The Beef: Why AMD Attacked BAPCo Now - Bulldozer CPU Performance
If you are wondering what lies in the timing of this announcement, our sources were pretty clear.
"Do you know why AMD chose now to go after SYSmark now?”
We expected that the source would say Llano APU performance etc., but no: "Because Bulldozer performance is sub-par. Because after such a long wait Bulldozer will not be a world beater. They knew that for another generation, we would come up way short on benchmarks like SYSmark. Removing ourselves from BapCo was the best way to make the benchmark look like it's no longer valid in the hope that prospective or existing customers stop using it."
Engineering Sample of AMD Bulldozer Processor Clocked at 2.8GHz. Picture credit: Pink Pig
Now, BSN* had received scores from B0 and B1 silicon and we decided not to run the story disclosing exact performance details since they plainly... were far below what we expected. After talking to journalists from other publications and developers that had access to engineering silicon, everyone was lead to believe that Bulldozer has a lot of "performance locks"
which were set in place to prevent "premature benchmarculation"
i.e. leaks."Bulldozer is going to disappoint people because we did not get the resources to build a great CPU, and it's not that we needed billions of dollars to make it a leader. We needed investment in people, tools and technology."
As every competitive spirit, one of our sources went on to confirm the quote above and expressed concern that "Bulldozer’s client performance is not going to be enough to deliver growth in the enterprise and in my view, that is the biggest driver behind our current strategy."
When asked about core performance, surprising information was that a Bulldozer core versus the existing cores in Llano will result in minimal improvements overall. Our sources went on to say that the launch of Llano clearly shows what is the current and future strategy - downplay CPU performance every chance you get. Everything has to revolve around the GPU.
Comments continued "As soon as you have analyzed the Bulldozer core, you're quickly going to find out that it disappoints at SYSmark. It won't matter, because by that time I am sure the current marketing strategy will be changed again when we have our new CEO in place.""What We Want from AMD"
As the article draws to a close, we aren't going to comment on the following statement made by yet another source:
"There are more people like me at AMD that want to go and fight from an engineering perspective in the same spirit of the old Jerry Sanders days. We don't want an AMD that is going off and writing blogs about transparency and fluff, while engineers are frustrated. Engineers are not getting the resources they need, we're not getting the time and the investment we to build and optimize new architectures.
Instead, they feed marketing fluff and kool-aid, and all these self-centered blogs - instead of focusing on doing what we know how to do best. Fight, survive and challenge against all odds.
Thankfully, we'll have a new CEO soon and hopefully all this strategy nonsense will be out the door."A Message to the new CEO
Furthermore, this is a personalized message to AMD's new CEO:
"Many of our best engineers are leaving to join companies like Apple, Freescale, Qualcomm, Samsung even NVIDIA and Intel - people that thought they would never work for another company.
Look at AMD's history - how we beat Intel Pentium III, which was based on one of the best CPU architectures of all time - the Pentium Pro - and we beat the them with the K7 (original Athlon). Look at K8, 64-bit innovation and the integrated memory controller. Look at how ATI came back from the brink and beat by NVIDIA soundly with R300 and took performance leadership across the board.
We created the netbook in OLPC project with Nicholas Negroponte when everybody was laughing at him and then gave the whole market to Intel. We were shipping millions of graphics chips for cellphones and were in TVs long before today’s leaders. We know how to win."
At the end of our conversation, we asked our main source what does he plan to do, was this rant his farewell with AMD or not. The answer was plain and simple: "I was here before they came, I am here with them now and I am going to be here well after they’re gone. My heart and soul, and more importantly my legacy is with this company and will continue to be."
Time will tell, but as the proverb from my former life says - all stories come true.
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