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Intel on AMD’s Barcelona: "Too Little Too Late"

Pat Gelsinger, Senior VP/GM of Intel’s (INTC) Digital Enterprise group (i.e. CPUs), keynoted the JPMorgan Technology Investment conference yesterday, and as ususal, the really interesting bits were in the Q&A.

Pat commented that the new quad-core Barcelona from AMD (AMD) was “Too Little, Too Late when compared with Penryn”, and that at best it was a catch up effort by AMD.

An audience member brought up the importance of power dissipation and how that is the new denominator of performance- rather than dollar cost. Pat wasted no time talking about the improvements from the old Netburst architecture (yuck) and that the new quad core Penryn and associated chipsets dropped power from a single 110W core to four cores running at a total of 50W. Killing Netburst was the most important thing Intel did in this decade, in my opinion. Netburst is what led to the ascendancy of AMD, and it’s replacement led to it’s downfall.

Finally, in an observation that probably escaped 95% of the audience, he talked about the benefits of Hafnium, the new gate dialectric that is replacing the several decades old SiO2 (silicon dioxide). SiO2 thickness had dropped to 10 atomic layers and the move to hafnium drops gate leakage by a factor of 20. Given gate leakage was the #1 source of power dissipation, and SiO2 was 40 years old, this was a notable transition.

The question I wished I asked – does Virtualization threaten or complement Intel’s server chip business?


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  1. Pat Gelsinger is once again smoke in it green.

    He should stop being so arrogant and start to worry about Barcelona’s performance.

    I think this silly comentary of his is a sample of fear that AMD will indeed smack them down once again.

    Posted by I | May 22, 2007, 2:59 PM
  2. poster I said: He should stop being so arrogant and start to worry about Barcelona’s performance.

    he’s not worried. AMD has released performance specs of Barcelona. He knows Penryn will send it to the bargain basement bin any deny AMD any profitability.

    Posted by roborat | May 23, 2007, 1:19 AM
  3. I,

    Pat must know something that you and I don’t and that is probably why he is being arrogant. After the Netburst left hand turn or whatever they called it, he has a good offering being sold at very compelling price points.

    Like others out there, I am awaiting AMD to beat our expectations. At this point they just might because there is a lot of rumor and speculation about what frequency Barcelona will launch at or won’t and there is no hard evidence on the performance front other than the SPEC2006 rate numbers beating Clovertown yadayada.

    In the meantime, AMD is distracting us by doing press releases, paper launching and showcasing technology which will ship at best one or two years out, doing viral videos and other nonesense in an attempt to detract from the real issue at hand: how they are going to compete with a yet to be released new microarchitecture design and make money at it.

    Expectations for AMD right now are low, so I guess they are doing the right thing for a company in their position which is undercommit and over-deliver.

    Posted by Not I | May 23, 2007, 2:09 AM
  4. When taking Pat Gelsingers history of FUD into account, I wouldn’t take what he says too seriously. His infamous quote “I hate AMD” should be sufficient in this regard at least.

    Posted by Snorre Heimsund | May 25, 2007, 8:34 AM