LAND­ING THE BIG PUNCHES

Maximum PC - - EDITORIAL - Gor­donTuan Mah Nguyen Ung

EMAIL was in my fresh­man year of col­lege in 1988. I at­tended Dart­mouth, and we had a sys­tem named Bl­itzMail. THIS IS AN IM­POR­TANT IS­SUE for me. But

Ev­ery stu­dent was granted an email I reckon it’s im­por­tant for the whole PC

ad­dress and ac­cess to the sys­tem. com­mu­nity. I feel as though this is one

Like most stu­dents, I didn’t use it at of those times when you get to hold a

all. It’s hard for even me to be­lieve, com­pany’s fu­ture in your hands, lit­er­ally.

but back then I was in the habit of I am, of course, re­fer­ring to our re­view of

writ­ing let­ters and post­cards. AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper.

I vividly re­call the tip­ping point, I treat Threadripper as AMD’s first though. In 1re years and my first job halo prod­uct in years. Many of the

in PC Week’s lab in 1992 to ac­tu­ally com­pany’s re­cent re­leases have been

start us­ing it. Like a lot of cor­po­rate it­er­a­tions on ex­ist­ing prod­ucts, and while

work­places, email was com­monly that’s great, Threadripper stands on its

used for in­terof­fice com­mu­ni­ca­tions. own as be­ing ballsy. But the vol­ume wa989 in the mid­dle

Here’s the thing about halo prod­ucts: of my sopho­more year, I was eat­ing Not many can af­ford them, and many

lunch with a few fresh­men who were more peo­ple don’t need them. I al­ways

talk­ing about how great email was re­fer to Audi when talk­ing about halo

for chat­ting up women. I re­mem­ber prod­ucts, be­cause ever since the re­lease

be­ing shocked at the no­tion that of its R8 su­per­car, the com­pany changed

th­ese guys didn’t have the courage to for the bet­ter. Threadripper is AMD’s R8.

pick up the phone. Lit­tle did I know. And now is the best time for the com­pany

I’d be ly­ing if I said that I took to to launch it—and we have it. email the next day. I didn’t. It took

Lest you have any doubts, three more years and my first job Threadripper is fast—let’s get that out

in PC Week’s lab in 1992 to ac­tu­ally of the way. It has an ob­scene num­ber

start us­ing it. Like a lot of cor­po­rate of dis­crete cores. It has an out­ra­geous

work­places, email was com­monly num­ber of PCIe lanes. It has pretty much

used for in­terof­fice com­mu­ni­ca­tions. every­thing you could ask for from a high

But the vol­ume was man­age­able; I end CPU. But you don’t need it. re­mem­ber go­ing two or three hours

What you should be buy­ing in­stead is with­out new email. That sounds any of AMD’s other Ryzen CPUs. They’re re

ab­so­lutely crazy now, but this was plenty fast, they’re fea­ture-rich, andnd

the era be­fore SPAM even ex­isted. they’re much cheaper. They’re the CPUsUs

As more friends started work­ing that AMD wants to sell in quan­tity. In

and came on­line, the post­card- and fact, it’s ac­tu­ally AMD it­self who needs ds

let­ter- writ­ing days ended for­ever. Threadripper. Let me ex­plain. ( That lab job was also awe­some

With Ryzen, the com­mu­nity was be­cause after four years of us­ing ex­cited but cau­tious. Ev­ery­one knows that

a Mac in col­lege, I was able to get Ryzen is a for­mi­da­ble mi­croar­chi­tec­ture,

back to PC gam­ing— after hours, of course.)

I’ll be hon­est; I still love checking my in­box and dis­cov­er­ing email— from friends, fam­ily, writ­ers, and AMD made good on its prom­ise to

read­ers, PR peo­ple, whomever— even de­liver CPUs in quan­tity. The prob­lem

if it has be­come a bit over­whelm­ing. was the lack­lus­ter his­tory of AMD as a

Be­tween re years and my first job plat­form over­all, which is the di­rect fault

in PC Week’s lab in 1992 to ac­tu­ally of it­self and its part­ners. start usin­gac­counts, I’ve never had

To seal the deal, to show that the trou­ble keep­ing up. Un­til now. This is com­pany is damned se­ri­ous at be­ing on

par­tially what in­spired this month’s the of­fen­sive, AMD needed Threadripper.

cover story. Over the last 18 months, And guess what—the strat­egy is

I’ve be­gun to notice that my abil­ity to work­ing. In­tel is on the de­fen­sive now,

quickly parse, read, and re­spond to and it’s more than just a feel­ing: Re­cent

email just isn’t fast enough any­more. an­nounce­ments, such as its 18-core

I need to de­velop new sys­tems and CPU and prod­uct mix shake-up, tell me

short­cuts. I need to change my ways. I haven’t seen In­tel be­ing pushed into a

I’m cu­ri­ous— are you find­ing corner like this for nearly 18 years. your­self in the same boat as I am?

AMD is show­ing us and show­ing In­tel If so, what have you done to bet­ter that it’s a se­ri­ous threat again. With

man­age your email life? Let me know Ryzen and Vega all com­ing out within

at George@ max­i­mumpc. com. sim­i­lar time frames, AMD is get­ting an in­cred­i­ble amount of at­ten­tion for hav­ing a both a work­ing strat­egy and

Fi­nally, the win­ners of last month’s per­for­mance num­bers to back it up. The

chal­lenge to iden­tify the fake Google com­pany that was full of doubts be­fore is

app icon. For those scor­ing at home, now full of con­fi­dence. the cor­rect an­swer was Google

Sev­eral is­sues ago, I said that AMD Stor­age. Here are the win­ners: Keith was back in the ring, and able to ex­change

Lu­cas ( who was the first cor­rect bouts with In­tel. Now it’s sev­eral rounds

re­sponse), Andy Man, Chris Brush in, and there are vis­i­ble scuffs and bruises on one of the fight­ers. But it ain’t the one wear­ing the red trunks. Gor­don Mah Ung is Max­i­mum PC’s deputy ed­i­tor, se­nior hard­ware TuanNguye­nis Max­i­mum PC’s ed­i­tor-in

ex­pert, and all- around muck­raker. chief, also known as“the pointy end of the stick .” He’ s been writ­ing, mar­ket­ing, and rais­ing hell in the te chi nd us try for 20 years.

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