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AMD agrees to settle a class-action lawsuit over its Bulldozer CPUs for $12.1 million

(Image credit: Pixabay)

If you ever purchased an AMD "Bulldozer" processor, you might find yourself eligible for a modest payout. That's because AMD has agreed to terms of a class-action lawsuit that would see the company set aside a $12.1 million fund to dole out to participants in the suit.

The lawsuit stems from alleged false advertising over the core count in AMD's old FX Bulldozer CPUs, and specifically the FX-9590, 9370, 8370, 8350, 8320, 8150, and 8120. Bulldozer launched to much hype and high hopes among consumers, but never won favor, as they were outclassed by Intel's silicon at the time.

What spurred the lawsuit, however, is AMD's advertising of certain chips as 8-core models. As our friends at Anandtech explain, the Bulldozer architecture used dual-core modules, each containing two independent ALUs and a shared FPU—the cores did not operate independently, in other words. Nevertheless, AMD based the core count on the number of integer cores, and pitched its Bulldozer processors as the first 8-core desktop chips when they arrived in 2011.

Some customers disagreed with this labeling, and it did not help matters that Intel's 4-core CPUs performed better. Hence a class-action lawsuit was filed in 2015. Now four years later, there is a proposed settlement on the table.

Both sides have agreed to the settlement, though it must still be approved by a court. Assuming that happens, anyone who purchased one of the models listed above is eligible for a piece of the $12.1 million pot, though only if it was bought through AMD's website or while living in California. That's a pretty big caveat.

"AMD is pleased to have reached a settlement of this lawsuit. While we believe the allegations are without merit, we also believe that eliminating the distraction and settling the litigation is in our best interest," an AMD spokesperson told CRN.

The thing about class-action lawsuits is typically not every eligible person participates.

"Even if 20 percent of the settlement class files a claim (a relatively high figure for consumer class action lawsuits), participants are still likely to receive more than $35 per purchased chip," the lawsuit states (PDF).

All of the affected models launch at north of $200, with the FX-9590 priced at around $900 in OEM system configurations initially (it later released to retail at around $300). The proposed settlement would amount to a small payback, but hey, at least it's something.

Thanks, The Register