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Bulldozer Lawsuit Permitted To Go Ahead
Quote:U.S. district judge Haywood Gilliam has allowed the class-action lawsuit alleging that AMD misled its customers about the number of cores in its FX CPUs to continue. According to the lawsuit, which was filed in 2015, the shared cores utilized by the FX processor line's Bulldozer modules shouldn't have been counted individually.
We pointed out nearly a decade ago that AMD had suddenly changed its definition of what a "core" is for these processors:

"To best accommodate its Bulldozer module, the company is saying that anything with its own integer execution pipelines qualifies as a core (no surprise there, right?), if only because most processor workloads emphasize integer math. I don’t personally have any problem with that definition, but if sharing resources negatively impacts per-cycle performance, then AMD necessarily has to lean on higher clocks or a greater emphasis on threading to compensate."
Gilliam decided in January 2019 to reject AMD's request to dismiss the lawsuit because several of the plaintiffs (allegedly) knew exactly how its Bulldozer module worked prior to purchasing the processors. This isn't an outright victory for the plaintiffs--Gilliam is merely allowing the lawsuit to proceed--but it does mean AMD can't just steamroll the lawsuit out of the court. Everyone heads back to court on February 5 to discuss the case.
Quote:US District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the District Court for the Northern District of California rejected AMD's claim that "a significant majority of" consumers understood what constitutes a CPU core, and that they had a fair idea of what they were buying when they bought AMD FX processors. AMD has two main options before it. The company can reach an agreement with the plaintiffs that could cost the company millions of Dollars in compensation; or fight it out in the Jury trial, by trying to prove to 12 members of the public (not necessarily from an IT background) what constitutes a CPU core and why "Bulldozer" qualifies as an 8-core silicon.

The plaintiffs and defendants each have a key technical argument. The plaintiffs could point out operating systems treating 8-core "Bulldozer" parts as 4-core/8-thread (i.e. each module as a core and each "core" as a logical processor); while the AMD could run multi-threaded floating-point benchmark tests to prove that a module cannot be simplified to the definition of a core. AMD's 2017 release of the "Zen" architecture sees a return to the conventional definition of a core, with each "Zen" core being as independent as an Intel "Skylake" core. We will keep an eye on this case.
Quote:I wrote about this lawsuit back when it was filed in 2015 and my opinion hasn’t changed in the intervening 3+ years. That article also deals with the specific claims Dickey made against AMD in his original case and why they were variously inaccurate or inapplicable. In this case, AMD’s counter-claim that “a significant majority interpret ‘core’ in ways that are fully consistent with AMD’s chips,” was deemed an insufficient reason not to certify the class lawsuit.

What Dickey and Parmer are actually arguing is that Bulldozer/Piledriver (the FX-9590, specifically) did not deliver the performance they expected from an eight-core CPU relative to Intel CPUs. They argue that the shared resources in the Bulldozer core prevented the chip from “simultaneously multi-tasking” and that because resources were shared between the CPU cores, that Bulldozer “functionally only have four cores.” Both of these claims are factually wrong.
Unlike Cell, any single Bulldozer core was capable of running all of the workloads that eight Bulldozer cores were capable of running. Performance clearly scaled with access to additional threads, and other CPU designs from other companies that clearly marketed themselves based on core count were available at a variety of performance levels on a per-core basis. There’s a potential way to draw a distinctive definition out of all this, but you wouldn’t do it using the characteristics advanced by the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

Dickey and Parmer may be angry that they bought eight-core CPUs that didn’t perform like eight-core CPUs from Intel. That doesn’t mean Bulldozer wasn’t an eight-core chip. Having a certain number of cores does not guarantee a given level of performance.
Quote:Today, AMD has settled a class-action lawsuit for false advertising of its Bulldozer chips for a total of $12.5 million, of which lawyers could take up to 30%, or $3.63 million. That could leave an $8.87 million pot for Bulldozer owners to split among themselves (provided they file a claim).
Here we can see the specs of the FX Bulldozer processors that were advertised with either four, six, or eight cores. Below we can see the launch pricing for the chips, which weighed in at $205 and $245 for the eight-core models. Even if the settlement pays out the estimated $35 per chip, and it likely won't, that is only a fraction of the original MSRP.

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