AMD VISION… Keeping Buyers In The Dark


Apparently, folks in the market for a PC don’t care much about MHz or anything else in their system these days.

A recent New York Times headline suggests AMD has enough clout in the industry to end the longs standing chip wars between AMD and Intel with nothing more than another new marketing strategy. Further reading describes AMD’s new VISION strategy as a last ditch effort to compete. AMD executives justify the approach by suggesting today’s consumers no longer care about specs. Consumers only care about what the PC can do for them.

You can’t blame The NY Times for adding a little sensationalism. This ploy by AMD is getting tired. Sure, if you’re having trouble keeping up, it’s best to hide it from the buying public. Sure the retailers like it when they can market an item at a low price point without pointing out exactly what the consumer is getting… or not getting.


Anyone who has bought a computer recently can’t help but notice the increase in system specs and yet at the same time there is something missing. You guessed it, the size of the engine. The tag at the store shows the amount of memory, size of the hard drive, but what sort of power does it have? That question is getting harder and harder to answer, especially for the average user buying an AMD based system.

VISON is the name but what a misnomer. It is supposed to give a rating related to performance for the whole system and not just the processor. Don’t let the fact that AMD now owns its own video card company, ATI, escape you. Their continuing second rate performance on the CPU front coupled with lots-o-cash tied up with the ATI purchase, guarantees this approach to marketing their products.

If you have any doubts that the whole VISION thing is a farce, just ask yourself what the word “BLACK” tells the average consumer. While AMD Vision Premium, and AMD Vision Ultimate, may give the consumer at least something to relate to, I’m not sure AMD Vision Black tells the average consumer anything. While the consumer may not know everything about L2 cache or clock cycles, the correct information would at least give us something concrete to compare or research.

Check out the levels of performance AMD is peddling to consumers.

  • Vision Basic = uh…….basic
  • Vision Premium = Does the word “Premium” tell you anything about digital media consumption?
  • Vision Ultimate = Does the word”Ultimate” tell you anything about digital media creation?
  • Vision Black = Does the word “Black” tell you anything about anything?

Maybe marketing executives think the public is stupid or maybe they are just seizing the opportunity to hide information that could negatively influence their position and sales. Either way, when information is hidden, the consumer loses .

When I buy a house I don’t want to make my decision based on Ultimate House, Premium House, Black House and I don’t want to buy a Basic TV, Ultimate TV, Black TV. Please release me from today’s consumer crushing marketing tactics. If you want to sell me something, tell me what it REALLY is.



The New York Times




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37 thoughts on “AMD VISION… Keeping Buyers In The Dark

  1. Like most of the AMD fans out there, and system builders, most of the time, People don’t want to know whats in thier system. I’ve always been an advocate of AMD simply because you could get the amd 2.2ghzx dual core for $100, while the Intel one costed upwards of $200, aswell the motherboards that supported amd chipsets always seemed a lot cheaper.

    I’m a price to performance ratio kinda guy, and I’d rather spend $900 on an amd system thats a 30 point 3d mark score behind a $1800 intel system.

  2. I totally agree with all the positive comments about the AMD cpus. They’ve alwys worked better for me.

    And even more the comments on the O/S!

    Linux based O/S are a breath of fresh air!

    Like the others said, it’s all down to control of the market and Microsoft have had it their own way for too long.

    Their O/S is a dinasaur and at last things are changing!

  3. mp, I’ve been using AMD since it’s beginings. They make great cpus. The article speaks more to naming and marketing than to the quality of AMD cpus. AMD is just a recent example of how “marketing” is going. Notice I say “Maybe marketing executives( NOT AMD EXECS.) think the public is stupid or maybe they are just seizing the opportunity to hide information that could negatively influence their position and sales. Either way, when information is hidden, the consumer loses.”

    This day and age everyone is trying to keep consumers in the dark. With the ease of finding information on the internet, manufacturers are doing all they can to make direct comparisons tough for consumers. Especially the manufacturers with the least to offer.

  4. Interesting. It seems to me that no, most people wouldn’t care about the specifics of what they buy, as long as it does what they want. Do you care about how exactly the EFI system works on the engine when you buy a car, or what, much less how, a limited slip differential is/works? No, you don’t. All you want to know is horsepower and gas mileage. Unless you’re a shade-tree mechanic, and we are a dying breed.

    I once had someone (ahem,) tell me, as I was considering buying a Mac, that when I was ready to take the training wheels off, come talk to him. I laughed in his face. It’s a computer. I want it to be turn-key, and trouble-free. I don’t want, nor should I have to spend valuable time running maintenance apps, updating everything, and constantly backing up my data in case anything goes wrong? And yet it is inevitable, isn’t it?

    My much belabored point is, while you out there in the industry may care, the rest of us (many of your customers) don’t. We simply want a product that works for us, not against us.

  5. Try proof reading your blast before sending it out. You look and sound like an idiot. I have been using AMD for over a decade and the PC-PITSTOP benchmarks have always shown the AMD chip out performing the Intel chips. When you buy Intel you buy a name when you buy AMD you buy performance. The only reason Intel is top dog is due to the advertising dollers promoting their product, and the consumer pays for it in expensive chips. By letting the product speak for its self AMD has grown to number 2. Not to bad considering the millions AMD does not spend on promotion.

  6. Theres something about watching huge companies tank because they forget business 101 that I just love. Stray from tried and true business practices and quickly end up broke like Circuit City. Amd has a good product and I have a bunch of their products in my home. Im also an owner of many intel products and find it hard to tell the difference running different apps like burning software. But this is a move that will only hurt Amd so please dont make a huge stink about it. Join me in watching them tank like many other compnaies that are on the verge of a free fall. IE Time Warner Cable.

  7. Even though I consider myself a novice “geek”, having been a die hard enthusiast for more than 7 years, I fully realize that only the truly objective expert can have more than a rudimentary handle on computer technology. That said, I own both intel and amd systems. Both have dual cores – an intel e7400 with 3 gig. of 1066 ram and an amd X2 6000 with 4 gig. of 800 ram. One rig was bought from H.P. and the other is a custom build. I game some, but I spend hours daily on both. The intel claims a 2.8 gig. cpu speed and delivers exactly that. The amd claims 3.0 gig cpu speed and delivers 3.3 ghz. One cost slightly more than the other. My point is that both are absolutely satisfactory. They have the power and durability to stand up to my abuse and have done so withou the first glitch. If you do a little homework before you buy to insure your choice is capable of your needs, you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t expect a machine with a 1.6 ghz. single core cpu to have the zip of a 2.5+ ghz. dual core etc.

  8. AMD have always tried pulling the wool over peoples eyes with ratings such as 3400+ why not just call it a 2200 or 1800 like it is rather than trying to delude everyone. atleast with intel you always know what your buying. I admit i dont use AMD but thats mainly because they wont be straight with you. INTEL IS BETTER and always will be!!!!

  9. wasn’t another large corporation marketing a line using names like “basic, premium, ultimate”? and there was accompanied big hoopla about a “black” theme.. hmmm i wonder which corporation that was? hmmm…

  10. Why don’t AMD use the new marketing ploy the way they are doing it but also introduce specs.

    The way I see it, if AMD had all the different versions, such as basic and ultimate and included full specs, both sides would be happy.

    The basic home users, wouldn’t need to know the tech stuff. Most users just wan’t a basic PC. While the technical oriented people could see which was best for him.

  11. Alot of good points here. Ford or Chevy, simply preference. All things are not equal anymore, too many variables. The bottom line is what are you going to use your computer for and then research reviews. I use both AMD and Intel processors (comparable) no big difference. I defintely avoid proprietary such as Dell. Marketing is marketing, Do you want to buy the new car, or the pretty model standing next to it? The tech age has advanced beyond common understanding. Most people dont care, it will always be that way. Those who want to know will research, those who dont wont

  12. Seems a bit harsh on AMD here. I mean really is the authur for real? How many years did Intel throw big Ghz numbers at us on hardware that couldn’t compete with AMD? They hid that for years and years with marketing..

  13. Well it is obvious whose flag you are waving.

    Intel is over priced as it is, so if there was no AMD what do you think they would be charging then !!!

    AMD is quite fast enough for me for the price

  14. AMD tried this once before….salesmen were misquoting specs
    because they didnt understand the “performance ratings”…
    Lets keep this simple and go back to GHZ and cache and if the
    public is too lazy to try to understand those concepts…then
    they deserve a slug…its just not that hard. Besides CPU
    speed is not the only thing that counts. Fast CPU’s need
    the fastest hardware to run right….you don’t find those
    in your local Walmart anyway.

  15. Specs mean anything only for those who understand them. The author is correct – the average user neither knows nor cares.

    I’m a fairly advanced user and I DON’T CARE! The ONLY thing that matters is overall performance. Any one component can slow down a machine, and their specs won’t tell you how they will perform when installed with the others. Component mismatches cause more speed issues than clock speeds.

    In almost every objective test and subjective testimonials (see above), AMDs that are “slower” in clock speed are actually faster (and cooler and cheaper) due to their efficient design.

    Both a Hummer or Prius will get you to where you’re going, but at what relative cost?

  16. I agree with Corpsecrank, but let me elaborate. While this system could be considered misinformation, I see it as a change in marketing to meet the shift in paradigm, not to create it. What you need to realize is the the average user not only doesn’t want to know the specs of a potential system, but will go to great lengths to keep from learning anything even remotely technical. Do you think that the average user knows what CPU their iPhone uses? Or how much RAM their Xbox 360 has? Users don’t want to know, they want to be dumb, and any system that addresses that FACT should do well, provided it is well implemented. Bottom line; AMD isn’t keeping anyone in the dark, Buyers keep themselves in the dark through WILLFUL IGNORANCE.

  17. this is why i use pc builders like dell, i go through a little wizard online i pick out the exact spec i want and dell do tell you things like clock speed and then once i configured the system to exactly how i want it i buy it, its that simple.

    if i went in store and i could see the information i need to know i ask the sales person if they don’t know i would ask them to phone the manufacturer and get the answer as i would settle for nothing less and if they won’t give me the information i require i tell them i am not interested in buying anything then and that i will go elsewhere to someone more helpful.

    eventually when stores lose sales because they aren’t te;;ing consumers what they want to know perhaps they will learn their place and give us what we want, the problem is the consumer needs to start realising we have the power not the stores, its the recession people if stores don’t do what we want we don’t buy from them and they go bankrupt so if you challenge the stores then they will cave because in the end there not stupid enough to risk going under for the sake of not answering a few questions.

  18. I see we’re back on the lets slag off AMD road again.
    The idiot Jurno called AMD second rate, how many manufacturers was he/she comparing here?
    For the record, my family has three PCs, one is an old Intel P5 single core that is used for Linnux.
    The other two, one an Intel Dual Core 3gig, the other an AMD 2.2 gig. Both have equal memory, comparable graphics; and hardware, and boot the same programs and OS. The AMD is faster to boot etc. The Intel in this case is second rate. While I’m chugging along on my Intel droid box, my little darlings have come, been and gone.
    We had the same conversations about the Intel 386DX 20gig being slower than the 386SX 16gig.
    The moral is, if it works for you, use it.

  19. AMD is absolutely right when they say that an average buyer does not care about the speed rating of the processor. I build machines all the time for people and they have no idea what 3.0Ghz even means. They simply ask for a machine that will do what they want and if it will they are happy with it.

    Intel however makes it difficult for a system designer to even tell what kind of speed the front side has with the new QPI star rating system. But when I order an AMD processor I can still order based on a Mhz label.

    So what’s the big deal? You go to the store it says this is a basic speed this is a mid speed and this is going to be fast and as a consumer you simply choose the one that fits your needs.

  20. Yes CPU speed is deceptive. I had an intel pent 4 dual (not duo) core CPU running at 4GHz. I upgraded to Vista x64 Ultimate (which has always worked great). The Vista performance number was in the high 4’s, I don’t remember exactly what it was. I upgraded CPU only to an intel Q6700 quad core at 2.2GHz and the number pegged at 5.9. I know it is a matter of cores, etc. but that is not the point. The point is the much faster processer is really the slower of the two. This required some reeducation on my part but still…

    All this being said I will never buy anything without a spec sheet. I want the ability to compare for myself and will do so. I agree with Dave, it is time to change the benchmark but not get rid of it!

  21. I just bought a new desktop computer about a week ago. Before that I wrote down all the processor numbers and tried to do a comparision between them.

    There are multiple processor types and then various models within those for both Intel and AMD. Because there is no common bench mark (say a battery of 5 different tests for example: a large database function, a large photoshop function, a complex desktop CAD3 function, a gaming function, video editing function) I had no way to really compare.

    I do know the AMD machine was a less costly – 4 of my 5 last computers have been AMD’s, I’ve never had the need to push the outer edge so value is an important concept that only the end user can decide. E.g. is it worth paying 15% more for that extra .2 GHZ of speed?

    Make them something brutal that takes 30-45 seconds to process with todays current top processors. Then give the results in seconds for each function. I do a lot of imagining and CAD so those are “MY NUMBERS” I’d look at. Over the next several years the numbers would keep coming down within each group – but as a buyer I’d be able to see which performs best in the category important to me.

  22. I’ve been involved in the technical side of computing for over 35 years. My first PC was the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A. What I hear from most of the so called “techies” on the internet that talk about Gigahertz as the only way to tell the actual speed of a CPU….well, yes it does, but not the performance….I have seen Lower clock speed AMD CPU’s mop the floor with Intel high clock speed CPU’s. The more telling is the benchmark. I have found that I can get an equal benchmark from an AMD CPU at half the price of an Intel and a lower clock speed.

  23. All this talk about not knowing specs and it is available from infromation in the ‘Control Panel’ of the Operating System. So a consumer can find out. As for the New naming: AMD knowledgeable consumers know that ‘Black” means Black Edition CPU’s. (Unlocked for Overclocking CPU). The other names can also lead me through dual cores to three or four cores. But it is us PC builders and Overclockers that know and will know what we are buying. I help a lot of people with thier PC’s and it’s ‘True’ most PC users do not know or understand what’s inside and ‘Only’ care about what it can do. Their not technical. So all this blasting of AMD is unfair. Plus the competition is about equal in performance but more expensive. NVidea Video cards cost as much as ATI cards (Two on the market) and rumor is that Intel is buying NVidea? AMD is a great value and product (cheaper in costs than Intel, CPU’s). So why does AMD deserve to be blasted, they dont. AMD has a lower retail percent of the market because of how CPU’s are sold to manufacturers and the discounts that leave little market availability for AMD. Search and read about that one. Intel has control of the market by sales tactics and you think AMD ids a bad guy? Get your facts strait. Intels CPU discount sales according to an article leaves little numbers of PC’s built with AMD processors because of the total quota of manufactured PC as a whole by manyfacturers. But that’s mt opinion from what I know as a proud AMD/ATI owner user.

  24. Most consumers don’t know what there are looking for anyway. Sales guys try to sell you the best computer, even if you don’t need it. The tech savvy guys are going to know what’s under the hood, or they will buy the Intel system if those are the only specs available.

    I’m sure there will be explanations of what they “levels” are. Joe Blow can walk into a store and say “I want to make DVD’s from home videos” and the sales guy can say “You need a Premium” (for example.) Then the consumer can look at all the options that will meet their needs without being confused by processor speeds – which really aren’t an accurate comparison of different chips, or chips from different companies anyway.

    It sounds easier for the masses and I believe it will be an effective marketing tool for the average user. Just not for us “geeks” that tinker “under the hood.”

  25. By replacing specs with meaningless adjectives, AMD is trying to do what most marketing tries to do: impress, not inform. Unfortunately, it will probably work with many consumers, who are stupid as well as ignorant. But it won’t work with those of us who want to compare computers to see which one is going to give the best performance. We’ll be looking at specs, where available, and ignoring machines whose specs are not available.

  26. After using AMD & Intell processers in my opinion a lot of hype goes into the marketing, I have just changed from intell core 2 quad 2.66 to AMD Phenom black 955 and find that the ‘slow’ AMD cpu runs as good and a lot cooler on my rig.

  27. This is what happens when the marketing department has more influence than the engineers and techs. Keeping your customers in the dark is never a good idea, and using crappy generic descriptions like premium and ultimate instead of x.x GHz appeals only to the least informed potential buyer. More often than not, these are the type of people who ask somebody else which computer they should buy anyway, so it is a strategy which will come back to bite AMD. You certainly don’t have to be “in Intel’s back pocket” to see this move, by what used to be a good company, as another backward step. It is a shame really, as competition keeps big companies honest, and obfuscation like this muddies competition / comparison. I hope the new approach is short lived.

  28. I’m not an expert. I relied on PCPitstop and PC World for info when I bought my last computer; I could read and compare the specs fine, but needed help translating them into useful information. Even when I bought a CPU with only a salesman’s help, I never had a machine that disappointed me as to speed or reliability. My issues have always been with software, and parts like HD’s that crapped out in a year or so. I recently worked with a Linux OS named “Puppy” which did all I needed and ran in in something like 200 megs of memory. Maybe ALL of our machines would perform better if they weren’t bogged down with Windows.

  29. It seems to me there should be some industry standards that would be reported in marketing. I am not a comuter guru and need help to know how to make intelligent decisions.

  30. I have to laugh…..Intel user’s think they have something superior. I have Intel AND AMD. Dollar for dollar, the AMD has been the most reliable, and in all apparent actions, faster than Intel. The common user will see virtually no difference, except in their checkbooks. Most tech columns are Intel biased. In my day, their was the argument over which was superior, the 351 Cleveland or the 351 Windsor engine……they were BOTH 351’s.

  31. “Maybe marketing executives think the public is stupid.” Unfortunately, most of them are… least when it comes to computers. Less than 10% of the people I fix computers for have any idea what is inside the box. They only know what it will do……or won’t as the case may be. AMD is perfectly correct in their reasoning… won’t work for me……or any of the people who come to me for buying advice. If I don’t know what’s in it I won’t buy it or recommend it.

  32. Yeah, all that hype is annoying…my lowly AMD X2 system, according to Pitstop’s full tests, runs six percent slower than an equivalent dual-core Intel machine at the same clock speed. When the prices begin to come together I will have no problem acquiring an Intel product. In the meantime my cool-running, relatively inexpensive and reliable AMD clunker will serve.

  33. Well this may be true for the amateur computer user (buyer), but not the enthusiast builder! I am always concerned with the specs. of each individual part I’m using in the PC I’m building!

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