The Elusive AMD Barcelona
When we attended the press briefing just over a month ago on the Quad Core AMD Opteron (Barcelona) processor, we were told unequivocally that AMD will launch the long-delayed processor in August and in quantity, come hell or high water. Yields were said to be good, and everything was on track for an August launch, with the desktop Phenom processors coming soon after.
We were ecstatic. It was like being told that 3D Realms was finally going to release Duke Nukem Forever! Never mind the fact that they did not have a working system to demonstrate to us, even so close to the launch date. Instead, AMD gave us some simulated benchmarks that showed the 2.6 GHz Quad-Core AMD Opteron smashing the Intel Xeon 5355 to bits in both SPECint and SPECfp.
Unfortunately (for AMD), that was quickly debunked by George Ou of ZDNet as misleading and deceptive. You can read more about it here and here. The issue drew a lot of outrage in the online tech community that saw it as an attempt by AMD to hoodwink the press in less-developed* countries. After all, AMD had already retracted the results 10 days prior to the press briefing. If that was their intent, then the borderless Internet sure put paid to those aspirations.
To their credit, AMD US was quick to address the issue, but as soon as they found out we are not based in the US, they dropped us like a hot potato. You can literally hear Homer go "Woohoo!" We haven't heard from them since.
AMD's local PR took over at that point and assured us that it was all a big misunderstanding and that they did not intend for the retracted results to be issued to us. Frankly, we had to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, it really could be a misunderstanding. Maybe they didn't get the memo about removing the simulated results. We just hope that they also informed the other media covering the event about the "mistake".
They did promise that they would send us the "correct, updated" benchmark results for us to share with you soon. But that was almost a month ago, and we have not heard from them since. No "correct, updated" benchmark results have materialized. I don't think even George has received anything new from AMD. Certainly, our e-mails to the local rep have gone unanswered. What should we read in the deafening silence from AMD? Tell us what YOU think.
* Our compatriots just across the Causeway in Singapore (hardly a Third World country, right?) were fed the same "simulated" benchmarks.
It's Already August
It's already mid-August and there has been no news of the Quad-Core Opteron being launched. AMD has just under two weeks to launch the Quad-Core Opteron before they miss their August deadline. Just yesterday, I discussed this with some folks in the industry. The consensus was that AMD would renege on their August promise and only deliver the Quad-Core Opteron in September.
The Phenom desktop processors? Why... AMD has not even released details on these processors, much less benchmarks (simulated or otherwise) and final launch dates. It's likely we will not see these processors until the end of the year, or even possibly early 2008.
However, we also learned that AMD is going to hold a hush-hush press briefing in Singapore (and I expect, in many other cities around the world as well) next Saturday. So mark the date August 23, 2007 on your calenders. They are definitely going to announce something then.
Little is known about the press briefing because it's under NDA and all. It could be the long-awaited launch of the Quad-Core Opteron processors, or it could be a press briefing on the Phenom desktop processors. But we at Tech ARP will not be at the event because AMD has deigned to invite us. Oh, that is such a surprise...
Ahh.. We have some feedback from both AMD and George! Let's check out what they have to say on the next page.