Uncertainties Abound: Intel, AMD May Both Delay Next-Generation CPUs - HotHardware
Uncertainties Abound: Intel, AMD May Both Delay Next-Generation CPUs

Uncertainties Abound: Intel, AMD May Both Delay Next-Generation CPUs

AMD and Intel are both preparing to launch new CPU architectures between now and the end of the year, but rumors have surfaced that suggest the two companies may delay their product introductions, albeit for different reasons. Taiwanese site DigiTimes refers to various unnamed "PC Players" who have apparently reported that Intel may push back the introduction of its Ivy Bridge processors from the end of 2011 to late Q1/early Q2 2012.

Ivy Bridge is a 'tick' in Intel's tick/tock model; the 22nm die shrink of Sandy Bridge that's scheduled to incorporate an improved DX11-capable graphics core, support for PCI-Express 3.0, and will incorporate Intel's Tri-Gate 3D transistor technology. The article claims that Intel is considering pushing back the Ivy Bridge introduction and slowing its rate of capital investment. The company originally budgeted $500 million to upgrade its Fab 24 facility to 22nm but has apparently changed its timeline; an Intel spokesperson told Forbes this week that "as of today we are not planning to build 22 nm at Fab 24.” DigiTimes and Forbes both chalk up this strategy shift towards concerns that PC demand is weakening and that the second half of 2011 may not be as strong as the company initially expected.



Logically, the explanation fits, but it's not how Intel typically does business. The company has historically chosen to invest and innovate its way out of recessions and often refers to such events as economic opportunities. While other companies emphasize cost-cutting, Intel often goes out of its way to announce new plans for capital investment or to highlight its expansion into developing markets.

This makes us rather dubious that the company would delay Ivy Bridge and cancel a planned 22nm upgrade simply due to weaker-than-expected PC demand. If the rumors of delay are accurate, it's much more likely that the company is taking additional time to polish its 22nm technology prior to launch. Its Tri-Gate technology introduces a new variable at the 22nm node and Ivy Bridge's mobile focus may mean the company is making sure it can launch a full line of CPUs at very low TDPs.

Could Dozer Be Dozing?

Meanwhile on the other side of the CPU pasture, there are rumors that AMD's Bulldozer might slip once again. In this case, the rumor appears to be based on the fact that AMD hasn't officially confirmed that it shipped its upcoming server-class Bulldozer products for revenue during August. This is possible, but seems somewhat unlikely. The CPU's anticipated launch date is already close enough that the company should already know if it can launch the product or not; waiting until now to announce a delay isn't something Wall Street would take kindly.

Moreover, AMD has been fairly transparent about its launch dates and delays ever since the badly botched launch of the original K10-based Phenom processor back in 2007. Llano has been shipping for revenue for several months, and we're not aware of any 32nm production troubles at GlobalFoundries. If the chip has been delayed, AMD could take more damage from refusing to admit it than from missing the window--Bulldozer won't have an impact on Q3 finances regardless of whether it launches in September or October, and the pre-Christmas season will only have a modest impact on AMD's year-long financials.
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-Meanwhile on the other side of the CPU pasture, there are rumors that AMD's Bulldozer might slip once again--

"Bull" Sh--, LOL, The Bulldozer Chips are being tested and burned in as we speak, which is why we have not seen 2 and Half geeks and Dave and Marco have not been so active in the forums lately. Its already on for AMD and I firmly know that Bulldozer will be released this month. We might see reviews in a few days or a week. As for Ivy Bridge, mehhh, I wont matter to me until next year. "

-Optimus

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Can't say I disagree with you, Opt. ;)

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good, hopefully this mean AMD will take away more market share, and that Asrock will release a bios update for my mobo so i can get some of the bull goodness.

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I'm looking forward to the results I don't think it will beat Sandybridge i7 2600 in pure CPU calculations, but if it can get close that will be good enough as i'm sure the price/performance ratio will make it a compelling chip.

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Dave_HH:

Can't say I disagree with you, Opt. ;)

Yes Cant wait for the results, This is going to be historic. It will also define the cost of the Sandy Bridge E chips. If it turns out how I predict, with my modest prediction of about 15-20% performance increase(FX 8 Core) over the 2600k, than AMD will be triumphant . Add that to the already affordable and capable 990fx motherboard line, that may I add, is not limited to one 16 lane, and has lots of native Sata 3 ports, and it is Nvidia Sli ready, its going to great."
ThunderBird:
I'm looking forward to the results I don't think it will beat Sandybridge i7 2600 in pure CPU calculations,
"I disagree, lets open the Books, I bet The Top of the line 8 core will be 15-20% faster than the 2600k in performance, especially in Multi-threaded  applications" 

 

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With the way Llano has performed coming in slower than current Athlon II chips things are not looking good for Bulldozer. I hope they are good enough to compete with Intel, but being realistic i think a 2600k will still be faster by a 10-20% margin.

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Agreed. I'm not hyping *** like Wheatley over here, people's wallets are on the line when it comes to processors from both AMD and Intel. One expects the other to perform well or as better as their competitors chips and if one disappointing for the price it offers than well, it's a failure.

Speaking of which. I'm not excited for either Bulldozer or Ivy Bridge unless I see results. I'm not a fanboy of either camp, I just go with the one that performs the most and AMD seems to be hyping Bulldozer to a point where it's getting Wheatley all excited. I'm going to predict that it's either going to be 5-10% behind the Intel CPU's or 5-10% ahead of the Intel CPU's, and if I read the results then I'll be surprised for what the result is...

Also if I go intel, I'm not missing much; except for the missing SATA 3 ports. I mean come on Intel, stop focusing on Thunderbolt and just go with the flow!

EDIT: If it does get delayed; I'm guessing it's going to be for only one month due to some issues like manufacturing or a serious kink in the processor that needs to be ironed out.

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Maybe we will hear a bit more about the release schedule and clear some of the rumors and conjecture regarding the release and possible performance 'leaks', insights and more in the next podcast.with both AMD and Intel.

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My gigabyte AM3+ mobo just got a BIOS update that includes the Bulldozer chips to its supported CPU list. I think The CPUs will show up in a months time.

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Optimus,

While I have yet to get my hands on BD hardware, I think you're significantly overestimating how far the new chip will move AMD's current competitive position. Current architectural information suggests that BD won't have an IPC much higher than Thuban, which means the core will depend more on higher clock speeds and on features like AVX to boost its performance.

I expect BD's single-threaded performance will be 15-20 percent faster than *Thuban's* at the same clock speed. Multi-threaded performance is almost certainly going to vary widely depending on whether or not code is optimized to take advantage of BD's AVX support and operand combining capabilities. While the chip's FPU is heftier than Thuban's, it's not twice as powerful--and again, code will need to be recompiled to take advantage of some of the new improvements.

I *don't* expect to see BD challenge Sandy Bridge across the board, or to see it dictate anything regarding Intel's Sandy Bridge E pricing. AMD will almost certainly continue competing significantly on price, as opposed to offering an absolute performance challenge. Just being able to match Nehalem's performance across the board (with better power consumption) would be a major feat for AMD.

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Joel, 

"Multi-Tasking is the Name, Multi-Threading is the Game. For me, the appeal of the 8 Core Bulldozer chips is just that and then some. For me to be able to play a game, render a home video, download a massive file, and have my Facebook News Feed, Tweetdeck and email updated at the same time, is very valuable. But not only that, but a multi threaded application that can take advantage of all 8 cores and get the job done super quick, is also a big plus.

Joel H:

While I have yet to get my hands on BD hardware-----

-----code will need to be recompiled to take advantage of some of the new improvements.

"At the time of its release, not every application may take advantage or full advantage of BDs architecture , but it will at some point. Whatever current architecture information is suggested on paper will not tell the whole story. Its not like AMD or Intel gives out its full info or blue print of their products to the public or its competition before it debuts. Lab Results will determine how powerful it is or not. Off course you are one of the most knowledgeable editors , you understand the process of how it does it and why it can , I understand what it does and what it can. "

"Clock for clock it may not be as fast as SB, but if it takes higher clocks for BD to get the job done on or about the same time, that fine with me, but whats great is that is has more cores available to do that and do something else at the same time."

Joel H:
I *don't* expect to see BD challenge Sandy Bridge across the board, or to see it dictate anything regarding Intel's Sandy Bridge E pricing. AMD will almost certainly continue competing significantly on price, as opposed to offering an absolute performance challenge. Just being able to match Nehalem's performance across the board (with better power consumption) would be a major feat for AMD.
"

'I get you, but if the FX-8150 comes close to the 980x territory in terms of multi threaded performance, then why would I want to Invest in a Thousand Dollar chip that would be the 3960X(Even though it a Frigging Beast), invest in a what would likely be a $300+ motherboard and  Some expensive Quad Channel RAM, when for a Grand, I can build a super machine with AMD's processor offering along with a cheap *Premium*and very capable motherboard (ex: CrossHair V), and cheap super fast DDR 3 RAM,  Which is why I think, *IF* BUlldozer turns out to be all that and more, than it will make Intel rethink is price range for SB-E, why, because A lot of people think Like me and what I just explained. Today, Do people need more power than whats offered in Sandy Bridge or what Bulldozer will offer, NO. I think we reached a point in time where the Software now has to catch up with the Hardware."

-Optimus

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Optimus,

"For me to be able to play a game, render a home video, download a massive file, and have my Facebook News Feed, Tweetdeck and email updated at the same time, is very valuable."

I have no idea what kind of configuration you have, but if you're serious about doing all of that, I highly recommend an SSD and multiple hard drive setup. Your I/O will bottleneck *long* before even a quad core if you try doing those things on a system without multiple hard drives (and, ideally, multiple drive controllers).

As an example:

I have a JBOD--no RAID or anything. One SSD as a primary drive, a secondary G:\ for downloads, and a bunch of other drives for additional storage. Games run off a second SSD (J:\). So I game off J, download to G, and I'd do my rendering to D (if I rendered). Tweet and email updates would go to C.

C, G, and J are all hooked to an Intel controller; D hooks to a second Marvell controller. If I were reading off optical media, I'd probably move it to the Marvell (I don't keep an optical hooked up all the time).

At a minimum, I'd keep OS on one drive, games on a second, and downloads+renders on a third if I intended to use those capabilities at the same time. The speed boost from doing so, even when using conventional HDDs, is huge.

(Keep in mind, that the 980X is the out-dated quad-core Nehalem-class CPU). I honestly don't think 8-core Bulldozer will come very close to six-core Westmere / Sandy Bridge as far as multi-threaded performance.

One of the most frustrating things about talking re: Bulldozer is that what we call an "eight-core" Bulldozer really *isn't* an eight-core chip at all. Bulldozer shares scheduling resources and caches that a normal dual-core processor doesn't and it shares them in ways that depart significantly from previous AMD designs. While it's true that BD has two independent sets of integer execution units, they're built differently than Thuban's.

Current best guesses peg a Bulldozer module as being something like a 1.5x core product as far as performance in concerned. This is why it's important to understand that BD is a definite tradeoff. AMD decided to build a smaller die that could deliver most of the performance of a 'true' dual-core in a smaller footprint. We'll have to evaluate just how well that tradeoff worked before we can determine whether or not it paid off, but it's one way for the company to lower its manufacturing costs and compete more effectively against Intel. Building smaller dies from the get-go helps offset Intel's manufacturing advantage.

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"Thanks for the advice."

Joel H:
One of the most frustrating things about talking re: Bulldozer is that what we call an "eight-core" Bulldozer really *isn't* an eight-core chip at all. Bulldozer shares scheduling resources and caches that a normal dual-core processor doesn't and it shares them in ways that depart significantly from previous AMD designs. While it's true that BD has two independent sets of integer execution units, they're built differently than Thuban's.

"Yeah, but I do hope for AMD to live up to that FX name and beat out the 2600K, they have to, its an obligation , a lot is riding on this chip, if it doesn't, it will hurt very badly AMD. I believe it will. By now ,  you already know the results by now, since your are a senior editor and Marco keeps you up to date. I and many will know soon in the coming days or week(s). Its going to be one of the greatest showdowns in the history of processors"

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