Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel have been using the same technology in computers for a very long time, but now the underdog semiconductor vendor is diverging to play its strength in graphics capability.
The number two chipmaker had a series of big wins from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s gaming consoles.
The newly announced gaming consoles are all powered by AMD’s custom-made accelerated processing units (APUs).
APU is the combination of central processing units (CPU) and graphics processing units (GPU) into a single-chip.
“We really want to play to our strength in microprocessors, design and graphic capability. Gaming is a major focus for AMD. We are looking for areas to differentiate and gaming is a place where we can differentiate,” Lisa Su, senior vice-president and GM of global business units for AMD, told Gulf News in a telephone interview.
She said mobile devices like tablets and hybrids are important, and AMD is not focused on smartphones and has no plans to enter the smartphone market.
Both the chipmakers are feeling the pressure from the traditional PC market as it is heading southwards.
According to Mercury Research, AMD’s worldwide market share for overall PC market stands at 16.9 per cent in 2012.
With tablets and smartphones growing at a faster pace than traditional computers, AMD will focus on tablets rather than smartphones.
“We will continue to look for key opportunities. The traditional PC market is really changing as we see a lot of new form factors. The PC business is our key but we will look for opportunities that will help us grow,” Su said.
Over the next five years, AMD expects APUs to become more important.
“Our APU strategy is working. We have announced our third-generation APUs in May — Kabini, Tamesh and Richland. We got a strong feedback and more and more applications will be using the APU architecture,” she said.
She believes that by the end of 2013, around 20 per cent of AMD’s business will be in semi-custom embedded chips.
The company, which won the GPU contract for Apple’s new Mac Pro, is open to different operating platforms.
“AMD is open to expanding operating systems options beyond Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform. Yes, Microsoft is a great platform but we are looking for opportunities for growth,” Su said.