THE INTRODUCTION of AMD's "Phenom" range of CPUs still leaves it lagging behind Intel. That appears to be the concensus view of hardware reviewers who have compared like to like.
But worse than that is that Intel has forked AMD by its pricing. According to Tarinder Sandhu at Hexus.net, for example, is that it has to lower the price of the Phenom 9600 to at least £135 to give it a chance against Intel's 6600. That costs £165 for an overclocking 2.4GHz part. Sandhu said the AMD chip is a year behind Intel, and Intel has already moved to 45 nanometres.
AMD has tried to argue all year that its design is better architecture than Intel's - but basically this is an argument that doesn't go down a storm with people who want more speed at less cost.
There's also the question of supply - we've noted that during this year the AMD marketeers have relied more on decks of Powerpoint slides than delivering real products. The firm is obviously in some considerable trouble.
But we'd argue that trouble is largely of its own making. After its architecture threw Intel into disarray, AMD had a clear two year window in which to press its technological advantage, but signally failed to do so.
Further, the acquisition of ATI was clearly a terrible mistake, and it's only with the SEC filing last week that we discover how much it really cost, in terms of agreements with the Canadian government, the money it has to dole out to IBM for R&D, and the rest.
Being in the semiconductor business is an expensive business and the AMD SEC filing showed that even with an injection from an Abu Dhabi government VC, there's still a considerable way for the firm to go to stop bleeding money.
Wait, that SEC filing shows that AMD already has $5 billion in debt, and obligations to a host of organisations which make it far from certain that it can claw its way back.
If 2004 and 2005 were horrid years for Intel, it's evident that 2007 is worse for AMD. Right now we're not at all certain that it has much chance of catching up with Intel - and that can't be good for the industry in general. µ
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