Published in PC Hardware

We still need AMD, don't you know?

by on16 April 2008


The voice of IT experience

Despite the fact that when it posts its results tomorrow, those results will not make silicon investors shriek with glee, no one in the industry – not even Intel – wants AMD to fail.

This is all a little bit like a game of European chess. The Red King is obviously Hector Ruiz, while the White King is, without a shadow of a doubt, Paul Otellini.

Identifying the other 30 pieces on the board with real human beings is harder. Who, for example is the Red Queen, and who the White Queen?

The bishops are obviously the PR spinners to the left and to the right of the monarchs – ready, once the pawns make an opening, to go diagonally wherever there is a diagonal place to go.

The knights – or horses, as my dad used to call them – are ready to pursue the strange gambit of going two up and one across. These are probably the field area engineers.

The rooks, also called the castles by uneducated oiks like me, normally wait for the end game before they move vertically and horizontally on the pixellated board.

Meanwhile the infantry – the poor bloody foot soldiers – are forced to advance and can never retreat unless they cross the whole board to transform into any piece they want to be, except pawns, of course.

The long game can get remarkably tedious. Geniuses in this frankly Asian board game can apparently tell what’s exactly going to happen if there are only a handful of pieces left on the board. Sooner or later a king will be toppled. And if only the kings are left, then it’s an endless stalemate.

Sometimes it’s good to know when to give up, to surrender, knowing that you can live to fight another day on the chequered panel.

When there are only two competitors on the board, at least spectators can throw lots and gamble on the outcome, rather like those who invest on the short and long game on Wall Street. If there’s only one team, then the game is frankly not worth betting on or playing.

After tiring your brain out by thinking about the long and short of it all, you might fancy playing Fox and Hounds, where one piece is the cunning Reynard pitted against four baying hounds.

Sorry for this long excursion into board games. But if there’s only one player left on the board, and it’s Chipzilla, we may as well all go off and play quoits, just like Alice in Wonderland, and using pink flamingoes as rackets.

We’re all praying for the White Rabbit to make an appearance, glance at his pocket watch, and panic because the spring has bust and the clock is overclocking, with one day spinning by in the space of one real minute.

Maybe Microsoft will help bale out AMD. It’s certainly not in Microsoft’s interest for its arch enemy Intel to win, win and win again.

Last modified on 17 April 2008
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