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.
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.
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.
The experts have all weighed in. 2016 will be the year of Virtual Reality. The problem is that the experts are very often wrong. Still that has not stopped multiple companies from pushing out new VR headsets, APIs, development kits and more. The craze has gone so far as to start effecting the way that companies are making core hardware. We already know that AMD is pushing for VR mastery with new products and by showing which existing products also have a level of VR support.
On the 19th of January Samsung announced that they had begun mass production of their 4GB HBM 2.0 3D memory. This announcement was the starting gun for the next big GPU race. As we know both AMD and NVIDIA are racing to get viable products to the market in time for Oculus and HTC to launch their consumer version VR headsets. Up until now we have really only seen the developers’ kits and while these have been impressive they are not what most are hoping for in the final product.
AMD says it’s a VR thing now. Well ok, not really, but AMD is leveraging the increased memory bandwidth in their high-end R9 Fury cards to push both 4k and VR. They showed off the R9 Fury X dual-GPU reference design working for the first time at VRLA (Virtual Reality Los Angeles). This card will feature two 28nm Fiji GPUs plus an estimated 8GB of 2.5D HBM 1.0. The memory would be split between the two GPUs at 4GB each.
AMD is delaying the launch of their new Zen based CPUs until the end of 2016. The news comes on the heels of a rather subdued, if optimistic, earnings report in which Lisa Su, AMD CEO, focused on AMD’s commitment to innovation and highlighted improved R&D spending. It is true that AMD’s operating loss has dropped massively when compared to Q4 2014, but much of this is due to cut backs in operating costs over actual revenue. This is despite claims that AMD’s GPU and Semi-Custom sales were to thank. During 2015 we saw AMD start to pull back from other products (and product lines) to conserve money and focus on creating a compelling product. Zen is the hope for AMD’s future along with moving to a 14nm process.
The idea of Quantum computing has been with us since the dawn of science fiction and it is a very cool one. In recent years we have seen advances that have made this once theoretical concept turn into a reality. This is not to say that we are able to use the power that quantum computing has to offer, but we are starting to understand how it works in the real world and also how much more efficient it can be.
The idea of the “cloud” is nothing new and has, in fact, been around for a number of years in one form or another. The concept goes back to the use of small “dumb” terminals that were nothing more than display devices for com putting done in a central location. After it became possible to put more power into the systems we used the cloud faded into the back ground. With the production of mobile devices that did not typically have the same power and capacity as a desktop the cloud returned. It had a major resurgence when the smartphone and tablet leaped onto the scene and now it seems that everything is trying to become cloud based; including gaming.