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Chicago AMD show (review)

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TheDS

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
Daytona Beach, Florida!
Well, let me start by saying it was a little better than last year's event, even though the chances of winning were a lot lower, BUT, AMD got really stingy on this too.

8:30 in the evening, ok, that lets people not miss work.

Having it at a place it took some effort to find (and then to find the way home), well, that could use a little work.

Having it indoors was a good idea, although it did get a little warm a little quick.

So I pre-register and I get my confirmation email and it says to print it out and so on, so fine, I print it out and bring it and the directions (which I had to find myself) and 3 friends with me, and when we get there an hour ahead of opening time (you never know how 80/94 is going to be), the girl at the door takes my invitation, and then wants my 3 friends to also produce them.

Uh, hey, isn't this open to the public? Fortunately, I didn't have to whine too long and she saw the wisdom of letting us all in, and I didn't have to threaten legal action or scalding reviews in every tech-site known to man. Nonetheless, since I already filled out the exact same thing on the web, why do I have to do it again?

So we're standing around for about half an hour, and they decide to go ahead and let us come up to where the show is. I was a bit surprised, after having read some of the horror stories elsewhere about being over-strict with the clock, and last year's event proved it to me first hand too. But they let us up, and the 3 boxes you put your tickets in weren't all that hard to find.

The machines they had set up were running UT2003, that Star Wars game (looked pretty neat too), and GTA3. There were a couple dozen machines of about 3 or 4 configs, but they all used crappy on-board video, and you could see that they were jumpy with any serious action, even at the low resolutions they were running at. The Intel boxes (there were a couple) were doubly poor video, but they used 845 chipsets, so I'd have to say that was Intel's fault for making such a lousy onboard video controller.

I managed to talk to the show's MC (before I knew that's who he was; sorry I don't remember anyone's name but my own) and ask about the website "booths" that were there. I saw 4 of them, all from loser sites, and wanted to know if there were any others. He mentioned a couple more that were not as bad, and then I asked about an Overclockers "booth", and he said "You're it!" So he announced abot them and had me be the center of attention for Overclockers.com.

He only mentioned us a couple times total (no matter how loud or often I screamed for more), and only about a dozen total people came over to where we were. Unfortunately, we had little to say to each other, except to agree the other sites represented were lamers, and that if any of us got called up there, we'd be sure to plug the site, but alas, we were foiled in that.

Well, we did talk about a few other things, but nothing really earth shattering. One of the guys had a VIP badge, and I asked him about what they showed him behind the curtains, and he will be posting later to tell you what that was. Maybe he'll even notice this post and append it here...?

There looked to be about a 1 in 10 chace of winning (40 giveaways and 400 or so people), and of course, I didn't win, nor could I catch any of the stuff that was thrown (not that I woulda wanted a hat or shirt anyway). You woulda thought that MC guy might-woulda called me up to the stage like he did a few other people and have me extoll the virtues of AMD.

Well, there were drawings, and of course, everyone booed when their numbers weren't called, but it's not like it was a madhouse or anything. It was good-natured booing.

So they have the Jeopardy thing, and it's hard to hear the questions, and they did get at least one of the answers wrong. The contestants were not too bad; they occasionally knew answers that the whole crowd didn't! But the crowd seemed to like shouting out what they thought was the right answer, or a really ridiculous wrong answer.

Finally, they do the system build-off, and this is where AMD really dropped the ball. Apparently they didn't like the idea of awarding $500 to the guy that smoked a power supply, because now the had a rule that if your computer doesn't power up and boot up without any problems, you are out. Surely you all know the one thing you are 50% likely to screw up, no matter how good you get.

Go ahead, take a guess.

Even a seasoned professional like me makes this mistake occasionally, because FLOPPY DRIVES do not always conform to the standards that other devices conform to. How often do you get keyed cables? How often is the drive's connections proerly keyed? And how often does pin1 go next to the power lead, like it always does for IDE or SCSI?

And both contestants got screwed out of their priizes because of this. They got just $100 (and maybe a processor), instead of the $500 or $2500 they should have been able to compete for.

HOW FROGGING LAME IS THAT, AMD????!!! Are you so broke that you have to rip off two of your fans, and make the rest of us, who so obviously know more about computers than probably anyone you sent to that show, feel like we too have been cheated? This is totally inexcuseable! I feel like I was the one up there who got his drawers dropped and had something placed someplace it didn't belong! This is an outrage!

Is it really so hard to put on a good show? Do you think these pep rallies are going to convert anyone? I came away feeling quite disillusioned with AMD. So much so that I may make my next processor purchase from some other company. I may even do the unthinkable, and just give up computers altogether! You guys really need to get your act together, and you need to give your contestants a chance to compete, and not to try so hard to make them look like fools.

Other than that disgrace, and the brief huzzaw getting in, it was not a terrible show, but it WAS just a pep rally. There was nothing to be learned there by anyone, except maybe the VIPs. And that I didn't win anything (Ok, I was given some mints, a dangly badge, and could've gotten a CD that looked rather useless, and had a couple snack-looking things.) and that they kept bringing out Diet Coke when no one wanted to drink it, and the food disappeared way too quickly.

I don't see how these pep rallies are doing anything favorable for AMD. The turnout is "small" (about 400), they only contacted people who were part of the previous contest and didn't want people from off the street, they didn't educate anyone about anything, and that's SOP for these things. Throw in the bogus excuse for a contest, and you've got to wonder who's running the show at AMD?

But the girls were all cute (especially "Sticker Girl").

No one else on any other forum I found wanted to tell people what kind of hardware was available for the choosing. They had the XP2000 and XP2200. They had 256M of PC2700 and 128M of.... couldn't tell, but it was probably PC2100. And they had 3 video cards, a GF MX (worthless), a GF4200, and I don't know what the third was, but it might have been a GF4400.

The prices were ridiculously high, but it looked like you would want to put together the 128M RAM with the GF4200 and the XP2200. If that went over budget, then use the XP2000 instead. You go with that faster RAM and the tiny speed gain you get means you gotta go with the MX card, which will toally end your game.

There were 3 benchmarks they were going to use. PCMark2002, UT2003, and Serious Sam. They would pick 1 of them, and then use that to see who the winner was, but they weren't going to tell you which they picked until after the system was built, so it's no good trying to figure out in advance what to pick and scour sites for benchmarks.

Hopefully, this post will help some one to win when otherwise they would get ripped off, and of course, hopefully the winner will be an Overclocker, and of course, hopefully they will be grateful enough to me to send me some of the money they win.
:burn:
 

Guero

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2001
Location
Bartlett, IL (Chicago 'Burbs)
Yeah I totally agree with your review. I was burning up since they had the heat full blast. I wish they raffled off the processors sooner since I took off at 10pm. I needed some sleep since Sunday night I had 10 pints :beer: and 5 hours of sleep. I recognized Thelemac and SpeeDj so I gave them my raffle tickets and bolted for the door. I was damn tired and just wanted to get out of there.
 

Detho9000

Registered
Joined
Feb 15, 2002
Location
Chicago IL
I was also at the pep rally...err Amd show
I totally agree, it was pretty lame. I got a VIP pass because I work for a company called CompuCom and they're a HUUUUGE compaq/HP distributor, reseller and service center. The VIP thing wasn't all the great, we got free munchy style food, free pop and they gave away 10 processors.
2
I also think that if you win 1 processor you shouldn't be able to win any more. This one goober from the [H] forums walked away with 2 or 3 processors!! WTF?!?!

Last year they called one number above and below my number....the same thing happened this year *sigh*.

But the AMD chicks were all pretty hot....so that's nice.

-D9K
 

WarriorII

Moderator #666
Joined
Nov 13, 2001
Location
Moderating
I went to the Phoenix, AZ pep-rally.

From what you described in Chi-town, it was exactly the same thing all over.

Disipointing, amusing if nothing else.

Thanks fo such an indepth review.

:cool:
 

Darkseid

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2001
Location
Argentina
who cares about the show, i want pics of the chicks!!

and detho9000:
"Hindsight is always 20-20, But looking back it's still a bit fuzzy" -Megadeth sweating bullets

Megadeth Rulez!!!! (Big Fan)
 

Deadphishy

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
Location
Royal oak, Mi
the one in detroit was the same way. is was horrible, All the could say is Recommend amd, but they never really told use anything new. infact they barly even talked about the performence.
 

kevmarks

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2002
Location
Chicago
read my little rant of the event here. Sorry about the duplicate thread. Was this one around when I posted mine?

I met TheDG, and a few other overclockers while I was there. I agree, the hardware there was very lame. It's was nice to breifly meet you guys.

The only cool thing was I got to see the whole AMD Me TV ad on those cool flat screen TV's.
 

SpeeDj

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2000
Location
Milwaukee, WI
Well my review is going to be a bit different being that I was at last years show, you know the one where it was below zero and I stood outside from 2:30AM till 8:00AM watching 70Yr old grandparents walk off with Mobo's and processor's without a friggen clue what they were getting, just to get something for free. So here is my assesment;

They did an awesome job, making it a place that as they said, guys in the know would find. Yeah it was a bit difficult DeltaSierra - Duane and I had a tough time finding Kingsbury, but once we found it we got right in. Registration, I liked that alot! That made sure that if you just 'showed' up it was a bit more difficult for you. Guy's like that guy from [H] who walked away with three processor's still disgust me, but hey...

Having displays set up where you could actually play with some Intel vs AMD rigs was totally sweet, never knew how smooth those nForce's could be. I may just pick up an nForce2 for a lan rig. HP was there, Sony was there it was cool. I was a bit disappointed that being that O/C Forums are originally out of the Chicago area that we weren't represented we could probably solve that by calling AMD and requesting that we are. Anandtech, Tom's, and [H] got their own little cafe table's to meet up around. Yes we did get some plugs in for O/C both Daman and I were wearing our O/C Polo's thanks go out to Red_Hot_Machine, and his mother for those, THEY ROCK!

On to the next point, yeah it was a bit mobbish, but not at all unlike a pep rally, all in all it was very cool I would rather too hot then freezing to death like last year. I mean I like AMD don't get me wrong, just not enough to freeze for :p

It was great to meet some more of you guys, after having the picnic this year and meeting up at Cedar point, it has been a great year of meeting you guys, and I hope it can continue on! Always nice to meet some fellow O/C guys I hope at the next one we can start drowning out the [H] guys... The system building elimination was a bit horrid yes, but if those guys weren't so clueless they wouldn't have needed coaching and yes STICKER GIRL ROCKED! :D The building of the PC I agree was a bit bunk so to speak, the floppy drive fail thing can and does happen to anyone, I think if it is supposed to be such a 'modern' pc then why did it even have a floppy? But hey they both walked away with a free 100$ and a 2200+ what more can you ask for? :)

To top it all off... I WON! That's right, I was the ABSOLUTE LAST NUMBER they called, I couldn't believe it! Thanks go out to Mike for checking my ticket to make sure I wasn't nuts! I got a genuine T-Bred A 2200+ I couldn't be happier!

All in all it's getting to be a MUCH better event, who know's what next years will bring ? But I surely hope it will bring more guys from O/C down there :p

Thanks go to all of you for posting up links to event's like this! And again thanks for meeting the new face's I got to meet last night! :)

J :cool:
 

Guero

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2001
Location
Bartlett, IL (Chicago 'Burbs)
Glad to hear someone won something from OC forums. That second group of people for Battle of the Boxes did not seem to know much. The female up there said she had no itention of building a computer. Why enter the Battle of the Boxes when you are clueless? A bunch of people were feeding her answers and she almost won. Also the floppy drives should be marked somewhere to tell you where pin 1 is. Probably on the green pcb where the connector is. I think if you are trying to win $2,500 and you need to do it right the first time, you better pay attention. Obviously getting it to run would have won the money regardless of the components.

I say we bring some chairs and a cooler filled with :beer: next year. That way we will party and see how well we do playing GTA.
 

Gnerma

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2002
Location
Bakersfield, CA - USA
I feel like I was the one up there who got his drawers dropped and had something placed someplace it didn't belong! This is an outrage!
:D

That is uber lame that they did not give out the cash to the contest participants.. not enough for me to give up computing of course. Perhaps they could have taken that money they didn't give to them and give out 30 more processors eh?
 

kevmarks

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2002
Location
Chicago
I don't see how these pep rallies are doing anything favorable for AMD

I agree, There is not enough there for the hard core enthusiast. Like I said in my rant, there was nothing there that you could not have seen in BestBuy 6 months ago. :(

Way to cheap and cheesy to be a coporate event type thing.

How come we were not looking at things like this?

opteron-asus.jpg


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It would have been nice to see some hammer motherboards like that!!!
 

SOShootME

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Location
St. Peters, Mo.
I attended the AMD show in St. Louis on Nov. 14th. I thought the event was much nicer than standing out in the cold early in the morning, but it was the second year in a row I did not win a CPU. :( However, I did come away with an AMD hat. :)

Both build off contestants picked the exact same components, so the AMD MC said it was basically a "who gets done first" contest and no benchmarks would be needed. The guy who won the build-off completed his PC in around 18 minutes and it worked, so he got the $2500 . The guy who came in second could not get his to boot, but niether could the AMD techs who were checking it out. It looked to me like it did not have to boot the first time, I saw both of them attempt at least one power up and then go back into the box to make adjustments. At least that's the way it looked. I could be wrong.

They had a $449 budget to purchase a CPU, Video card and memory. I took a picture of the price list, so here are the exact choices they had :

CPUS:
Xp2000 $155
Xp2200 $183

Graphics Card:
Nvidia GF4 MX $119
Nvidia GF4 Ti4200 $220
Nforce integrated video $0 (free)

Memory:
256meg PC2700 $125
128meg PC2100 $50

No overclocking or BIOS adjustments are allowed, but that didn't matter in this case since they both had the same hardware picked out.

Both contestants chose the Xp2000, Ti4200 and 2 sticks of the PC2100 for a total of $475. Both guys looked like they knew what they were doing, and were really finished at the same time. The guy that lost was complaining to the AMD folks about something being wrong with the hardware. I was only about 5 feet from the discussion but they had the damn music playing so loud that I could not hear what was being said.


Later guys,

[A3D]SOShootME
 

RoadWarrior

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Location
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Hum how did they get away with going up to 475, when they were meant to spend 449?? Sounds like I'd have stuck by the 449 and lost. I might have decided to be a little different and try the 2200 and 2x2700 and onboard graphics, because that might have been "good enough" in serious Sam and probably best by quite a margin in PC mark, prolly lame in UT against anything with the ti4200 in though. I would have been hoping that the board would set the RAM to run at 166 by SPD automagically if no tuning was allowed. I've got a feeling that they might have chosen the benchmark that shows off thier best CPU better, so if I'd have built a system to own in PCMark they might have chosen that as the benchmark to run on promotional principles. I'm sure they don't really want to say, "look you don't need our fastest CPU, you need nVidias gfx instead" However, that's all hot air and idle speculation.

Road Warrior
 

SOShootME

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Location
St. Peters, Mo.
DOH!! Yep... my bad Road,

I guess they each only took one stick of PC2100. I know that niether took the PC2700, and I just assumed they took two of the other. I guess I should have checked the math on that and I would have seen my mistake all on my own. Especially since I had listed the spending limit right there in my post. :(

No wonder my daughter asks mom for help with her homework.
 
OP
TheDS

TheDS

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
Daytona Beach, Florida!
Hey, can you blame me for being really happy? I've written some pretty heavy posts now and then on a few boards that, compared to the junk I see sometimes, should have been front page news. This time, I definitely got something that everyone would want to read and everyone else who was there decided to go to bed and post theirs in the morning. So I scooped y'all!


SOShootME said:
DOH!! Yep... my bad Road,

No wonder my daughter asks mom for help with her homework.

ROTFLOL :D

Wish I coulda seen all that and had written it down. Seemed to me like that was the best combination of components, but I wasn't sure if it would go overbudget or not.

Maybe they had a different MC this time, or maybe he just got tired of giving out crappy hardware, or maybe he had a headache and wanted to go home. I dunno. But it was pretty crappy for him to say you can only touch the power button once. I have no idea what the contestants put together here.