A Sucker Born Every Minute

Computer shows are for people too lazy to keep themselves informed day-by-day.

Computex is a Taiwanese show that essentially tells us what to expect for the fall and winter.

For many if not most computer-related items, the Internet essentially obsoleted the need for trade shows for those who stay on top of the subject.

Trade shows are also essentially PR sprees. I can read PR items here. Why go 11,000 miles just to hear somebody mouth the same things, and not answer the tough questions? I can just read the press releases out loud and refuse to answer my own questions without moving an inch. 🙂

Hammer Motherboards Will Be Made. So?

Hammer should be out sometime in the fall or (more likely) winter. Not surprisingly, there will be motherboards for it. Did you expect anything else?

This is not news for two reasons.

First, anybody paying any attention to this area would have known that chipset and mobo makers all had Hammer plans.

Second, this is what AMD is supposed to do. It’s only real news if it doesn’t happen.

Get Hot For Babes, Not Boards

(Substitute “bulls” if so inclined. :))

I’m seeing a disturbing trend to put up pictures of products up for (admiration? salivation?? idolization???) with little or no written information. Like it were porn or something.

Welcome to boardography.

Someone once said a picture is worth a thousand words, but he never saw a picture of a mobo.

I mean, really, what do you get out of that? Paradoxically, you have to be extremely sick (i.e., magnify the pictures and try to identify components) to extract any useful information (like identifying specific chips) out of it (sometimes).

I wouldn’t mind the pictures so much if there were also some steak to go along with the sizzle, but pictures without real information is just a triumph for either public relations and/or post-literacy.

A motherboard is not a babe. It’s not a sex substitute. It’s a tool, a high-tech screwdriver. You should not get hot and bothered over how it looks. I don’t care how it looks. If somebody came up with a mobo that looked like a steaming turd, but did 10 or 20% better than anything else, I’d buy it in a second. I’d just put a paper bag over it. 🙂

When you see tons of pictures and milligrams of new information, you’re getting journalistic junk food. All it does is give public relations free publicity (and maybe feeds a fetish).

Pour Some Cold Water And Ask . . .

In any case, we know most of the technical specifications for Hammer and its mobos already, but there’s a few outstanding items which the mobo makers should have answers to at this point.

For instance, do any of the mobos that will support the Athlon Clawhammers support dual-channel DDR? If some of them do, then we’ll know the Athlon Clawhammer does. If none of them do, somebody should ask if this means that the Athlon Clawhammer (as opposed to its big brothers) has just a single-channel memory controller.

This piece of information actually will mean something to future customers, more than the color of the PCB. And, gee, sorry, you can’t show it with another picture. This is why we still need words.

Hype or Horse . . . ?

Another theoretically useful reason to go to these shows is to get some glimpse of how well products might actually perform rather than look, but of course, that’s ridiculous since the Hammers being demoed are running at only 800 or 900MHz.

There is this amazing set of statements by an AMD person in the article:

“Heye provided some guidance on the performance of the Clawhammer. Although the final speed in high performance systems which will be sold in December of this year is top secret, he said that sample CPUs in the hands of the mainboard makers are all locked at 800MHz. The reason for this, he said, was that he didn’t want his partners overclocking chips and so providing “great expectations” which AMD probably couldn’t meet.”

The amazing part was that he had the nerve to spout such nonsense.

This chip has been guesstimated to run at about 2GHz. You get that by taking a 3400+ PR rating and working your way backwards with the estimated improvements AMD has provided for the chip.

This is hardly “top secret,” as illustrated by this cartoon.

It makes absolutely no sense that a manufacturer could overclock early silicon running at just 800MHz to speeds that AMD can’t match with the final product. 1800MHz I could see, but not 800MHz.

Comments like this do not help AMD. They hurt them by making people wonder if AMD is having real problems with the chip.

If you’re not going to answer something, if you’re going to BS, at least don’t raise more doubts about the product in the process.

Where’s The Horse?

Nobody’s going to buy a Hammer for six months. The Thoroughbreds are supposed to be introduced next week. From what I’ve seen so far, though, this is the Unknown CPU.

Why? Was AMD unable to get it to run slow enough so as not to outshine the Hammer?

This is bizarre. Thoroughbred is the product that’s going to have to get AMD through the next six months against the growing Intel offensive, if not longer. Yet AMD is treating it like it’s the crazy aunt in the attic.

Maybe AMD doesn’t think people can hold two different CPUs in their heads at the same time, and they plan Thoroughbred Thursday at Computex, but it’s still a very curious absence given the KT400 and nForce2 boards that will be out in a couple months.

I guess CPUs from two different companies is completely out of the question; all you read about Intel is that they’re all over the exhibit, but nothing specific.

And nobody there wonders about this? I guess they’re too busy scoping out hot boards. 🙂

Those boards must be hotter than Britney.


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