Friday, November 6th 2015

AMD Dragged to Court over Core Count on "Bulldozer"

This had to happen eventually. AMD has been dragged to court over misrepresentation of its CPU core count in its "Bulldozer" architecture. Tony Dickey, representing himself in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accused AMD of falsely advertising the core count in its latest CPUs, and contended that because of they way they're physically structured, AMD's 8-core "Bulldozer" chips really only have four cores.

The lawsuit alleges that Bulldozer processors were designed by stripping away components from two cores and combining what was left to make a single "module." In doing so, however, the cores no longer work independently. Due to this, AMD Bulldozer cannot perform eight instructions simultaneously and independently as claimed, or the way a true 8-core CPU would. Dickey is suing for damages, including statutory and punitive damages, litigation expenses, pre- and post-judgment interest, as well as other injunctive and declaratory relief as is deemed reasonable.
Source: LegalNewsOnline
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511 Comments on AMD Dragged to Court over Core Count on "Bulldozer"

#1
john_
I think AMD created Bulldozer to be a HyperThreading alternative that can be marketed as a "double cores" chip and not as a "double threads" chip and at the same time to be immune to lawsuits like this one. Their marketing department even thought adding GPU "cores" in the mix and now they are talking about "compute cores" in AMD's APUs. Now if we add to that the high frequencies, those two make Bulldozer more of a marketing chip than a performance chip.

I would say that under a dictatorship, AMD's marketing department would have been shoot and everyone would be celebrating that decision. Even if there where rebels fighting that dictatorship, they would have also celebrated that decision.

Under a democracy the question is, do these people still work at AMD?
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#2
the54thvoid
Hmm....

I should imagine AMD will win. It's all semantics when they can show thread heavy tasks in a 4 core, 8 module chip, being as good (close enough) as a 4 core, 8 threaded chip (i7 2600).

There's plenty of graphs to support performance. The dick in court is probably pissed at it's sub standard single threaded performance.

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#3
robert3892
If any company advertises an 8 core processor when in fact it has 4 cores then that is misrepresentation of the product. A core must work independently.
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#4
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Pretty sure he's going to win. I don't think there's any nomenclature to properly describe Bulldozer's design and even if it had existed, AMD wasn't using it.

the54thvoid, post: 3367010, member: 79251"

x264 HD Benchmark runs on GPU and AMD undeniably has a stronger GPU in FX-8150 than Intel has in i7-2600K. The problem stems from floating point operations executed on the CPU. If you heavily load the FPUs in one core, the FPU performance of both cores will effectively half.
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#5
Joss
This has nothing to do with justice or technology, it's a clever dick trying to make money.
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#6
RCoon
Gaming Moderator
So in 10 years time when the court battle is finally over, AMD FX purchasers will be able to apply for a $5 rebate on their FX purchase assuming they can remember where they bought it from and kept their proof of purchase.

Holding a fork in a world of soup, comes to mind.
Posted on Reply
#7
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
I don't think it is class action. I think it is just him (representing himself) versus AMD. AMD will probably just settle with him for $500 or something.
Posted on Reply
#8
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
The problem here is that Bulldozer does have 8 integer cores. We all know that. Tony is an idiot because never has a floating point unit in a CPU ever been directly referred to as a core.
Posted on Reply
#9
RCoon
Gaming Moderator
FordGT90Concept, post: 3367026, member: 60463"
I don't think it is class action. I think it is just him (representing himself) versus AMD. AMD will probably just settle with him for $500 or something.
It is:

"filed a class-action lawsuit on Oct. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California"

SOURCE
Posted on Reply
#10
the54thvoid
FordGT90Concept, post: 3367017, member: 60463"
Pretty sure he's going to win. I don't think there's any nomenclature to properly describe Bulldozer's design and even if it had existed, AMD wasn't using it.


x264 HD Benchmark runs on GPU and AMD undeniably has a stronger GPU in FX-8150 than Intel has in i7-2600K. The problem stems from floating point operations executed on the CPU. If you heavily load the FPUs in one core, the FPU performance of both cores will effectively half.
No GPU usage here....



or here?



etc

I'm not saying it has 8 cores but I am saying it matches an 8 threaded CPU. Semantics.

And I'm an Intel/Nvidia guy.

I just think this case is all about a fucking douchebag trying to make money. Now, if I could sue Lisa Su (or whoever said it) for an overclocker's dream comment at Fiji's launch. Unless by dream, they meant nightmare???
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#11
gaximodo
the54thvoid, post: 3367031, member: 79251"
No GPU usage here....



or here?



etc

I'm not saying it has 8 cores but I am saying it matches an 8 threaded CPU. Semantics.

And I'm an Intel/Nvidia guy.

I just think this case is all about a fucking douchebag trying to make money. Now, if I could sue Lisa Su (or whoever said it) for an overclocker's dream comment at Fiji's launch. Unless by dream, they meant nightmare???
which the 8 threaded CPU has only 4 cores and marketed as 4 cores, with faster single core performance.

That reminds me Intel's motorcycle vs tricycle ad. loved it.
Posted on Reply
#12
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
the54thvoid, post: 3367031, member: 79251"
I just think this case is all about a fucking douchebag trying to make money.
Most lawsuits in the US of A seem to work that way.
Posted on Reply
#13
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Aquinus, post: 3367027, member: 102461"
The problem here is that Bulldozer does have 8 integer cores. We all know that. Tony is an idiot because never has a floating point unit in a CPU ever been directly referred to as a core.
A "core" is a complete computing unit. AMD proves it is not complete in their 6-"core" Bulldozer processors. The two units packaged together are inseparable or they would have sold 7-"core" Bulldozer processors having only gated off the one that was defective.

the54thvoid, post: 3367031, member: 79251"
No GPU usage here....



or here?



etc

I'm not saying it has 8 cores but I am saying it matches an 8 threaded CPU. Semantics.
Because compression is mostly integer-based where Bulldozer performs more like an 8-core processor. Even considering the widely different architectures and Bulldozer having a design ideal for it, it doesn't win by a very large margin. The lawsuit is about the worst case scenario (saturated FPUs) and you're citing the best case scenario (saturated ALUs) where Bulldozer's non-traditional design shines. The latter doesn't forgive the former.
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#14
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
FordGT90Concept, post: 3367039, member: 60463"
Because compression is mostly integer-based where Bulldozer performs more like an 8-core processor. Even considering the widely different architectures and Bulldozer having a design ideal for it, it doesn't win by a very large margin. The lawsuit is about the worst case scenario (saturated FPUs) and you're citing the best case scenario (saturated ALUs) where Bulldozer's non-traditional design shines. The latter doesn't forgive the former.
Since when was the FPU the determining factor for what constitutes a core? Does that mean that old x86s without FPUs were CPUs without cores? That's a bad argument.
Posted on Reply
#15
the54thvoid
FordGT90Concept, post: 3367039, member: 60463"
A "core" is a complete computing unit. AMD proves it is not complete in their 6-"core" Bulldozer processors. The two units packaged together are inseparable or they would have sold 7-"core" Bulldozer processors having only gated off the one that was defective.


Because compression is mostly integer-based where Bulldozer performs more like an 8-core processor. Even considering the widely different architectures and Bulldozer having a design ideal for it, it doesn't win by a very large margin. The lawsuit is about the worst case scenario (saturated FPUs) and you're citing the best case scenario (saturated ALUs) where Bulldozer's non-traditional design shines. The latter doesn't forgive the former.
I appreciat your higher level retort. I'm simply trying to illustrate that Bulldozer isn't bad enough to drag through court becasue some guy didn't read some mother hubbard reviews.
(It's too early to say mother fucking)
Posted on Reply
#16
FourtyTwo
the54thvoid, post: 3367031, member: 79251"
No GPU usage here....



or here?



etc

I'm not saying it has 8 cores but I am saying it matches an 8 threaded CPU. Semantics.
Your reply just proves the challenger's point.
It matches a 4 core CPU with hyper-threading, not an 8 core.
Intel doesn't market the i7-2600K as having 8 physical cores, contrary to AMD's marketing of the FX-8150.

Over-all there's no doubt that AMD's marketing of Bulldozer is very misleading.
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#17
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Finally. It was such an effing con. :nutkick:
Posted on Reply
#18
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Aquinus, post: 3367042, member: 102461"
Since when was the FPU the determining factor for what constitutes a core? Does that mean that old x86s without FPUs were CPUs without cores? That's a bad argument.
You have to go back over 20 years to find an x86 processor without FPUs (80386). 13 lifespans of computer hardware is hardly relevant today.
Posted on Reply
#19
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
FourtyTwo, post: 3367047, member: 152384"
Your reply just proves the challenger's point.
It matches a 4 core CPU with hyper-threading, not an 8 core.
Intel doesn't market the i7-2600K as having 8 physical cores, contrary to AMD's marketing of the FX-8150.

Over-all there's no doubt that AMD's marketing of Bulldozer is very misleading.
You can still have crap for performance and still have real cores. Bulldozer's cruddy performance is due to caching and the pipeline. When you make the pipeline as long as Netburst, of course your single threaded performance is going to suck but, that doesn't change that fact that there are two integer cores per module.
FordGT90Concept, post: 3367050, member: 60463"
You have to go back over 20 years to find an x86 processor without FPUs (80386). 13 lifespans of computer hardware is hardly relevant today.
It is when most of what computers are doing is integer math and can't operate without it. Nothing says you can't have 8 cores but still have shitty performance.

Computers can operate without a dedicated FPU, they can't without integer cores.
Posted on Reply
#20
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Aquinus, post: 3367052, member: 102461"
Computers can operate without a dedicated FPU, they can't without integer cores.
Not today they can't. You couldn't even open a JPEG image without an FPU.

Well, I suppose you technically could if you multiplied all of the floats by several million and divided to convert back. Rounding errors would be aplenty and performance would be poor by comparison. Everything that decodes it would also need special libraries for a non-IEEE754-compliant processor.


FYI, IEEE 754 was defined in 1985, the same year that 80386 debuted. Intel didn't have the FPU hardware available yet to process IEEE 754. 80486DX was the first processor to be IEEE 754 compliant. Because of IEEE 754, JPEG was made possible and created in 1987.
Posted on Reply
#21
gaximodo
I never really paid attention to AMD's CPU lineup, and I have been under this impression that AMD's single core performance is THAT bad and their 8-cores (FX8XXX) hardly keeps up intel's i5, 4-cores.

Finally now I know they are really also 4 cores and am actually quite impressed that AMD could "keep up" with intel.

Their marketing team should have been shoot.
Posted on Reply
#22
the54thvoid
Back on track - he'll still lose.

His case can be argued away quite easily by the block diagram of the integer cluster of two cores per module. Four modules = eight bulldozer cores irrespective of performance. The design parameter and AMD's naming of such can't be used against them in a court of law. Without wishing to digress, fundamentally this (if the plaintiff won) would mean Nvidia with the GTX970 will lose any similar lawsuit on advertised units of 'x'.

To prove the point, if i can demonstrate that my '4 core' bulldozer part is not as good as my '8 core' bulldozer part and that my 8 core bulldozer part matches an 8 threaded Intel part (and remember, the 8 cores in BD are 8, not sold as 16) then I can prove function is apparent. The technical breakdown of workloads, as being espoused eloquently above is irrelevant in a court room with people who will be utterly lost in the language.

It doesn't matter how badly it performed in certain cases, all AMD has to do to win is show it performs a heavily threaded workload (due to it's 8 'cores') as well as an 8 threaded Intel CPU. AMD never sold it as hyper-threaded, they used 'cores' instead. 4 modules, each model has 2 cores, therefore it HAS 8 cores (as AMD defined them). The case isn't about what it can and cannot do it's about if it has 8 cores. And it technically does. Same way a GTX 970 has 4 GB of VRam.

This thread isn't about performance as such, its about a nomenclature and it's pretty damn hard to prove there are not 8 integer 'cores' in a 4 module BD part.

From Wiki (forgive me, I'm a tech noob but I know logic, or should it be 'Law'gic)
In terms of hardware complexity and functionality, this module is equal to a dual-core processor in its integer power, and to a single-core processor in its floating-point power
So it's there, each module has two integer cluster cores. Doesn't matter if FP is equal to single core - that's a design limitation. It has two cores per module..... It really is all in a name.

EDIT: I had comically and erroneously called myself a tech 'nob' but have since rephrased to the correct tech noob - sue me :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#23
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
I have no confidence in tech businesses being able to explain anything to the sheeple. Case in point: Seagate losing the 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes case.

AMD won't win because AMD's 8-core processors isn't the same as Intel, IBM, Qualcomm, etc. 8-core processors and they never bothered to explain why to the same sheeple that will be hearing the case.

Seagate should have been open and shut (Microsoft is lying to you because they divide by 2^30) and they still lost; AMD's case is far from open and shut--they don't stand a chance. Just look at how many words you're using to try to explain it. Now imagine being cut off by someone saying "objection" every three words. Courts don't do technical; they do testimony by a technical expert.


the54thvoid, post: 3367068, member: 79251"
It doesn't matter how badly it performed in certain cases, all AMD has to do to win is show it performs a heavily threaded workload (due to it's 8 'cores') as well as an 8 threaded Intel CPU.
i7-3930K is a 6-core versus FX-8150...
Spoiler alert: 3930K won everything except a Photoshop benchmark (reviewer says it is because 8150 has higher clocks).
Posted on Reply
#24
the54thvoid
FordGT90Concept, post: 3367072, member: 60463"
I have no confidence in tech businesses being able to explain anything to the sheeple. Case in point: Seagate losing the 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes case. AMD won't win because AMD's 8-core processors isn't the same as Intel, IBM, Qualcomm, etc. 8-core processors.
Let's make a one pound/dollar paypal bet on this. If AMD doesnt win, I'll send you a dollar (or pound equivalent) and vice versa. Though going by the poll, I'm in the minority and may lose.

As far as lies go - when the hell will smartphones stop being sold with 'x' GB of memory then? OS always takes up room that cannot be used by the consumer so it should be sold as space.

Editted for wrong bet
Posted on Reply
#25
john_
If there are 8 cores in there, AMD will win. I am pretty sure when they decided to design and market Bulldozer they knew what they where doing, even if that design was a failure. No one says that an integer core needs to come with an FPU attached. Until Intel 486 (or was it 386DX?), FPU was an external co processor. The fact that today is an internal part, doesn't mean that it is part of the definition "core". Today all CPUs come with IMC. That doesn't mean that a processor without IMC is not a complete processor. And the same consumer who doesn't know that Bulldozer comes with half FPUs, doesn't know what an FPU is and even if he does, doesn't know if it is necessary to be included to talk about cores.

Anyway, one last thing. big.LITTLE. It is advertised as an eight core design, but only four of them are used at once.
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