Monday, March 06, 2006

INTEL to suffer severely from Osborne effect

Tech companies try to avoid pre-announcing products as much as possible, especially if current products will be end of lifed when the new ones come out. The Osborne effect gave a good lesson, purchases of current products may stop cold as customers wait for the next generation.

INTEL is hyping its Pentium-III based NGMA CPUs, including Merom mobile chip, Conroe desktop chip and Woodcrest server chip like crazy. What we have learnt so far:

*) The NGMA chips are designed for high performance and low power consumption instead of clockspeed

*) The NGMA chips perform 50% better than current IA32 chips (Pentium 4, Xeon, Core Duo)

*) The NGMA chips consumes maximum of 60 watts instead of the current 130 watts.

*) The NGMA chips are AMD64 and Windows Vista compatible, unlike the current IA32 chips

*) The NGMA chips require new chipsets and even new VRMs, they will not be compatible with current motherboards

*) The NGMA chips run at bus frequency of up to 1333MHZ, current IA32 CPUs can't run on NGMA motherboards

*) Current IA32 CPUs already hit the frequency ceiling, there won't be any upgrade path for current chips.

*) NGMA chips are expected in 3Q06, July 2006 the earliest, only 4 months away.

*) INTEL plans to convert 20% of its CPU production to NGMA by the end of 2006.

Needlessly to say, an informed INTEL customer will incline to hold off purchases as long as possible for the super duper NGMA, consequently, in the next four months before NGMA shows up in store, INTEL sales will definitely suffer a slow down.

Then at the time when NGMA arrives in stores, we run into an even bigger problem: because of limited availability, INTEL can't meet the demand, but nobody wants IA32 chips any more. It's just like Microsoft shipped a handful of Xbox360s ahead of PS3, then the thing quickly ran out of stock, and few want to buy the old Xbox with a Celeron inside. Microsoft doesn't care, because Xbox wasn't making money any way. But for INTEL, the situation is quite different.

Another major problem is that AMD has already prepared the next round of frags for INTEL. I bet both INTEL and AMD showed its roadmaps and next generation chips, yet Google decided to go AMD, that confirms my point that INTEL's NGMA is over promising. So when people can't get hold of NGMA due to availability, they will have no choice but choose AMD's Rev F.

AMD platform choices provide stability and continuity. Socket 754, 939, 940, AM2 platforms can all be upgraded, AMD keeps providing core revisions and clockspeed upgrades. For now, there is no motivation to wait for Socket AM2, as the Tomshardware tests showed that Socket AM2 version of the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ had identical performance as current Socket 939 ones -- AMD is careful to avoid the Osborne effect.

Once AMD and Intel move to quad-core in 1Q07, any enhancement made by Intel at the dual core level will be wiped out in a flash. Four Conroe cores sharing a 1333MHZ FSB will be worse than two Presler cores sharing a 800MHZ FSB. The 1333MHZ bus (10.6 GB/s) is not even fast enough to handle dual channel 800MHZ DDR2 (12.8GB/s), while the Rev F AM2 has a dedicated memory interface for 800MHZ DDR2 plus up to 3 hypertransport links with 8GB/s each. Furthermore, I expect AMD to increase AM2's clockspeed to up to 4GHZ using stress technology, leading to another round of GHZ war in 2007.

It will be deja vu all over again.


Blogger josh_1413 said...

When you said that Google decided to go with AMD for it's server chips. When will Google buy those chips? WHen the new socket F comes out, or are they buying them now? It would make sense for them to wait for Socket F for more features.

Also, when you said that there are hardly any performance improvment going to AM2, that is true. But i myself is getting AM2 because it's clearly more "future proof". Your thoughs/opinions?

5:28 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger Sharikou, Ph. D said...

Google has already bought a lot of Opteron chips.

As for Socket AM2, unless you go with DDR2 800MHZ, you don't see a performance difference clock by clock. Socket 939 will be with us for quite long time.

5:35 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your analysis, but one question, how do you know Google has already bought Opteron chips? Who is Google's server vendor? TIA

5:45 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger josh_1413 said...

Do you think we'll see 65nm 939 chips? I myself don't want the 939 socket because AMD won't release anything faster than the Athlon 64 FX-60. With socket AM2 I'll be able to buy a 5400+ or a 5600+ (3.2-3.4GHz) X2 with a socket AM2 board. Now don't get me wrong, 939 is a great socket, but it looks like it hit a dead end.

7:12 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does seem as though Intel hype merchants have way too much say
bring back the honest hardworking Engineers with clock speeds, IPC and readable numbering schemes.
Intel should stop issuing roadmaps with fancy names, which as far as I'm concerned leave me cold. The Bx chipset, coppermine, earned their names and became popular because they had the goods.
No amount of name hype ie ("viiv" we all know should have been "64") but Intel can't deliver a good 64bit chip hence the nonsense with viiv.
Mabe I a bit jaded with all the cancelled chip names?

10:18 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous 1 > morgan stanley and a couple of other analysts mentioned google buying amd servers. most tech websites now carry the story (or rumour).

the *progress* intel is making is all distraction from the fact that their 64 bit computing is in fubar shape.,1895,1934118,00.asp

i just wonder how many of these guys will tell intel to deliver in 3 months or get lost.

3:34 AM, March 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

josh 1413: If you don't want to be stuck with 939 cpu's, but you want a computer now, get a motherboard based on the ULI chipset(as opposed to nforce 4) with a future CPU expansion port. It has the normal 939 slot, and when the am2 processors come out, you can put in an add-in board that will let you use am2 processors. ASRock 939SLI32-eSATA2 is a good one. It only costs $82.99 at newegg, and it has a ton of great features, like dual 16x PCI-E for full speed SLI, gigabit ethernet, firewire, and onboard high-definition audio.

3:45 PM, March 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a tool. Everything you say is based on ASSUMPTIONS. Congratulations for busting all of these performance claims without any factual basis as such...... Blogs are like assholes.... everyone has them and they're usually full of......

11:44 PM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Jack said...

I just bought an Hewlet Packard Turion 64 Bit laptop. I may have paid more money than what Intel type Laptops ,that were on sale at Best buy, But I figured that it would be silly to buy a laptop that is years out of date, and only 32 bits, when I can buy a laptop that has up to date and better technology designed for the FUTURE. Intel is dumping outdated chips to unsuspecting consumers who THINK they are getting a deal..NOT. I noticed that Intel does not say how many Bits are in these laptops on sale, but AMD clearly on the tag below says 64 Bits. Intel even does not list 64 bits on Centrino type laptops.
You might save $400 on a Celeron laptop, but are you really saving money when you buy your grandfathers PC.

4:54 PM, June 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

josh_1413 said... [...] Also, when you said that there are hardly any performance improvment going to AM2, that is true. But i myself is getting AM2 because it's clearly more "future proof". Your thoughs/opinions?

5:28 PM, March 06, 2006

Let me get this straight: You want to buy ASAP, really rush this, to "future proof" your purchase ?


Thank's for providing an excellent example of "circular reasoning."

I prefer AMD. I can't stand any company that favors tribe members.

4:04 PM, June 17, 2006  

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