AMD Faces Lawsuit Over Definition of “CPU Core”

AMD Faces Lawsuit Over Definition of

AMD Faces Lawsuit Over Definition of “CPU Core”

Back in 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed against AMD over the advertising of their Bulldozer/Piledriver series of processors, which AMD claimed offer up to “eight cores”, a claim that the Plaintiffs claim is false.     

AMD’s Bulldozer architecture is comprised of core modules, each of which offers two “CPU cores” within a singular module, sharing resources between each core. This lawsuit alleges that AMD’s Bulldozer-based processors do not have eight cores, but offer four cores and eight sub-processors, alleging that the sharing of resources in Bulldozer “cores” results in performance bottlenecks. 

The plaintiffs of this case state that “Bulldozer CPUs functionally only have four cores”, claiming that the processors they purchased are “inferior to the products as represented by the Defendant (AMD)”. 

AMD has refuted these claims stating that “a significant majority” of people use the same “core” definition as AMD, but US Judge Haywood Gilliam does not agree and has granted a motion that will allow this class action lawsuit to begin. The legal case is expected to start later this year. 

The danger of this case is that the term “CPU core” could gain a distinct definition that narrows the possibilities of future CPU architectures moving forward, especially when it comes to resource sharing. While many consumers consider AMD’s Bulldozer architecture a failure, the concepts behind the core offered a lot of potential performance when utilised correctly. AMD bet big on parallelism with Bulldozer, but the high single-threaded performance of competing Intel processors ultimately won the day, leaving AMD in a bad position until the release of Ryzen in 2017.  

AMD Faces Lawsuit Over Definition of  

This class action lawsuit will see both sides of this argument meet in court on February 5th to decide the timeline of the case, with AMD planning to defend themselves “vigorously”. 

While AMD has moved onto their new Zen architecture, this lawsuit has the potential to become a major financial hit for the company, potentially forcing them to refund the cost difference between their 8-core Bulldozer processors and 4-core processors. What is perhaps worse is that the term “CPU Core” may gain a narrow legal definition, one which will limit resource sharing CPU architectures moving forward. 

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