Updated: August 5, 2021 5:11:55 pm
Once seen as the second fiddle to Intel in computer processors, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) admits it had an image problem but once its CPUs started showing performance gains the relationship with PC OEMs changed drastically. “There was a point in time when AMD’s relationship with our OEM partners was nowhere near as deep as it is today,” David McAfee, Corporate VP, Product Management and Marketing at AMD said in an interview with indianexpress.com.
McAfee, who has been with AMD for well over 15 years, says the company’s 7nm chips offer significantly high-performance and that helped win the confidence of PC OEMs. “With the Ryzen products, in particular, and the leadership we have been able to drive in terms of core count, performance and battery life into our products, it has changed the way they [PC companies] collaborate with AMD,” he said. Intel’s latest chips, meanwhile, ship with only 10-nanometer transistors.
From the beginning, AMD was seen as the chip company undercutting Intel on price, despite building fast and powerful processors. AMD’s products were convincing but also fell short on performance when compared to Intel’s CPUs. But when Lisa Su, now regarded as one of the most powerful women in tech, took the commands in her hand as CEO in 2014, she started making changes by focusing on computer architecture, cutting-edge processors and graphics chips for gaming.
The launch of desktop processors called Ryzen in 2017, and the subsequent release of mobile processors used in laptops with improved performance started to change the conversation around AMD. The fact that AMD was able to undercut Intel by releasing 7nm chips first in the market, and its decision to contract chip manufacturing to Taiwan-based TSMC, the largest contract foundry in the world, helped the company march ahead its larger rival. It’s a turnaround for the Santa Clara, California-based AMD, which was in financial ruin a few years back.
“If we look at the launch of the 4000 series products last year to the launch of the 5000 series products this year, I think with each and every step in our product portfolio, you see more premium designs from partners in the gaming space to the premium ultra-thin space,” McAfee explained how the chipmaker is deeply involved with OEMs in development of premium computing solutions. He further added: “those co-engineering relationships with the OEMs have never been deeper, it’s become something where it’s very much a partnership between AMD and the OEMs to build the best systems that we possibly can.”
In fact, McAfee calls the company’s relationship with many OEMs in a “completely different place.” He cites two reasons why OEMs have started to show faith in AMD, one being the performance of the recently launched computer processors. “With the OEM, they have to believe that they can count on you and that’s that’s a simple statement, but it’s also a very complex statement because the OEM putting their trust in a silicon partner, meaning they believe that you have the engineering and power behind them to help build an absolutely amazing system,” McAfee said.
McAfee understands that the more OEMs show interest in AMD’s chips, the better it is for the company and for the PC market, which is at an all-time high due to the global pandemic. The launch of its new Advantage design framework initiative, a programme that helps PC makers in designing the best possible gaming notebooks encapsulates AMD’s recent strategy to have a “deep co-engineering collaboration” with OEMs. The main motive of AMD, as McAfee puts it out, is to make Ryzen the most “desired” brand for PC products.
But the change of perception of OEMs towards AMD has been a long journey. “The initial success in gaming notebooks came from the fact that we had so much focus on gaming in the desktop and console space…it was a natural place for OEMs to start placing more premium bets on AMD,” he said, adding the speed at which PC companies launching high-end ultra-thin notebooks powered by Ryzen processors shows OEM’s confidence in the chipmaker.
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