Amid challenges, chipmaker AMD sees a way forward

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    Company, which employs 1,600 in Austin, is counting on its new Zen microprocessor design project to turn its fortunes around.
    For more than two decades, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has been the comeback kid of computer-related electronics.

    The chipmaker has worked itself into difficult places only to make Houdini-like escape through clever and pioneering products, acquisitions, business restructuring and through winning legal settlements. Now AMD finds itself in another difficult place — and company leaders think they know the name of the potential escape hatch. It is called Zen — a microprocessor design project whose results are expected to start showing up in a family of new products starting in 2017.

    Everything is riding on Zen,” said analyst Nathan Brookwood with Insight 64. “They are shooting for performance parity with where (arch-rival) Intel will be. AMD understands that they have to succeed with Zen. If Zen fizzles, they will really have to do a lot of running around.”

    By that, Brookwood means AMD could be in trouble if Zen is not successful.

    Suzanne Plummer, the veteran Austin chip engineer who heads the Zen team, exudes confidence about the project.

    It is the first time in a very long time that we engineers have been given the total freedom to build a processor from scratch and do the best we can do,” Plummer said. “It is a multi-year project with a really large team. It’s like a marathon effort with some sprints in the middle. The team is working very hard, but they can see the finish line. I guarantee that it will deliver a huge improvement in performance and (low) power consumption over the previous generation.”


    This was a good read. I hope it all works out for them.


    Best of luck to them, I hope they make it through as always


    I would love to see them shove it up Intel’s rump, I don’t like the way Intel does business.

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