6.06.2007

The Barcelona Miscarriage

I’ve started re-thinking my position regarding Barcelona being dead on arrival (DOA). It now looks as if that projection was a little bit too optimistic. One month from launch and AMD cannot seem to come up with a working silicon as per designed. Forget about the initially promised 2.6GHz. It looks like the scaled down promise of 2.3Ghz is also fast becoming an impossibility. AMD today demonstrated a crippled 1.6Ghz Barcelona. I don't think AMD can even make Barcelona work!

You’d think AMD won’t be stupid enough to reveal just how badly broken their process so close to launch but it appears AMD has become desperate. They forced Supermicro, MSI and Tyan to demo a server that shows its industry leading ability to boot up. If you’re a product engineer you know that these half-alive CPUs are production rejects, but AMD badly needs to demo something. I can easily imagine AMD product engineers foraging through their rubbish bins filled with tons of dead Barcelona trying to look for one that can at least boot up. It’s refreshing to know they at least found 3 for the Computex demo.

And since these are rejects, the result of the demo weren’t surprising: Barcelona shows to only match the performance of K8 while at the same time being trashed by the soon to be replaced 65nm Xeons. AMD’s promise of better performance at the same clock frequency seems achievable considering 1.6Ghz is all it can muster.

Typically technology certification demands that yield targets are met 6 months before launch to allow enough time to build inventories. AMD requires 15 weeks to build Barcelona from wafer start to device shipped. If AMD were to launch Barcelona in 7 weeks time (July) and the best they can show right now is a 1.6Ghz CPU, I can only see disaster. Delay the launch or ship a broken product. Neither one will be good for AMD.

Meanwhile just across the hall, Intel demonstrates its V8 system with 45nm Penryn at 3Ghz:
The rumoured Barcelona performance in a 4x4 config could only muster ~16K. That is of course on paper. Let's wait and see if AMD can actually make the damn things first.

7 comments:

Poke said...

http://tinyurl.com/377a7g

Barcelona delayed

"San Francisco (IDGNS) - AMD will delay its launch of the Barcelona quad-core Opteron server chip from its expected date in July until October, setting the company back in its effort to compete with new processors from Intel, according to analyst reports."

Anonymous said...

Cinebench 10 could include SSE4 to skew the differences. That said, people don't care if AMD doesn't have SSE4 therefore "unfair" advantage. If SSE4 makes things snappy and Intel is snappy, AMD goes snap snap.

Anonymous said...

Did you catch the quick and dirty K10 Cinebench article at DailyTech here http://www.dailytech.com/Quick+and+Dirty+AMD+K10+Cinebench/article7574.htm

Definitely Barca DOA.....

Randy Allen said...

Wow. AMD is in even more trouble than I previously thought. They are on the road to BK for sure.

Heat said...

If only making processors was as easy as making power point slides.......

Anonymous said...

Broken broken mess.

Anonymous said...

Scientia is unsurprisingly silent. Poor AMD.