Thursday, November 30, 2006

K8L demoed

See video, there are some performance comparions inside.

Intel BK by 2Q08.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thailand decides their kids need no computers

See this report. OLPC suffers a setback as a result. Thailand has an aircraft carrier, but their kids need no computers? Their kids can pedal the OLPC power generator and exercise both mentally and physically.

So, this is the reality with the 3rd world. Indeed, they need to open their mind. SUN Microsystems is pretty good at marketing, they managed to offer "try and buy" two large "blackbox" in the middle of Africa where people are porting foods on their heads. Maybe the blackbox is a Star Trek TNG replicator which can produce food, but still, I don't see where the blackbox gets its mega watt of power. SUN even managed to land the box on mars, the SUN shine there is so intense, the whole blackbox was supplied by two tiny solar panels.

If I were SUN's CEO, I would immediately fire the two dudes who came up with such idiotic scenarios for total lack of common sense.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

AMD eating Intel's notebook market share

See past "transcripts" for previous conversations, especially, this one -- which I wrote one year ago.

Intel BK by 2Q08.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

AMD should bump its single core CPU clock

A 3.2GHZ single core is better than a 2GHZ dual core, and cheaper to make too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

AMD the saviour

DELL results boosted by AMD.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How to analyse the Intel vs AMD competitive situation

Many Intelers assumed because Intel has a Core 2 design now, AMD would lose overnite. Of course, this didn't happen. The exact opposite happened. AMD actually became even stronger. As I correctly predicted, Conroe was the last straw that pushed DELL to AMD. Now, even Gateway started doing Opteron servers.

Conroe pushed DELL to AMD, not because Conroe is not good, but because it's good. This seems counter intuitive to most Intelers. And I found it hard to explain the complex dynamics to the Intelers, as we have routinely recgonized that Intelers possess lower IQ.

To help Intelers to understand the situation, it's thus useful to construct an easy to understand model of the computing landscape. The following is my attempt to analyse the situation in a reduced construction:

Instead of Intel and AMD, we should consider three companies:

1) Intel Israel ("II"), this is a small company with limited capacity, only able to supply 15% of the market. Their chips are based on Pentium 3 and offers good integer performance and good power consumption. They also did a good implementation of AMD64 instruction set. They have weak spots though. Their chips lack floating point performance, and only good for low end 2P systems.

2) Intel America ("IA"), this is a large company with many FABs, they can supply 110% of the world CPU market. But their engineers are dumb, and they stuck with the Netburst architecture. Their chips are hot and slow. They have a SMP product, but it's slower than II's 2P product. Overall, this company has no future, most of its technology and workforce are obsolete.

3) AMD+ATI ("AI"), this is a standard setting company with all the next generation stuff. Its capacity is quickly ramping, being able to supply 30% of the market and more. It sets the standards, and its native quad core CPUs are aimed at the stars. Currently, AI's products are vastly superior to IA's by any standard. Its next generation in six month will leave both II and IA biting dust. This is because AI's technologies are revolutionary and scalable, it has stuff from cellphone to super computers.

Now, consider a computer OEM, which faces three choices, II, IA and AI, which ones will they choose?

It's obvious that they will choose II and AI. Both are very competive. Furthermore, AI has the future, anyone who misses the AI boat will suffer. But both II and AI are capacity constrained at this point.

People will choose IA as the last resort, only after both II and IA supplies are exhausted. IA's products are pretty much destined to the landfill. IA's fate is sealed and will be dead soon.

Both II and AI are growing fast, but AI has an inherent advantage due to its advanced architecture and forward thinking. By the time AI releases its next gen, II will also be out of fashion.

In the end, both II and IA BK, leaving only AI as the sole supplier of our computing needs.

I hope this helps.

Intel Clovertown quad fragged by Opteron dual

I told you Intel's obsolete technology won't fly. You simply won't get extra mileage by strapping two cylinder engines together. A Clovertown core fights for a 266MHZ bus, that's a sham situation.

On SpecFP_rate2000, a 2P 4 core Opteron (2.8GHZ) server gets a score of 119.

In comparison, a 2P 8 core Clovertown (2.66GHZ) server gets a SpecFP_rate2000 score of 104.

In other words, 4 Opteron cores are 14.4% faster than 8 Clovertown cores. Or, a Clovertown core is only about 40% of an Opteron core, as far as FP performance is concerned. This is a just a repeat of the previous situation of 4P Opteron fragging 16P Xeon. The SpecFP benchmarks requires a lot of memory bandwidth, and that choke Intel.

I told you Intel is 5 generations behind.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hector and the one

See this video. I never thought Hector can act.

AMD took the 2nd spot in super computer top 500. Intel has no machine in the top 5 and is being pushed to the ultra low end. Cray launched two super computer models equipped with AMD Opteron. These machines use HyperTransport as interconnect and are petaflop capable. The Cray XMT can run 1 million threads concurrently.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Turion 64 for high class people

$350,000 notebook with Turion 64. You don't want a dull Intel Core Duo with the danger of explosion, not to mention that the "Core Duo" brand name sounds vulgar and dim witted.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Constitutionality of $750 price tag for a song

INQ reported that a P2P user is attacking the statutory damages for copyright infringement on due process grounds. She reckons that a song costs 75 cents, a $750 statutory damage amounts to a 1000x fine, which is excessive. See BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1996).

However, the P2P user missed the point. As a P2P user, she was not only making a copy of the song for her own use, she was also distributing the song to others via the internet. Now, ask what the license fee is for the right to distribute a song... ( Copyright is a set of exclusive rights, beside the right to make copies, it also includes the right to display, perform, distribute, create derivative works...)

On the amount of statutory damages, the Supreme Court ruled that the damage amount can be determined by a jury. Feltner v. Columbia Pictures Television Inc., 523 U.S. 340, 118 S.Ct. 1279, 140 L.Ed.2d 438 (U.S. 1998). But that story usually ends up in tears. Initially, a judge decided that Feltner should pay $8.8 million in statutory damages. Feltner appealed all the way to US Supreme Court. The Court said he could get a jury to determine the amount. In a jury trial, Feltner ended up paying $31 million, almost 4x the original amount.

RIAA lawyers may not be as well versed and creative as I am on copyright law. But, eventually, they will figure it out.

Federal courts are littered with RIAA lawsuits. Most of these suits are quickly settled for about $3000. There are hundred of millions of folks doing P2P. If you are the lucky ones who got served a complaint, my suggestion is do a quick settlement. Otherwise, your life may be truly ruined by attorneys' fees and huge statutory damages. The worst thing is, you can't even discharge the statutory damages owed via bankruptcy if the infringement is willful. See In re Albarran, No. SC-05-1398-MaSPa (9th Cir. 07/24/2006).

Intel graphics not good for kids games

INQ reported this story. You like Intel inside? Be disappointed when you find your kid can't use your Intel desktop or notebook to play games like Lego Star Wars or RollerCoaster. Intel graphics looks like crap and generates errors even at low settings.

It also turns out that with Intel graphics, a lot of the functionality is emulated in software, eating up serious CPU cycles.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

AMD shifting production to mobile

See this report. AMD says DELL's shipment is mostly in servers... It makes a lot of sense. Intel did a price war on desktop, but used mobile to book profits. AMD is smart, it cut desktop prices deeply, but switched production to mobile to get the money.

Only idiots will buy a 32 bit exploding Core Duo.

Turion 64 X2 is the way to go.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

vPro rejected at Round Rock

DELL wants an AMD endorsed standard, not Intel's stickers.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

DELL to be 50% AMD soon

Two more DELL AMD notebooks appear, including the Latitude AMD Notebook for business.

Mobile is Intel's last stronghold, once AMD breaks the wall here, Intel's BK will be accelerated. AMD+ATI are all Vista premium capable. Intel graphics are all ultra low end, unworthy of 3D.

Added on Nov 7, 2006:

Now, DELL also adds an OptiPlex AMD business PC.

So, DELL's AMD line has become quite robust in a just a couple of months. Two Opteron servers(1U and 4U), two Dimension desktops, one Inspiron notebook, one Latitude notebook, one OptiPlex desktop....

Every AMD OptiPlex and Latitude sold adds 1 to Intel's pile of inventory for sure. AMD wasn't in this market before.

FAB36 and Chartered FAB7 are cranking crazy to get the chips out...

Charlie at INQ reckons Intel in deep dodo

Dude, it's the platform that matters. Charlie commented about the sucking INTEL graphics without noting the fundamental principle I talked about a long long time ago.

It doesn't even matter if your CPU is 10% faster, when your graphics and memory subsystem suck, the whole computing experience is degraded back to 486 levels. Charlie was talking about gaming, it wasn't just those DOOM3 FPS games, even kids games today demand high level of 3D graphics--something Intel doesn't have at all.

Not just games. Even Windows itself requires high level of 3D support. Otherwise, your PC/notebook looks like a poor 3rd world kid's toy without the modern bells and whistles of Vista. As I wrote here, the Microsoft + AMD alliance will kill off Intel with Vista.

Going forward, 90% of Intel's IGP graphics become total junk, that will be at least $1 billion loss of quarterly revenue. Nvidia doesn't have an IGP solution for Intel, AMD won't create a IGP solution for Intel, Intel is stuck with itself -- and Intel doesn't have a discrete graphics either. Even if Nvidia is so forgiving of Intel and starts creating an IGP for Intel, it will take months to finish and will eat Intel's own IGP business alive.

Now, you understand why AMD is smart and AMD+=ATI is the killer enterprise I declared before the merger was announced.

AMD's CTO was onto something here. He called it killer micro. Hector Ruiz hinted something before too, he said AMD will introduce an architecture that will be a real killer. The timing is 2008. The increase of computing power is two orders of magnitude, or 100X.

The question is, can Intel catch that in time? I doubt it. AMD had a 20% lead over Intel since 2003, but it lacked the OEM support to grow the business. Today, the situation is different, everyone is on AMD bandwagon. In 2008, both FAB36 and FAB38 will be producing 45nm at a total of 45000wspm. 100x performance, DELL, HP, IBM, SUN, GATEWAY, LENOVO, plus a bunch of japanese firms.... But, I told you Intel will BK by 2Q08 ....

Gateway's Opteron servers are better than DELL's

Gateway finally joined the Opteron frenzy and offered three Opteron servers in one salvo. The most impressive one is this 3U 4P 8 core Opteron server with 12 SATA/SAS drives. I think this is a very good balance of compute power, storage and size.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Conroe-L suffers for lack of cache

Expecting 21 second SuperPi 1M for a 2.4GHZ Conroe? See this screen. A 2.4GHZ Conroe-L does SuperPi 1M in 32.6 second, 55% slower than the first result (After overclocked to 3.2GHZ, the result is 27 second). The difference? The former had 4MB L2 cache, the latter had smaller but seemingly enough amount of cache: 512KB.

As I analysed long ago, Conroe's so called performance is simply piled on cache. At the microarchitecture level, there is little advantage for the Core 2, a few percent at most. Review sites tout Core 2's 4 issue core and other architecture hacks, but the real truth has nothing to do with those. Core 2 is just an old dog trick, cache. I pointed out that SuperPi is not suitable for benchmark comparison between Intel and AMD for exactly this reason. It's obvious that SuperPi is very cache dependent.

That's why except those optimized for Intel's SSE, in real applications where working set is larger than 4MB, Conroe XE 6800 shows little performance advantage. AMD64 has 30% lead over Core 2 in SpecFP_rate, partly because the those complicated applications in SpecFP have large working set.

That's why I project 4x4 will frag Kentsfield. AMD64's scalable architecture will establish itself as the performance king. Anything less than that will be just second rate or mainstream.

After AMD 4x4 launch, the desktop computing landscape will be the following. At the high end, we have AMD 4x4 with performance supremacy, it will be the only high end machine, costing $2000 or more. Down below, we have mainstream CPUs, such as Kentsfield, Conroe and Athlon 64 X2. At the bargain basement, we have Pentium D and Semprons. Pentium 4 and Core Duo will be found in landfills.

An overclocked Kentsfield won't help. The limiting factor in Kentsfield is the choking FSB, with only 266MHZ allowance for each core.

AMD 4x4 ready to frag Kentsfield with scalable architecture

Four 3GHZ cores+ four GPUs, AMD 4x4 will frag Kentsfield, which is just like two CPUs glued onto a slower bus. With Kentsfield, 4 cores share a 1033MHZ bus, each getting 266MHZ. We know this story ends in tears from 4P Xeon performance.

That's not all. By 2Q07, 4x4 owners will get an upgrade with the Rev H (aka, K8L) true quad. Then you have 8 Rev H cores, thermal managed independently. It will take Intel another 5 years to catch up, and AMD is a moving target.

Intel managed to squeeze the last bit of performance out of Bob Colwell's Pentium 3 microarchitecture, they simply ran out of brain juice in this game of innovation at the platform level. As I pointed out long time ago, communications is the key to high performance modern computing. AMD's core-core, core-memory, core-i/o, proc-proc communications are all Direct. Intel has only managed to establish core-core communication using shared cache at dual core level, it's about 5 years behind AMD.

We never get enough performance. I bought a scanner that can scan 20 pages per minute and create PDFs on the fly. However, if I turn on OCR, it slows down tremendously. Of course, this is mainly a software efficiency problem, but if you got 8 cores, each of them can OCR a separate page, and it should be able to match the scanning speed.

Of course, there is another possibility with Torrenza, instead of running OCR in software, we can have a Torrenza OCR chip, which does the most time consuming algorithms in hardware...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bill Gates hauled to the Court

The judge was writing with an opinion, I think.

I hope he is coached better this time (video link).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

DELL AMD Notebooks Vista Premium Capable

See here, all DELL AMD Notebooks are capable of Windows Vista Premium Edition.

Intel ones? Sorry, you are out of luck, see here (no Vista support at all), here(no Vista Premium support), here (no mentioning of Vista Premium). A reader provided this wonderful link, which showed most Intel notebooks may not support Aero interface.

INQ thinks Intel has to cut price to clear inventory. It is naive thinking. Usually, companies would rather sent their products to the landfill in order to make profit. The market size is fixed. The only way to make money is by charging higher prices.

Intel's price cut was designed to stop AMD, but that plan has failed already. As AMD gains more and more share, Intel will have to raise prices, or it will BK even faster.