Monday, September 10, 2007

AMD Can Kick Intel’s Ass But Only By Forging a New Market

All Multicore Related Articles

More Than Just a Slap in the Face

On the same day that cash poor AMD released its long awaited Quad-Core “Barcelona” Opteron™ CPU, its much bigger rival, Intel Corporation, decided to rain on its parade by announcing close to ten billion dollars in revenue for the third quarter, better than they expected. Intel’s gross margins was more than 52 percent. This is more than just a slap in AMD’s face and everyone knows it. Intel is flexing its muscles and signaling that it is about to inflict major pain on the competition, you can bet on it.

Deep Trouble

AMD is in deep trouble. It just barely survived a vicious price war with Intel; its chief sales and marketing officer recently left and took a similar position at another chip company, Freescale Semiconductor; and it doesn’t look like Barcelona is going to offer much of an advantage over Intel’s own quad-core offerings. It would not surprise me if Intel suddenly announced deep price cuts on all their server chips. That’s a blow that could conceivably send a wounded and bleeding AMD crawling into chapter eleven. That would be a disaster for everybody.

Desperately Seeking Relief

It is obvious that AMD is waging a valiant but ultimately losing battle against a determined and fierce Goliath. How can AMD extricate itself from this predicament? Well, there is a large sector of the computer market that is living in constant fear. These are people who run extremely high-risk, mission-critical businesses and they depend on fast, reliable computers to keep them in business. A minor glitch or malfunction in their systems can mean millions and even tens of millions of dollars in lost business. At times, even human lives are at stake. I am talking about the power generation, transportation, aerospace, defense, financial and health industries. Failure is simply not an option for these people. They are desperately seeking relief from the high cost of system development and the nagging feeling that something may go terribly wrong at any time. But relief is hard to come by.

AMD’s Ace in the Hole

Obviously the current computing paradigm is not adequate for the job. The relief can only come from a paradigm shift, one which will eventually supersede the old one and leave Intel and other overconfident and late adopters holding empty bags. Luckily for AMD, there is still time to jump on this opportunity and claim the new frontier for itself. It is time to stop playing the me-too fiddle and become a real leader and pioneer worthy of the 21st century. It is time to leave the old stuff behind and forge ahead. The new market wants super fast, auto-scalable, rock-solid parallel software applications that are easy to develop and the specially designed, fine-grain, multicore CPUs that will make it all possible. AMD needs an ace in the hole that will give it the confidence and the know-how it needs to kick ass and take names in this high-stakes, cut-throat business. That’s what Project COSA is about. Kicking ass and taking names.

See Also:
The Age of Crappy Concurrency: Erlang, Tilera, Intel, AMD, IBM, Freescale, etc…
Half a Century of Crappy Computing
Parallel Programming, Math and the Curse of the Algorithm
Parallel Computers and the Algorithm: Square Peg vs. Round Hole

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