TechSpot: The Rise and Fall of AMD

There is no single event responsible for ousting AMD from its lofty position in early 2006. The company's decline is inextricably linked to its own mismanagement, some bad predictions, its own success, as well as the fortunes and misdeeds of Intel.

AMD has long been subject of polarizing debate among technology enthusiasts. The chapters of its history provide ample ammunition for countless discussions and no small measure of rancour. Considering that it was once considered an equal to Intel, many wonder why AMD is failing today. However, it's probably fairer to ask how the company has survived so for long -- a question we intend to explore as we revisit the company's past, examine its present and gaze into its future.

AMD's Rise

Founded in May 1969 by seven Fairchild Semiconductor employees headed by Jerry Sanders, Fairchild's director of marketing, you could say AMD established itself as an underdog from the get-go by focusing its early efforts on redesigning parts from Fairchild and National Semiconductor instead of creating new products as Intel did with the iconic 4004. Though it came close during the early 2000s, as we'll discuss shortly, the company has largely struggled to shake the image of being Intel's shadow.

Read: The Rise and Fall of AMD

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lomas said,
To be honest, i don't really care because i am an intel fanboy...

I have been using Intel processor since 1997..

Those Pentium 4's sure were awesome chips! /s

abysal said,

Those Pentium 4's sure were awesome chips! /s

What's not to like about a slow CPU that doubles as a stove-top heating element?

lomas said,
To be honest, i don't really care because i am an intel fanboy...

I have been using Intel processor since 1997..


Intel has kicked AMD's ass in some way, shape, or form ALWAYS.

pes2013 said,

Intel has kicked AMD's ass in some way, shape, or form ALWAYS.

No. AMD was faster than Intel until the latter one introduced multi core processing technology.

Jose_49 said,

No. AMD was faster than Intel until the latter one introduced multi core processing technology.

Erm intel faked dualcores with P4's with their crappy HyperThreading. The P4 architecture was so horrible, they dropped it and used the P3 architecture for further development.
AMD was the first with actual multi-core.

In the late 90s, there was nothing better. Quite simply, if you had an intel, you were an idiot . AMDs were faster and cheaper! What happened AMD, what happened!

n_K said,
In the late 90s, there was nothing better. Quite simply, if you had an intel, you were an idiot . AMDs were faster and cheaper! What happened AMD, what happened!

The K6 family of chips was pretty meh, it wasn't until the Athlon vs the P4 that AMD was on top and that wasn't necessarily because AMD was so good, it was just that the Pentium 4 was so terrible.

TRC said,

The K6 family of chips was pretty meh, it wasn't until the Athlon vs the P4 that AMD was on top and that wasn't necessarily because AMD was so good, it was just that the Pentium 4 was so terrible.

I still remember when AMD called bull**** over benchmark numbers for the Core 2 Duo series (Conroe). Conroe started the downfall of AMD.

n_K said,
In the late 90s, there was nothing better. Quite simply, if you had an intel, you were an idiot . AMDs were faster and cheaper! What happened AMD, what happened!

It was more than just the late 90s; AMD enjoyed the performance crown with K7 and K8 until Intel's Core 2.

jwmcpeak said,

It was more than just the late 90s; AMD enjoyed the performance crown with K7 and K8 until Intel's Core 2.


I stayed with the K6-2's for a long time then got an athlon server which was 1Ghz or so I think? Missed out P3 completely then went back to intel for P4. Not sure about speedwise but the tradeoff from what I remember was apparently they got much better performance but at the cost of giving out a hell of a lot more heat.

It always depends: at a given budget, whoever has the best performance gets my money.

Until now it's been AMD but I'm kinda tired of the 'cheapo feel' of having to go to 4ghz to equal what Intel does at 3.3 and struggling to convince myself that i'm not sacrificing performance in any area nonetheless.

The K line of chips made me hate AMD back in the day, had a few systems with them, in addition to equivalent Intel systems at the same time... AMD's just felt sluggish, didn't seem like they could work as well, had more crashes in OS's with them... and 3DNow (SIMD instructions) almost felt like a joke compared to Intels MMX, SSE extensions

I was a pretty diehard AMD user back in the days of the K6 and the Athlon.. but these days despite Intel chips being fairly pricey, they're pretty much all I'd use on my home PC.

Sad times. Hope AMD manage to sort themselves out.

If everyone remembers -- AMD was good up until it purchased ATI -- ATI was good by itself but somewhat went down after that purchase. I think AMD put it's resources on the video side and let the cpu slip a little bit.

Ironically it might be their saving grace... the APU chips are a bright spot, they have the jump, just depends if they can take advantage in the near future

redvamp128 said,
If everyone remembers -- AMD was good up until it purchased ATI -- ATI was good by itself but somewhat went down after that purchase. I think AMD put it's resources on the video side and let the cpu slip a little bit.


I agree. It sort of killed both companies....

redvamp128 said,
If everyone remembers -- AMD was good up until it purchased ATI -- ATI was good by itself but somewhat went down after that purchase. I think AMD put it's resources on the video side and let the cpu slip a little bit.


The drivers did improve tho
AMD is allot better at providing drivers for their products then Ati was.

Shadowzz said,

The drivers did improve tho
AMD is allot better at providing drivers for their products then Ati was.

I don't know I always didn't have any issues with Sapphire Cards made by ATI (they also made the true ATI branded card) . They also used to supply drivers that supported their line of cards better.....

I', a happy AMD user wince I can't remember.... I only have had two intel processors so far, a really horribler p4 prescott at 3.0 ghz and a very nice one on my RAZRi, however my current laptop is a 3410mx apu which is really fast once overclocked, comparable to core i5. Is really too bad that they aren't doing well, but for my needs, AMD will be top priority rather thanm a intel processor simply because I prefer to buy SSDs or better gfx with the huge amount of money that I save from buying amd rather than intel.

The story is simple.. its called what has Intel done lately. That's what determines AMD's value..
I'd guarantee if your old enough you jumped over to AMD long ago when they started beating out Intel then the tables turned and since then not much has changed..
A story about AMD has to have a story about Intel's competing products and the time lines they were released at in order to keep things in perspective.
Putting blame on them because of ATI or something is just dumb.
Its always been a space race of technology and Intel had break throughs in R & D
combined with the limitations and pro's and con's of the technological angle they chose to pursue. To some extent i would say Intel kinda got lucky and that kinda made for bad business for AMD. Once you have a reputation of being better its a hard uphill climb..
I don't know too many people that bought Intel chips when AMD was owning with 1ghz cpu's (unless they were nubs buying an oem machine)

Performance and everything aside, I think Intel has always been >>>> AMD in terms of marketing. (I think the same could be said for NVidia vs ATi as well)

Back when I was a total nub (I was young) buying OEM machines (as PCyr said), I (and i'm sure others too) leaned towards Intel because of their catchy marketing. For example, Intel's blue man group ads. I saw these ads on TV, and when I went to a store I would be like 'oh, this computer has Intel, I've heard of that, never heard of AMD'.

Its the same phenomenon that contributes to Apple's success.

So - on top of everything else, I think marketing had something to do with their demise...

every AMD pc I have ever repaired even new ones worked like crap (at least 1,000 I have in the last 18 years) the capacitors blow on the board doesn't matter how clean it is inside or brand or low end or high end in a year to two years (other than the original Athlon) I'm thinking the reason for this though is AMD is marketed as the underdog cheaper CPU so I guess you get what you pay for . and you go to a pc recycling center and all the 286 on up Intel's are chugging along just like Apple's early-mid eighty's Mac's and Apple ][

I'm waiting to see if the Excavator, granted it's only a reworked Bulldozer brings to the party, but seeing initial numbers on the Vishera, I'm not ready to declare AMD dead and buried yet...
Guess time will tell.

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