AMD Upgrade Path

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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:31 pm

just brew it! wrote:As I've already noted, I doubt they will continue to offer a meaningful enthusiast line going forward. Your choice will be between (Door #1) low- to mid-range parts in APU form, or (Door #2) a full-blown workstation/server based on the Opteron platform.


Or Door #3, Intel. (The Goat :) )

Makes you want to beat your head against the wall, doesn't it. :-?
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:48 pm

Geonerd wrote:The utter lack of information from AMD must represent one of the biggest tech marketing failures in recent times.

Well, they did fire most of the marketing team.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:17 pm

just brew it! wrote:a full-blown workstation/server based on the Opteron platform (which will give you lots of cores and support for insane amounts of RAM, but mediocre single-threaded performance).
Today, we could choose a 2-socket C32 system with a pair of 8-core Seoul Opteron 4386 processors at 3.1 GHz, or we might choose a 4-socket G34 system with four Abu Dhabi Opteron 6380 16-core processors at 2.5 GHz. That's 64 cores on one motherboard.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:20 pm

Geonerd wrote:Erm... the Steamroller core is a fair step in the right direction. Given AMD's fab options, they won't be anywhere near Intel in terms of low-power, but at the 125W tier, a 6 or 8 core 'Roller would likely be a rather nice chip, and would represent a REAL step forward for owners of FX (or even Thuban) chips. I can't believe it would take a huge effort for AMD to port such a chip to the AM3+ platform.


Erm... Steamroller is not going into the same market-level as Piledriver on the desktop.

The utter lack of information from AMD must represent one of the biggest tech marketing failures in recent times.


There has been information from AMD, and the fact that this information has been targeted at the mobile, server and general-use sectors speaks volumes.

AMD has lost the high end. What baffles and irritates me so is their apparent willingness to throw the ENTIRE enthusiast marked into the shredder. WTF, AMD?


Why are you baffled and irritated? AMD obviously has no near-term prospects to compete in the high-end sector, so they are doing the responsible thing and declining to compete this go-around. The high-end is such a niche market that it's probably best for the company to abandon it.

Assuming the existence of 125W-capable FM2+ boards (does such a creature exist in the wild?), a 6 or 8 core SR/FM2+ chip, with limited or no APU transistors wasting power and space, would at least offer a path forward. Will such a chip emerge? Once again, all we hear from this bizarre company are chirping crickets...


AMD's vision is of a further conjoining of what we consider to be "CPU" and "GPU". Why would they do anything to act contrary to their vision?
Last edited by Yeats on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:29 pm

Yeats wrote:Erm... Steamroller has been out for over a year and is now the AMD default, so is no longer a "step in the right direction".

Show me a single processor using Steamroller technology today.

Yeats wrote:AMD's vision is of a further conjoining of what we consider to be "CPU" and "GPU". Why would they do anything to act contrary to their vision?

Because there's money in it.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:32 pm

Meadows wrote:
Yeats wrote:Erm... Steamroller has been out for over a year and is now the AMD default, so is no longer a "step in the right direction".

Show me a single processor using Steamroller technology today.


Oops, sorry, I meant Piledriverr. I've adjusted my original post.

Yeats wrote:AMD's vision is of a further conjoining of what we consider to be "CPU" and "GPU". Why would they do anything to act contrary to their vision?

Because there's money in it.


But there isn't.
Last edited by Yeats on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:34 pm

Yeats wrote:Oops, sorry, I meant Bulldozer. Steamroller is the current gen.

Still wrong.


Also, according to citations on the Wikipedia article (some of which include AMD's slides), Steamroller-based APUs do replace Piledriver alternatives for the desktop, except for the highest-end FX processors. Whether there will be new FX processors is "neither confirmed nor denied" though, which stinks to me a little.
Last edited by Meadows on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:36 pm

Meadows wrote:
Yeats wrote:Oops, sorry, I meant Bulldozer. Steamroller is the current gen.

Still wrong.


Piledriver is a revision of Bulldzoer. Whatever, I should have been more accurate.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:37 pm

Meadows wrote:
Yeats wrote:Oops, sorry, I meant Bulldozer. Steamroller is the current gen.

Still wrong.


Also, according to citations on the Wikipedia article (some of which include AMD's slides), Steamroller-based APUs do replace Piledriver alternatives for the desktop, except for the highest-end FX processors. Whether there will be new FX processors is "neither confirmed nor denied" though, which stinks to me a little.


I thought you were looking at the high-end?
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:41 pm

Yeats wrote:I thought you were looking at the high-end?

According to Wikipedia, AMD wants to convert every desktop to Kaveri APUs (no more than 4 cores), including the high-end. I know, I know, it does sound crazy.

The more I think about it, the more thought I'm starting to give to those upcoming "Warsaw" 2P server configs. I wonder if such a thing is expensive.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:50 pm

Meadows wrote:I wonder if such a thing is expensive.

A cursory glance suggests "very yes". A server motherboard alone would cost as much as the FX-9590 itself. Oh well, that plan goes out the window too.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:50 pm

Meadows wrote:
Yeats wrote:I thought you were looking at the high-end?

According to Wikipedia, AMD wants to convert every desktop to Kaveri APUs (no more than 4 cores), including the high-end. I know, I know, it does sound crazy.

The more I think about it, the more thought I'm starting to give to those upcoming "Warsaw" 2P server configs. I wonder if such a thing is expensive.


Right, but the problem is that AMD's vision of the "high-end" doesn't necessarily synch with what most of us consider to be "high-end". Total "CPU" performance of Kaveri will almost undoubtedly be less than the total CPU performance of an FX-8350, but if enough application become APU-friendly there could be real gains.

Anyway, I've had positive experiences with FX-8350's. My own is clocked at 5 ghz across all 8 cores @ 1.52v. My brother's is at 4.8 ghz @ 1.5v, and my g/f's is at 4.5 ghz @ default voltage. Everything runs swimmingly on all 3 systems, but of course your computing needs will be different and possibly more demanding than mine.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:10 pm

Meadows wrote:
Geonerd wrote:The utter lack of information from AMD must represent one of the biggest tech marketing failures in recent times.

Well, they did fire most of the marketing team.

The total lack of info is what leads me to believe that they either don't plan to offer a future enthusiast product on Socket AM3+, or simply don't know yet whether they will be offering a product in that segment. Either way, it isn't reasonable to count on an upgrade path for AM3+. If we get one, then great. If we don't, oh well... c'est la vie.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:22 pm

Just wanted to add that another aspect of their current product strategy that is pissing me off (aside from the lack of micro-ATX AM3+ offerings) is the fact that the APUs do not support ECC RAM. Yeah, I'm a bit of an "ECC Nazi"... but hey, AMD traditionally has not played the artificial product line segmentation game as aggressively as Intel, and this is one of the reasons I've remained an AMD fan all these years.

If AM3+ fades away (as I expect it to), you'll have to go Opteron to get ECC support on an AMD system, just like you have to go Xeon to get it on an Intel system.

At least the APUs still support hardware virtualization...
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:36 pm

Why are you baffled and irritated? AMD obviously has no near-term prospects to compete in the high-end sector, so they are doing the responsible thing and declining to compete this go-around. The high-end is such a niche market that it's probably best for the company to abandon it.


What part of this don't you understand?
"High End" IS Intel. (Granted for the sake of this discussion.)
AMD's 'Grand Vision' that you keep parroting is to Boldly Size the "Low End" in a full-court APU press.
That still leaves the mid-range market up for grabs.
Anyone who buys an APU and then goes on to add a discrete GPU falls into this class. This is the market that they are walking away from, and it is HUGE.

AMD's vision is of a further conjoining of what we consider to be "CPU" and "GPU". Why would they do anything to act contrary to their vision?


In your context, 'Vision' is just Buzzword Bingo for 'Yea, we know our strategy makes no sense. We don't have a clue what we're doing.'
I have no objection to the APU Forever! Kool-Aid party now under way, I just wish I didn't have to DOWNGRADE my CPU to joint the fun.

Show me a single processor using Steamroller technology today.


Show me a single mainstream application running today that benefits from this 'APU Vision' malarkey. Sure, in time it may become a real killer. But not today. Not next year. Not for a LONG time. Until then, there is very much a market and demand for 'biggish cores.'
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:45 pm

just brew it! wrote:The total lack of info is what leads me to believe that they either don't plan to offer a future enthusiast product on Socket AM3+, or simply don't know yet whether they will be offering a product in that segment. Either way, it isn't reasonable to count on an upgrade path for AM3+. If we get one, then great. If we don't, oh well... c'est la vie.


Yep. All of which leaves our OP (and many thousands like him) somewhat up a creek. :roll:
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:54 pm

@Meadows:

You're not the only one scratching your head regarding AMD's future plans. I try to stick with AMD if I could but their eerie silence regarding their future x86 plans almost means that I'll have to go with Intel somewhere down the road. I remember them putting out a slide earlier this year which indicates that Steamroller will be a 2013 product, and being a 2013 product i expect it to be actually available in 2013. It's almost Christmas and there's still no word from them about this. And even so, they seem to be hinting that SR will be available in APU form (Kaveri), but have said nothing about it being available in CPU-only (i.e. FX parts), high performance products. So no one really knows, I guess. Everything is speculation at this point without official guidance from AMD.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:01 pm

Geonerd wrote:
Why are you baffled and irritated? AMD obviously has no near-term prospects to compete in the high-end sector, so they are doing the responsible thing and declining to compete this go-around. The high-end is such a niche market that it's probably best for the company to abandon it.


What part of this don't you understand?
"High End" IS Intel. (Granted for the sake of this discussion.)
AMD's 'Grand Vision' that you keep parroting is to Boldly Size the "Low End" in a full-court APU press.
That still leaves the mid-range market up for grabs.
Anyone who buys an APU and then goes on to add a discrete GPU falls into this class. This is the market that they are walking away from, and it is HUGE.


I'm not "parroting" anything. I completely understand what they are doing, and why they are doing it. The market for a discrete CPU/GPU desktop combo is shrinking.

AMD's vision is of a further conjoining of what we consider to be "CPU" and "GPU". Why would they do anything to act contrary to their vision?
In your context, 'Vision' is just Buzzword Bingo for 'Yea, we know our strategy makes no sense. We don't have a clue what we're doing.'
I have no objection to the APU Forever! Kool-Aid party now under way, I just wish I didn't have to DOWNGRADE my CPU to joint the fun.


What don't you understand about AMD's "vision"? I'm not asking this in a jackass sort of way. AMD does not have the resources to compete with Intel in the high-end CPU sector at this time, so it's best that they don't squander their R&D trying to compete this way. If you can't be better, be different. I hope there comes a time in the not-too-distant future that this changes.

Consider this: a few years ago, AMD had heavy influence in x64, to the extent that Intel had to adopt AMD's x86-64 architecture. It would be huge for AMD if lightning could strike twice.

Show me a single processor using Steamroller technology today.

Show me a single mainstream application running today that benefits from this 'APU Vision' malarkey. Sure, in time it may become a real killer. But not today. Not next year. Not for a LONG time. Until then, there is very much a market and demand for 'biggish cores.'


That market is far smaller than the mobile sector. AMD simply isn't large enough. AMD doesn't have much today, and new architectures take years to develop.

I understand you're upset about this, but even in AMD's heyday, they were not able to make deep inroads in the high-performance CPU market, even when they had the superior product.
Last edited by Yeats on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:02 pm

Geonerd wrote:
just brew it! wrote:The total lack of info is what leads me to believe that they either don't plan to offer a future enthusiast product on Socket AM3+, or simply don't know yet whether they will be offering a product in that segment. Either way, it isn't reasonable to count on an upgrade path for AM3+. If we get one, then great. If we don't, oh well... c'est la vie.

Yep. All of which leaves our OP (and many thousands like him) somewhat up a creek. :roll:


Are we really up a creek, though? If AMD were to somehow develop a significantly better product than Piledriver, it would require a new socket.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:00 pm

Yeats wrote:If AMD were to somehow develop a significantly better product than Piledriver, it would require a new socket.

Why? The main reasons to go to a new socket would be either for more DRAM channels, or to add DDR4 support. I don't think either of these are required to improve on Piledriver, as raw DRAM bandwidth doesn't seem to be the issue.

AM3+ already provides decent infrastructure. The remaining issues with Piledriver are internal to the CPU itself. Just getting the power usage down so that it can clock higher without requiring heroic cooling measures would be a huge step.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:01 pm

If APUs are all AMD and their channel partners are making money off of, I'm not surprised they're going all in.

APUs cover laptops, tablets, consoles, and they're probably the only popular product segment AMD has even had since Core 2 started eating away at their enthusiast popularity. I'm planning on building my next desktop around Kaveri pending the prices and benches.

Does Intel still sell procs without graphics integrated? I mean...I don't think they do either. I recall there was one but I'm not seeing any i3s or i5s on Newegg without graphics.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:09 pm

Yes, you're up a creek. AMD has been very forthcoming about their roadmap--it just isn't what the faithful want to hear. Kaveri, Excavator, Jaguar, all APUs. Why? Because in 2011, three things happened: Intel released Sandy Bridge, AMD released Bulldozer, and Android 2.3 devices hit store shelves. Together, they represent a sea change in the hardware industry and may well have determined the fate of all parties involved for the rest of their corporate lives. That's just how it is.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:20 pm

Savyg wrote:Does Intel still sell procs without graphics integrated? I mean...I don't think they do either. I recall there was one but I'm not seeing any i3s or i5s on Newegg without graphics.


Yes, but it's only the Xeon lite line.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:21 am

just brew it! wrote:
Yeats wrote:If AMD were to somehow develop a significantly better product than Piledriver, it would require a new socket.

Why? The main reasons to go to a new socket would be either for more DRAM channels, or to add DDR4 support. I don't think either of these are required to improve on Piledriver, as raw DRAM bandwidth doesn't seem to be the issue.

AM3+ already provides decent infrastructure. The remaining issues with Piledriver are internal to the CPU itself. Just getting the power usage down so that it can clock higher without requiring heroic cooling measures would be a huge step.


I believe that both Intel and AMD are going to adopt DDR4 next year, so I find it hard to imagine that they could introduce a significantly more powerful chip than the FX-8350 on AM3+. And even if AMD could, would they? A next-gen chip supporting DDR4 would have to use a new socket, and that would really piss off a lot of folks who bought this hypothetical successor to the FX-8350.

Don't you think that if AMD rejoins the high-end desktop computing segment in a couple of years, the product would be more akin to an APU than a discrete CPU?
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:39 am

NovusBogus wrote:Yes, you're up a creek. AMD has been very forthcoming about their roadmap--it just isn't what the faithful want to hear. Kaveri, Excavator, Jaguar, all APUs. Why? Because in 2011, three things happened: Intel released Sandy Bridge, AMD released Bulldozer, and Android 2.3 devices hit store shelves. Together, they represent a sea change in the hardware industry and may well have determined the fate of all parties involved for the rest of their corporate lives. That's just how it is.


Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I never really thought that AM3+ was "up a creek", because I figured it would be good for 2, maybe 3 generations of Bulldozer FX. So we've had Bulldozer FX, Piledriver FX, and it's looking like Steamroller FX is stillborn.

"That's just how it is." Indeed.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:00 am

Yeats wrote:I believe that both Intel and AMD are going to adopt DDR4 next year, so I find it hard to imagine that they could introduce a significantly more powerful chip than the FX-8350 on AM3+.

Well... I agree that the current FX lineup is likely to be the end for AM3+, but I don't think it will be because of DDR4. As I've already noted, it looks like AMD is ditching the high-end desktop segment entirely.

Yeats wrote:And even if AMD could, would they? A next-gen chip supporting DDR4 would have to use a new socket, and that would really piss off a lot of folks who bought this hypothetical successor to the FX-8350.

Umm... what? That makes no sense.

Yeats wrote:Don't you think that if AMD rejoins the high-end desktop computing segment in a couple of years, the product more be more akin to an APU than a discrete CPU?

Unless GPU computing really takes off (allowing them to leverage the GPU side), this doesn't make a lot of sense from a product standpoint. High-end systems will still have a discrete GPU, so those extra transistors will be wasted. If they rejoin the high-end desktop market, I think it'll probably be with something that amounts to a re-branded Opteron (similar to Intel's high-end i7 CPUs that Ryu referred to as "Xeon lite" a few posts back).

OTOH, who really knows what the desktop ecosystem will look like in a few years?
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:22 am

just brew it! wrote:
Yeats wrote:And even if AMD could, would they? A next-gen chip supporting DDR4 would have to use a new socket, and that would really piss off a lot of folks who bought this hypothetical successor to the FX-8350.

Umm... what? That makes no sense.


Sure it does. Let's ignore the FX-9xx0 chips for a minute. Suppose next year AMD introduces the $250 FX-8750, running 4.8ghz/5.3 Turbo... then later that year they introduce a Steamroller-based $299 FX-9900 on AM4. I bet many folks who bought the FX-8750 are gonna be pissed. Kinda like the S754/939 schism. It would be a bad PR move.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:29 am

just brew it! wrote:Unless GPU computing really takes off (allowing them to leverage the GPU side), this doesn't make a lot of sense from a product standpoint. High-end systems will still have a discrete GPU, so those extra transistors will be wasted. If they rejoin the high-end desktop market, I think it'll probably be with something that amounts to a re-branded Opteron (similar to Intel's high-end i7 CPUs that Ryu referred to as "Xeon lite" a few posts back).


I think if AMD has its way, eventually software would seamlessly use the more effective path, "GPU" or "CPU", except the line between the two would be blurred. Sure, plug in a discrete graphics card, but those "extra transistors" would still be used for computing functions. Filters for Adobe products, for instance.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:38 am

Yeats wrote:I think if AMD has its way, eventually software would seamlessly use the more effective path, "GPU" or "CPU", except the line between the two would be blurred.

That's a really huge "if" there. With x86-64 being the one notable exception, AMD doesn't get to drive new software technologies into the x86 space. And x86-64 only gained a foothold because Intel made a conscious decision not to make a 64-bit version of x86 due to worries about it potentially cannibalizing sales of Itanium.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:41 am

Here's what I think and why:

AM3 will go EOL - the 220watt FX CPUs were a goodbye present from Roy Taylor. Big Chip Steamroller was cancelled last year- which is where Charlie got his semi accurate story http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/19/amd-kills-off-big-cores-kaveri-steamroller-and-excavator/ from. His source probably meant big chip, as in 4 module+ / HT / AM3 steamroller, not the core design itself. Note in AMD's denial they only say Kaveri and Big Cores are still on track, sidestepping the issue of AM3/C32/G34.

FM2+ will be the consumer desktop platform and may grow into the enthusiast space with higher performance variants.

C32/G34 are due that 'Warsaw' piledriver refresh in 2014, which may just be what Richland is to Trinity.

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