Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Zen Q&A with AMD's CTO: 'We’re bringing competition back to high-performance x86'

Gordon Mah Ung, Mark Hachman | Aug. 19, 2016
AMD is pretty much betting the company on the new Zen core. We wanted to know more.

But it does also go back to your comment—how did you achieve 40 percent improvement, how did you pull it off? We are one of the very few companies that understands how to put together leading-edge, high-performance chip designs. And that’s why we’ve been successful in the semi-custom industry. You have to have the IP, and you have to know how to put together and deliver high-performance design. That’s what we have at AMD.

Go back through AMD’s history of chip designs: the K6, the Athlon, and others. Do you think this eclipses those?

Well, that’s why I showed the historic perspective. We absolutely believe that this will be an historic inflection point, as were those you referenced. 

Our foot is not coming off the gas pedal, and we’re hard at work on next-generation designs.

Was the “Zen+” reference today a formal code name, or just indicative of future products?

Not a formal name, just the next generations that the design teams are hard at [work].

With Zen, you told the team that you wanted a 40 percent improvement in IPC, but with the same power as the Excavator core. Do you have similar marching orders for these forthcoming Zen cores?

We have leapfrog design teams, so we didn’t wait for Zen to be completed to start the next generation. They’re hard at it. Of course we’re not putting out any specifics, but every generation will face the same task that the Zen team faced: how do you drive performance, how do you drive throughput, how do you drive efficiency? That triple objective will not change, going forward in our roadmap.

With Naples, can we assume you have a four-way processor planned?

We’ve shared today Summit Ridge, and then the 2P configuration on Naples.

Your rival Intel has spent the entire week talking about sensors, embedded, and the Internet of Things. You’ve listed “embedded” as a market for Zen. Does this mean that Zen has an IoT future?

Many of the IoT devices that are leveraging sensors are any point around you they’re gathering information. They need to be very efficient, and they need to be low cost, because you need a plethora of them. 

IoT for us answers a question: What do you do with all that data that those sensors are creating? IoT...creates a massive, massive amount of data, and you’ll need a hub to collect that, an edge of network, and then an expanded server and cloud capability to run those IoT devices. That’s what we’re targeting, with what we shared today.

The last time AMD represented a threat to Intel was with Athlon, and I remember that it was hard to get motherboards. There just weren’t a lot of motherboards made. There were rumors of threats from Intel. Do you expect anything similar this time around? That’s one way to slow you down.


Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.