AMD HAS THROWN SHADE at Intel over the so-called "tax" it levies at its server CPU customers.
In a whitepaper, which at a mere two pages long is arguably a glorified leaflet, AMD claims Intel's Xeon product line is convoluted and forces people configuring servers to buy chips with features they don't need at an extra cost.
"When you try to optimize a server design using Intel Xeon Scalable processors, you find yourself in a maze of more than 42 different processor SKUs, 4 different metal codes, and 5 different series. You can quickly find yourself having to buy what you don't want in order to get what you need," the pamphlet-like whitepaper claimed.
AMD said the whole process is like wanting to stream music from your phone in a newly-purchased car but having to buy an, er, £3,000 navigation system in order to do so. Hmm.
"We call it the 'Intel Tax.' It is the extra price for Intel processors that you have to pay to get the features and performance you need," AMD said.
"Intel's product line is filled with self-imposed, designed-in performance bottlenecks that affect real-world results. You are forced to buy a more expensive processor to get the performance that you need."
That's quite a bold claim given that Intel is still the big player in the server world, despite AMD's latest EPYC efforts. And one could argue that if Intel's chips were so reprehensible that it would have been knocked off the top spot.
AMD backed up its claims by noting that customers would need to buy a new Intel Xeon processor just to add in more RAM for cloud and virtualisation workloads, and that for top memory performance customers need to shell out for top tier Gold and Platinum branded CPUs.
Team Red also argued that to get more than 28 cores in a system, Intel forces users to buy another processor, and the same applies when needing more I/O capacity.
Naturally, AMD argued that it's EPYC processors avoid all these shortfalls, are cheaper and offer more performance. We aren't going to do AMD's marketing for it, so if you want to know more, pop over to AMD's mini-site and download the white paper.
This attack on Intel is very unlike AMD. The firm might have a point about Intel's convoluted processor range, which is tricky to follow at times. And thanks to the Zen architecture, AMD's processors are now a lot more competitive with Intel's chips and come at attractive prices.
But different workloads perform in different ways on AMD and Intel processors, certainly in the consumer PC world, with some running better on Team Red's multi-threaded CPUs and others better harnessing Intel's nippy clock speeds and single core performance.
As such, AMD's attack on Intel comes across as a bit petty. But then we don't feel too sorry for Intel as one of its top execs launched a big attack on Nvidia a day or so earlier; goodness knows what's in the water over in the US.
We asked Intel for its thoughts on the AMD shade, but it has yet to respond.
All in all, this stuff is a bit silly and we'd much rather see firms get weighted and measured on the quality of stuff they build not on the perceived shortcomings of their rivals. µ
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