereas I've seen misinformation about AMD either slowly corrected or not at all on Forumz.

Anonymous said...

I'm baffled how you can conclude that Kentsfield is memory starved when an increase from 1066 to 1333 shows no increase and there are no AMD benches to compare.

Yep, twice the bandwidth should be better, X2 sure has nice Sandra memory scores;) So besides picking benches that do not show your usual 95% scaling [while AMD has said 80% for ?Cinebench?] why are you so insistent that Kentsfield is starved? 60% improvement on a single socket, starved or not is a huge gain nonetheless.

Any bandwidth intensive apps on your mind? Did you conclude[since you already said that before, but said it again in reply to the 4x4] that 4x4 would be better for memory because the system was running Classic, 100% pegged, 1 game demo, 2 non HD videos, and encoding a small file?

I'm asking you to show me where THG uses this 'x' bench say..Jan..Then doesn't use it in Feb..Then uses it in March. And sinced you asked..
http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/07/25/the_athlon_64_fx_overclocked_to_3_ghz/index.html
I suppose you'll respond by listing 10 where it's the other way around;) And I have showed evidence that AMD does this too. So yeah, I'd like to see more on your conspiracy:)

FOUR years ago?
..;)
Paper launch=A product launched solely to exist in the press. X2 5000+ and X2 3800+ 35W come to mind.

Err..I was responding to Erlindo, who says that I am supposedly anti amd, as are those 3..I will not try and prove their non bias before someone shows me a baseless 'attack' on AMD from those. AMD misinfo on Forumz? Yeah, from BaronMatrix and fans;) Unless you can prove otherwise with links.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/09/25/green_machine/
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=22332
Yes it was a trivial article, obviously a rewritten AMD press kit;)

You: However, once a program has been optimized for a given platform then it becomes untrustworthy to use it as a benchmark. I would say right now that if I had a game that was SSE intensive I would want it to run on C2D.

Me: An optimized version towards AMD/Intel does not necessarily mean degraded performance of the other platform.

You: I have no idea what you are talking about. C2D is clearly much faster in terms of SSE. Much faster. However, you can't test memory bandwidth with SSE intensive apps.

..

Anonymous said...

To clarify, if 'X' app has 2 versions, one not optimized, and one optimized for Intel[SSE], why would you not benchmark using the optimized version if there is no degraded performance on AMD? Reminds me of what Apple did with G5[not letting Intel use their respective strength]

ashenman said...

"Paper launch=A product launched solely to exist in the press. X2 5000+ and X2 3800+ 35W come to mind."

A paper launch is of a part that never becomes widely available. As hard as it is to find both those parts in the channel, it's not that hard to find from OEM's.

If they're optimized by Intel it's likely they pulled the little trick the article you posted talked about (looking for Intel based processors and turning off SSE if they aren't Intel). Meaning that though AMD's performance wouldn't decrease, it wouldn't increase in an area where it could and should. I'm assuming that the companies who ask Intel to optimize for them have some say in how much they allow Intel to optimize that depends on how concise they are when they check over their code and how desperate they are to have Intel optimize for them. Thus, the performance results would vary from compiler to compiler.

I don't understand what was wrong with HardOCP's article. They even stated that their article was not bottlenecked at the processor, and that this simply showed that what processor you have really doesn't effect real world gameplay performance. If your monitor doesn't allow settings that decrease performance to below 60 frames, then you wont see the difference in performance anyway. If your card is slower than the ones they tested, it becomes an even greater bottleneck, and your processor matters even less. Until these processors become much older, any review of games at low settings doesn't actually show how a processor will scale or its power. If anything, the article was pointless, because it told most enthusiasts something they already knew, but at least it's not as bad as trying to tell people who don't know that an increase in frame rate on a video game at a low resolution with low settings would translate into real world performance improvements. Not all reviewers do this, because they state in their conclusions that those results are not something you will replicate with the settings you are likely to play.

I've concluded that pretty much any speculation on kentsfield vs. 4x4 performance, or just kentsfield performance in general, wont achieve much. The results that most hardware review sites have varies so greatly (especially with power consumption and heat) that it can only be concluded that much of Intel's design was not finalized by the time of many of these reviews, which is mildly disconcerting. Even then, it may be nothing, we don't know, and can't have an accurate idea of how this processor will perform until it is released, because of how little availability there will be even after it is launched.

Maybe it's just my own understanding of the situation, but I think we should get to talking about AMD's and Intel's market numbers, since this is where we have real concrete evidence of how the companies are performing.

Scientia from AMDZone said...

Maybe it's just my own understanding of the situation, but I think we should get to talking about AMD's and Intel's market numbers, since this is where we have real concrete evidence of how the companies are performing.

Yes. This topic was highjacked by Red with his first post when he carried over the discussion from the last thread.

Anonymous said...

"I'm starting to warm to the idea of using low res to give an idea of how strong a processor is, but stress testing does require a very specific set of parameters to prove valid."
;)
But they tested at 1200x1600, a resolution that most do not use. And in the end, claim that Core 2 will not have any gains compared to FX[with top GPU]. They also said.."We had to lower shadow quality slightly on the AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 in comparison to both the Intel X6800 and E6700 CPUs." Did they not consider that most gamers are not rich?
http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html
Over 94.9% of those surveyed use 1280x1024 or less. Most would not consider +$300 GPUs.
http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1029682700&postcount=98
Look, this is what Scientia would call 'sweeping'. And he probably benched these at settings that he actually plays at. The higher the FPS, even if way above 60, the better chance that the CPU does not dip below it during critical moments. The eye can see above 60, depending on the person.

'not that hard' is still hard:D I don't see any SFF X2 3800s on Shuttle.

http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/pentiumd-820/index.x?pg=13
AMD benefits more from Intel's compiler than they do. You're right, that is weird that AMD gets no benefits from the LAME one:) Does not change the fact that if you can get better performance on an Intel in certain apps while no gains on an AMD.

Scientia talks numbers in the other entry, but this one was about 'phoney outlook'. To which I say..I do not who these phoney outlookers are and have not even recognized quite a few of them:)

Scientia from AMDZone said...

Sweeping?

Anyway, the benchmarks there show E6700 ahead of FX-62 which is what I've been saying for some time.

Anonymous said...

By sweeping, I meant your conspiracy that THG sweeps benches that don't show Intel doing hot under the rug. Yep, E6700 is a good ways above FX62 in real gaming according to Kyle's own tests. Yet the very consumer oriented [H] publishes and declares that you'll get no gains[on top GPU] yet they also have results from settings that people actually play on.

Scientia from AMDZone said...

I would definitely rate E6700 ahead of FX-62. However, that doesn't change the fact that I don't feel that THG's reviews can be trusted. I've seen too many examples of either sloppy testing or biases. Even recently we had the example of the supposed server comparison which didn't use any server benchmarks and compared an older AMD system to a newer Intel system. The article was a waste of time and even people on the THG Forumz criticized the review.

R2K said...

: )