AMD today released its much awaited quad core desktop, the Phenom. After reading the reviews I just felt a sense of deja vu. Almost a year ago when AMD released the QuadFX to compete against Intel's newly released quad-cores, here is what some had to say:
Ars Technica (2006):
"Today, AMD officially launched their much-anticipated 4x4 enthusiast platform under the name QuadFX. The results of the rash of QuadFX reviews that just came out are uniformly disappointing; Intel's quad-core offering, the QX6800, outperforms AMD's much hotter, more power-hungry offering in almost every benchmark".
"When only running one or two CPU intensive threads, Quad FX ends up being slower than an identically clocked dual core system, and when running more threads it's no faster than Intel's Core 2 Extreme QX6700. But it's more expensive than the alternatives and consumes as much power as both, combined... Until then, there's always Quad FX but you're better off with Kentsfield".
Then again a year later while trying to take another stab at the "enthusiast" market:
Ars Technica (2007)
"Current benchmark results from Anandtech, HardOCP, and Hexus indicate that the Phenom, while notably more efficient than Athlon 64 X2 in certain scenarios, still lags the Q6600 clock-for-clock. Phenom may have finally given AMD the ability to offer a quad-core processor to compete with Q6600, but Intel's chip still holds a better price/performance ratio".
Phenom is, clock for clock, slower than Core 2 and the chips aren't yet yielding well enough to boost clock speeds above what Intel is capable of... today's launch confirms that Intel is still the king of the quad-core market.
We can debate all day whether the majority of consumer software is threaded enough to take advantage of four execution cores, but the immutable fact remains that AMD's fastest quad-core offering is slower than Intel's slowest. Compounding this depressing statement for AMD is the January 2008 launch of Penryn-based Core 2 Quads, furthering Intel's performance dominance.
In order to grasp the magnitude of how much AMD messed up on execution, it's important to realise that even after a year of humiliating itself with the QuadFX disaster it has yet to beat it's old nemesis the QX6700. Intel was kind enough to lower it's quad-core offering to QX6600 but it seems AMD's Phenom can't beat that either. Never mind taking back the performance crown or beating the opposition on some important benchmark, but failing to beat a year old processor is simply inexcusable. This is indeed a wake up call and should desensitise anyone who's heard far too many excuses from AMD.