View Full Version : The gradual demise of AMD - What happened and what to do next?

Comment Bot
04-26-2007, 11:40 PM
Please feel free to comment about our story entitled "The gradual demise of AMD - What happened and what to do next? (www.tweaktown.com/articles/1086)"

04-27-2007, 01:22 AM
Your analysis of the forced transition to socket am2 may be accurate, but you really don't discuss how AMD shot themselves in the foot by EOL'ing socket 939 processors way to early.

Buyers of new systems should be directed to the latest/greatest platform. But there's a bunch of folks who like to upgrade and AMD platforms have always had a longer upgrade life than Intel. Just when dual-cores were becoming the must-have CPUs, AMD said screw you socket 939 folks and yanked the rug out from under us.

So that made us ugpraders wait since any significant CPU boost would require a new mobo and ram. And we waited long enough for core2duo to debut and that was it for AMD in my PC. If I'm basically building a new PC, I'm going with the platform that offers the most performance. I would have been happy to get an x2 5000+ last fall for my s939 mobo; but now I've got an e6400 and plan to upgrade to a q6600 when they fall to $270USD this summer. So AMD won't be able to regain me as a customer until at least 2009.

04-27-2007, 07:15 AM
I agree with ramarc that what really hurt AMD was killing the 939 pin processor. I think back to the "bad ol days" when no one wanted a K6. It just had a weak floating point unit, but AMD's reputation was for inferior products. So the fact that it ran office applications better made no difference.

That's why when it was announced that AMD was buying ATI, my reaction was - NOO!!! I knew they were going down and would take ATI with them. The only solution that could possibly work is to purge the "idiots" at the top. Hector Ruiz shouldn't have a job that's more prestigious than flipping hamburgers at McDonalds. :angryfire Unless they get someone at the helm again like Jerry Sanders, there is no hope.

04-27-2007, 01:45 PM
I don't quite see the point of the article. Last time I looked, AMD was still around. In fact, despite Core 2 Duo's superior performance, AMD has gained huge OEM adoption rate and is still very popular among enthusiasts simply because AMD completely undercuts Intel in price for entry-level dual-core systems.

There were plenty of reasons to buy ATI. AMD is trying to compete with Intel, a company which produces its own motherboards, graphics chipsets, southbridges, northbridges, network adapters, and processors. AMD hasn't produced chipsets in ages, and has to rely on third-party manufacturers for everything. This gives AMD a complete lack of control of its own platform. Prior to nForce 2, socket A wasn't looked on so well simply due to bad chipsets giving it a bad rep.

Even socket 754 met early hinders with basically no overclockability since the first iteration of chipsets didn't properly lock the PCI bus. Again, something that could have been prevented with more control over the chipset.

With ATI, AMD can essentially make its own platform, without relying on widespread industry support to get something done. Why did PCI-E, DDR2, and SATA prevail? Because Intel forced the industry to migrate, and rightfully so. AM2 isn't much difference. It is a step up for the entire industry. Yes, people with Socket 939 got screwed, but only slightly. Socket 939 boards are not any more limited than AM2 boards. Until quad-core comes out, no one has incentive to switch to AM2.

Early adopters of LGA775 were in no better shape. They faced a forced migration to PCI-E and DDR2, and the boards basically lasted to Pentium D. Most older LGA775 boards don't support Core 2 Duo well, and none can support it to the extent that the newer 965 chipset can. Socket 939 buyers were no more screwed than LGA775 buyers.

On that note, Intel did feel the pain. Earlier LGA 775 systems were so bad that of the enthusiast crowd, all but the most fanboyish of Intel fanboys went with socket 939 or socket 754. OEMs, even first-tier OEMs, started adopting AMD after 939's EOL. The lawsuit helped this, too, but the fact was AMD was making a better product, and people noticed.

Does that mean Intel met an untimely demise? Hell no! Intel continued to profit just fine, even with sales lost to AMD.

And what happened before Socket 754, Socket 939, and LGA775? AMD has socket A out there, with some of the early Athlon XPs completely owning Socket 370 and 423. Then newer socket A processors came out, and Intel ramped up Netburst to get 2.8GHz+ socket 478 systems. We saw the same situation we have today: AMD completely owned the low-end, especially with overclocking, while anything past a certain price point belonged to Intel.

So is AMD dead, dying, or even in terrible shape? Probably not. A loss like this is harder for AMD to sustain than Intel, but somehow I think it will manage. If the new video cards actually come out and have any advantage over nVidia (though it appears currently they won't), then the acquisition of ATI will end up making all the difference.

Rick Steele
04-27-2007, 06:30 PM
I was really upset with AMD. I had just purchased an ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe, 2G of Corsair PC400XMS Pro memory and a FX55, all at a huge price premium, just to have it all obsolete-EOL- not even 4 months later with absolutey no warning. The new AMD2 was in the works but, there was no upfront anything that 939 would be EOL.
As far as the ATI thing goes, I have owned GeForce since the 7900GTX; I now am running the 8800GTX, used ATI before exclusively.
If NVIDIA does not start to get there act together real quick I am never going to purchase anything NVIDIA again. There drivers are terrible, new driver releases are horrendous; there nForce chipsets are the most ornerary, incompatable, hardest to configure in the industry. Why!? They have been producing the motherboard chips for 10 years or more, so, there is no logical reason for all the shortcomings other than lack of proper testing, quality control.
ATI was much better, and, from what I read on the net are still much better in the driver department.

Rick Steele
04-27-2007, 06:38 PM
go here for a really good idea of how I feel:


and read this: "Dear NVIDIA People..."

04-28-2007, 12:53 AM
All you so called AMD fanboys who have defected or are spouting negative drivel should be ashamed. Sure AMD made one misstep in prematurely stopping 939 production,[ I am a 939 owner too but i dont really care since i always buy a $120 cpu and overclock it 50% so it performs like a $600 one] but what you are all failing to remember is that inhell makes this their standard business practice.
Anytime you want to upgrade an inhell system, if its over 6 months old you are usually forced to buy new motherboard with new chipset at least, if not new memory as well as other things.
By prematurely defecting to inhell :grenade:arent you all being hypocrits? For sure you are now supporting a monopolistic company that forces inferior products on the public too much as it is, with AMD still in business. Do you really wanna see how bad it gets with AMD completely crippled :2gunsfirior bellyup from too many defectors? AMD is sure to catch up when Barcelona comes out and only a bios upgrade will be necessary for current am2 socket owners.
I for one wont defect until AMD makes several more bad business practices like this 939 one and shows they really are just as bad as inhell. So until then it will be a cold day in hell till i defect to to INHELL!

04-28-2007, 01:30 AM
Anyone foolish enough to think AMD is going to go out of business deserves the ridicule they get. Intel is a MUCH larger corporation and is rightfully on top. They have the superior product and they have so much more might and money behind them, they should be completely ashamed it took them almost 2 years to reclaim the crown. AMD will probably never recapture the crown as they had, but they are still a major thorn in Intel's side. Intel has had to do price drop after price drop to try to bully AMD out of the market. But as Yawgmoth said, AMD is cleaning up in the OEM market. Look at Dell's site. Almost all their entry level PC's are now AMD. That market alone will keep AMD around.

I defected to Core 2 Duo and sold off my 165 Opteron rig. Big mistake. Sure I got beter benchmark scores and a bigger e-peen, but C2D is not all it is cracked up to be. Im my experience, AMD hardware tends to be more stable and will run ANYTHING a C2D can nearly as well. I just went back to AMD because mostly the C2D fanboyism makes me want to puke. How many threads do you see on forums like this "I need 123458134GHz out of my C2D..." . A trained chimp can overclock a C2D. No challenge. Unless you get stuck with the worst one possible, they will OC. They have killed overclocking as an art and made it mainstream.

Also, everyone who is pissed about S939, Intel does the same thing. How many chipsets have they gone through in the last 2 years? C2D even took a chipset change, and within a release or 2 they will need another chipset.

Anyone selling off a dual core AMD rig for a C2D rig has one thought. I need a bigger benchmark score. Otherwise, there is no need to change. My PC @ 2.88GHz is just as fast in real life tasks that almost all of us do as my C2D @ 3.4GHz.

I now want AMD to win just because the Intel fanboys are the worst. Us AMD fanboys are much nicer, LOL!

04-28-2007, 09:23 AM
Anyone selling off an X2 system for C2D is on crack. You probably were at the time. :) (actually, didn't you win a Core 2 Duo board?) C2D is not that much better. Core 2 Duo is a better option for people with a certain budget who are upgrading from Socket 478/A/754. Even Pentium D is fast enough for most needs.

As far as 939 EOL, the only thing people are missing out on is quad-core. There's no way AMD was going to stick around with 939 all the way to quad-core processors. That would be like a three-year life cycle for socket 939 with no necessary chipset updates. Intel updates either the socket or the chipset every year and a half.

The time to get socket 939 was when single-core Athlon 64s were all the buzz. You go single-core, upgrade to dual-core in a year, and you've gotten a good life out of a single platform.


m my experience, AMD hardware tends to be more stable and will run ANYTHING a C2D can nearly as well.That is crap. K8 is no more stable than Core 2 Duo. There has never, in the history of X86 processors, but a processor that was inherently unstable. Early LGA775 P4s ran really hot, but even they were stable. There have been unstable chipsets, but 945/965/975 aren't unstable at all. If anything, the last platforms with real stability problems were early socket A systems based on VIA, Nvidia, and ALI chipsets. If you've had stability problems with Core 2 Duo, it was your system, not the platform as a whole.

As far as performance, AM2 parts do pretty well with performance, but Core 2 Duo is significantly better. Don't play down the difference just to fight C2D fanboyism. There's more than a benchmark difference. Try playing Supreme Commander with a X2 @ 2.6GHz and then try it with a Conroe @ 3GHz. Significant difference in how much you can have going on before it lags.

This is even more crap:

As far as the ATI thing goes, I have owned GeForce since the 7900GTX; I now am running the 8800GTX, used ATI before exclusively.
If NVIDIA does not start to get there act together real quick I am never going to purchase anything NVIDIA again. There drivers are terrible, new driver releases are horrendous; there nForce chipsets are the most ornerary, incompatable, hardest to configure in the industry. Why!? They have been producing the motherboard chips for 10 years or more, so, there is no logical reason for all the shortcomings other than lack of proper testing, quality control.
ATI was much better, and, from what I read on the net are still much better in the driver department.
Maybe you're a Vista user. Otherwise, you're talking straight out your ass. Nvidia was pretty much the only viable platform for AMD for about the last five years. VIA and SIS made decent budget chipsets, and ATI and ULI (formerly ALI, ironically) both had a couple okay ones in there, but Nvidia was the best. Nforce drivers and utilities were great. The various iterations of Nforce have always been a pleasure to work with.

The Forceware drivers are even better. They allow for a wider array of more useful changes than ATI ever offered, and the Catalyst Control Center, which ATI has used for over a year now, is crap and has always been crapped. I've always had to use third-party utilities to replace it.

And if you go back about five years, ATI drivers were utter crap. Early ATI drivers and cards were simply ****. ATI didn't get it right until the 9xxx series of cards. Despite that, Nvidia has continued to make good, stable cards and drivers since that one failed line (GeForce 5).

The only exception I'll make to this is 64-bit an Vista support. Both have always been piss-poor. ATI isn't much better, but I can at least see how this one area might give someone a bad impression of Nvidia.

With both AMD vs Intel and AMD (ATI) vs Nvidia, the situation is no different. one is better for a certain market, one is better for another. This will change again with K8L, K10, Nehalem, X2xxx, and so on. To make broad generalizations about of the three/four brands is simply ridiculous. Everything changes from generation to generation, and everything will change. AMD isn't doing great now, but will be in the future. Intel is doing great now, but will probably be on the bottom sometime soon.

04-28-2007, 11:52 AM
I still have a C2D setup (with the board I won here) for my HTPC. I cannot deny that C2D stomps AMD into the ground for encoding video. My HTPC does alot of video work.

As for system stability, I am just happier with the way AMD does things on my day to day PC. After all, I did say in my experience, not that it was even a remotely stated/proven fact. It does run MY games just as well. I also run my CPU @ 3GHz. I never said it was faster than C2D. I have had 3 C2D systems and don't deny their speed. I feel the extra memory bandwidth you get with AMD helps them in other ways in games. Plus my PC is highly optimised with all high speed high end parts so as far as I am concerned, every little bit helps.

I build this AMD rig just to see what they are about. I build alot of PC's for people and they always ask me. Mostly, I build C2D rigs because people want the fastest possible. But the budget machines are all AMD. I can build a full dual core AMD system less a monitor for $600CAD. Intel PC's take about $800-900 or so. I am building a C2D Quad core system right now for someone and I cannot wait to play with it. It will be my first and I am dying to see what it can do.

04-28-2007, 07:16 PM
You were correct about the 939 issue, I upgraded to a 939 platform about 3 months prior to AMD canning it. They raved about AM2 but the sales havent happened.

So my suggestion to AMD would be bring back the 939 and fast and fill the gap they closed. At least this would give them back some sales for thoise looking to get a cheap upgrade by simply chaning out the processor.

The shear cost of going to a new platform, which means a new Processor, memory and Motherboard is just too much given the crisis in Australia with both power and food. People budgets just cant fit it so they say to hell with it.

I wont give up on AMD, they have given me a stable and more reliable paltform than Intel ever did. Toms Hardwar eproved that. 1 AMD mobo no reboots or refurbs, Intel boards 5 or 6 changes, and reliabilty sucked.

We need to pressure AMD to listen to us becuase the 939 platform is and still is relavent.

Boo Intel , Go AMD.

04-29-2007, 12:18 AM
Way too much speculation and doom and gloom in that 'opinion piece' for a front page article.

04-29-2007, 01:21 AM
S939 is a bad idea because have you seen the price of DDR lately? Have you seen the massive price drops of DDR2? Have you seen the higher bandwidth that DDR2 has? Re-releasing S939 would be a tremendously stupid idea. The whole article comments how AMD has little cash to play with, but yet they are asked to spend untold millions to restart a socket that has little future with DDR production coming to an end. Now that I actually read the article, I am even more surprised at what they had to say. AMD cannot look to their past, S939 cannot compete with Intel any more than AM2 can. AMD needs to ramp up Barcelona and K10 as quickly as possible and release a good product at high quantities with a reasonable price and they will sell like wildfire. THere are plenty of AMD fanboys just itching to build a K10 system, and even more that went C2D that will dump those systems the second AMD has a comparible CPU.

I really think there are way way to many people that have no clue about business and how a business runs to be making these wild assumptions. There is no proof anywhere about impending doom, and with so little information coming from AMD themselves, this article is beyond pure speculation.

04-29-2007, 03:41 AM
Going back to socket 939 would be a terrible idea. There's a reason AMD switched, and a reason I don't criticize the decision much. As Casecutter said, DDR prices now, and even prior to 939's EOL were higher than DDR2 by a significant margin. AMD couldn't expect OEMs who had standardized on DDR2 to switch back, nor could AMD expect enthusiasts to keep going with the older, more expensive technology. Although I disagree that there's really any performance advantage ATM (performance tests have repeatedly shown that memory bandwidth does not matter on K8 platforms), that's hardly relevant. The hardware costs and the power consumption are both decreased significantly with DDR2.

04-29-2007, 06:58 AM
hello, this is my first time posting so go easy on me. first of all i would like to say that no matter what happens in the short term for amd they will not be going anywhere. the market will not allow just one player. so regardless if they make money or not amd will be a player for years to come. intel already has 80 percent of the marketshare. you have to wonder why there is a need for more. i am brand loyal to amd for the simple fact i want them to survive. take a look on forbes and look under most innovative companies. amd is awesome. im not saying they are perfect, but look how far they have come in this industry. they have been on the brink before. its no cause for concern , its like watching your 401k, everything goes in cycles. intel has more money, more design teams, more of everything, but yet they still laid off 10,000 people, amd laid off some and still posted 611,000,000 loss. i assume paying off a lot of that debt they have accrued. maybe amd is in to many markets. i dont think they can ever take on intel head to head, just not enough resources. maybe nvidia and amd should join up. then the market could be somewhat more fair. i think intel is hell bent on destroying amd, and the bottom line is no one would ever allow that. all you have to do is look at microsofts position, pretty much have all the market to themselves. its a totally unhealthy enviroment. its not all rosey for intel though, i think they will lose to amd in litigation, kind of hard to cover up all those loopholes. and eventually to china, i am sure they are working on there own cpu designs.it would be no way intel could compete, kind of like our textile industry, but look a lot of companies are doing bad, GMC, FORD , i think monarch computers went belly up, i know im just giving examples. but my point is if intel and microsoft are the only ones left standing, i my friend will find another hobby. thanks

04-30-2007, 06:07 PM
I have been using AMD CPUs since the era of socket A. My first PC was with Duron CPU and VIA KT133 chipset. And at time AMD CPUs were a lot faster and cheaper than Intel counterpart. Now at dual core era AMD is doing quite well with the performance. Yes, Intel top models are faster but when you compare price performance ratio AMD is still better. Last view months I saw several reviews that point AMD as a better option. Check this websites: http://www.benchmark.co.yu/modules.php?name=BenchmarkNews&file=article&sid=12527&oliver=4131 (http://www.benchmark.co.yu/modules.php?name=BenchmarkNews&file=article&sid=12527&oliver=4131)
and http://www.legitreviews.com/article/490/10/ (http://www.legitreviews.com/article/490/10/) .
Mother boards and 15-20% cheaper for AMD too. Yes, I agree that problems for AMD started when they bought ATI. If I was at Ruis place all put all money in R&D and started to develop CPU for notebooks and after that adjust them for use in desktops. They could steel make strategic partner ship with ATI or NVIDIA to make chipsets and GPU for AMD with AMD name on it. They could have a complete platform and better CPUs.
Now AMD must sell ATI and put money in R&D and also make a strategic partnership wit NVIDIA or ATI for GPU and chipsets.

04-30-2007, 07:57 PM
To my opinion, AMD did once a mistake not mentioned in the article: too many sockets and lack of upgrading chances.
To explain, starting from '92 I had only AMD systems, and I was a really fan of.
But end of 2006 I decided to make a new computer, and as I always did, I wanted to start with little money (reuse as much as possible from my old computer(s)) and be able to upgrade for ~5 years.
This forced me to... go on INTEL, because I had enough DDR memory, and I had a feeling that either 939 will soon die or DDR will be impossible to find.
On brief, to build Intel I needed a mainboard and processor, to build AMD, I needed either board, processor AND MEMORY, or I would be obliged to go on an already dieing platform.
Also, I noticed at the time that Intel had 1 socket, AMD had 3 and each change in core looked to be followed by a socket change too. One could argue that also for Intel not all motherboards may accommodate all processor, but still you can buy at a reasonable price something with good presumable compatibility.
I do not like to make a computer and keep it as is than throw it and buy another one, and for the ones like me, in recent years AMD gave the sentiment that you always buy something already obsolete and with no chance to upgrade (I do not consider an "upgrade" to change motherboard, processor and memory same time!).

04-30-2007, 09:27 PM
At the current rate of newly released hardware, ALL hardware released as of today will be outdated in no more than 2 years. Most likely, it will be outdated in 1 year. The upgrade curve has taken a viscous turn. Parts are practically outdated after you install them lately.

One thing that everyone seems to forget about AMD and their sales. When was the last time you looked on Dell's site at their entry level machines? HP? Any of the big OEMs? They are all running AMD stuff in their entry to mid level stuff because it is cheaper and faster than anything Intel can produce. Even in the latest pricewar, Intel has nothing in the entry level market that can compete with AMD. The OEM's will keep AMD alive on life support. K10 (Barcelona) needs to be good to get them off life support. If you ask me, they can live on life support indefinitely if they just keep pumping out CPU's and if they can make this crazy merger with ATI pay off. They would probably benefit more by pumping out some fast DX10 video cards than sacrificing all to try and beat Intel. The mid-level DX10 market is bare and could really be exploited if someone released a good $200-300 DX10 video card.

08-16-2007, 12:54 PM
939 was a great platform. Actually, I was considering building a budget gaming system using that socket. You can put together a fairly decent system for around $500 USD including OS and peripherals. Start with a Athlon 64 4000+ and upgrade to a X2 later for cheap.

On a side note, I think people really screw themselves when they buy the latest and greatest hardware. If you dish out a lot of cash in the begininng you really end up with few avenues to upgrade. Honestly, I think upgrading is a joke, future-proofing...HAHAHAHA! The hardware manufacturers are smarter than I am. The have it all setup so you have to replace everthing inside your case when you wanna do an "upgrade". Today, upgrade means buying a whole new computer.

Old hardware can really go a long way. I wish more people realized that. My current setup is a AMD Athlon XP 2500+ 1.83 Ghz (Barton) STOCK, Asus MB, 512K of DDR, ATI 9800Pro. I can play most games out there, albeit not with all settings maxed and all the bells and whistles. The only problem I've encountered thus far with this setup is exiting games to windows or switching between them. This is a RAM issue and if I spent $30 for another 512K of RAM I would probably not experience such a slowdown. I keep my comp very streamlined with only what I need on it. I close out all my idle programs and turn off my screen saver and wallpaper when I wanna game *laughs*. However, it is time for a new computer and I am seriously considering 939 for my next build. Live on AMD!!!

08-16-2007, 10:31 PM
It is cheaper to put together an AM2 system than a S939 and you can get a new 3600+ X2 Brisbane for about $50US new if you look hard enough, plus DDR2 ram is EXTREMELY cheap now.

Bastille Day
08-29-2007, 11:40 AM
So what was the analysis, that AMD was not at the top of the enthusiast's list and would therefore shrivel up and die? Perhaps they have plans on the drawing board. In my estimation, they are still the bang for the buck leader.

Being shut out of lucrative corporate markets by the sheer power of Intel's threat potential would be hard on any company. Let us hope AMD continues, for their presence has encouraged Intel to continue bettering their products and even more importantly, keeping the price of their processors affordable.