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TheInquirer: 'Why AMD should merge with Nvidia'

Discussion in 'ATI' started by NV55, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. NV55

    NV55 Guest

    Why AMD should merge with Nvidia

    Comment: To save us from Intel

    By Axonn Echysttas

    TO QUOTE A famous expression: "there can be only one". Looking at how
    things shape up for AMD and Nvidia, it's rather obvious to see that in
    the future there can be only one.

    To battle Intel and its upcoming technologies, it's going to take a
    lot more than what AMD or Nvidia can offer on their own. They need to
    form a very close cooperation or even fuse into one single, across-the-
    board company.

    Daamit is in big trouble with its CPU line and Nvidia is in big
    trouble with... pretty much everything. But AMD has a big debt coming
    along with it and Graphzilla is far from being the richest boy in the
    classroom. However, they're both green, so check one on the
    compatibility list.

    Technology match
    Not only in colour are the two companies a good match. Now that Ruiz
    is gone, maybe a bit of common ground can be found. If only Huang can
    forget about his ego for a few moments, only enough to realize that a
    common future is a much better path than a separate future. Daamit has
    a very nice engineering potential as well as several fabs in its
    pocket. It has the most efficient GPU to date and a CPU line to go
    with it, embattled as it may be. Nvidia on the other hand, can fill in
    the high performance GPU gaps and can offer additional chipset know-
    how. Together, they have what it takes to deliver strong single and
    multi GPU technologies, a very complete physics support for gaming
    purposes and a great GPGPU range. AMD already delivered Puma, a
    unified mobile platform. Together with Nvidia, they can put the
    pressure on Intel, big time. They got Fusion coming up, Nvidia has
    Physx and if they work together that can mean a world of pain for
    Chipzilla.

    A blue future
    Arguably, Intel has all the aces right now. It's going to be a blue
    future for the IT world, but also a blue mood for Envydia and Daamit
    if Intel can make things work in reality the way they currently work
    on paper. And, unfortunately for the greenies, in the past few years
    Intel has actually made things work even better in reality than what
    they promised in slide shows. The upcoming discrete GPU from Intel,
    Larrabee as well as the upcoming Nehalem assault should give Damvidia
    a lot to think about.

    For now, there is no reason to think that Intel's new aspirations in
    the GPU market will be a fluke. Of course, there is no reason to think
    otherwise either. Larrabee is an unknown factor right now. But Intel
    has proven many a times that even though it might be a fresh entrant
    into a given arena, it can make up for the lost experience extremely
    fast. This is a very agile and versatile competitor, definitely not to
    be underestimated. Huang knows that and that's the reason he's so
    passionate about Intel lately.

    Under the belt
    What's even more worrying is the fact that Intel will undoubtedly hit
    both green camps under the belt with Larrabee. For now, they appear to
    accept the fact that rasterization is still hip in the gaming world,
    but Larrabee has the potential to do much more, they made sure we all
    know that. First of all, there's raytracing. This may be the ultimate
    in providing super realistic graphics and fantastic special effects.
    and Intel is banging the war drum on this subject. Nvidia and AMD have
    nothing in this area as of right now and they will pretty much wake up
    not only being beat at their own game, but even falling behind with a
    few years from a technological point of view.

    To this, we must add Intel's know-how in the field of chip design.
    Larrabee is already supposed to be multi-core, and very powerful too.
    Think about the raw amount of power offered by the beast as well as
    the efficiency with which that power will be used. These things alone
    should be more than enough reason to worry for the greenies.

    Conclusion
    It's been a while since AMD has had its own GPU line. The latest
    exponent of this line, the 4800 series, is one of the best pieces of
    graphical acceleration engineering to grace the IT world in the past
    few years. But one cannot argue that Nvidia is a very strong ally to
    have on board. Even with its lack of charisma, Intel's Santa Clara
    neighbour is what AMD needs to weather the storm ahead.

    It goes the other way around too. With a mounting debt and a host of
    other problems, Chimpzilla can't afford any more months filled with
    bad news and migration of key personnel. A fusion or at least a very
    close partnership is something that will undo some frowns and give the
    investors reasons to cheer about. It would boost motivation in both
    camps and bring numerous marketing, logistical and technological
    assets under one hopefully happy roof. Nvidia, with its monstrous GPU
    tactic is safe, because DAAMIT's targets in this arena are different
    anyway. So why not put two plus two together and give Intel some real
    competition in the future, not two small companies which to wipe the
    floor with? µ


    http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/08/01/why-amd-should-merge-nvidia
     
    NV55, Aug 12, 2008
    #1
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  2. NV55

    Jure Sah Guest

    NV55 pravi:
    > Under the belt
    > What's even more worrying is the fact that Intel will undoubtedly hit
    > both green camps under the belt with Larrabee. For now, they appear to
    > accept the fact that rasterization is still hip in the gaming world,
    > but Larrabee has the potential to do much more, they made sure we all
    > know that. First of all, there's raytracing. This may be the ultimate
    > in providing super realistic graphics and fantastic special effects.
    > and Intel is banging the war drum on this subject. Nvidia and AMD have
    > nothing in this area as of right now


    This is not true. AMD, as you know, has it's HyperTransport capability.
    There are FPGAs already on the market *now* (and have been for some
    time) that work with HyperTransport (or even fit an AM2 socket) that are
    perfectly capable of exactly what the Larrabee core is promising to be
    in some distant point in the future.


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    Jure Sah, Aug 13, 2008
    #2
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  3. NV55

    Miles Bader Guest

    Larrabee is an interesting experiment, but the hype surrounding it is
    just pathetic. The Inquirer, though, seems to have swallowed it, hook,
    line, and sinker...

    -Miles

    --
    In New York, most people don't have cars, so if you want to kill a person, you
    have to take the subway to their house. And sometimes on the way, the train
    is delayed and you get impatient, so you have to kill someone on the subway.
    [George Carlin]
     
    Miles Bader, Aug 13, 2008
    #3
  4. NV55

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    NV55 wrote:
    > Why AMD should merge with Nvidia
    >
    > Comment: To save us from Intel
    >
    > By Axonn Echysttas
    >
    > TO QUOTE A famous expression: "there can be only one". Looking at how
    > things shape up for AMD and Nvidia, it's rather obvious to see that in
    > the future there can be only one.



    This seems to ignore the fact that right now AMD's GPUs have just taken
    the lead from Nvidia on both the price/performance and the
    performance/power-consumption basis. Also AMD has more experience in
    design for manufacturing, so it looks like like it will be able to get
    to process nodes sooner than Nvidia. There's even talk that together
    with TSMC AMD will get to the 40nm half-node sooner than Intel, putting
    it slightly ahead of Intel too (until Intel gets to 32nm).

    Beyond that, AMD's Fusion CPU/GPU looks like it will be a better bet for
    floating point domination than Larabee/Nehelem combination.
     
    Yousuf Khan, Aug 13, 2008
    #4
  5. NV55

    Robert Myers Guest

    On Aug 13, 6:26 pm, Yousuf Khan <> wrote:

    >
    > Beyond that, AMD's Fusion CPU/GPU looks like it will be a better bet for
    > floating point domination than Larabee/Nehelem combination.


    "Floating point domination" could mean any number of things. If, by
    that, you mean domination of HPC (including applications like
    animation), we'll just have to see. Cost, power consumption, and the
    usability and stability of the API will be more important than raw
    flops.

    Marketing will play a big role, and both IBM and Intel, which is the
    real competition, are much better situated to get their products
    placed. Both have a much better track record than AMD, which did make
    some dents with Opteron and Hypertransport. I think that blip is
    past, but, as I said, we'll just have to see.

    Robert.
     
    Robert Myers, Aug 14, 2008
    #5
  6. NV55

    Guest

    On Aug 14, 1:19 pm, Robert Myers <> wrote:
    > On Aug 13, 6:26 pm, Yousuf Khan <> wrote:
    > > Beyond that, AMD's Fusion CPU/GPU looks like it will be a better bet for
    > > floating point domination than Larabee/Nehelem combination.

    >
    > "Floating point domination" could mean any number of things. If, by
    > that, you mean domination of HPC (including applications like
    > animation), we'll just have to see. Cost, power consumption, and the
    > usability and stability of the API will be more important than raw
    > flops.


    Specifically, AMD and Intel are both attempting to extend their SIMD
    instruction sets for the next generation of floating point. Intel
    calls theirs AVX (Advanced Vector eXtensions), while AMD calls theirs
    SSE5. The two instructions aren't compatible with each other but they
    do basically the same thing, so it is a forking of the SSE standards.
    Both will be introducing 3-operand SSE instructions, leaving behind
    the current 2 operand variety.

    However it's how they implement the SIMD engine in the background that
    makes the difference. Intel will be using multiple little Pentium I
    cores, which is the basis of its Larabee project. And AMD will be
    implementing its ATI latest graphics cores. AVX will be a frontend for
    Larabee, while SSE5 will be a frontend for the ATI GPU. Both
    instruction sets are supersets of the existing x86 instruction set
    therefore they will be easy to program for in certain ways. Intel's
    Larabee will depend on certain amount of super-sized multi-threading
    of the software to get the most out of its Larabee cores. AMD won't
    need that much multi-threading of the software since, GPU's are
    already highly parallelized by definition. Will it be easier for
    compilers to create the level of multithreading that Intel requires,
    or will they be more comfortable just throwing the data at the GPU and
    letting the GPU sort it out for them? We'll have to see how that
    plays.

    > Marketing will play a big role, and both IBM and Intel, which is the
    > real competition, are much better situated to get their products
    > placed. Both have a much better track record than AMD, which did make
    > some dents with Opteron and Hypertransport. I think that blip is
    > past, but, as I said, we'll just have to see.


    Intel has finally caught up to all of the technology that AMD did
    introduce about 5 years ago. But this CPU/GPU hybrid with a friendly
    CPU frontend is a new direction that Intel can't take yet. Intel is
    attempting to emulate a GPU with Larabee, but how good it's going to
    be is questionable. Intel is excitedly talking about starting Larabee
    out with 32 cores and then expanding that out to 64 cores. By
    comparison Nvidia's latest GPU (GTX 280) already has 240 cores, while
    AMD's latest single-chip GPU (HD 4870) has 480 cores.

    Legit Reviews - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Cards by EVGA and PNY
    - NVIDIA Brings The Muscle - GeForce GTX 280
    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/726/1/

    Radeon HD 4000 series specifications surfaces | NordicHardware
    http://www.nordichardware.com/news,7356.html

    Also AMD has been concentrating on optimizing the double-precision FP
    performance, a clear sign they are looking for a bigger market for
    their GPUs than just graphics. Nvidia suffers a huge performance hit
    when comparing double-precision to single-precision, something like a
    4x decrease. AMD is only suffering a bit more than 2x decrease so far.
    Even with these double-precision performance hits they are still
    faster than Cell at double-precision. The following are comparisons
    showing older versions of Cell and AMD GPU; Cell comes out at 14.6
    GFlops and 200 GFlops for ATI Firestream 9160 (basically Radeon HD
    3870) for double-precision.

    Berkeley Lab Researchers Analyze Performance, Potential of Cell
    Processor
    http://www.lbl.gov/CS/Archive/news053006a.html

    AMD FireStream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_FireStream

    Yousuf Khan
     
    , Aug 14, 2008
    #6
  7. NV55

    Robert Myers Guest

    On Aug 14, 5:19 pm, wrote:
    > On Aug 14, 1:19 pm, Robert Myers <> wrote:


    > AMD won't
    > need that much multi-threading of the software since, GPU's are
    > already highly parallelized by definition. Will it be easier for
    > compilers to create the level of multithreading that Intel requires,


    To be a little bit tart about it, that's like looking at a horseless
    carriage and saying, "But where do I put the saddle?" There are lots
    of ways to hand work off to multiple processors aside from the clumsy
    methods now in use. People have been talking about them for years.
    Maybe now we'll see some action. In fact, I think it's inevitable.

    > or will they be more comfortable just throwing the data at the GPU and
    > letting the GPU sort it out for them? We'll have to see how that
    > plays.
    >

    Eugene Miya, who moderates comp.parallel, has advised ignoring the
    graphics manufacturers because, according to him, they don't know what
    they're doing. That could mean nothing more than that they have
    thought that single-precision floating point would cut it, a mistake
    that IBM has repaired slowly. Or he could be expressing an opinion
    that's opposite to what you imply. He can't and won't say. In any
    case, be careful of new wine in old wineskins.

    >
    > Intel has finally caught up to all of the technology that AMD did
    > introduce about 5 years ago. But this CPU/GPU hybrid with a friendly
    > CPU frontend is a new direction that Intel can't take yet. Intel is
    > attempting to emulate a GPU with Larabee, but how good it's going to
    > be is questionable.


    Intel is pursuing a suggestion that David Patterson made in the mid-
    nineties. One of the many things that the platform could do (and
    apparently will do) is to compete in the same spaces as GPU's, just as
    GPU's are trying to compete in the same space as CPU's.

    Robert.
     
    Robert Myers, Aug 15, 2008
    #7
  8. NV55

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    Robert Myers wrote:
    > Eugene Miya, who moderates comp.parallel, has advised ignoring the
    > graphics manufacturers because, according to him, they don't know what
    > they're doing. That could mean nothing more than that they have
    > thought that single-precision floating point would cut it, a mistake
    > that IBM has repaired slowly. Or he could be expressing an opinion
    > that's opposite to what you imply. He can't and won't say. In any
    > case, be careful of new wine in old wineskins.


    Probably because he isn't talking about the same thing. Current GPUs are
    separate, and require special API software to program for. What AMD is
    coming out with is a direct interface to GPUs through an x86 instruction
    set front-end. There are too many solutions out there if you have to
    support everything, so with this solution you only have to worry about x86.


    Yousuf Khan
     
    Yousuf Khan, Aug 15, 2008
    #8
  9. NV55

    Miles Bader Guest

    Robert Myers <> writes:
    > Eugene Miya, who moderates comp.parallel, has advised ignoring the
    > graphics manufacturers because, according to him, they don't know what
    > they're doing.


    What is it with Eugene Miya, anyway? For as long as I can remember
    (since the late 80s or early 90s at least), everything I've seen him
    post has been rather nutty (like the right terminology seems to be
    there, but used in ways that simply doesn't make much sense). However
    as far as I can tell, he seems to be respected. He seems like a nice
    enough guy, but I'd be kind of dubious of his advice...

    -Miles

    --
    Innards, n. pl. The stomach, heart, soul, and other bowels.
     
    Miles Bader, Aug 16, 2008
    #9
  10. NV55

    Robert Myers Guest

    On Aug 16, 2:08 am, Miles Bader <> wrote:
    >
    > What is it with Eugene Miya, anyway?  For as long as I can remember
    > (since the late 80s or early 90s at least), everything I've seen him
    > post has been rather nutty (like the right terminology seems to be
    > there, but used in ways that simply doesn't make much sense).  However
    > as far as I can tell, he seems to be respected.  He seems like a nice
    > enough guy, but I'd be kind of dubious of his advice...
    >

    By his own admission, he is "not a hardware guy per se." He's
    associated with NASA Ames, and I'd characterize him as an unusually
    well-informed buyer. He knows everyone and talks to everyone. That's
    the important thing. I'd take his advice seriously, as I do not take
    the advice of most articles cited here seriously. That is not to say
    that I've always agreed with him.

    Robert.
     
    Robert Myers, Aug 16, 2008
    #10
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