Delayed products, weak offerings, and quarterly losses - it's all you hear about when the name AMD is splashed on the headline. From website to website, everyone seems to be rating AMD as almost dead. But is it all hopeless or is something else going on here. I'll call it the way I see it right from the start, AMD's competitors are out a lot of money and products to pay for all the Bullsh!t PR that's floating around as 'news'. Can't get more blunt as that. Let's begin our tale with the birth of the Core architecture. AMD knew Intel's new offering was much better than theirs, so they slashed their prices to stay competitive. This has been the common model of business in hardware for a long time. Very few websites mention that part of the story, most just took to reporting AMD's losses for reducing the prices and Intel's market share gain. You have to dig long and hard to see the reports on how AMD is still the leader in the server market and that dollar for dollar most of AMD's offerings are equal or better than Intel's. Yes, Intel does have the fastest CPUs at the moment, but how much does that really matter to the average home user? Let me pass on a story about myself and a friend. I have an AMD 4400 dual core - he has a Core2Duo running at a gig faster than my proc. We both have Nvidia cards in Sli, we both have 2 gigs of ram, and we both play Battlefield 2. Sure his rig crushes mine in 3dmark and other benches, but when running the same settings in BF2 - he cranks out a whole 5-8 fps more than me. Yeah, his proc is much faster than mine, but I'd never notice the difference on my pc with the programs I run. I also want to point out I saved around $100 + mobo costs for the AMD. But yet the tech. sites in their reviews will note that while the AMD 'keeps up' with the Intel offering, the Intel overclocks better so it wins. Let me ask you - does your mother overclock her pc? Does your sister? Hell for that matter do you even overclock anymore? Long gone are the days were your tried to squeeze every ounce out of your system to keep up with the software you are using. Today's processors from both camps are more than powerful enough, even in the budget range, to handle anything you throw at them. My system is water-cooled and I don't even overclock anymore. It's fun to do to see what your proc can push, but in the end of the day all but 1% of us would rather have our computer parts live a long life. But the CPU area is old news, AMD's new architecture is coming out soon, so I'll save anything else I need to say till then. What really set me off on this rant is AMD's new GPUs. You CAN'T find a decent review of these things anywhere on the net. At least one that doesn't have it's own agenda ( Fudo ). You had sites leaking numbers from early samples calling the card crap when it's still 2 revisions away from release. You have sites buying stolen OEM preview copies off E-Bay and releasing reviews as legit hardware. You have sites reviewing the cards purposely with old drivers to effect the scores. You have sites posting only the scores where AMD loses but none of the ones it wins in. Hell you even had a site that considers itself a Hard overclockers site that didn't even bother to try overclocking the card, just simply called it crap. Well enough of that, lets get into some truth. First up, what happened to the 2900 XTX flagship card? To put it quite simply UMC couldn't get a clean die out at 65nm like they were supposed to. The initial release to OEMs was to be at 90nm but retail versions of both the xtx and the xt were to be fabbed at 65nm. UMC couldn't deliver, so AMD was forced to use the 90nm that they could produce on the XT giving it bad thermal and power levels. Understand this core was not meant to be produced at 90nm so it's clock speeds could not be pushed up to where AMD wanted them. This left them with a mid-range card and no high end offering. No real fault of their own, but still they were stuck - so they priced it accordingly. UMC has since been canned from making AMD chips and TSMC is now their fab of choice. With that out of the way, let's look at the 2900 xt.... The little engine that they say couldn't really can, so to say. First let's get what is wrong out of the way. These cards do truly suck at AA/AF. It's gotten better with newer drivers, but still the card takes a major hit when turning on even the slightest AA in a game. Second, yes these cards can cook an egg/heat a house/boil water.... you get the point. Third, the fan is way too loud for even a deaf person. And fourth, the decision no to include UVD in this level of graphics card. The 3 starting this all off are a direct result of not getting 65nm chips out the door. Better thermals, slower running fan, and with the way AMD handles AA/AF the faster clock speeds would have solved that problem as well. The fourth is simply stupidity by AMD's staff, but one that is shared by Nvidia as well. Note to both companies, just because you can run video decode in the processing units, doesn't mean you should! Now let's look at what was done right. I can't express how great the HDMI connection is. For anyone running a home theater set up having full digital video and audio out of one card is a godsend. There are dvd players much more expensive than even the XT version of the card that can't even claim to fully support 1080p. But what about gaming. Well with AA/AF turned off the XT can beat both versions of the 8800 GTS in most games, and it can keep up or beat them both with it turned on in around 60% of the games out now. In reality only a few handful of games does the GTS kill the 2900 ( guess which ones keep showing up on review sites ). I've seen almost no sites point out that with a different cooler ( ie. not stock, such as a 3rd party retail card ) and a little overclocking it catches up to the performance of both the GTX and the Ultra. There is a ton of headroom in this card, if you can keep it cool. Which brings me back to some harder overclocking, what can these cards really push out when someone takes the time to let it breathe a little? Let's check out some of these numbers: http://www.futuremark.com/community/halloffame/ I'm not going to sit here and claim 3dmark shows any real world performance, and in-fact I can't stand the benchmark myself. What it is good for is showing just how much you can increase the performance of a card. As of July 22nd the 2900xt has the 4th place spot in '06 - only being beaten by a mere 450 points by the top overclocked Ultra set up. As this is one of the first 2900xt scores to show up, I expect that top spot might not be safe for long. How do I know that, lets look at the '05 scores so far. Out of the top 10 scores, the 2900xt has 5 of them - including 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th. So much for calling this overclocking beast a Hard dud. Funny how when Intel 'overclocks' better than AMD, they win - but when AMD pulls out more juice than nVidia they still suck. Man I love corporate payoffs!!! So to sum up this long rant, I'm not an AMD fan. Nor do I particuraly have any bias against Intel or nVidia. I own 4 Intel procs and 3 AMD, 2 ATI/AMD cards and 5 nVidia cards. But I'll call FUD when I see it, and I'll call all the paid off websites BS any day of the week. I was planning on linking in my examples, but for obvious reasons I didn't want to piss off some one's lawyer. Feel free to search the web for yourself, really read some reviews, look at all the advertising on the site, check when drivers were released and you will more than see what I'm getting at. At the end of the day, I'm not pissed at poor reviews of AMD or competitors reviews being exaggerated. What I'm pissed about is sites that I once regarded as above reproach, with honest values and a solid reputation have sunk to giving the best review to the side that offers them the most.