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Phenom 3.0 demo surrounded by FUD

Let's dispel some of it
Tue Jul 31 2007, 10:02
THERE HAS BEEN a great deal of speculation, FUD and outright whoppers about the AMD 3.0Ghz Barcelona/Phenom demo last week. Let's try to dispel some of it, and toss in a little more insight as well.

First off, some people have been spreading interesting "stories" on how the systems were presented. There were two, not one of them on display right next to each other. The one on the left was running Call of Juarez demo and the one on the right was running Stranglehold, the box itself is out of the frame.


I personally took this picture. Anyone there was allowed to take pictures, in fact they were encouraged to do so. Any statements to the contrary are either intentionally misleading or flat out FUD. If you were there, you would know that pictures were allowed. If you were not, you have zero grounds to proclaim AMD was barring such actions. They were not.

As for pictures of the demo systems, in addition to the previously published pictures not found on any other web sites, nor given to us by AMD PR, but taken by the author, here are a few more. The closed case and the back of the unit. You can see the second box in the side shot. We were allowed to crawl all over it, poke, prod, and rub the machines until we got bored, and that did not take all that much time.



That brings us to the speeds, a matter of much speculation. Let me end it. Both boxes were reporting 3.0Ghz and four cores through Windows MeII and the BIOS. If there is a way to fake Me II (Vistula) reading the speeds, I don't know the trick. In any case, it would be pretty hard to run CoJ and Stranglehold smoothly at high rez with low clocked CPUs.

In addition, AMD representatives at the demo would answer questions about the systems, about the CPUs and anything else they could publicly talk about, you just had to ask. Anyone present could play with the systems, play the games on it, and generally kick the tyres. People who claim otherwise are full of it.

Getting back to the tech itself, there were some interesting things to make note of. First is the whole cherry picking tempest in a teapot. When asked, multiple people told me that the parts were sorted but not heavily. There were a few tested to get a 3.0, but not the oft rumoured hundreds or thousands.

The next thing is that it was either heavily cooled so it could be overvolted to the moon and clocked absurdly high. This again is not true. It was running an aluminium HSF with a few heat pipes and a bog stock fan.


You can see that the fins are not copper, and other photographs confirm this. What does this mean? The CPU was air cooled, and you can't pump all that much wattage through a simple copper/aluminum HSF. I would think these parts would have trouble using more than 150W, 170W as a long long shot. The screws were simply not turned to the point of immanent explosion.

That brings us to the fans on the door of the case. The case was a Coolermaster CM Stacker 831, a product used all over at demos and trade shows. It looks nice and has all sorts of fan mounts throughout the chassis. Having seen a dozen or more of these at shows all over the world, I can say that the vast majority of them were kitted out for maximum bling. No conspiracy there.

Some have suggested that those fans were necessary to keep the interior cool. The box on the left ran happily with the door open while CoJ was looping for quite a while, and there was no artefacting or crashes.

In the end, there was no conspiracy. The machines were quad cores running at 3.0Ghz. You could play with them until you got bored, but no benchmarking was allowed. You could take pictures, go behind it, trace cables, and generally rearrange the machines on the table until you reached your tolerance level.

Anyone who says anything different has an agenda. Anyone that says differently and was not there has serious credibility problems. In any case, none of the doom and gloom and/or alien technology conspiracies are true.

It is just a CPU running at the advertised speed. That simple fact probably caused several dozen meetings a couple of exits down the 101, and a few heart attacks on top of it. As far as a PR stunt goes, it was on the mark, whoever was responsible, pat yourself on the head. µ


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