Don’t you hate it when you do like one major, nearly catastrophic screw-up and no one lets you forget it? For AMD that colossal fuckery was the launch of the Bulldozer chipset in 2011. 8 years later AMD has been hit with a $12 million fine related to false advertising around Bulldozer, and hours after the fine was issued it’s now reportedly made some less than accurate performance claims about a much newer chipset.
Wccftech first noted that AMD released a video this week that claims its new Ryzen Pro can hit clock speeds of 5Ghz. That’s impressive as 5Ghz is a major benchmark that few CPUs can hit. The Ryzen Pro series of processors are none of those CPUs. As noted on AMD’s own website the max clock speed for a Ryzen Pro processor is 4.1Ghz.
The claim in the AMD video is likely a typo (we’ve reached out to AMD for comment and will update as soon as we hear back). Typos aren’t news! Unless they are beautifully-timed typos.
This one absolutely is.
Yesterday, as noted by the Register, AMD agreed to pay out approximately $12 million dollars to plaintiffs in a class-action suit for making false claims in advertising and marketing materials related to its Bulldozer CPUs that were launched back in 2011. Those chips, as we’ve noted previously, were built to be big beefy processors capable of 5Ghz clock speeds. They did not come even close to that kind of performance.
The claims that got AMD in hot water weren’t actually related to clock speed though. Instead, with Bulldozer, AMD had a bad habit of claiming it was shipping 8-core CPUs, many people, including the claimants that launched a class action in California in 2015, disagreed. AMD believed that its chips marketed as 8-core CPUs counted because they were made of 4 independent modules, but each module had two cores.
The claimants disagreed, noting that each module shared resources that would effectively throttle the chip. So it might have looked like an 8-core CPU but it performed like something much less powerful.
The Bulldozer chips, as we’ve chronicled extensively, were a major failure for AMD and ruined the competitive marketplace for CPUs appearing in consumer computers. It would be another six years before AMD started competing with Intel in any truly notable manner.
Ryzen is a very different story from Bulldozer, and, to date, there have been no concerns about the number of cores being reported by AMD being different than the number of cores in the actual CPUs. So if you have a Ryzen Pro CPU you should be comfortable in the knowledge that it really has the number of CPUs noted on the box. Just don’t expect it to ever hit the fabled 5Ghz clock speed.
As for Bulldozer owners curious about getting in on that class action suit. It’s expected that every claimant should get approximately $35 provided they can prove ownership of the affected devices. Right now it will only cover owners who resided in California at the time of purchase and owned one of the following CPUs:
AMD and the courts are still finalizing the payout, but keep your eyes peeled in October for more information.
Update 8/30 3:57pm ET
AMD gave Gizmodo the following statement related to the video above:
We have revised one of our latest “Why Use AMD Ryzen PRO processors for Business” videos to better illustrate the benefits of Ryzen PRO processors and address any confusions the animations may have caused.