In the early 2000s AMD was on top of the world, they had a desktop processor that was what everyone wanted. AMD was handily beating Intel in terms of performance and pushing x86-64 computing out to the world. In 2006 AMD made an odd decision to buy GPU maker ATi for a rather hefty sum. This one act threw AMD off their game so badly that they operated in the red for many years after the purchase. However, over the last 2-3 years AMD has made some well-planned changes internally. These changes included dropping the mobile focus and creating the RTG (Radeon Technology Group). They have secured some technologies through purchases and cleaned up some financially impacting deals.
Over the last couple of days, we have received information that would indicate nVidia is not moving to HBM 2 for their consumer GPUs (outside of some extremely high-end models). Instead, they appear to be focusing on improvements found in GDDR5X and GDDR6. Conversely, AMD appears to be focusing on HBM for many of their high-end and even some mid-range cards. The two very different paths has sparked something of a debate amongst fans of both products (as you can imagine). The questions are, why chose one over the other at this point and is HBM a truly viable option for AMD?
Computex 2017 is done, the hangovers are pretty much gone, and what do we have to show for it? Well… we have a new fight for fanboys and review sites alike to talk about. This is the fight between AMD’s Threadripper and Intel’s New X series CPUs. The crux of the argument is that Intel’s 18 Core i9 with 44 PCIe lanes is a reactionary move to a leak of Threadripper’s specifications.
Earlier today, we talked about Intel’s response to AMD’s Ryzen success so we thought we would give some love to AMD as well. Although we are not out at Computex (again) we are still getting news from different manufacturers. We are also getting information from a few people that are in the sweltering heat…. Oh yeah; back to talking about AMD’s response to Intel’s Core i9 X-series.
With Computex going on there has already been lots of news hitting the street about new PC gear. Everything from GPUs, Laptops, Cases, overclocking world records, you know the stuff. We have also heard that Intel has kicked a new series of CPUs out the door. These are their “X” series of CPUs and are pretty much a direct response to the performance that AMD’s Ryzen has shown off.
Since the ATi purchase AMD has struggled with trying to compete in the CPU market. They have tried many different strategies and approaches. One even included distancing themselves from the performance market and focusing solely on mobile. This disastrous strategy did not work out well and led to a string of APUs that performed well when it came to graphics but had some serious performance issues when it came to traditional compute work. Now AMD is attempting to position themselves back in the enthusiast space with a new strategy and a new architecture.
It seems that AMD’s recent licensing moves and the press that Zen has been getting has given investors more confidence in the company. On Friday this confidence pushed AMD’s share price by almost 10% at $6.18 (the 52 week high) of this writing AMD’s share price has dropped some, but is still up by a little more than 5% ($6.14). Some have seen this as proof that AMD is going to have a comeback soon and that Intel should be very worried.
AMD might have some demo Zen silicon to show off at their expected press conference during Computex. This is the rumor that is coming from multiple sources at the moment. If true, this would be good for AMD for a couple of reasons. The first is the most obvious; they would have a real product to show off to the press. This will, of course, generate a lot of press and conversation about Zen. It will also get consumers eager for Zen, if, the demos can showcase performance that compares to current Intel hardware in the same class at a price point that is competitive.
It looks like AMD is trying to develop a new revenue stream and also create some additional competition for Intel. Ever since AMD bet the farm on purchasing ATi they have been taking a back seat to Intel. The reasons are many, but one of the big ones was not having enough money for R&D for multiple concurrent projects. After the ATi buy failed to yield results quickly they had to start cutting corners. R&D and marketing were some of the first places hit. Now, many years (and a number of CEOs) later AMD is still fighting to be relevant. They have some solid ideas, but just to not have the capital to put them all on the table at once.
AMD made an interesting announcement today. They are claiming to have the world’s first hardware virtualized GPU. Dubbed the FirePro S7150 and S7150 x2, these two server GPUs are not intended as direct output devices, but are to be used to power graphics for virtualized solutions. From the announcement AMD is diving into the cloud gaming, GPU assisted cloud computing and also in GPU accelerated VDI applications.