AMD: History, Competition, and Future
A. Brief History
1. Founding by Jerry Sanders and Edwin Turney, hitory up to 1990
In 1969, Jerry Sanders and Edwin Turney started up a company which would produce products such as processors, microprocessors, and motherboard chipsets. The company they started was called Advanced Micro Devices or AMD (*9). The processors AMD produced consisted of basic components, the ALU, or Arithmetic Logic Unit and the Control Unit. AMD was incorporated in 1969 but their first processor like component didn’t release until 1970 with the Am2501 logic counter. At this point, the company was still public but that changed in 1972. When the 1980s came around, AMD started to take off because two main reasons. The first was AMD had expanded their producing facilities to other states, which made the company much larger. The second reason was IBM, in 1982, offered AMD a contract with Intel giving AMD the rights to make the 8086 and the 8088 processors. This pact lasted until 1986 when the demand and sales of AMD chips plummeted. This led AMD to research microprocessors that were going be able to be compatible with network and communication chips as well as IBM computers.
2. History from 1990 to present
The 90s were a very important time period for AMD because with the release of the Am386 chip, they broke the monopoly that Intel had on the CPU market. Compaq struck a long term deal with AMD in 1994 to supply the AMD 486 chips in Compaq computers (*1). In 1997 AMD had a break through making a microprocessor that would be affordable for the average every day home user. The price of a personal computer was now below $1,000 with the release of the AMD-K6 microprocessor. AMD was also the first processor to be brand to make a seventh generation processor for Microsoft windows computing in 1999 with the AMD Athlon MP processor. That same processor was the first to break the 1GHz barrier in processors in 2000 (*6). AMD continued to up their processors but the next major move didn’t happen until 2006 when AMD bough ATI Technologies Inc, which gave AMD into 3d graphics chips (*7) the next year AMD introduced the ATI Radeon HD 2000 graphic processors. These processors were used in both PCs and Mobile phones.
B. What new on the market in 2009
1. New AMD Evergy Efficient Opteron Proccessor : Quad Core AMD Opteron EE
The AMD 45nm Quad-Core Opteron EE Processor offers one simple benefit, energy efficiency. This 40 watt processor is made to be used in web serving, data center, or other highly dense environments. The new Opteron line of processors will now be factory installed with 40 watt EE power bands. This band offers a 62 percent performance-per-watt increase over the previous model.
2. AMD Platfor Technology Codenamed “Dragon”
Codename dragon is focused more towards the computer gaming community. The new AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Processor is AMD fastest quad core processor ever built running at a frequency of 3.2 GHz. The processor also supports DDR3 memory and AMD OverDrive 3.0 technology giving the processor the ability to perform any type of high definition media
II. AMD VS. Intel
A. Market Share
When it comes to processors, there are only two main choices, AMD and Intel. These two power houses in the processor business have been at it for over 40 years. The two companies were opened a year after each other, Intel in 1968 and AMD in 1969. The best way to show the market share of each company is to be shown in graphs. The first graph is the net revenue for 1997 – 2001. Intel has a clear advantage over AMD. Again with the second graph showing the market share Intel has a decisive advantage
B. AMD compared Intel
1. Power Consumption
The first is power consumption. AMD had the initial advantage because the Pentium 4 processors had a 150 watt TDP. When the duo core processors came out, Intel tried changed to a 75 watt TDP but that did nothing. Comparing the Intel Core 2 Duo Processor and the AMD Sempron the AMD processor, AMD used 7 less watts of power less than the Intel version.
2. Price vs. Performance
The second category is price vs. performance and again AMD has an edge. Intel has their Queadcore and Core2 Duo processors which perform great but the prices were always high. Recently Intel has closed the gap because the prices have been dropping but still haven’t caught up to AMD.
3. 3d Gaming
The third category is 3d gaming, and yet again AMD has had the advantage. Comparing AMD’s 64 bit and the Pentium 4 computers it wasn’t even a contest when it came to gaming and AMD won hands down. Again Intel, with the advent of the Quadcore and Core 2 Duo processors, the gap has narrowed because these processors can support dual video card where the AMD Athlon 64 can’t.
The fourth criteria would be graphics and it has the same aspects as the 3d gaming category. AMD started out on top but with Intel’s Quadcore and Core2 Duo processors the gap has narrowed.
5. MP3 and Video Encoding
The fifth category is MP3 and video encoding where it shows the same pattern as the above categories. To the average user today both companies offer the same speed and quality of encoding.
6. Cooling and Productivity
The next to last category is cooling and productivity. Intel holds a definite advance with better cooling features and better heat sinks.
7. Office Productivity and Multitasking
The last category is office productivity and multitasking. This is an even match until multitasking is put into the picture; the AMD 64 bit processors had a distinct advantage. But again with the advent of the Quadcore and Core 2 Duo processors from Intel this category is completely even
III. The Future
A. New Platforms
For the notebook platform, the “Danube” is going feature the “Champlain” CPU which offers the first AMD quad-core processor that is made for the notebook market. The platform will support a 2Mcache and DDR3 memory. AMD is also working on a project names “Nile” which will be a platform that will support ultrathin notebooks. This platform will support a dual-core CPU that will again support DDR3 memory and should have the ability to be used for 7 hours before the battery dies under normal conditions.
2. Personal Computers
The Desktop platform has some new projects to look forward to as well. Codename “Leo” is designed more for the performance seekers in the desktop industry because this platform will support AMD’s new six-core CPU. This will allow for advances in visual quality and the ability to multitask much more efficiently. For the average everyday users, AMD will release a platform codenamed “dorado” which will support the AMD Athlon II Processors and will have DirectX 11 to support more graphics options.
Finally the server platform has some advances coming in the near future. Codename “Maranello” is going to support the new eight or twelve core “Magny-Cours” processor. The platform will also come with a new socket infrastructure to support the new processor. It will also be DDR3 based. The other project is codenamed “San Mario” which will be an energy efficient server platform. It will be suited for small to medium sized businesses.
Whether it’s past or present AMD has always put out a quality line of product. This started with the Am2501 logic counter in 1971 and has continued to the present.