Frank Azor, Alienware Co-Founder, Joins AMD as Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Auer, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Grimlaking

    Grimlaking 2[H]4U

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    "Azor is an end-product (solution) architect, and at AMD he could be the architect of products that combine the company's CPU and GPU IP in ways that haven't been invented yet."

    That is a quote from the paragraph of text on this new hire by AMD. My thought is... huh? Is AMD going to be releasing their own PC line now for gamers? Is that what I'm getting here? I just... or are they releasing a universal console? One that can play PS5 and Xbtwo games?
     
  2. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    So the rumors were true.

    Now, seeing how much of a joke Alienware has always been, is this a good or a bad thing for AMD?
     
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  3. Auer

    Auer Gawd

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    Dude, youre getting an AMD!

    dude-youre-getting-a-dell-100651341-primary.idge.jpg
     
  4. Nobu

    Nobu 2[H]4U

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    I think he'll do well. Alienware's branding might've gone down the toilet, but they did have some innovative designs afa cooling and modular notebooks.
     
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  5. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot 2[H]4U

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    Whatever you think of Alienware, AMD hiring a guy that successfully convinced a bunch of folks to hand over a lot of money for hardware claiming to be 'performance enhanced' sounds like a good way to increase margins on products. Add a few extra bios settings to an existing or soon to be released product, market it as being for elite gamers and watch the profits roll in.
     
  6. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    $3 Billion a year joke.....that is a lot of joking.
     
  7. Nolan7689

    Nolan7689 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I see it as a good thing for AMD. Sure enthusiasts known Alienware is mostly the brand name...yet the company has been around for a long time. Unsuccessful companies don’t stick around.
     
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  8. Auer

    Auer Gawd

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    Indeed, a Master class in Marketing.
     
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  9. Koizumi

    Koizumi Limp Gawd

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    Hes probably the one that came up with gamecache and Radeon Anti-Lag
     
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  10. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Well, he didn't work there yet when they coined these terms, but who knows, maybe pre-employment consulting and ideas? :p
     
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  11. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    I really don't see why some other tech company hasn't picked that guy up as a spokeshole. People still remember those commercials. I'd love to see him selling Ryzen and making fun of the competition.

    But oh noes he smoked some doobies and the poor Dell Dude got sacrificed on the altar of puritanical hypocrisy.
     
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  12. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    No, he is not.
     
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  13. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Fair comment.

    It's the kind of thing engineers cringe at though. Marketing BS rather than substance.

    I'm sure GM's badge engineering made them lots of money over the years too. Car enthusiasts - however - hated it.
     
  14. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    I would suggest you know very little about the engineering that went into many of the Alienware systems, and for you to think those were simply put together with off the shelf parts would show your tremendous ignorance about the Alienware products.
     
  15. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ard as it Gets

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    I was hoping that they had recruited "The Strong Arm," Frank Azar.
     
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  16. Uvaman2

    Uvaman2 2[H]4U

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    So amd is quite serious about gaming. Is lisa su a gamer by chance? Feels like it.
     
  17. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I am aware that at least their later systems after Dell bought them used some custom board and case designs. That they weren't just off the shelf components. For many users of those systems these wound up being problems rather than advantages, as upgrades and changes to their systems were more difficult than with a home built system.

    Some of those changes - I'm sure - were done for cost purposes of mass producing standardized systems that isn't really a concern for most standard form factor home builds. We enthusiasts love to spend time on our systems getting them just the way we like them. This won't fly in an assembly line.

    Some of them I can only ascribe to being done for "product differentiation", in the form of a racy exterior, and other design elements which are unrelated to the performance of the system, which is where I start to cringe, and as a marketing guy, this is the type of stuff I associate with him.

    But in the end, the result is you got an almost standard desktop from a capability perspective, with no real technical benefits over something built from off the shelf parts, and all the drawbacks of said custom designs when it comes to upgrades, etc.

    But I wasn't even thinking of all that. I was thinking more about the reputation of Alienware. At least in the circles I have always been involved, Alienware was an embarrassment. If you had one, you wouldn't ever tell anyone, as it suggested you didn't know what you were doing and just bought a system with daddy's credit card.

    From my perspective, whenever a marketing guy gets involved, products get worse. They sacrifice the stuff that really matters (performance, compatibility, etc.) in favor of flashy exteriors and gimmicks to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and it is sad.

    Most companies regardless of industry would have better products if they never had a marketing department and let engineers take care of everything.

    Sure, they might sell fewer of them, but there is more to designing a good product than a popularity contest. I hate the modern philosophy "shit sells, my customer wants shit, so I must design shit". I hate what has become of MSI for instance. They used to be a designer of reputable products, now they make disco lights.

    In the end, the customer isn't always right. Educate them instead of just giving them their first gut instinct of what they want.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  18. Criticalhitkoala

    Criticalhitkoala [H]ard|Gawd

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    Engineers are God damn annoying though. Like seriously God damn annoying. 95% of them have zero social skills and over complicate things. You want a world without progress, let engineers run it. Four steps forward two steps back is still progress. Engineers would be as effecient as government :)
     
  19. Nobu

    Nobu 2[H]4U

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    They were doing custom designs (not just disco lights) long before dell acquired them.
     
  20. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Ok. I only remember reading reviews of their first few systems back in the day, and much later trying to fix someone's old Alienware sortof-desktop.

    After that experience I feel similarly about Alienware as I do Apple computers.

    Any computer I can't use standard off the shelf parts to upgrade it or fix it when it brakes is not a computer worth having.
     
  21. Rockenrooster

    Rockenrooster Limp Gawd

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    ^^^^^^^

    I myself as a IT nerd and budget PC enthusiast would never dream of buying an alienware PC.

    I do have an Alienware laptop though, but............... I didn't pay for it. (it given to me as the owner didn't want it anymore lol, lucked out on that one, GTX980m 4th gen i7, m.2 SSD)
     
  22. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    That is a bit different set of thoughts than calling Alienware and its achievements a "joke." And of course you give zero value to product and customer support in your evaluation.

    We get it, you don't like Alienware and see no value. Looking at the big picture, Alienware has millions of satisfied customers that re-purchase their branded systems. That speaks for itself. And that in the end shows that Alienware is far from a joke and millions to find value where you see none. But to denigrate Frank Azor, Alienware, and AMD for hiring his just comes off as petty. Move on to finding something else to be outraged about today....
     
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  23. Nobu

    Nobu 2[H]4U

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    I agree, and probably will never buy an Alienware system, but they aren't terrible. I think the quality dropped a bit on their laptops since dell got em, dunno about their desktops. Before, they were very good, though maybe not as good as sager or the like.
     
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  24. Rockenrooster

    Rockenrooster Limp Gawd

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    They have their target audience that's for sure, that target audience is not us.
    I think that was a good hire for AMD IMO overall. I'm curious where it will lead
     
  25. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I don't think I was being outraged or denigrating. Just pointing out that among enthusiasts prebuilts have always been considered somewhat of a joke, and wondering if that is the image AMD really wants through this kind of high profile hire.

    I then went on a tangent about marketing and how it often misses the point while chasing an image, but I may have made some generalizations and assumptions there, as I don't know the man personally.
     
  26. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    Sure, the man's life work being a joke is not denigrating at all. He built a $3B business that has millions of satisfied and repeat customers, if that is a joke to anyone, I don't think you understand the PC business.

    Frank is an icon of success in our industry. Frank has done more to get high end gaming systems into the hands of customers, more than I could have ever dreamed of. Frank built a support network to keep those customers satisfied and happy. Frank hired engineers that built some of the most bullet proof systems I have ever seen in terms of performance, thermals, that could be shipped across the world and show up in 100% working fashion. Frank brought high end gaming to the masses which in turn fuels a gaming ecosystem that we have all enjoyed.

    Can you build one yourself that is better? Likely. Can you design, engineer, build, support, and ship that system to millions for the same cost? Surely, Alienware built and image and a fanbase, but it was not because it was a system that just looked cool. We have seen many try that and fail. It is just insulting to see it be called a joke by someone like you that has an immense knowledge of what it actually takes to build a killer system.
     
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  27. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    I agree with you on marketing and your opinion of Alienware as an enthusiast, but they clearly found a profitable niche and ran a successful business. AMD's competition has a small army of marketing goons whose job is to get their chips into everything. AMD needs to be aggressive and do the same. This guy seems like a good fit for the role.
     
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  28. ryan_975

    ryan_975 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I bought an Alienware two years ago, and have no regrets. It has a standard PSU, ATX motherboard, RAM, GPUs, hard drives, M.2 drive, etc. It's able to hit 4.2GHz while staying under 80c, though the auto fan control is LOUD.

    I didn't want to build a system at the time, and at $3500 after all the discounts and rewards, it was a great price for a TR 1950x, dual 1080TIs, a 1TB m.2 NVMe SDD, 32GB of ram and two-years of in home service.

    Much of the so-called "reputation" that I hear about seems to be mostly undeserved.
     
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  29. SeymourGore

    SeymourGore 2[H]4U

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    I was going to describe my own circle of enthusiast friends and their opinions of Alienware growing up - but no way, I think you hit a nerve with old Bennett and I am going to stay out of it! I think Frank is a very handsome and passionate man.

    I'm not expecting any console-style AMD boxes. AMD has a stranglehold on the console market and I can't see them wanting to step on potential toes by releasing a competitor in that segment. I imagine the hire will be upping their laptop design game, but it'd be cool if we see some Alienware-style desktops come from them. I always enjoyed Alienware's case designs and thought their attention to detail was right up there with Apples.
     
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  30. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    i think most of that negative reputation stems from the early years(2010-2014'ish) after Dell bought the brand where it pretty much seemed like Dell was slapping the Alienware logo on XPS laptops and putting a higher price tag on them.. but over the course of the last few years it seems they're actually trying to separate the brands a bit more.
     
  31. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    They have never been my cup of tea, but they were definitely an early company to realize the demand for the "gaming" aesthetic. I'll give them credit for that, as much as I chafe at the fact that it is a thing.
     
  32. Rockenrooster

    Rockenrooster Limp Gawd

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^Laptops
     
  33. Rockenrooster

    Rockenrooster Limp Gawd

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    No I definelty had the same opinion well before that........
    That being "real PC nerds build their own computers" lol
     
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  34. Derangel

    Derangel [H]ard as it Gets

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    Any enthusiast that scoffs at prebuilts is doing nothing but gatekeeping and trying to keep their hobby away from anyone that doesn't have the time or interest in building. In other words, those people aren't even worth considering.
     
  35. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Fair.

    When I think more about it, my "joke" comment was probably misdirected. I should have directed it more towards the company's typical customer, not towards the compaby itself.

    Building a business is never an easy task, though I generally philosophically disagree in the common desire to judge a person's worth based on the earnings of their business.

    Money is just money. If that's all we work for, then we are mercenaries.
     
  36. dgz

    dgz [H]ardness Supreme

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    Was it Scott Wasson?
     
  37. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Well, the market sure has changed. When I started this, it was all about taking pride in learning the details and building your own unique system and then squeezing the most out of it performance wise.

    Gaming, or any other application was almost an afterthought.

    I used to go to Demoscene events (or Demo Parties) in the 90's (think essentially lanparties before there were lanparties but focused on programming and competition in related events like graphical design, musical composition etc.)

    The main competitions were the demo events, where a specification for the competition PC's hardware was set in advance, and demo groups got together to create a demo which featured cool effects, sound, etc. all having to be rendered real time, and on the final day presented it on a big screen with all the attendees voting on which group should win and collect the associated cash prize. Think essentially the demo version of a 3DMark benchmark*.

    It was a crazy competition to squeeze the most out of any hardware and put on the most impressive real-time computer generated show possible.

    It was during these demo parties I heard the term "lamer" the first time. It was used to refer to (and rhyme with) gamers. "Get those gamer-lamers out of my way, why do they even bother coming if all they are going to do is play games". That type of comment.

    Sure, we all played games when we were board, but that was mostly seen as a waste of time. The main accomplishment was the building and creating something, be it hardware, software or something more artistic like music or visual art.

    I've always felt this way. I've never built a PC to have something to play games on. I build a PC to build the best PC I can. I come here to discuss PC hardware with other people who value PC hardware. Sure, I'll play an occasional game, but that's almost besides the point and irrelevant to the main goal, building something special.

    Now, I understand I am a little unusual in this regard today, and that many value the games more than I do, but I still have respect for them as long as they take on the technical challenge, and take the time to learn and create their own system, but when someone bypasses the whole building aspect and just wants to play games, yes, I kind of look at that as lowest common denominator nonsense that totally misses the point.

    They can go be "gamer-lamers", I don't really want to have anything to do with them.

    *Which is an apt comparison, because one of the most significant demo groups back then was the Finnish group "The Future Crew" who hosted the Finnish demo party series "Assembly". Many members of Future Crew went on to form MadOnion, later renamed to FutureMark, so the demo modes of the likes of 3DMark 2000 and 2001 were direct descendents of the Demo Party scene.
     
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  38. Nolan7689

    Nolan7689 [H]ard|Gawd

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    My two cents, tail end of 2010 I bought a 12” Alienware laptop. I don’t recall the specs. I remember it being capable of good 720p settings and cost about $1000. Portability was something I wanted and it delivered.

    I also know I could go home right now and boot the damn thing up without an issue....now if I could just remember my login details....
     
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  39. Neslepax

    Neslepax Gawd

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    I hope to see great things coming from AMD with this hiring acquisition. I have always been a fan of Alienware. When I was a teen, I remember seeing their beastly builds in PCGamer and drooling, wishing I could afford one. I still have my $5000 Alienware laptop from 2005. It was a beast back then and definitely turned heads when I showed up somewhere able to play UT2004/HL2/Doom3. That was around the same time I got into the custom builds and modding community and found [H]. I wouldn't say that Alienware was the sole reason I got into building my own rigs, but the beauty of their designs really stoked my interest. I will probably end up buying another Alienware laptop in the future (or Falcon NW, those paint jobs are gorgeous). I do not ever remember being looked down on for sporting an Alienware gaming laptop at any lan party back then, and I definitely did not "use daddy's credit card" to buy one. That is just insulting.
     
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