AMD is set to pay out $12.1m for false advertising

30 Aug 2019674 Views

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AMD's office in Santa Clara. Image: SundryPhotography/Depositphotos

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Customers complained that AMD advertised chips as eight-core processors, when the figure was half of that.

This week, US multinational semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) agreed to pay a $12.1m settlement in a false advertising class action lawsuit.

The lawsuit was brought against the company by a number of customers who bought AMD’s FX-8000 and FX-9000 CPUs, built on its 2011 Bulldozer architecture.

Customers complained that AMD advertised these chips as eight-core processors when, in reality, the figure was half of that. AMD’s processor was advertised as the “first native eight-core desktop processor”, when it was comprised of four Bulldozer modules with two CPU cores each.

Many customers did not understand how four modules with dual-cores translated to eight CPU cores, and a class action lawsuit was launched in 2015.

They argued that AMD’s combination did not amount to eight cores as they shared resources, including front-end circuitry and a single floating point unit (FPU). It was claimed that this amounted to false advertising.

After four years, AMD has now agreed to pay customers $12.1m to settle the case.

Few are eligible for compensation

The Register calculates that if 20pc of eligible purchasers follow up with the company and claim their compensation, it works out as $35 per chip. This is after a deduction of around $3.63m to cover attorney fees and settlement administration.

Only users who purchased their CPU from AMD’s website or in the state of California are eligible for a portion of the settlement.

The process on how affected users can claim compensation hasn’t been announced yet, but the settlement covers customers who bought these specific CPU models: AMD FX-8120, FX-8150, FX-8320, FX-8350, FX-8370, FX-9370 and FX-9590.

The Register noted that no per-chip fee was decided in the settlement, which could create “an actual disincentive to apply” for compensation, especially following the recent settlement reached in the Equifax data breach case.

Individuals affected by the breach were initially told that they were entitled to a portion of the Federal Trade Commission’s $700m fine but, in reality, the total pot was $31m.

The commission recommended that people claim free credit monitoring, offered by Equifax, rather than attempt to claim a portion of the cash pay-out.

Meanwhile…

Shortly after the false advertising settlement was announced, Gizmodo reported that AMD had been advertising its new Ryzen Pro as being capable of hitting clock speeds of 5Ghz.

The publication wrote: “That’s impressive as 5Ghz is a major benchmark that few CPUs can hit. The Ryzen Pro series of processors are none of those CPUs.”

On AMD’s website, the company notes that the Ryzen Pro processor’s maximum clock speed is 4.1Ghz.

Gizmodo reached out to AMD to find out more about this claim, hoping to figure out whether it is just an unfortunately timed typo or error. As of Friday (30 August), the company has yet to respond.

AMD’s office in Santa Clara. Image: SundryPhotography/Depositphotos

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com