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posted by martyb on Friday August 07 2020, @06:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the intel-on-Intel dept.

What's wrong with Intel, and how to fix it: Former principal engineer unloads (archive)

In a blunt video posted late Thursday evening, outspoken former Intel principal engineer Francois Pidnoel offered his advice on how to "fix" Intel CPUs, criticized current leadership for not being engineers, said AVX512 was a misadventure, and declared that it's only luck AMD hasn't grabbed more market share.

"First, Intel is really out of focus," Piednoel said in the nearly hour-long video presentation. "The leaders of Intel today are not engineers, they are not people who understand what to design to the market."

[...] Pidnoel flat-out dismissed including AVX512 in consumer chips as a mistake. "You had Skylake and Skylake X for a reason," Piednoel said. "AVX512 is designed for a race of throughput that is lost to the GPU already. There's two ways to get throughput. One is to get the throughput is by having larger vectors to your core, and the other way is to have more cores."

[...] "Intel is very lucky AMD cannot get the volume, to be able to compete," Piednoel. "If they were getting volume, the price difference would definitely cost Intel market share a lot more than what they are losing right now."

Related: AVX-512: A "Hidden Gem"?
Intel CEO Blames "10nm" Delays on Aggressive Density Target, Promises "7nm" for 2021
Intel's Process Nodes Will Trail Behind Competitors Until at Least Late 2021
Linus Torvalds: Don't Hide Rust in Linux Kernel; Death to AVX-512
Intel Engineering Chief Out After 7nm Product Delays
Intel Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over "7nm" Delays


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by RamiK on Friday August 07 2020, @06:59AM (4 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Friday August 07 2020, @06:59AM (#1032788)

    It's nice it's finally coming out from an (ex)Intel engineer after people been saying as much for so many years but it's REALLY too late.

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    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Friday August 07 2020, @07:41AM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday August 07 2020, @07:41AM (#1032793) Journal
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      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RamiK on Friday August 07 2020, @09:35AM

        by RamiK (1813) on Friday August 07 2020, @09:35AM (#1032805)

        Looking at the scope, the leak seems to be the ODMs' "support package" for putting together motherboards' firmwares and such so it's not something that they didn't expect AMD and friends getting their hands on it so there shouldn't be any problems there beyond the odd security vulnerability that will get patched eventually. Similarly, the new vulnerability is really just another issue in a long line of issues that will get addressed by microcode and/or software so they'll just brush it off like usual.

        Besides, my too-late isn't just about that: While MBAs making mistakes is part of the problem, Intel keeping AVX512 for so long while going into GPUs is likely due to them realizing they can't balance hyper-threading, SMT and single-threaded the way he suggests since speculative execution redesigns ate away at the relevant optimizations. So, the only way for them to address the market demand for those loads (without giving it all up to nVidia) is to make their own discrete GPU dies and glue a few of them into the Xeons a few years down the line instead of the vector instructions once nVidia's current gamble on ray tracing and AI ends up trivialized like Ageia's PhysX. Also, as I've said on other posts, single-threaded performance just doesn't matter that much for consumers since the GPU is the bottleneck anyhow.

        So, those points he's making now and that we've been raising for years aren't wrong and will improve things if addressed immediately in the short term but they no longer fully address Intel's long term concerns in the consumer market where single threaded performance is either irrelevant or bottlenecked by the GPU, the HPC market where GPUs handle the loads better than the AVX512, or the VM market where the AVX512 costs them 10% die space. They only partially address the latter and that's assuming AMD can't match them with the new Zen on single-threaded.

        Overall, too late.

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      • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Friday August 07 2020, @01:13PM

        by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 07 2020, @01:13PM (#1032855) Journal

        So the "vulnerability" is that Intel CPUs let you change the voltage again? Two things about this are very strange...

        1) On a Pentium M privileged code could set the voltage to anything covering a very wide range. But on Core2 they locked it down and options became quite limited. Did they open it up again on later CPUs?

        2) Was this documented functionality that was there all along and someone just noticed it could be harmful? (Yeah, right) Or did a 'secret' method of changing the voltage come to light that wasn't supposed to be there?

        TFA is too busy being sensational and explaining voltage for laymen.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday August 07 2020, @02:54PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 07 2020, @02:54PM (#1032920) Journal

      but it's REALLY too late.

      I dearly hope so.

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07 2020, @02:02PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07 2020, @02:02PM (#1032872)

    Did he say that Intel fixed the processor bugs that let the bad guys peek into kernel memory thru speculative execution but that the PR folks didn't understand it was worth telling anybody about it?

    "Fix" in my book would mean without a major performance penalty. That would taken more logic in the processor. They did microcode hacks with penalties initially. Did they actually 'fix' it later?

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday August 07 2020, @05:57PM

      by Freeman (732) on Friday August 07 2020, @05:57PM (#1033040) Journal

      Beats me. I've been using AMD for a long time and don't plan on stopping. The fact that they weren't as vulnerable to some of those exploits as Intel is just gravy.

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  • (Score: 2) by NateMich on Friday August 07 2020, @03:08PM

    by NateMich (6662) on Friday August 07 2020, @03:08PM (#1032930)

    Man, this guy has been such a jerk, and wrong about Intel for so long, it's really hard for me to listen to anything he says and take him seriously.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07 2020, @09:46PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07 2020, @09:46PM (#1033180)

    AMD hired a female Asian engineer CEO because she's kick-ass competent. Intel's diversity hires are driven by HR checklists... "we need a pink-haired transvestite in engineering to meet this month's quota... go hire one".

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 08 2020, @03:18AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 08 2020, @03:18AM (#1033300)

      "we need a pink-haired transvestite in engineering to meet this month's quota... go hire one".

      You forgot the requirements about being a morbidly obese wheelchair bound paraplegic with diabetes, you bigot.

      Please report to social justice reeducation camp.

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