Most tech sites were in a bit of a tizzy last week over what AMD is releasing or not releasing in 2013. Unfortunately for those who were looking to froth at the mouth over something, it is all a tempest in a teapot.
What is AMD releasing for the Sea Islands (CI) line? Basically nothing worth bothering with. It is a mild tarting up of the Southern Islands (SI) GPUs just like we told you last October. In fact, we described the CI line as, “pretty ho-hum”, not exactly a ringing endorsement for a new line of high end GPUs now is it? And we also said that it was due in March, not 2012, but more recently inventory concerns have moved the official launch out a bit.
So where are we? Over half way through Q1 and CI is stealth shipping here and there in line filler parts, OEM, and some mobile SKU, but not officially launched yet. The changes between SI and CI are so radical that no one seemed to notice that there was a new line out here and there. Why? Could it be because, to quote SemiAccurate once again from our October article, “CI is a 28nm evolution of the current 7xxx line of cards, think optimizations rather than massively new features.” That is exactly why we called it, “ho-hum”.
So with all this known in October 2012, a report about the hands on time we had with a HD8950 card that described exactly what we reported earlier over a month ago, not to mention pictures of some things, some people ‘discovered’ this ancient news recently in the form of a roadmap that said, well what we said back in October. And so the vast echo chamber of ignorance that people call internet news went in to overdrive, and the frothing began. There was no story, and nearly 100% of the information was published weeks or months prior. Did that stop the idiots from running around in circles hyperventilating until they passed out from exhaustion? Take a guess.
AMD having to do a few hasty press conference calls last Friday should tell you that these nitwits didn’t pass out from lack of oxygen soon enough, and that the public noticed too. Not that the unwashed masses did anything radical like, I don’t know, possibly the barest minimum search for what was really going on. Nope, they just read something on a site and took it for truth, then went off on the ‘injustice’ that was taking place. There are several brutal wars going on right now that get less indignation from the technical ‘in’ crowd. I should get into the bridge selling business soon, there seems to he a large and ripe potential customer base of nitwits with net access to milk. I meant the readers, not the ‘press’, they seem far less capable of filling out a purchase form on a web page based on this sorry episode.
To make matters worse, although the presenters on the AMD call had a clear message and described the CI line directly and plainly, there were two problems. First is that the parts that anyone cares about, basically the highest end of this buff and polish job, haven’t launched so there were enough, “I can’t tell you about that yet” answers to annoy even those who were borderline ODing on Qualuudes. That was the good part, the second problem was that the line itself is essentially crap that breaks over a decade of tradition and is segmented as clearly as mud. No, it is worse than that.
There are CI parts in the HD7000 line that was SI only up to this point. Why? That doesn’t even have an explanation much less a good one, it just is. To make matters worse, there are going to be HD8000 parts from the CI family and the SI family, but not a damn bit of rhyme or reason as to what goes where here either. There is also no real way for the buyer to understand which part of which line is from what family, not that there is enough functional difference between SI and CI to actually notice. Even the drivers don’t change, and that is part of what kicked this whole ‘conspiracy’ off in the first place.
AMD has a line that is a mess, two lines that are a mess really, and for some reason seem intent on making things worse by releasing lots of parts across lots more families without any logic behind the moves. So the press on the call were annoyed in short order at the illogic of what was said, the lack of clarity that the few actual data points brought, and worse yet the stonewall on even the most short term details. To deal with the snowballing mess, the presenters seemed to go off script and confused things even more.
So in the end, what do you have? Exactly what SemiAccurate told you was coming in October, basically nothing. It is a ho-hum collection of bug fixes, driver updates, and the odd clock bump that process evolution has gifted AMD with. As we said at the time, there are no changes, think evolution and we barely even got that. Unfortunately, some nitwits noticed a comment, started hyperventilating, and didn’t do the barest minimum research before mouthing off. This is the internet so it snowballed from there, but really there is absolutely no story here, none at all. Take a deep breath people, chill out and let the idiots run around in circles flapping their arms around until they pass out. They will soon enough, and the internet will be just a tiny bit better for it.S|A