AMD Poised to Lose Another Race with IntelBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2009-01-06 Email Print
With Phenom II hitting the streets this week, AMD needs to learn a few simple rules about how to challenge a market leader such as Intel in the performance arena.
Imagine this: you’re sitting in the staging lane in your shiny new Ford F150 pickup truck ready to drag race. You’re feeling pretty good and confident until the 10-cylinder Dodge Viper pulls along side. Perhaps implying that you’re the fastest one around was not such a good idea after all?
This is exactly what AMD is doing with its new Phenom II CPU, the company’s next-generation 45-nanometer processor. It’s bringing a real workhorse of a processor to market, but it’s lining up to challenge a racing sports car in speed performance in Intel’s Naleham processor.
AMD knew that the inevitable comparisons would be made and that the Phenom II could never outpace Nehalem, yet it still positioned the Phenom II as the latest and greatest thing in desktop performance, building up a groundswell of expectations.
Once the test results are made public, it will be easy to see how the AMD Phenom II really measures up to the Nehalem, and many AMD fans are sure to be disappointed. This won’t make Phenom II worthless. Just as a pickup with extra horsepower is a powerful tool, we expect the same of Phenom II. But that doesn’t make it the same as Intel’s race car.
When one considers the price-verses-performance argument, Phenom II will likely cost significantly less money than anything Nehalem, including CPU, memory and motherboard. To make sure that the Phenom II is taken seriously, AMD needs to highlight the costs involved in building systems with the new CPU, the CPUs performance per watt characteristics and the savings that can be realized by using a Phenom II over a Nehalem.
In the grand scheme of things, most desktop users aren’t looking to be speed kings (save for the video editor or autocad engineer). They want an affordable system that can meet their day-to-day chores reliably and with little fuss or muss. That’s where AMD can succeed over Intel and perhaps win at least one race.