Quad FX canceled, upgrade path unclear

When AMD introduced its Quad FX dual-socket enthusiast platform one year ago, the entire proposition was a tough sell, because Intel had a single-socket quad-core solution that combined superior performance with lower power consumption than AMD’s offering. The folks at AMD, however, played a couple of cards to sweeten the deal.

The first of those was an unequivocal statement of resolve: the dual-socket enthusiast platform, they told us, was a long-term technology direction for AMD. They drew a distinct contrast to Intel’s "V8" assemblage of vanilla workstation-class parts. Quad FX would be the beginning of a line of dual-socket products truly aimed at PC enthusiasts, with the sort of tweakable, gaming-ready hardware enthusiasts prefer.

To drive home that point, AMD played a second card: Quad FX systems would be easily upgradeable to dual quad-core processors once AMD’s next-generation CPUs became available. Users who purchased a Quad FX system now could count on an upgrade path to an eight-way system.

As we said in our review of Quad FX, we liked both the technology direction and the upgrade proposition better than the initial Quad FX implementation itself. Many folks seemed to agree, since Quad FX didn’t exactly seem to tear up the sales charts.

Naturally, in the wake of the Phenom processor’s debut, we checked with AMD about what’s next for Quad FX. Here’s what AMD’s Suzy Pruitt told us:

The short answer is that while there are still engineering resources focused on future platform offerings that build off Quad FX, the current energy and effort has gone into programs and product initiatives like “Spider” and AMD has discontinued future planning and development of its eight-core enthusiast platform at this time.

We will continue to support customers that have an existing Quad FX with DSDC and are also working on an upgrade path for those customers. While AMD is not actively promoting AMD Opteron processor as a 2P enthusiast solution, we recognized that there are enthusiasts who are looking for two-socket solutions and think an Opteron platform is well-suited to meet that demand at this time.

So AMD has dropped its enthusiast-class dual-socket technology direction. When we pressed for further details on CPU upgrade options for current owners of Quad FX systems, Pruitt said the processor "likely won’t be a Phenom-branded product," but could not give us an ETA for its arrival. We expect to have more details from AMD soon, though, and will follow up with those when we get them.

We’ll also be interested to see how this news affects the fate of Intel’s Skulltrail, a tweakable enthusiast-oriented effort based on 45nm Xeons and the Stoakley workstation platform that’s due later this year or in early 2008.

Comments closed
    • Shining Arcanine
    • 12 years ago

    Giving people who help them stay in business a swift kick in the rear seems to be becoming standard procedure for AMD.

    Does anyone remember 18 months ago before the Core 2 Duo debuted and AMD did a computer processor industry first by raising prices because it had no competition?

      • sigher
      • 12 years ago

      Yep, nice sign of how reliable a company is this kind of thing, way to get rid of even more customers.

    • Mr Bill
    • 12 years ago

    I guess us hardcore duallies will have to go with server boards after all. I could care less about support of multiple graphics cards but I do want support for my raid cards and a decent multi-monitor card.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 12 years ago

      You were buying a server motherboard with this anyhow. 2 socket systems will be the realm of workstation/server for a looong time.

        • Mr Bill
        • 12 years ago

        Yeah Vash, I know. But I still grumble about it. Really, I don’t mind the Reg ECC requirements. But my PCI-X raid card would cost me more than two server boards if I had to buy another one new. I was lucky to find one used.

    • corrosive23
    • 12 years ago

    AMD and ATI were the perfect match for each other. Both languished for years behind the competition, both had a brief flash of brilliance, and both will again languish because that brief flash was just that, a flash that couldn’t capitalize on.

      • shank15217
      • 12 years ago

      haha, yea i can see ati is years behind nvidia thats why their 3870 is probably the best value in the gpu market in the last 3 years.

        • Silus
        • 12 years ago

        The 8800 GT is the better value and Dell even sold a bunch for less than the MSRP. If you are considering the price gouging, then look around. Try to find a HD 3870 for the suggested MSRP. They are usually $50 above it.

      • A_Pickle
      • 12 years ago

      If I recall correctly, the Radeon X1000-series was vastly superior to the Geforce 7000-series in every respect, save for noise and power consumption — which, to be frank, were not THAT much worse than the Geforce 7000-series.

      And then, on AMD’s side, there was the Athlon 64, which outpaced Intel chips fo the better part of three years.

      Are you just… ignorant, or what?

        • muyuubyou
        • 12 years ago

        Not just the Athlon 64, but the Athlon XP also, and Opterons for quite a while. The whole 64bit extensions thing was a huge defeat on Intel’s side. But they can afford that.

    • Vaughn
    • 12 years ago

    AMD needs to do this. They are a fat overweight boxer who lost the belt to the now current champ(intel). They need to get back in the gym refocus and come to the rematch ducking and weaving, not standing and trading blows! Show they are worthy to step into the ring again.

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      /[

        • Vaughn
        • 12 years ago

        lol I was at work, and that was the first thing that came to mind, it sounded funny after I wrote it but couldn’t be bothered to find something that flowed alittle better.

    • PRIME1
    • 12 years ago

    Spider will probably be discontinued as well.

    • flip-mode
    • 12 years ago

    I couldn’t care less what we’re talking about or how useful or practical it is. The thing that stands out from this story, IMO, is that AMD has broken yet another promise.

    It’s really sad and pathetic.

    • beetlebud
    • 12 years ago

    Who’s the nimrod geek who came up with the stupid name skulltrail?

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      Thank you for rephrasing thatg{<.<}g

        • danny e.
        • 12 years ago

        editing is hard

    • beetlebud
    • 12 years ago

    Skulltrail? Who’s the nimrod geek who came up with that name??

    • Pax-UX
    • 12 years ago

    Well if you they’re stupid enough to buy this… well they got what they…

      • derFunkenstein
      • 12 years ago

      lies, AMD promised an upgrade path. You aren’t getting what you deserve. I have an Intel rig, though, so I get plenty of upgrades on the same socket.

        • dlenmn
        • 12 years ago

        And they still claim that there will be an upgrade path, it just “likely won’t be a Phenom-branded product.” If the name is really important to you, I’m sure that they’d be willing to send you a phenom sticker for your case…

          • derFunkenstein
          • 12 years ago

          not important to me, since i’m not one to sink $300 into a mobo

            • dlenmn
            • 12 years ago

            Yes, you made it clear that this wasn’t your problem. I was using “you” in a more general sense because it’s cleaner to phrase it that way (as opposed to “If the name is really important to someone, I’m sure that they’d be willing to send the person a phenom sticker for his or her case…”) In any event, AMD still claims that there will be an upgrade path for people with those $300 motherboards, and that’s what I was trying to note.

        • green
        • 12 years ago

        that should be ending towards the end of next year with the new architecture

    • pluscard
    • 12 years ago

    Quad core is already overkill for desktop apps. It should be obvious to everyone that 8-core is simply not needed.

    Personally, I’m interested in AMD’s triple cores due out in Feb. That appears to be a reasonable upgrade from todays dual-core standard.

    On a different subject – I’m also anxious for the new dual core HD3870 card which will beat nvidias best on most benchmarks, while costing less and using less power.

    Technology is good, but in practicality prevails for most consumers.

    Plus

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      ยง[<https://techreport.com/articles.x/13470/7<]ยง These benches appear to counter your statement that quad doesn't matter for desktop appsg{<.<}g

        • ew
        • 12 years ago

        Those graphs actually make quad core look like a waste for desktop apps. Compare the E6750 to the Q6600. You’d expect the Q6600 to be almost twice as fast as the E6750 but they are almost the same in every test. Even the multitasking benchmark shows a less then 3% difference between the two.

          • indeego
          • 12 years ago

          Guess I just looked at the firefox graph, drooled, and made an ass out of myself. You [sirs] are correctg{<.<}g

        • A_Pickle
        • 12 years ago

        Actually, most of those benchmarks prove his point — and he’s largely correct. Most applications don’t use four cores — in fact, only content creation applications make use of them.

        Which is fine and dandy, but… to be completely honest… I would be very surprised if many enthusiasts actually use 3D Studio Max, or Adobe Premiere… or… whatever.

          • Lord.Blue
          • 12 years ago

          I do, but then I’m a multimedia specialist and computer enthusiast. Photoshop, DVD encoding, Windows Media Encoder, Sound Forge, Bryce, and more will use whatever you throw at them, and ask for more.

            • A_Pickle
            • 12 years ago

            I do too — I’m not saying no one does. I’m just saying… that by and large, quad-core is unnecessary for most people.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 12 years ago

      Today, it’s overkill. Tomorrow, it may be the minimum.

        • nerdrage
        • 12 years ago

        q[

          • indeego
          • 12 years ago

          Because by the time you find yourself needing it, you will already have it. Some people find this gamble worthwhileg{<.<}g ๐Ÿ™‚

          • StashTheVampede
          • 12 years ago

          It’s all about price, right? Why do you give a rats ass if your budget buys you 8 cores or 4? $1k buys you a quad machine, today. Next year, around this time, you *may* buy an 8 core machine for the same price.

      • greeny
      • 12 years ago

      Probably overkill for desktop apps, but who in their right mind would buy 8 coes to waste them on desktop apps. For people who do alot of 3D rendering work or have to compile big builds often 8 cores is more a convenience than overkill.

      • Shining Arcanine
      • 12 years ago

      Do you run Folding@Home?

      • sigher
      • 12 years ago

      Didn’t intel do whole shows on their IDF and such to show how wonderful things will be with quad cores?
      Demonstrating raytraced quake3 for instance.

    • Jon
    • 12 years ago

    AMD – 0 | The Rest of the Industry – 1

      • pikaporeon
      • 12 years ago

      which is firmly up from the -1 that QuadFX was

        • continuum
        • 12 years ago

        LMAO! I don’t think I could have said it better…

      • provoko
      • 12 years ago

      Quadfather and skulltrail aren’t points, they’re horrible products, I’m gald AMD came to their senses and got rid of it.

    • leor
    • 12 years ago

    opterons work fine in those boards, they should be able to drop barcelonas in there no probs, they just won’t be branded phenom.

    • Krogoth
    • 12 years ago

    It looks like AMD is getting a reality check.

    4×4 and Skulltrail are both mismarketed non-sense that only hardcore enthusiast with deep pockets would consider.

    I still expect Skulltrail to follow through at very limited quantities and hefty premiums.

      • snowdog
      • 12 years ago

      You mean like quad graphics cards??

        • provoko
        • 12 years ago

        Quad graphics may still be a good idea. Crossfire has shown to average 80% improvement with only 30-40 watts more. I’ve done SLI and only averaging 60% with a ton more watts, it was an okay experience, almost worth it.

        But those dumb fx chips and that quadfather was a horrible idea and wayyy too expensive. Intel’s skulltrail will be just as expensive. There’s no point, it’s a waste of money. Good thing AMD is getting rid of that.

          • snowdog
          • 12 years ago

          Still looks like lunatic fringe to me. Most adults would be embarrassed to have quad graphics cards.

          It strikes me as another silly waste of cash. You get diminishing returns on each card you add you need an expensive system (expensive quad motherboard, power supply to drive it). Then you have the massive price of decent card*4. Probably $1000 in graphics cards alone. 6 months later a single $500 card beats it.

          Oh and you get all that extra noise from a bunch of cooling fans on the cards running at similar speeds, and more case fans to get the hot air more. Higher electric bills.

          IMO anyone who buys four graphics cards is a moron with more money than brains.

            • provoko
            • 12 years ago

            You’re definitely right.

            But I think the idea is $229 now, 150 in a year, 100 in another, 65 in the end. Seeing how a normal upgrade is 250 every 12 to 18 months to play maximum settings, a quad crossfire solution could make sense.

            The noise and wattage is still ridiculous, don’t know what kind of PSU you need to supply all that in the first place, haha.

            That’s the problem with quadfather and skulltrail, too many cpus, power, and heat.

            • VILLAIN_xx
            • 12 years ago

            Its all a good idea if you want to heat up your entire house with your computer instead of using other utilities. As a bonus you can get that 60Fps in 2560×1600 for crysis finally.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 12 years ago

    That sure sucks for the 5 people who have those dual socket systems.

      • sigher
      • 12 years ago

      That comes down to 50% of AMD users currently though ๐Ÿ˜›

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