Hurry Up, AMD

AMD LogoYou’ve heard of Intel’s recent “Cougar Point” chipset screwup causing all motherboards for Sandy Bridge-based Core i7 processors to be pulled from the market until next month when new parts will appear. We’ve also all read the reviews that show the new i7 processors to be very fast and beating AMD’s current lineup in terms of performance. So where does AMD stand?

Intel LogoWell, AMD still has a nice selection of processors in the $100 – $150 range, but they can’t compete with the higher performing Intel processors priced higher. At that $150+ point it just makes more sense to load up your new rig with an i5-2400 or an i7-2600K if you have the cash.

But since you can’t purchase a Sandy Bridge based machine at the moment, doesn’t that leave a market gap for AMD to fill up? Oh, and isn’t it tax return season in the USA? Well, yes to both questions.

People can’t wait to splurge their tax return money on stuff, and many will spend it on a new computer. If you’ve filed your taxes in January or early this month, you should be getting that money pretty soon, and not in time for Sandy Bridge to return if Intel’s statements are correct.

In this spirit, AMD launched its “Ready. Willing. And Stable” ad campaign to take away Intel’s customers. But if you really think about it, why on earth would you buy an old AMD processor when: 1.) Sandy Bridge will be back soon if you can just keep that burning cash in your pocket for a little bit longer, 2.) the current AMD lineup is less than impressive when it comes to performance, and 3.) AMD is poised to release its new “Bulldozer” processor later this year?

I see no reason whatsoever. Bulldozer based chips will be able to compete with Sandy Bridge if we’re to believe AMD’s preliminary reports of a 50% performance increase over Core i7 950, so AMD should put its focus on that instead of launching a FUD campaign.

So, come on AMD, show us what you’re made of. Show us the AMD of the late 1990s and early 2000s that delivered competing products at a lower cost point, not this finger-pointing toothless shell of past achievements.

Thoughts on Sandy Bridge’s HD 3000 IGP

Intel LogoSandy Bridge is Intel’s new microarchitecture, slated for release in January of 2011. Sandy Bridge processors will effectively phase-out the current lineup of processors, based on the LGA 1366 socket, with processors fitting a brand new socket, LGA 2011.

While I understand the need for technology to move forward, and am an avid user of Intel CPUs myself, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the reviews, especially on the IGP (integrated graphics processor) front, the part that concerns me greatly.

The tech that Intel chose to use on the die is the HD 3000, and it’s little brother the HD 2000. Let’s hope it’s nothing like the GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) X3000 and family, the scourge of the entire IGP world. Please, Intel, please.

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First Public Larrabee Demo

Intel demoed Larrabee for the first time to the public at the IDF (Intel Developer Forum), according to PC Pro.

The attached screenshot is a bit underwhelming but maybe we’ll see some impressive examples soon. In any case, if the demo is at the IDF now, the public release couldn’t be far off.

Edit (2010):
In case you haven’t heard — it seems like Larrabee was cancelled for good.

Intel’s GDC Coverage

Intel LogoBeen gone for a couple of days but I’m back with some cool stuff from Intel. Intel has posted a whole bunch of stuff from GDC 2009 on their site, you can check it out right here.

Interestingly, my postscript got answered, Intel has posted (a preview) of Tom Forsyth’s talk on Larrabee’s SIMD extensions, the full version should come online in one month according to the site.

As always with Intel (and many others), you have to read through the marketing crud and filter out the core.

Tom Forsyth On Larrabee

Intel LogoToday Intel released it’s new issue of “Intel Visual Adrenaline” featuring a three page interview with Tom Forsyth about Intel’s upcoming Larrabee GPU, which is x86 based and fully programmable.

Click here to read the PDF, scroll down to page eight (8)

Larrabee will support a rasterization pipeline as well as raytracing but Forsyth mentions raytracing to be more of a technical feature than a mainstream implementation. Regardless of this, for graphics programmers this should be good as there will finally be a piece of hardware that actually supports realtime raytracing.

Direct3D as well as OpenGL will be supported in addition to the much anticipated programmable route, either through C++ or pure assembly, which should open up the card for people interested in parallel computing.

Sadly there’s no definitive answer from Forsyth on how many cores Larrabee will actually contain. I guess we’ll have to wait for that a bit longer.

PS, if anyone is at GDC listening to Abrash and Forsyth tomorrow, let me know what you got from it.