iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Interview with
Reinhard Fabritz from AMD

<Q>: Good day, thank you for answering our questions. Let's start out interview in traditional way. Please, introduce yourselves and tell us briefly what you are dealing with in AMD.

<A>: My name's Reinhard Fabritz, I'm a Regional Marketing Manager, Eastern Europe.

<Q>: What's the reason for delay (or rather a complete absence on the shelves) of CPUs with 266MHz? For example, the Athlon 1.2 GHz, which was announced two months ago.

<A>: We are positioning the processors with 266 MHz bus for High-End solutions, one of the features of which is DDR memory. The memory is still too expensive (and we have some upper limit of cost of the systems), chipsets from the third manufacturers (such as VIA) are not ready yet since the boards on them (like in case of ALi) are not spread widely enough. So, under such conditions we think that it makes no sense to speed up shipping of the processors.

<Q>: By the way, as far as we know AMD set the price for the Athlon 1.2 GHz in $369. And this resulted in curious situation - for the first time a complete set - motherboard + CPU + RAM from Intel - is cheaper than the analog complete set (conditionally) from AMD. Intel, above all, has an advantage in frequency - the Pentium 4 with speed from 1.2 GHz to 1.5 GHz. The rule of "buying megahertz" has not been yet abolished. What is AMD' opinion on this situation?

<A>: Such comparison today is not completely correct, since, as I have already said, platforms with 266 MHz bus are not widely spread. Besides, mainboards on the AMD chipset (and the chipset itself) are created mostly for more active promotion of the technology itself than for mass sales. But we still have to wait for boards on the third manufacturers' chipsets - they will be much cheaper. Therefore, you should compare now the 1.2 GHz (200 MHz bus) Athlon + board on the KT133(A) + PC133 SDRAM. And performance of a such combination is very good (to the issue of "buying megahertz"). Moreover, availability of the Pentium 4 platforms is not obvious.

<Q>: What can you say on competition of the Athlon and Pentium 4 in performance in the second half of this year?

<A>: I do not doubt that we will be able to easily oppose the competitors in terms of real performance (and not in the "announced megahertz").

<Q>: How can you comment on the Athlon 1.2 GHz with a locked multiplier which has become available? Is that an intentional event or what? AMD is returning to an unlocked multiplier on their processors, or is that only dreams of fans of overclocking?

<A>: Let's leave it without comments. As far as overclocking is concerned, the percentage of users which are fond of overclocking, is so low that on the world scale we can just ignore this fact.

<Q>: Some words on overclocking. Considering the fact that the process of unlocking a multiplier on CPU SocketA is very easy (you need just a pencil or a special film), can you take off this irritating obstacle at all?

<A>: For comments on overclocking see above. AMD does not encourage overclocking and will never do it.

<Q>: Having lauched the 800 MHz Celeron, Intel, at last, shifted their low-end processors to the faster bus. Will AMD move Duron from 200MHz bus to 266 MHz one?

<A>: Duron - definitely won't. Morgan - probably, in the future. The difference in performance among older Duron models and younger Athlons is small enough for it.

<Q>: When will we see SMP boards based on the AMD760MP on sale?

<A>: Our partners have already got our samples. As for the market - in this year (most likely 3Q).

<Q>: Up to now AMD processors' success was connected mainly with the fact that VIA has presented a successful KT133 chipset, and mainboard manufacturers used it actively. As for migration to DDR - the KT266 from VIA was in great delay, ALi doesn't provide good performance. What can you say on this situation?

<A>: There is a definite delay with the chipsets availability, but we do not hurry VIA with their chipset.

<Q>: Having announced the XBOX, Microsoft made a good present for the vendors of components for it - it seems that sales volumes won't be small. In the official specification, though, it is not written that Intel processor is used, but AMD still has no a 733 MHz model... Do you consider it a defeat?

<A>: No, I don't think so. The comment is simple - if we even had won this tender, we haven't been able to provide the required volumes of these CPUs. To put it more precisely, we would have to work only for XBOX and completely refuse a PC market. We have chosen a PC market.

<Q>: How aggressively AMD plans to act on the mobile PC market?

<A>: We are strongly counting on this market. Our plans on mobile Palomino and Morgan prove it.

<Q>: How do you position yourselves on this market? Will you cover the whole range of solutions - from low to high-end or you will concentrate on one definite segment?

<A>: We will deal with mobile solutions from Low to High-End.

<Q>: Why did you need to launch a mobile Duron a few months before a release of the processors with PowerNow support!?

<A>: This processor is in requisition. Our contract with NEC proves it. The market always needs alternative solutions.

<Q>: Not so long time ago Intel announced that by 2005 they will be ready to introduce a processor with 10 GHz. What can AMD promise for that time?

<A>: We do not have so far-reaching theoretical designs. Our management, though, has some definite plans.

<Q>: Your estimation of PC market perspectives (as devices for games) and playstations (in such form as XBOX)? I mean will be there a sharp division - PC for working, playstations for games?

<A>: I think, no. PC will be used for games, and games for PC will be more advanced than for playstations (considering power increase of the modern computers).

<Q>: What are news on the Hammer family? And we are interested also in general AMD plans for the nearest future, at least tell us whether there is a clear strategy for the future. For example, Intel has IA32 architecture (Pentium 4) and IA64 one (Itanium), i.e. we understand where they are moving to. Does AMD have anything to oppose Intel in the long-term perspective?

<A>: The strategy is more than clear - the Hammer family (Sledgehammer for servers, Clawhammer for entry-level servers and high efficient work stations. Our aim is to enter the corporative market). And, as you know, our processors will provide perfect performance both on 32-bit applications.

<Q>: Intel has 4 bright CPU series - Celeron, P3, P4, Xeon, and AMD has only two. What do think: does it influence sales volume?

<A>: You have to take into account that two models out of four from Intel are intended for corporative market, where AMD is currently absent and, therefore, aims at nothing. And as for end user market, two our series (Athlon/Duron) simplifies a choice.

<Q>: What does the company think about excessive fragility of dies of the processors and are they are going to change anything in the nearest time?

<A>: We think that you should use ONLY recommended AMD coolers and you won't see any problems with fragility. Besides, as you might know, we produce box-versions of the processors, which already include a cooler.

<Q>: Does AMD plan to promote not a X86 compatible architecture? If no, then why? If yes, then what direction are you taking?

<A>: No, we think it makes no sense. In our opinion, the market for such solutions is too narrow.

<Q>: Are you going to undertake any steps for Retail-CPU market development?

<A>: Yes, as I have already said, we are shipping processors in retail-versions (in boxes).

<Q>: Will a migration from SocketA (Socket462) to a new socket take place and when?

<A>: Only for 64-bit processors.

<Q>: NVIDIA is preparing for entering the chipset market with their Crush. As far as I know, the chipset is intended for SocketA platforms, i.e. for AMD processors. Why doesn't NVIDIA prepare a chipset for the Intel processor - your data? Maybe the problem is that Intel doesn't want to contribute into LDT bus promotion?

<A>: No comments. Ask NVIDIA about it.

<Q>: Judging by our performance tests of solutions based on the AMD760 and ALi Magik1, DDR doesn't yield the expected performance gain. The question is whether AMD stakes on the right horse? Maybe they should promote Rambus technologies?

<A>: We think that at the intermediate stage (and further we can see DDR-II) the increase is high enough. The main problem lies in a too long process of price reduction for DDR memory. After all, AMD has licensed Rambus technology (it was announced more than a year ago), and if the market will turn to this side some time, we won't stay aside.

<Q>: It seems that chipset market for AMD is of little interest, and it is completely handed over to VIA company and others. In particular, it is proved by scanty possibilities of the AMD766 south bridge. Your comments?

<A>: AMD doesn't plan to make money on chipsets. The AMD760 was released exclusively for pushing the industry to the fast migration to the new technology. What concerns AMD766 functions, I think that it is incorrect to call it scanty, it's rather "ascetic", since it still has a support for popular ATA100 standards and 4 USB ports.

<Q>: Thank your for the answers!

<A>: Thank you for interesting questions and a possibility to tell about the company on the pages of the popular site.

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