AMD needs to set ATI free.

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AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:26 pm

Obviously that's not going to happen since they rely too much on the GPU side for their APUs. Next best thing would be for AMD just to quit working on CPUs and focus strictly on GPU tech, although again not gonna happen. AMD is a sinking ship and I'd hate to see ATI go with them since their GPUs have the potential to be competitive, whereas CPU-wise AMD has done nothing relevant since K8. Unfortunately since Intel and nVidia have much deeper pockets, therefore vastly superior research and development budget, it will probably be sooner than later when their GPUs leaves AMD's in the dust.

When AMD tanks I would hope someone would buy them out and further research and develop / make use of their GPU tech. Unfortunately the only company that this makes sense for is Apple (or perhaps Samsung) so they could further their SoC development. Once Apple (or Samsung) got their greedy hands on the Radeon IP, it would surely be iOS/OSX (or Android/Tizen) exclusive; We'd never see a Radeon product on a decent plaftorm (Microsoft Windows) ever again.

It seems AMD's last bastion of hope is next month's rumored Tonga GPU release, albeit I'm not optimistic that it will bring the ~40% increase in shader module efficiency over GCN 1.0/1.1 the way Maxwell does over Kepler. If it doesn't perform to par and bring the efficiency that Maxwell does, AMD is truly doomed.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:57 pm

AMD spends about the same as nvidia, so there is no "vastly superior research and development budget" happening
$438 million in the first quarter of 2014, VS $452 million for nvidia
We are looking at a 3% budget difference (Also nvidia seem to have more ongoing projects)

Now, yes, Intel budget is so much bigger, but Intel run very large number of the most advance fab and semi research in the world. AMD got none of those expanses to deal with.
And Intel go so many projects, its impossible compare both company R&D budget

And we know that even if AMD had twice its R&D budget you wouldn't see more advanced chip come out.
During the bulldozer days, AMD budget was insane (~800 millions, it was >1.5 billion when they had they Dresden foundry). And look what resulted from it.

I see Microsoft as a suitor, Apple already got all it needs...
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:49 pm

MS buying AMD would put them in the sights of the justice department again, which is one thing they can't have....it weakened them considerably the first time.

(Not that the buyout would be approved in the first place, but...)
Last edited by Savyg on Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:40 pm

Saying that AMD has done "nothing relevant since K8" is rather harsh. Just because they weren't soundly trouncing Intel at their own game doesn't mean they weren't still relevant. Phenom II was decent.

I would even say the current FX and APU CPUs are still relevant, albeit indirectly. If they didn't exist, Intel would be charging more for their low- and mid-range products.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:36 am

I wouldn't trust the typical AMD doom 'n gloom perspective that a lot of people these days tend to have. Their stock dropped as far as 1.8 last year, but it bounced back to around 4 and now is hovering around 3.7. Therefore, I'd say we've seen the worst of it. The question is what are they going to do until 2016 when their purportedly high performance, Jim Keller lead x86 core hits. We haven't heard much of anything from them about new GPU releases.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:51 am

Considering Phenom and Bulldozer I'm more concerned about what will happen if K12 bombs equally at launch.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:17 am

Savyg wrote:Considering Phenom and Bulldozer I'm more concerned about what will happen if K12 bombs equally at launch.

Man, when you look at it that way... If K12 doesn't deliver, it's Bye-Bye AMD.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:25 am

Savyg wrote:Considering Phenom and Bulldozer I'm more concerned about what will happen if K12 bombs equally at launch.


One would surmise that AMD is well aware that it cannot afford to have K12 bomb at launch.

One also privately wonders if perhaps AMD is aiming to design a top-notch 64-bit ARM core first and then, based on that experience, brings over the key architectural features, tricks and lessons learned while simply bolting on the necessary x86-64 compatibility cruft with as little change as possible to the internal micro-op-based arch.

Wasn't it Jim Keller who recently-ish extoiled the virtues of AArch64 compared to x86-64?
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:33 am

ermo wrote:One would surmise that AMD is well aware that it cannot afford to have K12 bomb at launch.

I'm just saying that's two major launches where they screwed the pooch. You wouldn't think it would happen twice, yet it did.

I will have faith in their execution as soon as they give me a reason to.

Meanwhile, I do love their APUs, Mantle, TrueAudio, and HSA. I haven't been this impressed with them in a while, so we'll see if it ends up meaning anything.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:48 am

ermo wrote:One would surmise that AMD is well aware that it cannot afford to have K12 bomb at launch.

Not if they intend to remain a player in x86, anyway.

ermo wrote:One also privately wonders if perhaps AMD is aiming to design a top-notch 64-bit ARM core first and then, based on that experience, brings over the key architectural features, tricks and lessons learned while simply bolting on the necessary x86-64 compatibility cruft with as little change as possible to the internal micro-op-based arch.

I doubt this is the strategy, other than maybe a few tricks in the power efficiency area. Bolting x86-64 compatibility onto an ARM core would probably negate both the power efficiency advantage of ARM *and* the performance advantage of current x86 designs, resulting in a compromise CPU which makes nobody happy.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:36 am

just brew it! wrote:
ermo wrote:One also privately wonders if perhaps AMD is aiming to design a top-notch 64-bit ARM core first and then, based on that experience, brings over the key architectural features, tricks and lessons learned while simply bolting on the necessary x86-64 compatibility cruft with as little change as possible to the internal micro-op-based arch.

I doubt this is the strategy, other than maybe a few tricks in the power efficiency area. Bolting x86-64 compatibility onto an ARM core would probably negate both the power efficiency advantage of ARM *and* the performance advantage of current x86 designs, resulting in a compromise CPU which makes nobody happy.


The x86 and the ARM v8 designs by AMD are supposed to be pin-compatible sister cores, with a fair bit of shared on-chip infrastructure (though it would appear that you are right when you say they won't be carbon copies of each other):

Presumably, these sister x86 and ARM cores will perform about the same, but they evidently are not just two variants of the same microarchitecture adapted to different ISAs. Keller was very complimentary about the ARMv8 ISA in his talk, saying it has more registers and "a proper three-operand instruction set." He noted that ARMv8 doesn't require the same instruction decoding hardware as an x86 processor, leaving more room to concentrate on performance. Keller even outright said that "the way we built ARM is a little different from x86" because it "has a bigger engine." I take that to mean AMD's ARM-compatible microarchitecture is somewhat wider than its sister, x86-compatible core. We'll have to see how that difference translates into performance in the long run.

source: AMD reveals K12: New ARM and x86 cores are coming


Pretty exciting stuff. And the graphics/HSA part obviously plays a large part in this strategy.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:21 am

ermo wrote:The x86 and the ARM v8 designs by AMD are supposed to be pin-compatible sister cores, with a fair bit of shared on-chip infrastructure (though it would appear that you are right when you say they won't be carbon copies of each other)

Pin compatible only means they have the same electrical pinout and signaling conventions. It allows them to leverage motherboard designs, chipsets, etc... but it says nothing about software compatibility.

The original Slot A Athlon was pin compatible with the DEC Alpha 21264. That didn't mean they could run each others' software; they were based on completely different ISAs.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:45 am

AFAIK, AMD isn't done paying off the money they borrowed to buy ATI. It's crazy when you realize how long ago since they bought ATI. As for R&D budgets, developing CPUs must be one of the most financially and intellectually formidable engineering challenges out there (apart from building rockets and jet liners). Even if AMD and Nvidia are spending the same dough, Nvidia has a lot less going on as it is mostly focused on GPUs for use in laptops to supercomputers, and ARM cores for use in mobile devices (Denver is practically MIA), and not much else. AMD is saddled with GPUs for use in (like Nvidia) laptops to supercomputers, big and small x86 and ARM CPUs for use in tablets all the way to servers and supercomputers, chipsets (although as we all know they might just ask Asmedia to do it for them), custom chips, and embedded markets. I would think AMD is doing both what Intel and Nvidia are doing (except for Intel's fabs), with a far smaller budget and all the while servicing a huge debt pile. Really, AMD is a miracle, and it would be an even bigger miracle if they finally manage to turn the company around.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:01 am

ATI will be fine. If AMD goes under, the assets will be spun off, and someone will pick up the ATI group and continue making products. In fact, several business divisions would probably get bought up.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:39 am

Intel ran rough during the Netburst days; it caused such a shakeup that they underwent a pretty radical rethink and started again from scratch, pretty much.

AMD's current architecture hasn't worked the way they expected. I wouldn't call it as much of a failure as Intel's netburst, but you can be sure AMD is learning from their current mistakes and will be focussing on IPC more than they have.
The fact that their APU's are still competitive in the mobile space is important, because this is where the vast majority of the sales are happening.

K12 appears to be ARM only, but I don't think AMD is going to abandon x86. The next gen x86 product (K12x or K13?) will likely be an IPC-centric, power-efficient design, learning from the mistake of the Bulldozer/Piledriver/Steamroller/Excavator family. Just don't expect it any time soon. Late 2016 maybe?
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:59 am

Chrispy_ wrote:Intel ran rough during the Netburst days; it caused such a shakeup that they underwent a pretty radical rethink and started again from scratch, pretty much.

Only if you call going back to the Pentium III design and updating it "from scratch".

Chrispy_ wrote:AMD's current architecture hasn't worked the way they expected. I wouldn't call it as much of a failure as Intel's netburst, but you can be sure AMD is learning from their current mistakes and will be focussing on IPC more than they have.

Intel can afford to make massive mistakes and still survive. Whether AMD can or not is still up in the air.

Chrispy_ wrote:The fact that their APU's are still competitive in the mobile space is important, because this is where the vast majority of the sales are happening.

I thought the majority of their APU sales these days were for game consoles?

Chrispy_ wrote:K12 appears to be ARM only, but I don't think AMD is going to abandon x86. The next gen x86 product (K12x or K13?) will likely be an IPC-centric, power-efficient design, learning from the mistake of the Bulldozer/Piledriver/Steamroller/Excavator family. Just don't expect it any time soon. Late 2016 maybe?

Couple of big question marks with that. You're assuming that A) they continue to produce x86 CPUs for the mainstream desktop market (I could easily see them retreating to the console and/or server markets for future x86 CPUs); and B) until they figure out a way to bring the process technology of their manufacturing partners closer to parity with Intel's, they will continue to fight a losing battle on the performance/watt front.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:36 am

I actually thought the post-netburst architecture drew on the original Pentium Pro more than anything else.

I don't think AMD can retreat to the server market though - performance/watt is even more critical there, and if they do make any progress it'll be K12's ARM cores, not x86.

It's also not entirely a performance/watt problem, since if you completely ignore power draw the Piledriver/Steamroller architecture is somewhere around Nehalem or Westmere (IPC) performance levels from five years ago. It's obviously task-dependent because there are a few cases where AMD's eight pseudo-cores are measurably better than Intel's current four with HT, but core-for-core AMD need to run at insanely overclocked speeds (and outrageous power/cooling) to match even Sandy from 36 months ago. That's just architectural inferiority, and I think AMD are strictly going to focus on "good enough" using their current architecture for some time to come, downplaying their CPU's weaknesses and focussing on the IGP and HSA angles until they have something new on the CPU front.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:37 am

JBI nailed all of the salient points.

To respond to the topic- AMD is doing with ATI what Intel cannot yet do, and that's to integrate cutting-edge GPU tech into the CPU socket. Their CPU cores are holding them back considerably, yes, but the reality is that their HSA concept (my opinion) is right on the mark, but incredibly ahead of it's time. A larger question is if the software catches up before Intel does; for example, if one notices that Apple is shipping two AMD GPUs with every new Mac Pro, one might think that there could be a market for heavier AMD APUs in iMacs or the like, where the extra GPU grunt exposed by OS X more than makes up for the (current) lack of CPU prowess.

Hell, Apple is in a unique position to 'save' AMD, if they should so choose.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:44 am

Chrispy_ wrote:I actually thought the post-netburst architecture drew on the original Pentium Pro more than anything else.


Come on Chrispy_, you were there too!

The Pentium M, a mobile-only variant put together by a team in Israel in order to provide a solution that wasn't so damn hot for laptops, was a Pentium III that had been reworked for performance/watt. It was rebranded as the 'Core Solo' and 'Core Duo', which was a stacked variant similar to the first 'dual-core' Pentium IVs. The Core 2, which was the first variant that hit desktops, had a totally redone SSE2 engine which vaulted it's overall performance beyond whatever AMD had out at the time. It's pure FP performance still sucked next to the K8's, it was still essentially a P6 architecture, but compilers and developers that used them had moved on to use SSE for as much as possible given that Netburst was even worse at FP/clock than the old P6.

Intel also committed to two major development ideals- to never increase power usage unless the resulting performance increase doubled, and to cement themselves to their Nvidia-like 'tick/tock' strategy to keep the new designs flowing. AMD has yet to recover, and is looking more and more like 3Dfx back in the day.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:46 am

Airmantharp wrote:To respond to the topic- AMD is doing with ATI what Intel cannot yet do, and that's to integrate cutting-edge GPU tech into the CPU socket.


But GPU tech moves faster than CPU tech. Personally, I would rather upgrade a GPU than a CPU to get the latest GPU. Especially when both AMD and Intel are hell bent on changing socket types resulting in a MOBO upgrade. I understand the theoretical design of putting the GPU on CPU die but it comes at a cost, one that I don't think but the most aggressive upgraders can live with.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:51 pm

tanker27 wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:To respond to the topic- AMD is doing with ATI what Intel cannot yet do, and that's to integrate cutting-edge GPU tech into the CPU socket.


But GPU tech moves faster than CPU tech. Personally, I would rather upgrade a GPU than a CPU to get the latest GPU. Especially when both AMD and Intel are hell bent on changing socket types resulting in a MOBO upgrade. I understand the theoretical design of putting the GPU on CPU die but it comes at a cost, one that I don't think but the most aggressive upgraders can live with.


To put that into perspective my Core2 Quad is still in service over 6 years after buying it, whilst I've been through a dozen graphics cards in that time.
Even if I didn't cycle graphics cards around all the time, the 320Mb 8800 GTS I had back in 2008 doesn't stand a chance today. I wonder how much faster than it my (unused) HD4000 would be....

Airmantharp wrote:Come on Chrispy_, you were there too!
The Pentium M <snip>


My old brain failed me there; I remembered Pentium "not-a-number" and my neurons produced "Pro or MMX. Probably Pro".
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:10 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:My old brain failed me there; I remembered Pentium "not-a-number" and my neurons produced "Pro or MMX. Probably Pro".


Eh, not really. I mean, Airmantharp even referenced the P6 Architecture, which is called that precisely because of the Pentium Pro.

So, genealogically-speaking, it is a distinction without very much in the way of difference.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:37 pm

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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:03 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
tanker27 wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:To respond to the topic- AMD is doing with ATI what Intel cannot yet do, and that's to integrate cutting-edge GPU tech into the CPU socket.


But GPU tech moves faster than CPU tech. Personally, I would rather upgrade a GPU than a CPU to get the latest GPU. Especially when both AMD and Intel are hell bent on changing socket types resulting in a MOBO upgrade. I understand the theoretical design of putting the GPU on CPU die but it comes at a cost, one that I don't think but the most aggressive upgraders can live with.


To put that into perspective my Core2 Quad is still in service over 6 years after buying it, whilst I've been through a dozen graphics cards in that time.
Even if I didn't cycle graphics cards around all the time, the 320Mb 8800 GTS I had back in 2008 doesn't stand a chance today. I wonder how much faster than it my (unused) HD4000 would be....


According to notebookcheck, the HD4000 is just below a GeForce 9700M GT or GeForce 8700M GT SLI: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-G ... 168.0.html

My 4-5 year old laptop's mid-range GPU is now just below a HD Graphics 4600. Time for an upgrade.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:10 am

just brew it! wrote:
ermo wrote:The x86 and the ARM v8 designs by AMD are supposed to be pin-compatible sister cores, with a fair bit of shared on-chip infrastructure (though it would appear that you are right when you say they won't be carbon copies of each other)

Pin compatible only means they have the same electrical pinout and signaling conventions. It allows them to leverage motherboard designs, chipsets, etc... but it says nothing about software compatibility.

The original Slot A Athlon was pin compatible with the DEC Alpha 21264. That didn't mean they could run each others' software; they were based on completely different ISAs.


The ISA part (and thus binary software compatibility) is so obvious as to be implied of course.

The article mentions that the two sister cores will share some on-chip infrastructure as well; the question is how much. Scott's take was as follows:

Keller explained during this morning's Q&A session that the new cores will share more than just pin compatibility. He said they will be "compatible at the pin level and inside." That likely means that the ARM and x86 SoCs based on these new cores will share the same internal plumbing—things like the I/O ring around the edges of the chip and the last-level cache. AMD's design teams will then be able to fit, say, four ARM cores or four x86 cores into the space on the interior section of the chip.


I sincerely hope AMD manages to create two competitive designs and manage to deliver silicon in a reasonably timely fashion.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:47 am

ermo wrote:I sincerely hope AMD manages to create two competitive designs and manage to deliver silicon in a reasonably timely fashion.


That's nice and all, but it doesn't mean anything if the performance isn't there versus their largest competitor. They need to close the gap to .5-1%. Then price would probably win out.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:53 am

tanker27 wrote:
ermo wrote:I sincerely hope AMD manages to create two competitive designs and manage to deliver silicon in a reasonably timely fashion.

That's nice and all, but it doesn't mean anything if the performance isn't there versus their largest competitor. They need to close the gap to .5-1%. Then price would probably win out.

He did say "two competitive designs", so I figured something like this was implied. Yes, that's a pretty tall order.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:26 am

I figured as much but stated it anyways. That's where I see AMD failing. Their offerings just pale in comparison to Intel. And they have yet to create something that challenged Intel's i7 architecture performance wise. Its nice that they are advancing the GPU on die but when it comes down to brass tacks they just are not being competitive enough.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:40 pm

Don't assume that just because enthusiasts go through several GPU/cards on a single CPU that the same is true for the largest pieces of market where volume really counts. Many companies todays use a leasing based system and are a 3 year roll around. The more integrated a solution is, the better it is for most of em, because extra cards, extra contacts, more complex boards, etc, etc. Not to mention that's it better for a company to sell a chip containing both pards to an OEM or integrater then only a smaller chip and they might choose the rest from your competitor. Then go on and look at the consumer market. How many stores don't even sell separate graphics cards nowdays, because the people that just wants to surf and use word and excel and some casual gaming every now and then, don't need it.

I don't know, but I would be surprised of prosumer or consumers was more then 20% market at the higest on the consumer side. Pretty big money since each system probably buys three lesser ones, but still.

The current gen I-architecture is intels best homerun in many many years, probably since the Celeron-A/p2/p3 days. I mean, I'm still at a i7-2600K and when I look at the benchmarks for today, I don't see any reason to even look for an upgrade, because it's not worth the hassle for that performance boost unless I build a new computer anyway. GPU's though.... Was on a 4870, went to a 6970, 7970 and now a 290x. So you are right in that for the entusiasts, GPU count's for much more, that's also because they can be easily upgradable when separate, on my work stuff, no such thing, I buy a new computer when I need, because the old one is written off as it is.
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Re: AMD needs to set ATI free.

Postposted on Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:16 am

Aphasia wrote:Many companies todays use a leasing based system and are a 3 year roll around.


And many companies are phasing this out for BYOC and VMs. Yes I am intimately aware of volume leasing of business PCs. Before my re-envisioning myself in IT I was on the side of the house that did this. And every 3-5 years I was on the project to select the next rotation of PCs/laptops. However, as many time I did this, there was only one or two times a AMD product was offered by our vendor!
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Watch out for evil Terra-Tron; He Does not like you!
tanker27
Darth Gerbil
 
Posts: 7238
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Georgia

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