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AMD blasts 'devious' Intel

Tired of being pushed around

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AMD today attempted to rescue some initiative in its battle with Intel with pot shots aimed its rival's server, desktop, and even developing world strategies.

At the San Francisco launch of the Vista-pushing 690G, AMD's first chipset since the integration of ATI, regaining momentum lost across the board by Intel unleashing its Core architecture last year was the aim of the game.

AMD almost pleaded with reporters not to swallow Intel's "dishonesty" with a set of stats claiming a discrepancy between the perception of Intel's performance advantage, and the reality. Score one for the Intel marketing department.

Disputing its larger rival's benchmarks, marketing honcho and company number three Henri Richard said: "It pains me when I see devious competitive moves published as fact."

AMD's marketing machine is already gearing up for its next generation quad core server product 'Barcelona', due in Q3 2007. Richard led the charge today, saying: "Barcelona is more of a killer product than Opteron was when it launched."

Computing products group executive vice president Mario Rivas chipped in, saying: "Our architecture is superior. It's not good enough to have your cores, they need to be able to communicate and access memory."

He repeated AMD data claiming Barcelona will beat Intel's quad-core Xeons by 42 per cent on floating-point operations. AMD didn't show integer operation comparisons, but under questioning Richard said the performance difference over Intel would be "very significant, clearly in the double digits."

AMD moved to squash mumbles of manufacturing problems with the R600 GPU, which has been delayed "a few weeks". It wheeled out a teraflop-capable desktop working off GPU-enabled "stream computing". Researchers at Stanford were already writing supercomputing applications for the beast, which has two R600s on board.

"R600 is doing very well and there's a reason we're going to launch it when we're going to launch it... I'll take the blame", Richard said.

Launching Direct X 10 chipsets piecemeal was not welcome among AMD's OEMs, and would not give the best economic value for the firm, despite the clamour for new kit from hardcore gamers and computing enthusiasts, he added.

The benefits of the ATI swallow filtering down the product range will pile pressure on Intel, he claimed. "We are the one with the balanced story. There's a leadership position in terms of what we've done with the ATI merger."

Away from the core businesses, AMD didn't miss the opportunuity to criticise Intel. The Eduwise effort "doesn't comprehend the whole problem" of sending IT to the developing world. One Laptop Per Child puts children and access at the centre of the changes needed, not teachers and software.

The AMD marketing chief praised the new Microsoft Office suite, but said the value of teaching kids in Uganda to use Powerpoint would prove limited.

"We're not trying to market to that environment, we're trying to change it," Richard said. He added that an offer made at the World Economic Forum in Davos to make AMD engineers available to collaborate on software for developing markets was bounced by Intel execs.

Richard summed up the scrappy briefing: "I'm tired of being pushed around by a competitor." ®

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