AMD's Naming Problem

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By EvilDoctorSmith
October 10, 2001

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I agree with you, this is the market (the business one), which AMD wants to grow (desperately?), but what does that last comment mean, are they not dependable? Oh yes, they blow up in smoke if you take the heatsink off :)


When most of your market is in white boxes, where you adorn your best silicon with the cheapest parts possible, you have a dependability problem no matter how good your product is. I used to build my own machines, but after a while I got tired of having to find drivers for antique hardware and trying to figure out why a bunch of my software did not work after I upgraded the OS. Are these problems the fault of AMD? No. They are the problems that are inherent in maintaining a white box system.

Now, I just buy a new computer every couple of years. It does not cost much more than putting together a white box system, but it comes with a complete warranty on all parts, and the parts have been tested together to ensure they are compatible. They also come with free support for a while. The software is an OEM load that has been rung out by many, many users over at least a few months, so it is probably good.

I used to have a Cyrix machine. It would fail on about every third boot, and was good for about 8 hours of use before it crashed. I currently have an AMD-based Compaq laptop - and I will never buy another Compaq again, and probably never buy a laptop with an AMD processor either. Is this because the AMD CPU is bad? I don't know. All I know is that the performance is horrible, probably because Compaq tends to use the cheapest parts possible in their low end machines, including the cheaper AMD processors.

A friend of mine who was upgrading his own white box recently had a number of heat-induced problems, but only when the room was warmer. That was one of the faster AMD machines at the time.

You almost certainly have an AMD machine and are happy with what you have. You have to understand that AMD has a bad reputation for reliability. Michael Dell has stated publicly that Dell does not use AMD processors for this reason. Is it true? I don't know. My direct experience does not make me eager to go out and buy an AMD machine over an Intel machine, no matter how fast AMD says their machine is. But the reputation for bad reliability is there, nevertheless.

As long as AMD stays in the white-box market predominately, they will have problems with reliability. It does not matter how good their hardware is. Unlike Intel, they do not carefully control all the parts that go into their machines. They have, in the past, allowed their "partners" to rush stuff to market before it was ready. Actually, since they don't exercise any control over their "partners," there was little they could do to stop them.

If AMD wants to develop a reputation for reliability, they need to spend a lot more effort making sure the machines their processors end up in are reliable too. This includes the white-box market. Since white-box machines tend to have an almost infinite number of combinations of different hardware and software, this is a very difficult thing to do.

They also need to have some sort of "AMD-certified" logo program that allows manufacturers to get their hardware certified to work with AMD parts. This way, AMD can exclude the cheaper parts from certification and save themselves from getting blamed for poor performance.

AMD has the reputation. It will stick with them until they do something about it.


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