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Wrong direction

I dislike market structures which essentially establish a (quasi-)monopoly. I've thus supported AMD whenever their CPUs' price/performance ratio was as good or better than that of their counterparts produced by Intel. That happened to be the case between 2000 and 2005.

My current desktop, however, dates back to the time of Intel's Core 2 series (launched July 2006). At that time, AMD had no comparable offer. My desktop is thus equipped with one of the first Conroe models, an E6600. When coupled with 8 GB of RAM, the performance of this CPU is adequate for everyday tasks even after almost 6 years.

Just recently, I've looked for a very low-priced notebook with sufficient performance for multimedia applications. The Fujitsu lifebook I've got for a mere €299 features a current low-end Intel CPU (Pentium P6200), 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard disk. Benchmarks indicate that the system is on average on par with my desktop.

Now let's look at what AMD has to offer. The latest and greatest incarnation of AMDs' mobile processor platform is called 'Trinity' and is based on the Bulldozer architecture. The top model of this line (the A10-4600M) was tested in c't 12/2012. The following table compares the Cinebench marks (single- and multi-threaded) for the Trinity top model with the two Intel CPUs mentioned above and an older (Phenom II) dual core from AMD:

Model
Year
Cores
Frequency (GHz)
Single
Multi
E6600
2006
2
2.4
2458
4698
P6200
2010
2
2.13
2395
4668
X2 N620
2010
2
2.8
2305
4472
A10-4600M
2012
4
3.2/2.3
2048
5660

Despite the turbo, the A10 has a worse single-thread performance than any of the older and lower-clocked dual cores listed here. Note that the single-thread performance still largely determines the user experience under any operating system. All browsers, for example, are essentially single-threaded and will stay so for the time to come.

Per GHz, the A10 offers 640 Cinebench marks compared to the 820 of its 2 years old dual-core predecessor. Both are dwarfed by the 1120 marks of my low-end P6200. That means that AMD needed 12 years to develop an architecture with such a low performance per cycle that even its much higher clock-rate cannot compensate for it.

Let's start to worry about AMD.

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