HPCwire brings AMD's year of tears into perspective

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HPCwire editor Michael Feldman has done an outstanding job of putting together all of the pieces that AMD has broken over this past year and telling us what it means. If you’re looking for a smart, coherent overview of what went wrong this year read Michael’s article.

A few choice paragraphs about what all this means for HPC

According to the folks at TACC, the Opteron bug is not impacting the new Ranger supercomputer installation. The deployment there is now in full swing. Early users are being brought up on the system this week, with full production slated for next month. No word on which fix [there are both BIOS and Linux patches for the problem] they used for the TLB problem.

Cray is moving forward on its Opteron-based supercomputer deployments as well. Apparently they chose to use the Linux workaround to avoid the TLB bug. “[O]ur early performance tests show that there is virtually no performance impact when using the Linux operating environment software,” stated Cray CEO Peter Ungaro. “In cooperation with AMD, we are running more tests and working closely with our early quad-core customers to determine delivery plans.”

Michael goes on to outline what AMD is saying is its focus for 2008: capturing volume and revenue in the desktop, notebook, mobile, and HDTV markets. Does this mean we’re going to lose them in HPC?

As far as the enterprise and HPC space goes, AMD claims it will not let Intel claim the high ground for the x86. “Hell no,” replied Mario Rivas, AMD executive vice president of the Computing Products Group, when asked if the company was going to cede the high end to its bigger rival.

I’m not sure how they’re going to make good on that. Right now the company is planning to release their 45nm process (“Shanghai”) in “mid 2008” with a new quadcore Opteron. But this will only be 1 or 2 quarters after the ramp up of the current 65nm process, and if customers believe the Shanghai date they probably won’t buy quad Opterons in bulk, further depressing the company’s financials. Of course, right now the smart money isn’t betting on them making the Shanghai date.


  1. “…and if customers believe the Shanghai date they probably won’t buy quad Opterons in bulk, further depressing the company’s financials.”

    Right now I do not think that the customers believe in any date that AMD is putting out right now. “mid-2008” is likely to mean “2H2008” which likely means limited supply in December 2008 with volume shipments for sometime in 2009.