AMD has gotten a boost from an unexpected source, as Linus Torvalds has switched to AMD and slammed Intel.
As the creator of the Linux operating system (OS), Torvalds is widely respected within the tech industry. He continues to be a powerful voice in the Linux community, as well as the developer community at large. As a result, when Torvalds make his preference for one processor over another clear, and slams another, it tends to make people take notice.
In posts on Real World Technologies’ forums, Torvalds’ criticism of Intel came down to two factors: cost and the lack of Error-Correcting Code (ECC) memory.
No. I used to look at the Xeon CPU’s, and I could never really make the math work. The Intel math was basically that you get twice the CPU for five times the price. So for my personal workstations, I ended up using Intel consumer CPU’s.
The AMD Threadripper pricing is much closer to “twice the price for twice the CPU”. Yes, you end up paying more for the accoutrements (MB and cooling), but that’s pretty much in line too. So yes, it ends up being more expensive, but if CPU power is what you want and need, the expense is pretty much in line with what you get.
Torvalds harshest criticism was reserved for Intel’s approach (or lack thereof) to ECC memory. As its name suggests, ECC is designed to scan for and correct simple errors and data corruption that occurs in memory storage. Torvalds blasted Intel for its stance on ECC.
The arguments against ECC were always complete and utter garbage. Now even the memory manufacturers are starting [to] do ECC internally because they finally owned up to the fact that they absolutely have to.
Torvalds says Intel has pushed an erroneous narrative to users for years.
How many times has a row-hammer like bit-flip happened just by pure bad luck on real non-attack loads? We will never know. Because Intel was pushing shit to consumers.
And I absolutely guarantee they happened. The “modern DRAM is so reliable that it doesn’t need ECC” was always a bedtime story for children that had been dropped on their heads a bit too many times.
While its ECC support may not be “officially verified,” AMD’s chips at least support the feature.
And the fact that it’s “unofficial” for AMD doesn’t matter. It works. And it allows the markets to – admittedly probably very slowly – start fixing themselves.
But I blame Intel, because they were the big fish in the pond, and they were the ones that caused the ECC market to basically implode over a couple of decades.
It’s no secret Intel has been struggling, losing market share to AMD and seeing the mobile market dominated by Arm Holdings. Torvalds criticism only adds to Intel’s troubles.