AMD CLASS ACTION PROCEEDS

AMD logoEarlier we mention that AMD was subject to a class action over the Bulldozer processors. Now we have learned that the court has sent the matter to be considered by a jury.

There could be hundreds of thousands of people potentially impacted, and so any damages would stretch into millions of dollars. The chips impacted by the case are the FX-8120, FX-8150, FX-8320, FX-8350, FX-8370, FX-9370, and FX-9590, specifically.

AMD has its own language to describe its Bulldozer chips, which date back to 2011: it explained that the Bulldozer CPU cores are put into pairs, with each pair called a module. So an eight-core processor has four modules. We have been aware of the architecture since Bulldozer was first announced ahead of general availability.

Generally each pair of integer cores shares one floating point unit. Most software does not use floating point much.

The 1961 Burroughs 500 mainframe was the first machine to use virtual memory but it did not have hardware memory management at this time.  The earlier Atlas had pages. Mainframe designs influenced microprocessor designs considerably.

The old 8088 CPU in the original PC had only a basic core, even the clock was external.  The 8087 was an expensive separate chip. The 80286 CPU in the PC-AT had some demand page memory management. Once the 80386 was released the fast address memory model became more desirable. The 80486 finally integrated the floating point into the primary CPU die. The Pentium allowed segments to be larger at up to 4MB. The move to the AMD64 design introduced IOMMU to manage devices and virtual memory. More recent processors have become more integrated over time.

We have been reading the court documents and its not clear what AMD might chose to do next. In any event AMD is facing some possible damages. The possibility of egregious harm to the industry is weighing on everyone.