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[In] Why AMD Failed, Another Ex-Employee Confession - Page 7

post #61 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by hajile;15353744 
The design wasn't some complete revolution. It was better, but it was similar in many ways to the Pentium 3. The biggest revolution of the Athlon days was the Pentium 4. P4 tried many new things. The P4 was a failure as a consumer or server mainstream processor; however, from the ashes of the P4, new Intel chips have risen. With each step past the original core architecture, Intel has added features that were present in the P4 (in a manner of speaking, each generation brings us closer to P4). Intel has overcome the problems of the P4 and has implemented its strengths.

The next revolution in computing is the switch to CMT. All the big chip designers have talked about switching (it has been theoretical since the 70's and has had more serious discussions this century), but only AMD had the stones to give it a try. The initial Bulldozer design was scrapped (45nm) as too early. The second iteration (or perhaps a die shrink of the first) has quite a number of design problems (nothing that invalidates the CMT theory, just good ol' fashion engineering screw-ups).

The larger problem here is that unlike the P4, there is no way to go back (like Intel went back to the P3 design) and gradually add features. The CMT design is all or nothing. If AMD is able to fix its design problems, It is very likely that the future will see Oracle (SPARC), IBM (POWER), Acorn (ARM), MIPS, Intel, Via, etc all switching to CMT design while taking lessons from AMD's mistakes.

Yeah, I get that CMT is the future and all that. AMD not only went ahead and designed a chip specifically good at many threaded apps, and before its time in many ways, the problem is that they did not have the design team that was capable of implementing this design well. All of this automated design and whatnot just still isn't as good as being designed by people.

Of course, it could be that once chips get above a certain size, anything but a more automated design method would be impractical.
Edited by Quantium40 - 10/18/11 at 8:07am
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post #62 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR Mclaren;15351094 
but in GPU they are owning Nvidia

How you figure?

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics-charts/compare,2664.html?prod%5B4835%5D=on&prod%5B4856%5D=on&prod%5B4829%5D=on&prod%5B4832%5D=on&prod%5B4824%5D=on
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post #63 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR Mclaren;15351094 
nah, they are doing bad in CPU´s

but in GPU they are owning Nvidia

I may be wrong but isn't nvidea selling way more gpus than amd/ati?
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post #64 of 177
Wasn't Amd having issues producing the 6 series?
post #65 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlee7283;15353556 
Once we get out of a depression then AMD will go back to the drawing board. They just don't have the capital Intel has and they have to cut back more than they would probably like.

Not going to happen. There are massive layoff's wherever you look. This isn't a recession with 23% Unemployment (U3/U6 are inaccurate and fudged statistics) coupled with a $211 Trllion Fiscal gap its a depression and it's only going to get worse by 2012 with the Chinese sub-prime bubble + EU Sovereign debt crisis + $600 Trillion Derivative time bomb held by Four US banks accounting for a staggering 95.9% of US Derivatives.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollowtek;15353608 
This I totally agree on. Intel's operating budget exponentially trumps AMD. I'm also pretty sure the financial crisis that is ongoing had something to do with making drastic measures to ensure the survival of the company.

Fixed. Yes that is correct. You can read reports and statements that outline how AMD needed to lay off employee's and concentrate on the most profitable or most promising projects during 08. I remember because I was reading these same reports on OCN. There was a memo sent from Executives as well that I read that outlined the Worsening financial crisis and the impact on AMD.
Edited by 45nm - 10/18/11 at 8:31am
post #66 of 177
I hope Rory Read can turn the company around, if the other executives see it fit.
post #67 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantium40;15353951 
Yeah, I get that CMT is the future and all that. AMD not only went ahead and designed a chip specifically good at many threaded apps, and before its time in many ways, the problem is that they did not have the design team that was capable of implementing this design well. All of this automated design and whatnot just still isn't as good as being designed by people.

Of course, it could be that once chips get above a certain size, anything but a more automated design method would be impractical.

CMT might not be the future. Waiting and seeing what happens is the only option for those of us not in the chip design industry (and the option of choice for the rest of the design shops). If AMD can make CMT work, the IP (and resulting patent royalties) will be enough to make the company very rich. If AMD cannot make CMT work, the company will likely lose everything (specifically in the CPU market). This does make AMD an interesting high-risk investment option.

As to the computer design, I'll just restate what I said about automated design being both the past (as early as the 80's if memory serves), present (for both AMD and Intel) and future of design.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hajile;15353121 
snip

Next up is computer design. The man is exaggerating when he claims that previous designs were designed exclusively by hand (edit: think about how much time would it take to place even 250 million transistors by hand WITHOUT trying to be efficient. It would take orders of magnitude longer to try making an efficient design. A good analogy is programming. Writing a large program in assembly is inefficient. Instead the program is coded in a higher level language such as C++. Only the mission-critical parts (such as those little loops which execute billions of times) are designed by hand assembly. The rest of the circuit design (a program is a method to rearrange the transistors in an integrated circuit edit for clarity: programming is the "rewiring" the CPU to do different tasks) is mostly computer designed with humans giving more general directions for most of the program and giving very specific instructions when needed.) and would also be exaggerating when he claims that current designs are made exclusively by computer. Let's assume that his 20% deficiencies and 20% larger size claims are true. It is still faster to have the computer crunch an initial design and then tweak the design for efficiency than to have an engineer spend months making a design that must still be tweaked (probably to a similar extent) to achieve maximum efficiency.

The only chips that could have used this alleged computer only design would be still undesigned chips. He claims that AMD has just been iterating the same architecture since A64. If this were true, the only computer designs that could have possibly been made would be scrapped designs (aside from 45nm bulldozer, all other scrapped designs were K8 or K10), Zacate, and Bulldozer. Bulldozer has design problems. Nothing more to say except that these issues are probably fixable given a revision and new fab. If Zacate is an example of computer design, sign me up for more. The chip is bulk (ie cheap to make) and has 146 fewer pins than atom making motherboards cheaper, smaller (fewer circuits), and faster to make while design of the same mother boards is faster and less error (less to account for). While being cheaper and easier to design for, the power consumption is still better than the latest atom due to the atom's need for a dedicated GPU (the atom IGP sucks). All this aside, saying that the changes from K8 to K10 were "minor revisions" is like saying that the changes from core to Sandybridge were "minor revisions." True, the revisions were incremental, but the changes were major (true quad-core, DDR2, DDR3, 20-30% IPC increase, power management, etc).

I believe that the only accurate statement made by this former lawyer/engineer employee is that the old design team (like old employees everywhere) fought to keep the system "as it has always been" and that the team either disliked or feared changes to "the way we do things."

Edited by hajile - 10/18/11 at 8:41am
post #68 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by hajile;15354384 
think about how much time would it take to place even 250 million transistors by hand WITHOUT trying to be efficient. It would take orders of magnitude longer to try making an efficient design. A good analogy is programming. Writing a large program in assembly is inefficient. Instead the program is coded in a higher level language such as C++. Only the mission-critical parts (such as those little loops which execute billions of times) are designed by hand assembly. The rest of the circuit design (a program is a method to rearrange the transistors in an integrated circuitedit
Just want to point at that all 250M transistors (not exactly sure where this number comes from) would not have to be placed by hand. The modules themselves are identical. Some components like cache are millions of interations with matured designs.


I agree with the rest though. biggrin.gif

NVIDIA went through this with the GF100 -> GF110 transition. One of the big changes was that they identified which transistors could be swapped for slower/less leaking ones. They ended up placing transistors into a fast/leak, slow/less leaking, and in-between classes to optimize power consumption without a major impact to performance.
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post #69 of 177
Some times I wonder if the reason AMD didn't do so well with this release is because of all these "Former Employees"
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post #70 of 177
Dang, I did not know it is/was that bad there. This sucks for AMD and I hope they turn around because up until Bulldozer I thought they were doing ok. Wow was BD ever a HUUUGE flop.
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