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AMD creates graphics-focused Radeon Technologies Group, taps Raja Koduri for GPU czar

Gordon Mah Ung | Sept. 10, 2015
Radeon Technologies Group formed to step up graphics development.

Overall graphics cards sales have been on a downslope too, according to JPR,  with sales falling 16.8 percent when all PC sales are considered.

The one bright spot, JPR noted, is an increase in enthusiast and gaming spending, which the firm said “bucked” the slump in graphics sales in mainstream computers. High-end graphics cards, such as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti, have actually had a halo effect on Nvidia, which has continued to report healthy earnings. That would point to a simple formula of “if you make it better, gamers will buy it,” which AMD is now following again.

To outsiders, AMD seemed more intent on bundling free games to boost sales and slashing prices, rather than introducing new GPUs. That dry spell ended recently with its new Fury cards. Sales figures for AMD’s latest graphics cards haven’t been disclosed, but reviews of its Fury X and Fury have been mostly positive, which usually leads to increased sales.

Koduri’s graphics chops are well known to those in the industry.

He started with graphics firm S3 before moving to ATI. After ATI’s purchase by AMD in 2006, Koduri eventually became AMD’s CTO in charge of graphics technology. He left AMD for Apple in 2009, where became director of graphics architecture and helped implement such graphics-oriented items as “retina” in laptops.

Koduri’s name may not be on the lips of the average gamer, but his return to AMD in 2013 was important enough that it merited coverage by enthusiast PC hardware sites such as Anandtech.com and The Tech Report. Anandtech.com's report even proclaimed "The King is Back."

Both sites at the time said any influence Koduri would have on AMD’s graphics roadmap wouldn’t materialize until 2015, which would give some credit to Korduri for the current Fury cards.

Lots of rumors and speculation

The new Radeon Technology Group is unlikely to stem the rumors and speculation that have hounded AMD this year though. In fact, they may even feed it. 

Citing unnamed sources, KitGuru.net reported in June that Microsoft was interested in purchasing AMD, which it could do for a pittance at $1.81 billion. One reason cited by KitGuru.net would be overall savings on processors for its Xbox One. AMD holds the custom contract for both the Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PS4. Neither Microsoft nor AMD would comment on the rumor. Rumors have also heavily circulated that AMD would be tapped for the processor in Nintendo's new console too. Perhaps more prescient, though still off-target, was a report by Reuters in June that AMD was mulling a split-up or even a sale of the graphics unit, which it had originally purchased for $5.4 billion.

 

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