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A Day In The Life: AMD’s Execs

Sometime last week, in AMD’s boardroom:

AMD Exec 1: Members of the board, I have good news. We’re on schedule to deliver five new processors for our Phenom II line next week!

Board Member 1: That’s great news! What are the specs on them?

AMD Exec 2: First, we’ve got the the X4 910, which is essentially an X4 920 that’s been underclocked by .2 GHz. Then there’s the X4 810, which is the same speed as the X4 910, but it has 4MB of L3 cache instead of the 6 MB that’s standard on everything above it. Next is the X4 805, which has the 4 MB L3 cache like the 810, only it’s got a speed of 2.5 GHz. After that we’ve got two X3 models, which are X4s but with a core disabled. The X3 720 is clocked at 2.8 GHz, and it’s got the 6 MB L3 cache that the 900-series processors do, but 1.5 MB for the L2 cache instead of 2 MB like the others. The X3 710 has the same cache sizes as the 720, but it’s sitting at 2.6 GHz instead of 2.8. Finally, all the new processors are-

Board Member 1: That’s… confusing. Why do they vary in cache size and clock speed, but without any sort of logic to it? The 900 series should be the highest-spec’ed, followed by the 800 series, and finally the 700 series. That just makes sense.

AMD Exec 1: We would totally do that-

AMD Exec 2: -Totally do it.

AMD Exec 1: But we can’t.

Board Member 2: And why not?

AMD Exec 2: Well, here’s the thing: we can’t afford the R&D to actually design other processors.

AMD Exec 1: So we’re taking all the Phenom II chips with defects and then renaming them based on what’s wrong with them. The 800 series has jacked-up cache, but all the cores are fine, and the 700 series has cache that’s fine, but a core that doesn’t work.

Board Member 2: So we’re doing this to avoid wasting any chips, right?

*awkward silence 1*

AMD Exec 2: …Yes?

Board Member 1: And what else were you going to say about the processors earlier?

AMD Exec 2: Oh! Got a couple things. First, they’re all AM-3 chips, so they work on our newest socket, and you can use DDR-3 RAM with them! Pretty sweet, right?

Board Member 3: Uh… Sure. How much does that increase performance?

AMD Exec 1: It doesn’t.

Board Member 1: Not even a little?

AMD Exec 1: Nope, not a bit.

Board Member 3: Then I guess it reduces cost?

*awkward silence 2*

AMD Exec 2: It’s actually more expensive for the consumer.

Board Member 3: I thought we were trying to be competitive by providing a more affordable solution than Intel.

AMD Exec 1: We totally are-

AMD Exec 2: -Totally, man. Super affordable.

Board Member 2: But we’re also matching them on some specifications?

AMD Exec 1: Took the words out of my mouth.

AMD Exec 2: We gotta be competitive, otherwise we lose market share. Learned that in economics.

Board Member 3: So we’re being competitive… in things that don’t increase performance.

AMD Exec 1: You nailed it, bro.

AMD Exec 2: Stickin’ it to them where it hurts!

*Board Member 4, previously silent and tapping away on his Blackberry, screams and jumps out the nearest window*

Board Member 1: What else is different on these chips?

AMD Exec 1: Yeah, uh, we increased the un-core clock to 2.0 GHz from 1.8, and lowered the thermal envelope to 95 watts from 125.

AMD Exec 2: We’re gonna say our chips are going green!

Board Member 2: Finally, something good. How soon can we incorporate these changes into the first two processors we released, the 940 and 920? They’re the most powerful processors we have, so they have to get these improvements.

AMD Exec 2: We can’t really afford to do that.

AMD Exec 1: Yeah, can’t really afford it.

Board Member 3 (now trembling with rage): And why not?

AMD Exec 1: Well, we reduced our production output below demand to reduce our chip stockpiles.

AMD Exec 2: Totally cut storage costs!

AMD Exec 1: Only now, we don’t have any extra chips, and we’re not selling as much as we could.

AMD Exec 2: Revenue is down, bro.

AMD Exec 1: So we don’t really have enough money to change the 940 and 920. Not yet, anyway.

Board Member 1: But we’ll be able to do it by the second quarter, right?

AMD Exec 2: You’re funny, man.

AMD Exec 1: He is, isn’t he? Yeah, not gonna happen. We have to put all our extra cash into researching something that’s competitive with Intel’s Core i7 line.

AMD Exec 2: Those things are beast, man.

Board Member 2: And how long has Core i7 been on the market?

AMD Exec 1: Since November 2008.

Board Member 3: And we still don’t have anything to match them? When will we get something comparable?

AMD Exec 1: Never, I think.

AMD Exec 2: Yeah man, they’re way beyond us. Lightyears, you might say.

*Collective sigh from the board*

Board Member 1: Moving on… what do the new chips cost to produce?

AMD Exec 1: Just as much as the 940 and 920, since they’re all 258 mm^2.

Board Member 2: But we’re selling them for less?

AMD Exec 2: You got it, bro. Got to maintain that market share.

Board Member 3: So our choices right now are to lose revenue, or lose market share?

AMD Exec 1: Totally read my mind.

AMD Exec 2: You’re a freakin’ genius, man.

Board Member 1: God help us.

*AMD stock plummets when everyone realizes this*


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February 9, 2009 - Posted by | Humor, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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