Spin Doctors Or Quacks? . . .

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AMD hasn’t quite finalized the Thoroughbred yet. AMD won’t be putting out the Thoroughbred for a while yet. AMD is being quoted as saying they’ll start shipping the end of the month.

Confusing, isn’t it?

AMD announces an XP2100+ Palomino processors at Cebit, and apparently makes ECS take down their earlier Thoroughbred claim. Now the BIOS update just says, “Support AMD New CPU”

Nobody’s gotten around to laying the smackdown on Asus, though, since this BIOS update for the A7V266-E says . . .

Support CPU 1733MHz (XP 2100+) and 1800Mhz (XP 2200+).

Support Thoroughbred AMD CPU.

. . . and this BIOS update for the A7N266-E says:

Support AMD XP 2100+/2200+ CPU.

Revise code for some PCI cards resource conflict.

Support New AMD XP 1800+ CPU(0.13).

Can all these stories be reconciled?

What’s Probably Happening

AMD is probably ready to release Thoroughbreds to OEMs pretty soon, but not to the reseller channels for a while yet, at least not officially. AMD has done that occasionally in the past so that machines with those CPUs will be available on launch date.

We’ve seen two references to XP1800+ Thoroughbreds, so they’re probably going out. In all likelihood, at least some of them will be the processors that don’t quite meet AMD’s standards as XP2200+, much as the 1.6A and 1.8A Northwoods were meant as the dumping grounds.

Of course, if yields are good, excess XP2200+ will be downbinned.

In all likelihood, the first we’ll see of them will come from the white market if and when OEMs shed excess inventory. I would consider 1800+ the slowest speed we’ll see from a Thoroughbred; there could well be 1900+, 2000+ and 2100+ Thoroughbreds popping up, too.

Those who make a lot of OEM boards (like ECS and Asus) need to update their BIOSes to accommodate their OEM customers sooner than those who don’t.

So I expect that sometime in late April somebody’s going to write me and say they just got this XP with a rectangular CPU core and what the hell is it?

If I’m an overclocker, at this stage in the game, I don’t buy a processor until that starts happening. While I don’t think we’ll see miracles from these things, 0.13 micron chips can hardly do worse than the current 0.18, and with 1800+s below $150 at the moment; it looks to be worth waiting for.

Stop Playing Games

A company should have respect for its customers. It shouldn’t leave them in the dark. It shouldn’t play games when their customers end up being the losers. What it really shouldn’t do is act like their company operates by the seat-of-their-pants. That is just not going to cut it in the corporate world.

Let’s say I’m an IT buyer for a Fortune 500 company. Let’s say just a month ago, I decide to give AMD a chance this buying round. I ask them what my upgrade paths are if I buy XP systems now and get a combination of “I don’t know” “We haven’t figured that out yet” and/or “We can’t tell you.”

I go to Intel and I find out I’ll be good to go at least through Northwood. Might not be the answer I’d prefer to hear, but at least it’s better than “I don’t know.”

If you say, “Well, AMD would tell the Fortune 500 guy anything he’d want to know,” then why won’t they tell you? Combined, you buy a lot more systems than the Fortune 500 fellow ever will.

Email Ed

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